What drives talent to your organisation? This question revolves around value creation, as workplaces today strive to attract and retain top talent.
The recently appointed Group CHRO at Sterlite Power, Ruhie Pande who is set to attend People Matters TechHR Pulse Mumbai says, “People want to know who they are going to work with. If they can see themselves being guided by the company’s leaders, and see themselves eventually mentoring others, then half the battle of attracting talent is won.”
In an exclusive interaction with us, Ruhie discussed strategies for talent attraction, engagement, and work culture branding. These are key areas of opportunity for an organisation to become a workplace of choice.
Here are the edited excerpts:
What advanced strategies have you found most effective in attracting top-tier talent for a rapidly growing organisation?
I have seen time and again that quite simply highlighting positive customer and employee experiences can offer a unique insight to the organisation and its workings. This also goes hand-in-hand with tailoring your recruitment pitch for each candidate. Emphasise outstanding benefits, including remote work options and flexible schedules. Talk about what sets you apart from other companies. At Sterlite, for instance, we have built a culture based on our values of Fun, Respect, Innovation and Social Impact. This is something we always bring to the fore on all our communication channels including social media. It not only ensures that we find the right culture fits, but also enables potential talent to relate to us as a workplace, aspire to be a part of our environment, and feel a sense of belonging before they even join.
Another crucial strategy is to involve recruitment managers in posting jobs and sharing their experiences with the world, transforming them into brand ambassadors. It is important for people to know what working with a company is like, and authentic, first-hand insights are the most impactful. People also want to know who they are going to work with. If they can see themselves being guided by the company’s leaders, and see themselves eventually mentoring others, then half the battle of attracting talent is won.
How can organisations stay agile and adapt their recruitment processes to secure the best talent? Please share your experience with specific examples of effective recruitment strategies that led an organisation towards sustainable success.
Organisations can stay agile by understanding what employees in the market are looking for. I have had many people tell me that they read my thoughts on LinkedIn before they came for the interview. And this only drives me to keep writing and engaging. Transparently sharing the culture and Talent Value Proposition of the organisation does help attract the right talent.
Additionally, recruitment processes need to be simplified, and AI needs to be used better to gather information about prospective employees. The interview process should also be easy and move from one step to the next quickly, from the communication and logistical details of scheduling, to actually adhering to the schedule and having the right people present in the interview panel together. In terms of the interview experience itself, recruiters should keep it interesting for the interviewees too. Allow enough time for questions to be asked by the interviewees, have a two-way conversation, and get to know the candidate. And if there are psychometric assessments, it’s a best practice to share the results with the candidates.
Creating panels rather than having several rounds is a good way to assess fitments and save time for both sides. I also strongly believe that organisations should collect feedback from candidates on their interview experience.
Ultimately, it’s important to train managers on taking interviews. What should and should not be asked from an inclusion perspective, asking pertinent questions, and making the interview conversational – these aspects need to be better developed. And lastly, while virtual interviews are convenient, wherever possible, prospective employees should be exposed to the workplace.
What are the essentials of leveraging technology to streamline hiring processes?
Right from faster hiring to more accurate targeting of talent acquisition endeavours and seamless communication with candidates, AI can help make recruitment strategies more seamless than ever before. Today, huge datasets of applications can be screened quickly with customizable filters based on the organisation’s requirements.
AI-led video interviews help to eliminate manual intervention in the first round, after which recruiters can devote their energies to deep dive into understanding the shortlisted candidates. That’s not all. These tools can even help conduct interviews in multiple languages, can be leveraged for onboarding and even building hiring plans based on historical data. Going a step further, with other tools like chatbots and virtual assistants, the entire hiring process can become so much easier for candidates without putting a heavy burden on recruiters.
How can organisations leverage technology to stay ahead of the curve and ensure a seamless recruitment experience for both candidates and themselves?
Firstly, there has to be a talent acquisition shift, where organisations look at potential and adaptability over just experience. Recruiters need to utilise assessments to gauge agility in a rapidly changing digital landscape, identifying the skills that candidates have that are not necessarily related to their role but can have a positive impact.
Another critical aspect that is already evolving steadily is the integration of diversity and inclusion into cultures, not just to retain but also to recruit.
- Using technology better to eliminate biassed AI-led decisions,
- Building more intuitive workplaces for differently abled employees,
- Implementing design thinking in every experience, right from virtual interviews to inductions
These are just some of the ways tech today can help make diversity & inclusion a cornerstone of hiring.
