Article: Leveraging India’s talent pool is easier said than done – Avalara’s senior director HR shares her learnings

Talent Acquisition

Leveraging India’s talent pool is easier said than done – Avalara’s senior director HR shares her learnings

Discover how Avalara India's proactive approach to leveraging human capital as a cornerstone of its growth strategy is paving the way for sustainable development and innovation in challenging times. Read on to learn more.
Leveraging India’s talent pool is easier said than done – Avalara’s senior director HR shares her learnings

In a year marked by widespread layoffs across the tech industry, Avalara India has defied the trend by forging ahead with strategic development initiatives. While over 1,100 tech companies, including industry giants, faced the challenge of laying off more than 2.6 lakh employees, Avalara India has maintained a resilient stance amidst this uncertainty. 

Against this backdrop, the company is now doubling down on its commitment to harnessing India's vast talent pool. This proactive approach not only underscores Avalara India's confidence in the country's skilled workforce but also positions it uniquely in the tech landscape, where adaptability and strategic growth are paramount. 

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Krishna Priya Nambudiri, Senior Director - HR at Avalara India, shared insights into how the company's HR practices have contributed to its resilience and growth in challenging times. 

In her interview with People Matters, she delved into the HR strategies that have enabled Avalara India to navigate the complexities of the past year while maintaining a focus on talent acquisition and development. She discussed how Avalara India has leveraged its HR practices to not only sustain operations but also to foster a conducive environment for growth. 

Excerpts from the interview: 

1. Can you provide insights into the total number of hires planned for FY24, and how does this compare to the number of hires made in the last year? What factors have influenced these hiring projections?

Avalara’s India office was established in 2006, becoming a centre of technical excellence across engineering, tax content, professional services, and sales. This year, we plan to hire over 1,000 employees in the region to bolster Avalara’s expanding global operations. These decisions are driven by several factors:

Talent Availability: India boasts a rich pool of skilled professionals in diverse domains, from technology to non-technical roles, making it a strategic hub for our hiring needs.

APAC Expansion: Avalara’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region necessitates significant recruitment to support our expanding operations and customer base.

Operational Efficiency: By leveraging India’s talent pool, we aim to enhance operational effectiveness and ensure sustainable growth for Avalara.

2. What specific initiatives or strategies has the company implemented to tap into India's tech ecosystem and talent market effectively? Are there any unique challenges or opportunities associated with this focus on India?

At Avalara, we employ several strategies to harness India’s tech ecosystem and talent market effectively:

  • Strategic Partnerships: Collaborating with leading tech institutions and universities in India to cultivate talent pipelines and drive recruitment.
  • Engagement Events: Hosting hackathons, coding competitions, and tech forums to engage with the local tech community and identify top talent.
  • Internship Programs: Offering internships and graduate hiring initiatives to nurture early-career professionals and foster skill development.
  • Employee Development: Investing in upskilling programs and career enhancement initiatives to empower and retain talent within Avalara.
  • Employer Branding: Actively participating in industry forums and conferences to strengthen Avalara’s reputation as an employer of choice.
  • Hybrid/Remote Work: Providing flexible work options to attract talent from diverse geographical locations across India.

3. Could you elaborate on the company's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies and initiatives aimed at fostering a more inclusive workplace? How does the organization tackle unconscious bias in the hiring process to ensure fairness and equity?

At Avalara, fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is integral to our corporate culture:

Employee Resource Groups: Establishing groups like Women Ignite to support women’s advancement through mentorship and leadership programs.

Diversity Initiatives: Supporting LGBTQ+ individuals, mid-career training, and returnship programs to promote inclusivity and career re-entry.

Inclusive Hiring: Using inclusive language in job descriptions, training interviewers to mitigate unconscious bias, and analyzing hiring data to ensure fairness.

Cross-Cultural Sensitization: Conducting training to enhance cultural awareness and respect among employees.

4. In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, how is the company leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a people-first organization? Can you provide examples of AI-driven initiatives aimed at enhancing employee experience, engagement, or productivity?

Avalara leverages AI to enhance employee experience and productivity:

  • Data People Platform: Using AI to optimize job ads and improve candidate attraction and diversity.
  • AI in Recruitment: Employing AI tools like LinkedIn AI writer for effective outreach during recruitment drives.
  • AI in Learning & Development: Utilizing AI within workramp to personalize learning paths and foster continuous skill enhancement.

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5. How does the company envision the role of AI evolving in the future of work, particularly in the context of talent management and employee experience? Are there any emerging trends or areas of focus that you believe will shape the intersection of AI and HR in the coming years?

AI will continue to shape talent management and employee experience at Avalara:

  • Minimizing Zoom Fatigue: Automating tasks with AI to free up more time for meaningful human interaction.
  • Bias Reduction: Using AI-driven analytics to eliminate unconscious biases in HR processes.
  • Personalized Development: AI-driven platforms to recommend tailored learning and development opportunities.
  • Proactive Retention: Predictive analytics to forecast retention risks and implement targeted retention strategies.

As AI evolves, Avalara remains committed to leveraging technology responsibly to enhance workplace efficiency, equity, and engagement for all employees.

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Leadership, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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