Article: Talent is drawn to purpose-driven organisations, where they can add value to the community: PayU’s Priya Cherian

Talent Management

Talent is drawn to purpose-driven organisations, where they can add value to the community: PayU’s Priya Cherian

To develop a sense of what talent – existing and prospective – is looking for in an employer, you need to really listen to employees, create multiple channels of feedback, and keep your ear to the ground, says Priya Cherian, chief people officer at PayU.
Talent is drawn to purpose-driven organisations, where they can add value to the community: PayU’s Priya Cherian

Online payment solutions provider PayU recently announced the launch of its new employee value proposition (EVP) to deepen the brand’s connection with existing and potential employees and build a more rewarding future for them.

Priya Cherian, chief people officer at PayU says the company’s continued growth necessitated a formalised EVP. This, created to give employees a clearer picture of what the company prioritises and the initiatives it is undertaking to improve employee experience, is based on three pillars - entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation, she says.

“The essence of these pillars is reflected in PayU’s EVP statement: ‘We are entrepreneurs transforming financial services through cutting-edge technology’,” she adds.

In an interaction with People Matters, Cherian delves into why the company arrived at each of these pillars, the top factors that a company needs in its employer brand today, and how it can be leveraged for talent attraction and retention.

Here are some edited excerpts

What are the top-of-mind characteristics of your organisation’s EVP? How did these become central?

At the heart of our growth strategy lies collaboration. It takes multiple forms and end-to-end collaboration within each of our businesses - Wibmo, Credit, Payments, etc., and an overarching collaboration across the ecosystem.

We have over 3,000 PayUneers from 43 nationalities across 20 countries, spanning these business segments.Unless and until we are able to bring all these people, teams, and technology together, we will not be able to deliver what we are looking at.

PayU is a full stack financial services provider, and here employees get the chance to collaborate and solve complex problems across all facets of the fintech ecosystem and for all stakeholders i.e banks, consumers and merchants.

What this means is that they have the chance to create a positive impact on many stakeholders as well as the community, making their journey far more enriching and fulfilling. It's one of the biggest reasons we have grown manifolds in the past three years.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship are other two pillars of our EVP and are an integral part of PayU’s DNA.

PayU’s fast paced growth and ambitious vision make it a fertile ground for professionals with entrepreneurial qualities looking to challenge the status quo and do cutting-edge work that transforms the financial ecosystem.

PayU operates like multiple start-ups within an organisation. Entrepreneurship and innovation drive PayU employees to overcome challenges, explore new avenues to deliver impact and build large-scale solutions.

Moreover, we believe in employees having full conception-to-outcome ownership. A great manifestation of this is the fact that 30% of PayU’s revenues today come from diversification of PayU’s merchant portfolio, and new segments and products such as financial services, omni-channel, affordability, bill payments, data science etc.

These pillars are central because they are based on employees’ own beliefs. Over 1,000 employees were surveyed and multiple focus group discussions were held and based on all the feedback which we got from them, we got a good sense of our strengths and unique advantages as an organisation.

We arrived at four key differentiators: 1) A sense of ownership 2) A high growth environment 3) Massive resources 4) A sense of challenge in everything. The essence of these four factors went into building the three pillars of the EVP – Collaboration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.

What are the top factors that a company needs in its employer brand today?

In today's competitive market, several factors must be considered to establish a distinct and authentic employer brand.

People will be drawn to an organisation if they can relate to its values. We have an ambitious vision and we need mission-driven people to execute it. For the kind of talent we seek to attract, three things are important and our EVP articulates and touches on these three elements

Purpose: Talent is drawn to purpose-driven organisations, where they can add value to the community. As one of the key players in the fintech space, PayU’s ambition is to create a full-stack digital financial services platform to serve all financial needs of customers - merchants, banks and consumers- through technology. Our vision is to help in digitising the economy and make a positive impact on the community by solving financial problems through technology. For instance, we are working to develop a platform which serves as a one-stop solution for all financial needs of SMBs. During the pandemic, when contactless payments were necessary, we supported thousands of small merchants to go online quickly. Today we facilitate access to credit for SMBs, support them going online, developing websites and stores, and much more.