Lastly, more dynamic and agile HR strategies like internal mobility, continuous performance feedback, and a commitment to next-gen talent are integral components of 2024. Not only does this entail deploying better tech-tools, it also means building teams that are equipped with tech know-how and the ability to cascade the same, while also identifying this potential in the larger talent pool.
From your perspective, what does the future hold for women in leadership roles, and how can organisations actively contribute to fostering gender diversity at leadership levels? Please share practical tips for removing challenges that hinder women's career progression within the corporate landscape.
In this context, I believe organisations need to double down on how much women leaders are being portrayed externally. This isn’t from a branding perspective, but more from the standpoint of drawing in more talent and inspiring confidence that our boards and C-suites do comprise women making critical business decisions. Another very important practicality is pay equity. Conduct a salary audit to identify and rectify disparities in entry salaries, pay hikes, equity distribution, and bonuses. Invest in software and training to eliminate unconscious bias, ensuring fair and merit-based compensation.
For all of this, the groundwork needs to be solid. CEOs, executives, and managers need to be made aware about the importance and nuances of diversity and inclusion. Emphasise that these initiatives are not merely checkboxes but commitments to long-term growth and success for the company. These also cannot be confined to certain groups of people alone. I have seen that many teams organise sensitization sessions on gender just for women, or on the other extreme – just for men. These trainings should be for everyone, across gender identities and orientations.
How can organisations approach creating equal opportunities for underrepresented groups, and what initiatives have proven to be successful in building a diverse and inclusive workforce? Additionally, please share your insights into the role of DEI initiatives in shaping future-ready workplaces.
One incredibly effective way to do this is mentorship and sponsorship programmes. These create platforms and opportunities for underrepresented employees, giving people space to grow and learn. In the long run, this also addresses the age-old corporate issue of underrepresented groups being confined to the lower rungs of the company hierarchy merely to meet mandated numbers.
Investment in leadership development also works towards this larger objective. DE&I needs to be woven into leaders’ KPIs to hold them accountable.
Additionally, a grassroots-level redesign of talent processes can help build an equitable culture. Provide more educational opportunities to people across levels, celebrate differences rather than ignoring them in the name of inclusion. People want avenues to bring their whole selves to work, and considering how much time a working professional spends in the workplace, whether virtual or real, it’s an important space to build spirited togetherness.
What steps must HR leaders take to cultivate a healthy work culture with 'no conflicts'? Can you share specific strategies that are effective towards fostering a harmonious and collaborative work environment?
Wherever there are diverse opinions and people have the space to be heard, there will be differing perspectives. And these should be welcomed. However, this becomes conflict when differing perspectives or approaches are seen from an individual lens rather than an outcome-centric and organisational lens. It’s important, thus, to facilitate strong interpersonal relationships at the workplace, and also to look at every action, decision and task as being interwoven with the collective purpose.
Effective conflict resolution strategies also play a role here. Top-down intervention isn’t always needed. People should be encouraged to solve problems independently and work together with accountability.
Additionally, it’s also important to focus on the fundamentals. Whether it’s policies, agreements or grievance redressal mechanisms, certain things should be a prerequisite to working with others. From something as basic as not interrupting a colleague in a meeting to something larger like withholding important information from a key project contributor – these often go unnoticed and must be addressed periodically.
Drawing from your HR leadership experience, could you highlight the common mistakes that HR professionals should avoid when fostering a thriving workplace? Additionally, please share practical strategies for building a positive and supportive workplace culture.
One thing to avoid is taking a myopic view of decisions. Considering that HR needs to be the balance and the bridge between individual employee interests and organisational interests, they must be able to see the big picture of every decision, big and small, as well as the potential repercussions. Another aspect to steer clear of is people pleasing, being excessively friendly and not being able to say ‘no’ when needed. Utmost professionalism is imperative. Additionally, continuous learning is critical to the role of HR. One must not shy away from understanding the evolving business context, the financial situations and decisions, or even the nitty-gritty of change management. Developing a holistic approach beyond day-to-day operations is crucial for HR professionals aiming to be strategic partners in business decisions.
If you are eager to understand her ideas on the 'art of the possible' in recruitment, hiring and talent acquisition or wish to meet Ruhie Pande in-person to discuss the design for unconventional times, join us on March 14 at People Matters TechHR Pulse Mumbai at Grand Hyatt, where we bring the pulse of Asia's largest HR and Work Tech Conference to the financial market.