Article: Tech Talent Crunch in BFSI: Poonawalla Fincorp navigates remote work tug-of-war

Talent Acquisition

Tech Talent Crunch in BFSI: Poonawalla Fincorp navigates remote work tug-of-war

As companies return to offices, the BFSI sector grapples with attracting tech talent accustomed to remote work.
Tech Talent Crunch in BFSI: Poonawalla Fincorp navigates remote work tug-of-war

Poonawalla Fincorp, like many financial services companies, is grappling with a unique challenge: attracting and retaining tech talent as the industry shifts back to office work. This transition is especially tricky for IT professionals who've grown accustomed to the flexibility of remote work.

Smita Mitra, Head of HR at Poonawalla Fincorp, acknowledges the "distinctive hurdle" posed by the industry's need for in-person presence. However, Poonawalla Fincorp is not alone. The entire financial services sector is working on a unified approach to ease this transition, aiming to strike a balance between remote work culture and on-site requirements for a smooth return to the office. 

How is your company preparing for future work trends in finance, considering factors like remote work and industry changes? 

Our commitment to Employee Centricity goes beyond career growth and financial incentives. We value work-life balance, offering structured leave policies and flexible work arrangements. Our flexible work policy enables our employees to manage workload fluctuations, allowing them to fulfill personal commitments without sacrificing professional duties.

The pandemic has taught us valuable lessons, enabling the Financial Services Industry to operate remotely while creating a sustainable digital solution for our customers and employees.

In our pursuit of a diverse and inclusive workplace, we focus on gender sensitisation, nurturing women leaders, and running reverse workshops to engage our Gen Z workforce effectively. Leveraging AI and ML technology, we attract top industry talent and enhance employee engagement through our AI-enabled chatbot, Amber.

What innovative talent acquisition methods are you using to stay competitive in the financial sector amidst recent industry shifts?

Our acquisition strategy is aligned in a way to ensures we onboard talent with the right set of competence, values, and skills to deliver the organisational goal. We continue to invest in technology-led decision-making through AI and Generative AI mechanisms. Given the financial sector nuances, we must onboard talent who are not just competent but also high on integrity and our interventions ensure to keep a close check on the same

Our Total rewards program ensures we cover not just the commercial but also the well-being aspect of our employees and their families. With our reward policies around diversity, we continue to invest in young talent by enabling their personal and professional journey.

To meet the competitive and ever-changing dynamics of the financial sector, we leverage assessment evaluation and pre-joining connects through organisational updates and leadership meets.

What are the main challenges in attracting and retaining top talent in finance, and how do you address them?

The current workforce is increasingly seeking faster growth opportunities. At PFL, we provide meaningful roles, scope to innovate, and challenges that drive high engagement levels, resulting in elevated Mood Score & NPS.

Our key focus is to ensure we onboard competent talent who can adapt to our young and dynamic organisation. We continue to address this through behavioral and leadership connects with candidates thereby reducing the dropout ratio and early engagement levels.

Given our agile and high-performing organisational culture, we continue to reward talent through monetary and non-monetary initiatives including Employee Education programs, Leadership connect programs, Wellness programs for deserving talent irrespective of the tenure in the organisation. This has enabled us to grow by 52% YOY in AUM and highest ever net profit of 83% YOY.

How has the increase in remote work affected your hiring and onboarding processes in finance? 

While many in the Financial Services industry are returning to the office, including us at Poonawalla Fincorp, attracting Technology talent remains a challenge, particularly those working in the IT sector. The shift back to the office presents a hurdle for IT professionals accustomed to remote work, as the need for in-person presence in financial services is paramount. Thankfully, the industry's unified approach minimises the impact of remote work culture, aligning with the necessity for on-site work.

How do you see the role of the CHRO evolving in financial corporations over the next decade, given changing industry landscapes and workforce expectations? 

Today the role of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) in BFSI space is undergoing significant evolution due to changing industry landscapes and workforce expectations. Some of the primary trends and shifts:

Strategic Enabler: From the traditional standpoint of HR being seen as a “cost center” with administrative responsibilities, the CHRO’s role has transformed into that of a strategic enabler. Today the CHROs collaborate with the leadership and business functions to optimise the workforce for financial success. They assess employee performance, skill gaps, and other factors to anticipate future results and enhance workforce productivity.

Alignment with Business: CHROs have become a core member of the organisation’s overall strategy formation, setting financial goals, and & bringing in their people expertise from the market dynamics perspective. This expertise will enable them to align HR practices better with business objectives and drive sustainable growth.

Talent Development and Retention: As the war for talent intensifies, CHROs continue to play a critical role in attracting, developing, and retaining top talent. They focus on creating a positive employee experience, fostering a culture of learning, and providing growth opportunities. This includes high potential talent identification, talent development programs, succession planning, and leadership pipelines.

Diversity and Inclusion: CHROs are championing diversity and inclusion initiatives. They recognise that diverse teams drive innovation and better decision-making. By fostering an inclusive workplace, CHROs contribute to long-term organizational success.

Agility and Adaptability: The financial industry is rapidly evolving, driven by technological advancements, regulatory changes, and market disruptions. CHROs need to lead agile HR practices that can adapt to these shifts. This includes reskilling employees, promoting innovation, and embracing digital transformation.

Employee Well-Being: The pandemic highlighted the importance of employee well-being. CHROs are now prioritizing mental health, work-life balance, and flexible work arrangements. A healthy workforce is essential for sustained performance.

Data-Driven Decision-Making: CHROs leverage data analytics to make informed decisions. They analyze workforce metrics, engagement surveys, and performance data to drive HR strategies. This data-driven approach enhances efficiency and effectiveness.

In summary, the CHRO’s role in financial corporations in India will continue to evolve as they navigate these dynamic changes. They will be instrumental in shaping organisational culture, talent management, and overall business success.

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Business, #HRCommunity

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