Article: HR leaders must adopt a product mindset: Madri Prasad, Stockal

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HR leaders must adopt a product mindset: Madri Prasad, Stockal

“Be it creating or nurturing talent, ensuring better collaboration, or driving data-driven decisions, HR will need to own many of these essential processes in order to scale,” said Madri Prasad, Vice President of Human Capital, Stockal.
HR leaders must adopt a product mindset: Madri Prasad, Stockal

The wealth management industry is rapidly growing in India. As the digital revolution shifts the way people manage their finances, the industry is witnessing the rise of ‘wealth tech’ startups.

Global wealth tech funding grew 156% year-over-year, driven by 35 mega-rounds that accounted for 71% of funding for the year, according to a report by CB Insights. 

These hyper-growth companies have to double their efforts to hire and retain talent to reach their big ambitious goals. The investment in HR in this case becomes inevitable. 

For instance, one of the recently funded wealth tech startups, Stockal, is revolutionising work culture, experimenting with gamification, and enhancing internal talent mobility to attract and retain top talent. 

In an interview, Madri Prasad, Vice President - Human Capital, Stockal, discusses how HR leaders of fast-growing organisations can deal with the era of the Great Reshuffle.  

Which critical talent trends are shaping the HR strategy of fast-growing companies and emerging sectors?

Fintech has officially blurred the line between two distinct erstwhile sectors: financial services and technology. Our line of business, wealth tech, has been a surprise package during COVID, as we have seen a transformation in the investment landscape, bringing droves of first-time equity investors into the market. 

Driven by advancements in technologies like AI/ML, mobile applications, and data science, this sector requires HRs to shift from a project mindset to a product mindset, thus helping organisations reshape the way collaboration, co-creation, and innovation happen. 

As people managers, it is important to design an Employee Value Proposition that attracts, engages, and retains talent, as talented individuals orchestrate the growth story.  

Be it creating or nurturing internal talent, ensuring better collaboration in the new ‘hybrid’ era of work, carving a sense of purpose through the organisation’s culture, or driving more data-driven decisions, HR will need to own many of these essential processes in order to scale.

How are you leveraging gamification to rethink the work culture at Stockal?

Gamification as a concept has been around for almost two decades, but it is relatively new in India. I happened to read about it a few years ago and the Operations Team at Stockal was sporty enough to experiment!  

Gamification utilises attributes of games – fun, play, transparency, design, and competition – and applies them to a range of real-world processes inside an organisation, thus inculcating a healthy competitive mindset. 

At Stockal, we have successfully implemented the concept by gamifying KPIs. Leaderboards and quirky contests have resulted in enhanced productivity, social recognition, and a feeling of accomplishment. 

Spinning up challenges motivates teams and reinforces a healthy competitive spirit which in turn sets the stage for collaboration and peer learning. The goal is to capitalise on the fun, rewards, and recognition aspect of gamification and motivate teams to perform better and boost their engagement in the process.

How are you tackling the ongoing era of the Great Reshuffle and building a strong talent pipeline?

In my opinion, building a talent pipeline and retaining employees are two sides of the same coin. 

Although the impact of the Great Reshuffle or Great Resignation is not as bad as in the rest of the world, there has been turmoil in India Inc. and it has impacted most organisations, big and small. 

While salaries, bonuses, and rewards are still top attractions for candidates, people are equally interested in non-monetary motivators. 

At Stockal, we focus mostly on retaining talent since lateral hires can be exorbitant. We are upfront about the role and what to expect on the job, during the initial screening process so that candidates understand the role, team, and company holistically. 

A culture of openness and fairness combined with extra enticements like ad hoc promotions, cross-functional movements, incentives, and parental, caretaker, and DYOT leaves made it slightly easier to tide us through this era.

As far as building a talent pipeline is concerned, thank God for gig workers!

What are some key skills HR leaders of startups and SMEs need to build for 2022 and beyond?

An upheaval is what is required. While most of us have ridden the COVID wave, the pandemic has left a lasting influence on the future of work and the journey is still uphill. HR leaders of startups and SMEs need to revamp their thinking and practices to ensure they are on top of the game. 

One major aspect is the ‘hybrid model’ or ‘remote working’ culture. In simple terms, flexibility is key. HRs must be open to the new and emerging workstyles and must build swift adaptability, and dynamic problem-solving capabilities, since they will need to build a workforce around skills and not roles

HR leaders should also be analytical in nature and use technology to support connectedness in the realm of employee feedback and sentiment. 

What has helped me during the past few years has been the ability to be agile and act with a certain speed; the ability to respond quickly and effectively to changes and challenges regarding business requirements and updates, workplace disruption, and employee expectations.

How are you accelerating the HR transformation journey at Stockal?

The pandemic got us thinking about new ways and means of work and we knew that a transformation was crucial. 

To usher in the organisation of the future, we have begun reimagining the basic tenets of the organisation. 

We are working towards building a creative, antifragile, and adaptable culture by giving employees a sense of autonomy and encouraging networks, instead of hierarchies, and collaboration, instead of collusion. 

We are fully aware that any culture change should be business-led, with clear and highly visible leadership from the top, and execution should be rigorous and consistent, which is why we have consciously developed an energising sense of purpose that has a tangible impact on our strategic choices and ways of working.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #Culture, #SMEcorner, #Leaders Talk

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