‘Diversity isn’t something we do - it’s who we are,’ says Mohan Kumar, Head of Talent Acquisition at Intuit
The looming recession and wage inflation, has inadvertently given rise to the phenomena of mass layoffs across the globe. While analysts and strategists are trying to decode and predict the trends of the future of work, we try to understand the fine act of balancing hiring, retaining and training talent in these uncertain times from Mohan Kumar, Head of Talent Acquisition, Intuit India. The market-leading fintech company offers a range of products such as TurboTax, Credit Karma, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp and is on a mission towards ‘power prosperity around the world’ which is reflected in their key strategies and policies.
In an exclusive conversation with us, Kumar points out that ‘while candidates do have the opportunity to choose, they are eager to move only for career changing offers.’ He also listed the many ways in which TA teams need to continuously evolve their strategy to hire the best and most diverse talent, inculcating a learning mindset among the employees so they are able to seek opportunities beyond their current role, the need to build a conducive culture of diversity, inclusion and belongingness so employees can bring their whole selves to work, and what it means to have an infrastructure in place that is supportive to employees returning to work after a break.
Excerpts from the interview:
As the head of talent acquisition, can you share with us some of the new challenges that talent acquisition teams will face in the year 2023?
We are a highly competitive yet resilient talent market, and there are plenty of opportunities for candidates to choose from. This brings along the challenge and need for organisations to be distinct and communicate their employee value proposition (EVP) more effectively to attract diverse talent.
There is also a large candidate pool who are satisfied with the status quo, but will only consider a move if the new opportunity offers them something that is career changing. Thus, the talent acquisition (TA) teams need to move from traditional practices and find new ways to build visibility, engage employees through relevant content and find the right channels to nurture talent pools.
TA teams will need to continuously evolve their strategy in attracting and hiring the best diverse talent in the following ways:
- Building inclusive hiring practices that provide the best experience.
- Nurturing talent communities to build proactive relationships and thus, a strong pipeline of talent.
- Continue to build employment brand recall through messaging and channels which are most relevant to talent and align them with core values of a company so as to establish the organisation as an employer of choice.
In a recent summit, an Intuit spokesperson highlighted the need to balance hiring externally versus focusing on retaining and training talent within the organisation. What are the strategies in place at Intuit to successfully achieve it?
At Intuit, we want to grow our people’s careers meaningfully. We encourage all our employees to own their career and navigate via self reflection, continuously identifying and assessing their strengths and growth opportunities. We encourage them to have a continuous learning mindset and take advantage of the learning opportunities to advance their careers; seek mentorship via formal/informal networks internally and externally to obtain clarity about their growth aspirations and seek internal mobility opportunities as they see fit for their careers. In fact, our employees are open to having career conversations with their managers more often, paving a way for growth opportunities beyond their current role.
As we endeavour to develop our talent to do the best work of their lives while fostering a culture of belongingness; we’ve enabled easy ways for employees to find and access internal opportunities. We’re continuously learning and evolving the process, prioritising on creating more visibility of internal jobs, removing friction in the process, simplifying and enhancing the end-to-end experience and creating an environment where employees feel empowered to own their careers and are not afraid to seek these opportunities and apply for them.
Intuit India was recognised as the silver employer in the 2022 edition of the India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI). Can you tell us what are the programs that have been designed towards strengthening diversity, equity, inclusion and belongingness in the organisation?
At Intuit, diversity isn’t something we do—it’s who we are! We are committed to building a talented, engaged, diverse and equitable workforce across levels. The organisation is all about putting people first and it is our people who champion diversity, equity and inclusion within our company and externally as well, helping create an environment where they can bring their whole selves to work.
It is this conducive culture that enables our people to bring different voices to the table as they realise their full potential for the customers they find solutions for and the teams they are part of.
We have employee networks and diverse communities that help drive belongingness and inclusion across the organisation and they’re designed to run with minimal intervention from leaders. They drive employee listening tours, bubble up opportunities to enhance the experience and inspire experiments.
Our DEI strategy aligns with our True North Goals by focusing on three key stakeholder groups: employees, customers and communities and we focus on the following key aspects:
- Having the right employee representation across levels
- Targeted programs such as returnee programs (we have a program titled Intuit Again), mentorship initiatives and external partnerships towards diverse groups aimed at growth and development
- Equitable talent practices and policies
- Employee resource groups to drive high impact programs
- Equitable products and services
- Community support where it matters the most
A career break is particularly common these days, especially among women. In one of your LinkedIn posts, you wrote that 36 per cent of women take a break from work as per a report by Centre for Talent Innovation with only 58 per cent of them able to rejoin full-time. How can organisations and TA leaders help create an infrastructure to exponentially increase the percentage of women rejoining work after a break?
Organisations need to take the first step in creating an equitable and supportive pathway for women returning from a career break. There needs to be an understanding of the supportive infrastructure and initiatives to help returnees refresh their skills, apply learned skills in a supportive team environment backed by learning opportunities, mentorship, learning and career development tools. All this will translate into more successful transitions and expand the rejoining workforce.
At Intuit, we offer a returnship program - Intuit Again, for technology professionals who have had to take time off for caregiving or other personal responsibilities. Our returnship program was launched in 2015 and supported women as a pathway back into the tech workforce after a career break. Over time, the program has expanded to all genders, aligning further with our culture of diversity and inclusion.
In the end, an empowered company culture with its foundation in authenticity, will always puts the needs of its employees first. And as these employees rise higher in their job roles through mentorship, career development and training programs and internal mobility, it will bring in better business revenue while strengthening employer branding. The endeavour to be the best today begins with people!