Article: New age talent need challenging, disruptive work: Ajay Sreedhara, Cleartrip

A Brand Reachout InitiativeTalent Acquisition

New age talent need challenging, disruptive work: Ajay Sreedhara, Cleartrip

“Ensuring that we hit the right chord of our employees' sentiments, we become culture agents and champions,” said Ajay Sreedhara, CHRO, Cleartrip.
New age talent need challenging, disruptive work: Ajay Sreedhara, Cleartrip

Flexibility. Personalisation. Well-being. Employees today are prioritising these values above work. Given the shifting mindset of workers and the ongoing labour shortage in most sectors, MSMEs now have to bring their A-game, examine the way they approach talent decisions, and explore innovative ways to retain talent. 

As Ajay Sreedhara, CHRO of travel booking portal Cleartrip, shares: “Retention of key talent will continue to be the topmost priority for us.”

Cleartrip has announced that it has increased its workforce strength by 60% this quarter and that it plans to increase it by 40% next quarter. According to the company’s statement, the move will effectively take Cleartrip’s workforce to 700 employees by December 2022, nearly a three-fold increase from 240 employees in October 2021. 

Reinventing its talent management process and challenging its existing workplace practices are key levers for driving Cleartrip’s successful growth. 

In an interaction with People Matters, Ajay discusses how HR leaders in fast-growing organisations like Cleartrip fuel organisational change and propel businesses and workers towards new avenues of growth. 

What are your top talent priorities for 2022?

Talent management is multidimensional. Retention of key talent will continue to be the topmost priority for us. Another priority is to attract relevant talent and help scale teams. This is in line with our growth story as we continue to make Cleartrip the employer of choice.

Our focus will be on maximising the potential of our existing talent. Simply put, we will ensure that they bring the best to work every single day, challenged enough, engaged, and nurtured.

As businesses pivot to digital ways of working and doing business, how is the role of HR in SMEs and startups changing?

From being a traditional enabler or a support function, the role of HR has also evolved over time and exponentially over the last couple of years. We quickly had to change the ways of working and adopt remote and digital ways of working. 

HR has been at the core of all the organisational changes that we are consciously driving forward.

While being remote, ensuring that we hit the right chord of our employees' sentiments, ensuring the DNA of the organisation is kept intact, we become culture agents and champions. HR is playing a significant role. 

What skills and support do HR leaders need to fuel organisational change and propel businesses and the workforce towards new avenues of growth?

As we continue to evolve in the new working model, there is a lot of emphasis on soft skills. In organisations such as ours, the success of initiatives depends on the team’s ability to collaborate and think of 'win-win' strategies. 

Effective listening and teamwork are prized soft skills. Obviously, the talent is hired majorly on the basis of the hard/domain skills they possess. Technical ability plays a key role in deciding on the right talent and we have a very high bar for this. Product management, AI, Machine Learning, full-stack capabilities, and analytics are currently some critical hard skills. The ultimate goal is to ensure that our talent pool has the right balance of soft and hard skills that can help us meet our business objectives.

How can SMEs and startups build on their intuitive and compact business models to compete with large enterprises and win the war for talent?

New age talent needs are a lot more dynamic and diverse than what they used to be a few years ago. 

They need challenging and disruptive work, need a lot more flexibility and freedom to function, desire to have a high degree of ownership, and dare to experiment and take that risk.

As long as an organisation can cater to the evolving needs of employees, it can attract the best talent irrespective of the size of the organisation. 

Today, at Cleartrip, we are at a stage where we can provide this unique opportunity for talent to come join us and disrupt the travel landscape.

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, #SMEcorner

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