Employee is the new king in today's world of work: Insights from WorldatWork India’s CHRO Roundtable at Mumbai
In today’s world of ever-evolving job requirements, work is no more a status, but the experience organisations can create for its workforce. And culture remains at the core of this change. HR today has transitioned from a transactional to a transformational role with employee experience taking centre stage in the new work exchange.
“We are redefining work as both a concept and a practice. The exchange occurring between employer and employee is evolving right in front of us,” Dr. Scott Cawood, CEO of WorldatWork, cited in his keynote address at a roundtable discussion hosted by People Matters in association with WorldatWork India.
WorldatWork has been working towards providing education, professional development and human capital leadership through certified professionals to help organisations enhance employee experiences and performance. Dr. Cawood further elaborated on how the new work exchange posed a challenge to the traditional way of working and why HR professionals need to reimagine and recreate impactful employee experience strategies to better engage, motivate and interact in the new work exchange.
“The way you (organisations) are going to set up the employee experience is going to be on-demand. The future of work is already here,” he noted, adding that a lot of organisations are struggling today due to decades of old ways of managing and leading their workforce.
“Work is no longer a place as we are moving quickly from a 9 to 5 model to a 24x7 model of working,” he quipped. “People aren’t just quitting their jobs, they are rejecting the idea that burnout is the price they have to pay for success,” he quoted in his presentation.
Employee preferences today have shifted towards flexibility, well-being, diversity, equity and inclusion at the workplace. HR professionals today need to be more digitally savvy to engage diverse talent; respond to a broad range of stakeholders and bring transparency, unity and agility in the new work exchange.
The senior HR leader roundtable held at Taj, Santacruz, Mumbai brought together select group of HR Leaders like Suresh Mehra, SVP- Human Resources, Axis Bank; Arlene Karanjia, Head HRD, DHL; Dev Deepika, VP & Head HR, Fiserv; Manu Puri, VP HR, Credit Suisse; Arjun Parekh, Head of HR Tech & Talent Acquisition, ICICI Securities; Shilpa Pradhan, Head- TA, Tech Mahindra; Anand Dhruv, AVP - Human Resources, NTT Ltd and Sarika Naikdesai, Associate Director, Human Resources, LTIMindtree to name a few.
The open house discussion on HR Driving Employee Experience in the New Work Exchange was moderated by Vishakha Sawlapurkar, Head – Performance, Rewards & Workforce Planning, Adani Group and Mihai Popoaca- President, WorldatWork.
The session highlighted significant economic and technological forces that are reshaping work and workforce expectations and how organisations could address skill shortages in this fast-evolving world of work. The speakers also exchanged insights on the evolving role of HR leaders in facilitating employee experience.
Some of the key takeaways from the session were:
Technology as the enabler
Technology has played the role of the great enabler in fundamentally changing how, when, and where people work, thus improving employee experience and helping organisations create the right connection with its employees.
Traditionally, there were only HR-related resources compared to data analysts and data scientists that help leaders take informed decisions about people in their organisation. Today, HR is more than a functional role, thanks to rapid digitalisation, which has helped businesses move to the “high-tech” model, while retaining the “high touch” quality.
“Data insights can help HR in co-creation of forums and committees aligning with the business objective; get feedback through employee satisfaction surveys, focus-group discussions,” feels Madhu Sharma, HR Head - Animal Health Business and Group Functions, Boehringer Ingelheim India.
Capability building or upskilling has become a keyword for employees today, she added, reflecting on how technology can help in achieving this learning feat and creating more leaders.
“A person will stay with you only if he/she is rewarded… mostly it’s the non-finance part of the reward,” said Shilpa Pradhan of Tech Mahindra during the open-house discussion.
Employers today understand the importance of highly customised learning for their employees. Today, when every manager has become the HR specialist for their reportees, it’s highly imperative for leaders to take a holistic approach towards employee experience.
Onus of learning and growth
Companies today are increasingly emphasising on upskilling their employees to retain them for the long haul. The pulse checks and surveys give a further dipstick to understand and analyse what is lacking at an organisational level and how companies can improve to retain top talent. Technology has helped HR to read what is going on in the employee’s mind.
Employees today are striving to take ownership for their growth and development, the leaders felt. “The entire gamut of upskilling is not just the organisation’s responsibility but also there’s a lot of accountability and ownership that the employees take,” said Sarika Naikdesai of LTIMindtree.
Culture is the core value
People prefer to be in a culturally driven environment. Employees may still join or leave an organisation due to the manager. A recent study showed how, due to hybrid and remote work, loyalty of almost 70% of employees shifted with their direct line manager, noted Mihai Popoaca of WorldatWork during the closed-door discussion.
“Managers need to inculcate empathy to understand the needs of their employees whether it’s an incentive or a career growth trajectory. It’s only the culture that can hold or retain people in the organisation. Culture is key to building trust in the community,” said Yogesh R Basole, AVP HR, Crompton Greaves Consumer Business.
HR leaders today should look at guiding how to create great managers at the workplace. Neuroscience-based language and deeper listening towards employees would make a significant change, he observed.
Other leaders too echoed this sentiment. “Post-pandemic, HR as a function has transitioned from a transactional to a transformational activity. Technology is just the enabler, which will help you to achieve your target faster but what defines you (the organisation) is the culture,” observed Anand Dhruv of NTT Ltd.
Pleased with the response to this session, Sheetal Raut, Managing Director of WorldatWork India said, “HR leaders must be vigilant about embracing the new work exchange and creating a conducive workplace environment for the employees. At WorldatWork, we are driven by our mission to create better workplaces, and we will continue to host more such thought leadership discussions to help Rewards professionals expand their impact.”
WorldatWork, now also in India, brings together the best professionals from around the world to provide the foremost education, leadership and community dedicated to elevating employee experiences and organizational performance. Over 90% of the Global 500 companies trust and rely on WorldatWork education and certified professionals to power their employee rewards, engagement and retention efforts.