Rizwan Khan is the Vice President of Human Resources & Administration at Porter. He is a result-oriented Human Resources professional passionate about people and organisational transformation with a good blend of strategic and operational skills. Rizwan is responsible for driving talent management strategies for the company. In conversation with People Matters, he shares his take on the changing organisational work environment, strengthening culture-building, the four-day work week and more.
Here are some excerpts.
What are some of the emerging talent trends that will impact the way we work today? What has been the impact on your organisation’s work arrangements?
The post-COVID world has challenged a lot of our hypotheses about the way we work and what environments foster productivity and excellence. No one could have predicted that a remote-first or hybrid environment will become a more prominent style of working. Employees are focusing not just on the compensation but also stability and consistency and looking at how resilient the business is during these uncertain times. The sense of feeling valued and getting recognised for their contributions have become increasing trends amongst people.
We, at Porter, aim to adapt to the changing needs of employees and, hence, designing processes that create transparency using digitisation has been at the forefront of our plans. Given the distance created between employees by the remote/hybrid model at work, what is observed is that there is a lack of transfer of knowledge or collaboration beyond our immediate teams. This is where we create avenues within our organisation for inorganic cross-pollination of ideas. This does two things: it creates value for the ones who contribute and it creates a medium for the ones who learn from it. We have seen good success for such events internally.
With increasing flexible working arrangements on the scene, the question of culture continues to be critical. So how can businesses today build a strong, inclusive work culture for a diversified workforce?
It is important to identify what drives you as an organisation and thereby create processes that reflect those values so that your teams can view them clearly. Employees want to see how the values shine through your brand. Identifying your employee value proposition (EVP) and the relatable behaviours and its dissemination creates a sense of belonging. Execution of the EVP allows the employees to see bias towards action which is extremely crucial.
Creating avenues to listen to your teams through eNPS and collating action points and going back to them with the results of the same reinforces belief and faith that got them to you in the first place. Recognition and performance platforms allow everyone to keep a track of goals that the organisation has set for itself. This communication with transparency allows for a diverse set of people to see the social and business impact that they are having on the bigger picture without losing sight of their own development.
With the four-day work week being an important topic of conversation, what is your take on this? What do you feel are the pros and cons of a four-day work week?
This has become a hot topic recently after the Union government has decided to offer companies the flexibility to choose a four-day workweek, although with longer shifts. This initiative aims to raise workers’ productivity, improve work-life balance and happiness levels, and reduce unemployment.
While the initiative is aimed at restoring the work-life balance, there is a chance that longer shifts may actually cause exhaustion and stress to accomplish the same amount of work in a shorter week. Some of the cons of this working model would be as follows:
- Industries that apply a four-day workweek tend to make up the lost day by a cumulative number of hours an employee must work for a day. This can destructively influence the employees’ daily routines.
- Project deadlines might get affected due to the implementation of a shorter work week.
- The four-day work week could impact the gender ratio at enterprises, which according to statistics and research results, is an underlining factor in fostering economic growth.
- One of the major concerns is the digital fatigue that is generated due to virtual meetings. The four-day work week might just force people to cram in a lot of these on the available days thereby disrupting the work-life balance it aims to create.
As an organisation, we have not taken a favourable stance in this direction as we have quite a diverse workforce - from business to engineering teams - which all have different ways of working. It will not be very feasible to have it implemented across all teams. And having a different set of guidelines for different work groups never comes out well in the long run.
As leaders today experiment with different working styles and arrangements, what are some words of advice you would like to share with our community on designing flexible, agile talent management practices?
We need to identify the competencies required to be able to manage teams effectively. It needs to start with what we expect from our managers. Having strong business resilience with empathy, creating psychological safety for the team members and focusing on empowerment with development becomes crucial for overall success.
Digitisation also plays a key role in ensuring there are agile talent management practices. This leads to access to information and the leaders they interact with on a more real-time basis. Investing in the overall development and training of the team members is also important. This helps individuals become more aware of their own working styles and how it impacts the outcome of the business goals and the people they work with. This will really go a long way in setting and managing the right expectations.