Puneet Gupta, CEO & Founder, Clensta International shares in an interview with People Matters, “Investing in employees growth and development, knowing what are their career aspirations, and enabling them to fulfil their potential, is what helps engage, as well as, retain the best talent.” This has always been true and in the last one year, given the changes the entire work ecosystem has gone through, the need to invest in talent has become all the more critical.
Employees have made it clear they want to work for companies who offer flexibility and are ready to invest in skill development. To understand what this changing employee value proposition means for startups, we interacted with Puneet who has been leading the mission to provide hygienically induced environment friendly and cost effective products to everyone and anywhere around the globe.
How critical has the talent strategy and HR function been for you as you have taken the journey from idea to startup to scale up?
In any organization, talent management strategy starts by understanding personal aspirations of its talent, rather than adjusting to templates that are not current, and aligning these to the overall business strategy.
For us what has worked is employing innovative recruiting strategies to get job openings seen interestingly by potential candidates who are looking for a new role. Innovative recruitment strategies also make it faster to hire great candidates, more consistently, and with significantly less effort. Building and employing talent refers to addressing the specific needs and aspirations of talent and balancing them with the short-term and long-term goals of the organization.
As a talent management strategy, deploying talent is getting the talent placed in the right roles at the right time to fill critical competency gaps and support the individual career growth of each employee.
Commitment from the top executive team plays a vital role and is central to building and maintaining this business-first mind-set. As a Founder I build a team with game-changing leaders that not only excel at articulating the vital importance of talent management but also are heavily engaged in their companies’ actual practices. They demand that their line leaders be accountable for spotting, developing, and retaining the next generation of leaders.
How did your talent priorities change in the last one year?
One can definitely acknowledge the threat of continuous disruptions caused by pandemics, lockdowns, and the likes of them is far from over. The most remarkable outcome from these times would be to build on its learnings. One of the focus areas where we can implement these learnings is how we plan for the organizations of the future. As an organization we had to scale ourselves to include the virtual recruitment strategies in its arsenal to be better prepared for the future and a post-COVID world.
We put our trust into technology for remote recruiting.
To enable our HR teams we have leveraged software like an applicant tracking system (ATS), and other screening and on-boarding tech solutions as soon as possible. Also, using tech to access the skill gaps and talent shortages. The talent pool waiting for a new hire is one we need to choose from the lot. So, taking time to study and refresh our EVP for current and future workforce to hire only the best talents.
From a startup perspective, how has retaining talent and ensuring their well-being presented different challenges? How did you tackle them?
We realise that to retain most valued employees, managers first had to understand why some employees leave and others stay. We implemented an ongoing procedure to determine which aspects of their jobs made them stay and which caused them to consider leaving. It is noted that supervisor availability, job training, and job requirement communications were the most important, yet most dissatisfying, aspects of working at Clensta.
Retention starts right from the beginning, from the application process to screening applicants to choosing who to interview. It starts with identifying what aspects of culture and strategy you want to emphasize, and then seeking those out in your candidates.
Sometimes, implementing small changes can ensure employees remain in place rather than seek more-competitive compensation packages, less work dissatisfaction or greater opportunities for recognition and self-development. As a founder and the executive member, I try to implement some vital factors like; Compensation Packages, Hygiene Factors, Revirginization to one’s work and Self-Development.
Do you have a distributed workforce? If yes, how are you making sure the organizational culture is adaptable and how are you solidifying shared beliefs with distributed workforce?
At times, HR practitioners need to determine more specific drivers of turnover in their organization. Specifically, every business will see having a distributed workforce as a recovery strategy. By allowing for continued remote or partially remote work, organizations can remain competitive in what could be a difficult economic environment for some time to come. Further, these businesses set themselves up to be competitive in an upcoming business landscape that will likely be less dominated by office space and increasingly populated by remote yet connected workers.
To structure such patterns, we follow these simple ways like:
- Accelerate digital-first strategies that refresh how we engage customers and enhance company culture
- Optimize your distributed workforce strategy to balance employee safety and experience with business performance, security and growth
- Reimagine and adapt workplace operations for greater inclusion
Unlike with an on-site strategy, a distributed workforce won’t always work within the perimeters of a corporate network, and they might also use personal devices to accomplish their work. Deploying security tools can help our company implement a successful distributed workforce recovery strategy. Yet since hybrid remote workers might still come into the office at times, employers also have to think about how they can protect employees’ health in these environments.
In this new normal, temperature and other health checks will likely become more prevalent, and employers will need to keep track of this data for situations such as contact tracing and local compliance. To help maintain the safety of employees and the biosecurity of your business, we’ve built a lightweight health check app that can be used to easily record health data within compliance regulations.
How are you building a culture of engagement, ownership, and accountability among the workforce?
The prime reason for the flow in strategic alliance has been under the recognition of the fact that no corporation has enough capital to acquire all of the companies and assets needed to compete everywhere in the world. While with alliances, companies can access global markets and contribute to economic development without steep exposure to the market. Strategic alliance is the ability of influencing others to voluntarily make decisions that enhance prospects for the organization’s long-term success while maintaining short-term financial stability. It includes determining the firm’s strategic direction, aligning the firm’s strategy with its culture, modeling and communicating high ethical standards, and initiating changes in the firm’s strategy, when necessary.
As a leader, finding the strength of each team member and giving each member an opportunity to do the best is one of the traits. The goal is to make my team feel the growth they have made from the time they joined the team to present.
Taken together, turnover analysis, benchmarking, and needs assessment enable you to determine the extent to which turnover is problematic in your organization. These data will help you develop appropriate responses and set your retention goals.
If you’ve decided that turnover is not a problem, you may want to simply maintain the status quo while still monitoring turnover in your organization. If you’ve determined that turnover does present a problem, you might want to consider broad-based or targeted retention strategies (or a combination of both), depending on your company’s unique situation. Broad-based strategies are based on general principles of retention management and are intended to help reduce turnover rates across the board.
How are you using technology to create more productive workplaces, aligned teams, deeper connections, and drive better business outcomes?
Digital applications are fast becoming a crucial part of today’s workplace and can be seen everywhere in 2021 from HR applications to messaging apps, email to enterprise social media tools, internal communications apps, and even the employee intranet to name a few. These tools build the infrastructure upon which the digital workplace lives. Employee engagement software gives you an outlet to recognize employees that go above and beyond. But it’s not just limited to recognition from management.
Coworkers can also use the software to thank their colleagues for helping them out with a project or facilitating their own jobs. This promotes a stronger culture of teamwork and motivates employees to give their best. Luckily, the market offers many advanced technological solutions for businesses of all sizes: team messengers, video conferencing apps, and everything in between that can dramatically boost internal communication and as a result team productivity. Integrating fun into the workplace increases productivity and reduces stress.
Moreover, companies with ‘fun policies’ indicate greater job satisfaction and increased employee loyalty. So don’t be afraid to inject some fun into your team workflow. That will only ramp up the overall productivity, not kill it.
Long range planning is a useful strategy in an environment where the future is predictable.
In my opinion, to survive in a constantly shifting world advantage goes to those who are light on their feet and can change directions easily.
The Lean Start-up approach is to recognize that your assumptions may be wrong and use more of an incremental and iterative product development approach with lots of customer review and feedback as you go along to verify that you’re on the right track before committing to a long and expensive full-scale development effort.