As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, attracting and retaining top talent has become a major challenge for organisations in the sector. In 2023, the demand for skilled healthcare professionals is higher than ever before, making it imperative for organisations to develop successful strategies to attract and retain top talent.
To shed light on this topic, People Matters recently interviewed Milind Thatte, Managing Director at P&G Health India.
In the interaction, Thatte, who has over 28 years of experience in the healthcare industry, and is a well-respected business leader as well as a key opinion leader, shared some valuable insights and recommendations that can help healthcare organisations build a strong workforce for the future. Having a strong belief in the value of human capital, he emphasises that a company's success is built by its people.
What are some of the biggest HR challenges that the healthcare industry currently faces in terms of talent attraction and retention? How is your company addressing these challenges?
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about many changes in workplace dynamics. Organisations have had to rework their hiring processes to accommodate the demands and needs of talented employees.
As an ongoing endeavour, Procter & Gamble Health Limited has been continuously working to make employees and new hires feel valued. Some challenges we aim to address and will continue to manage in the future are to encourage gender diversity and provide work-life balance. Our company is working to strengthen gender diversity, ensure a planned training calendar on topics that are fundamental to our business, and establish new policies for employee welfare.
We believe these efforts are pivotal to creating a productive and happy work environment that is the core of a fulfilling employee experience - one that allows them to bring their best selves to work, every day.
Some initiatives by P&G Health for Talent Acquisition that we implemented in 2022 are a face-to-face internship programme for all our campus interns, and a comprehensive three-day corporate onboarding programme called ‘GetIN’ for all our new hires, coupled with functional onboarding programmes. These measures ensure that our employees feel valued from Day 1.
What are key qualities that you look for in candidates when hiring for healthcare roles, and how do you assess them during the interview process?
During our hiring process, we look for a range of skill sets that are specific to the role. Relevant industry experience is key.
We also encourage our candidates to have specific subject matter expertise and domain knowledge as it shows the individual has command over their work. As part of our exhaustive evaluation process, we conduct online assessments of the candidate’s skillset and background experience to gauge their qualities better during the interview process. There are multiple structured interviews with relevant stakeholders to evaluate the candidate’s potential, making the entire process as holistic as possible.
Effective communication skills and aspiration for growth are fundamental requisites across different levels of hiring, as the two are directly linked to an organisation’s overall growth and productivity. We look for our candidates to be constructive and respectful communicators as it helps in bridging workplace silos, engaging in effective cross-functional collaboration, and making meaningful contributions.
How do you support employee growth and development, particularly in roles that require specialised healthcare knowledge and training?
Employee growth and productivity are key focus areas for us, and we are constantly working towards launching policies that aid the employee’s learning journey. Our priority is to empower our employees through training, mentoring, and upskilling to help them develop and realise their maximum potential, as well as make our workplace a safe and comfortable space for all.
P&G Health conducts several training programmes periodically for employees for various compliance-related topics, such as pharma compliance guidelines, global anti-corruption standards, prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace, whistleblower mechanisms, conflict of interest, data privacy, data integrity, etc.
We believe in cultivating an ecosystem of growth for the holistic development of our employees and have instated several inclusive leadership mindset training programmes for individuals/managers to understand bias, privilege, and microaggression along with regularly engaging in "Breaking the Barriers" conversations with our front-line managers to help them adapt to cultural shifts.
P&G Health also has mentorship programmes for women through i-RISE, and actively works to identify women who have the potential to become strong and good leaders, and then train them to take up leadership positions. Our virtual learning sessions as part of the P&G Learning Academy offerings help our employees to constantly upskill themselves.
How do you ensure that the company’s hiring process is inclusive and diverse, and attracts diverse candidates?
We push to attract, hire, and retain diverse resources as we know how important it is to have an equal and diverse workplace, one that effectively reflects the world that we live in.
The Equality and Inclusion principles are outlined as part of our internal roadmap that guides our entire hiring process. This roadmap sets the expectation for us towards encouraging Equality and Inclusion across leadership roles and capability building, thereby building an Empowered and Entrepreneurial Organisation.
In a bid to increase representation with respect to gender ratios, P&G Health launched the ‘Wish 100 (Women in Sales Hierarchy) & beyond’ initiative in 2021 with the target of employing 100 women in its sales force in that year. After achieving this, our company has now set a ‘Wish 200’ goal for women's representation in our sales team. Additionally, P&G Health has an action plan called ‘i-RISE’ which focuses on the recruitment of women in partnership with colleges. This programme aims to create more women leaders of tomorrow, by providing them with the necessary mentorship, training, and support.
We are also committed to fostering workplace equality for our employees who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community through our GABLE initiative. It started more than 25 years ago as part of P&G group’s global network, with chapters in 40 countries, including India. Through GABLE, P&G Health aims at busting myths and prejudices around the LGBTQ+ community, initiating a series of conversations internally and externally, and taking meaningful steps towards creating a truly inclusive workplace culture.
How does the company promote work-life balance and mental health among employees in a high-stress industry like healthcare?
Our employees are our biggest asset, and their health, safety, and happiness are our topmost priorities. Under our employee assistance programme, we provide mental well-being support to employees and their families through a 24x7 helpdesk with professional counselling support.
P&G Health has also invested in proactive mental and physical healthcare with health check-ups, increased access to the best mental health experts, and we have tie-ups with the best hospitals across the country to take care of any health issues.
We aim to make workplace conditions equitable for new parents through our ‘Share the Care’ policy. As part of this, we have paid leave policies including 26 weeks of paid maternity leave for all women employees, 26 weeks of paid parental leave for primary caregivers in case of adoption, 8 weeks of paid parental leave for all male colleagues, and 6 weeks of paid leave in case of miscarriage.
Additionally, our ‘Day Care Support’ is a policy aimed at employees with young children, where they are eligible to claim daycare benefits for daycare of their choice for their children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years. Our ‘Employee Assistance Programme’ is an effort to provide mental well-being support to employees and their families through a 24*7 helpdesk with professional counselling support.
How does the company foster a culture of teamwork and collaboration among employees, particularly in a fast-paced and demanding industry like healthcare?
At P&G Health, we believe that to facilitate individual flexibility as well as to foster teamwork, the 3Cs – a culture of Collaboration, Coaching, and Celebration – are paramount. Partnerships with different affinity groups have been created on a global level to connect employees who have similar interests or share similar diversity aspects.
We also plan regular connects and initiatives like Family Day, activities to encourage team bonding and engagement sessions, programmes for capability building, creating cross-functional project teams, towards our constant efforts to foster a diverse, yet inclusive environment.