Talent wants the power to control their career growth: Vinay Kaushik, Amazon Pay
Fintech startups raised $32.4 billion globally in the first quarter of 2022.
As contactless transactions gain popularity, Amazon Pay is investing in building a diverse tech force and recruiting people with the required tech skillset and know-how to ensure the effective future growth of its business and industry.
In an interaction, Vinay Kaushik, HR Leader, Amazon Pay, shares the top talent priorities for the firm and talks about building a great employer brand for the new generation.
With uncertainty still abound, how do you think the present and future of work are shaping up in the fintech industry?
In the last couple of years, the fintech industry has seen unprecedented growth which has enabled users to transact from anywhere. We expect the future of the fintech industry to be primarily driven by Artificial Intelligence, big data, and blockchain technology and we are just getting started!
These technology adoptions will define how companies transfer, store, and protect digital currency. Specifically, AI can provide valuable insights on consumer behaviour and spending habits for businesses, allowing them to better understand their customers.
Big data analytics can help companies predict changes in the market and create new, data-driven business strategies. Blockchain, a newer technology within finance, allows decentralised transactions without inputs from a third party enabling blockchain participants to oversee potential changes or additions to encrypted data. From a digital payments perspective, India holds a strong opportunity with the share of digital payments increasing from 40% in 2021 to 65% in 2026 in the overall payments industry.
The growth of the fintech industry has not only seen interest amongst start-ups, it has also pivoted traditional financial organisations to focus on new age technology as they focus on serving customers. This has also led to heightened talent movement in the industry, which makes not just attraction of talent but retention of key talent an important aspect for companies to make a difference in this industry.
What are your key talent priorities?
As technology and business models rapidly transform, the types of skills organisations need are also evolving. What sets Amazon Pay apart is the ability to innovate at an unmatched scale and make digital payments trusted, convenient and rewarding for customers and merchants.
Our Dream Team is the most critical asset for us on this journey. It is a mix of the right talent across various functional areas like Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, and UI/UX design.
Such a diverse talent pool helps us bring different perspectives to work and successfully run our operations. To make Amazon Pay what it is today, we have always emphasized on onboarding people with good leadership skills, soft skills and most importantly, an entrepreneurial mindset. These professionals also help us customise, personalise, and safeguard the payment experience on the Amazon Pay app. In addition, we are incredibly passionate about solving not just internet-scale problems but population-scale problems by enhancing the Amazon Pay app's resiliency, availability, latency, and security.
We do not limit ourselves to attract and recruit the best tech talent from the industry and within the Amazon ecosystem. Instead, we passionately nurture a culture that empowers our Dream Team to test, fail, continuously create industry-first solutions and meaningful propositions and set new benchmarks. Together, we aim to power the future of digital payments and our people.
How should business and HR leaders revise their talent strategies amid a severe talent crunch in the tech space?
Millennials and Gen Z people increasingly seek purposeful engagement with their work. They are motivated to enhance their skills, experiment with what they learn, and want the power to control their career growth. Given this context, in the future, fintech organisations with a well-defined sense of purpose will be able to attract and retain the best talent.
At Amazon Pay, our focus has always been to build a team of builders who are passionately listening to customers and solving them to make paying for anything trusted, convenient and rewarding. This allows our tech talent to engage directly with the product, business, insights and marketing teams, which we believe drives a high sense of ownership. In the process, they develop a deeper understanding of product-service evolution and enhance the workflow. As our people closely collaborate, they come closer to our vision and have a chance to go above and beyond their job roles.
What are some of the critical HR milestones to become an employer of choice in the post-pandemic world of work?
In a highly competitive fintech landscape, organisations need to go beyond monetary benefits to instill in them the greater purpose of solving customer opportunities and grow professionally and personally. While employees stay focused on building customer backwards solutions, there is a need for the organisation to demonstrate through actions that help make everyday better for the employees. The conventional ways of working as we know may be drifting away to make way for a hybrid/remote way of working and companies that are agile in adopting new trends will make it a meaningful proposition for employees to consider.
At Amazon Pay, we are committed to providing growth opportunities for purposeful tech innovations to our people. Furthermore, every day, we try to enhance our proposition of being a 'great place to work' that gives our people a sense of belongingness and enriches their lives. Additionally, as we follow the hybrid work culture, we provide flexibility to work in a comfortable environment to ensure increased productivity, allowing our employees to maintain a work-life balance. At the same time, this was started to be mindful and cautious about COVID-19 but has proven an effective working model.
What next steps must organisations take to revamp how they compensate, recognise and reward their employees? What should be HR and talent leaders' immediate priorities?
In today's time, along with reasonable compensation, recognition and rewards, employees also want to be treated fairly, make a substantial contribution to the organisation through their work, and be valued and appreciated for their efforts. Therefore, an organisation must offer a healthy work environment, focus on employee wellness quotients, and open new avenues for employees to feel part of an inclusive culture.
Additionally, workplace wellness and health are essential to ensure a healthy working environment and employee happiness. If your employees are not feeling their 100%, neither will your workplace. A strong wellness program catering to the mental and physical wellbeing of the employees leads to increased productivity and sound output. For example, Amazon Pay celebrates every 4th Friday of the month as "Pay Rejuvenate Day", wherein employees are encouraged to do anything that refreshes them literally. This could be spending time on their favourite idea, learning a new skill, speaking to their mentors, or just taking time off.