Problems: PayU is solving some of the most pressing problems of the community. We provide regulated innovation at speed, in accordance with market regulations. For example, last year PayU was one of the first companies to launch 'PayU Token Hub', a tokenisation solution, which enables businesses to comply with the RBI's guidelines on online card data storage whilst allowing issuing banks to also generate their own tokens.  

People: The kind of people you get to work with is an important attraction factor for talent. At PayU, employees are entrepreneurs. PayUneers get a chance to work with some of the brightest minds in technology, using world-class resources, and leading technologies to transform the fintech ecosystem. The company has an eclectic mix of people with deep financial, functional and tech expertise.

What strategy works to communicate your EVP to outside talent? Are different approaches needed for different demographics?

While our core EVP and its foundational pillars remain the same regardless of the audience demographic, certain elements would take centrestage, based on the specific talent pool we are targeting with our content.

PayU has a clear vision and ambition for the future; to drive it we need mission-driven, innovative people. The EVP spells out the opportunities and experiences which are attractive to target employees.

For instance, our culture of entrepreneurship and opportunity to create an impact at scale would be of interest to more senior candidates and leaders, while younger talent would be more interested in our e-learning partnerships and the opportunity to work with colleagues from countries around the world.  

Mid-career professionals would appreciate our flexible work environment, industry-leading benefits and new employee wellness initiatives even more as they plan their career progression in tandem with planning a new family, etc.

While communicating our EVP to each of these talent demographics, we are tailoring our messaging, text and visuals to each media channel and their respective content formats. This targeted approach spans all major channels including social media, email marketing and other outreach campaigns, and will help us reach the widest audience with the most relevant messaging.

Does EVP work better when leveraged as attraction factor, or more as retention factor?

A well-constructed EVP will have the strength to address the concerns of employees and build a team that can drive with purpose. While I can’t speak for others, we did not start our EVP to curb attrition.

We are growing as an organisation and therefore, we are mindfully working towards enhancing the proposition for our customers, market and stakeholders, including employees. A growing organisation needs to be intentional about its proposition to existing and potential employees.

Our EVP is a promise to existing and potential employees to build a more rewarding future for them by investing in their growth, learning, well-being, and overall development. This proposition needs to be brought to life and executed internally through multiple initiatives and mindfully crafted HR policies.

After articulating the proposition, we are intentionally working to build a workplace that all of us are contributing to. It helps us motivate existing talent and tell our story to the external world. Thus, it is both an attraction and retention factor. We put together a promise and explain it to potential talent. If we do this well, it will be an attraction factor for people to join us and also a retention factor.

There often seems to be a bit of a gap between what prospective hires are looking for and what the HR team is prioritising. What are your thoughts on this?

To develop a sense of what talent – existing and prospective – is looking for in an employer, you need to really listen to employees, create multiple channels of feedback, and keep your ear to the ground. When companies fail to do this, a gap may appear between the expectations of prospective hires & HR teams.

We have multiple channels of feedback such as annual company-wide surveys, we take feedback during company town halls, and even issue-specific discussions.

For example, now that hybrid work has restarted, we had an open house just to understand how we could make the process of returning to office smoother. If you are in sync with your existing employees, it gives you a good sense of what potential employees will want.

As mentioned earlier, we surveyed over 1000 employees and conducted multiple focus group discussions before we decided on relevant benefits which need to be a part of the EVP, such as mandatory 10-day time off, or providing more D&I policies for the LGBTQIA+ community, or ensuring work life balance.

We also spoke to prospective hires, so that the EVP would be a true reflection of the desires of both existing and potential employees.

We engaged with a leading market research firm to conduct an external market study and get an outside-in perspective of what potential talent wants. This helped us articulate a sharper EVP and minimise the gap between prospective employees and the HR team.

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Topics: Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, #RedrawingEVP

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