As companies shift to hybrid, the next-gen technologies that helped facilitate ‘work’ in remote mode have gone from being something of an experiment to essential for survival. In a recent interview with Rajesh Rai, Vice President – People Team and Head of Human Resources, India, GlobalLogic, we discuss how organisations can build effective and sustainable hybrid work models and create a more engaged and connected workforce.
Rajesh is currently spearheading the company’s HR transformation, Learning & Development, Change Management, D&I and Sustainability initiatives for India. He plays an instrumental role in building new frontiers to bolster the company’s vision in establishing a ‘humans and people first’ culture, drive employee experience, nurture diversity and inclusion, and transform the employees’ and company’s growth journey.
He strongly believes, “Successful organisations are built on the platform of collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity, irrespective of the physical space of work.”
In the last 18 months how have you seen the technology industry transform? What are some of the key talent trends shaping the industry at present?
The world of work is at an interesting juncture right now. Talent means everything and skill is the new currency. I am leading HR for a company which is at the forefront of this new transition into a more people-driven and tech-enabled world of work. As a talent leader of a pioneer company, it is critical to acknowledge and address these shifting trends and take action towards the employees’ needs. The first focus is hence on keeping everyone more connected in the new digital workplace and tackle the challenge of isolation. Next is shaping the talent skills and investing in their growth and development. Next is keeping the workforce engaged and also ensuring their well-being.
Continuous investment in creating a connected, engaged, and happy workforce needs a strong stance from any organisation. It can’t be an event based activity or one time thing. For success in the long term, these new practices which emerged during the pandemic, need to be institutionalised.
Making it a part of the organisation’s cultural fabric is key.
How can organisations build effective and sustainable hybrid work models?
The answer lies in flexibility. At GlobalLogic a culture of flexibility has always been present. We never track time and remain flexible to the diverse needs of the employees and our talent decisions have been personalised. In the current scenario, for an organisation to thrive, flexibility needs to be coupled with a few other elements. For instance, the ability to innovate and agility. The culture of the organisation has to be such where everyone can unlock their potential, be able to voice their opinions and bring their most authentic selves to work. Talent leaders have to focus on building a shared space of work or more collaborative culture.
We introduced 30Hacks, an innovation platform for the design & engineering ecosystem to showcase their transformative ideas, unleash the power of their dreams and derive tangible results for the business. It’s an experiential non-stop coding contest- one of its kind in the industry, and we have conducted over 13 external as well as internal hackathons in the past 6 years. Connecting the larger tech community, the goal of this coding contest is to come up with multiple innovative solutions in the form of working prototypes and deployable solutions.
The 30-hour non-stop coding marathon has teams competing against each other to ideate, design and deliver next-generation POCs to turn them into reality.
The initiative enables people to come together and learn. It fostered collaboration, enhanced engagement, and enabled learning. As a business we got the opportunity to explore many innovative ideas.
Amid the continued uncertainty and ongoing need to create a more hybrid work, investment in HR tech tools has to be made not just to survive, rather thrive. How are you planning to use tech to thrive in the new world of work?
58% of our people are undergoing learning and upskilling programmes on a continuous basis. GLO is our inbuilt virtual universe to connect with each other in the virtual world - GlobalLogic Connects, Collaborates & Innovates through this platform thus optimizing communication, increasing employee engagement, promoting various organisational initiatives and fostering innovation.
Employees are virtually connected to mentors and experienced leaders who are coaching them in next gen digital skills. In the previous example, like I shared, we are also using tech-enabled platforms to drive collaboration. We have seven state of the art academies in the virtual workplace including freshers academy, data skills academy, DevOps/SRE academy, and program management academy.
In addition to all of this, we are using tech in the daily course of work also immensely. To have daily interactions and ensure business continuity. We are also using tech as an enabler for our HR teams and employees to improve their experience across the talent lifecycle.
The beautiful part of technology is that it's everywhere and it is enabling all of us not just stay connected in these times of crises but also stay healthy. It is enabling us to take breaks between both meetings, taking a pause and actually doing a five minute meditation, or a seven minute jog with music. Tech is enabling us to create not only a more engaged but also a healthier and happier workforce.
Employee wellness has become a top priority for HR. How is the concept of employee wellness changing and what role can tech play in helping HR leaders ensure employee well-being?
Well-being needs to be looked at more holistically. For example, we address things like social wellness, physical wellness, mental wellness and financial wellness. Addressing factors like purpose and meaning are also critical here. Hence, we have partnered with a few companies who provide these resources, where employees receive dedicated emotional support. There are also telephone consultation sessions, which are also available on a personalized basis on a chat on a video. There are online assessments also available for employees to check their health and build more awareness. On top of all of this, having consistent dialogue with people and addressing any challenges they are facing on a personal level is something we also look at. Being there for your people, listening to their needs, and giving them an open platform or a window to share their concerns whenever they wish to is important.
Technology has enabled us to create health touch points for our people and take care of them.
In context of the rapidly changing world of work, how can HR leaders help businesses navigate through ambiguity and lead the change?
I have a fundamental belief that it is skills that will take us forward, which will help us grow. Next, I believe, flexibility for our workforce going forward is going to be absolutely critical for success. Building and engaging virtual teams will also be key. Hence, as leaders, we have to train ourselves to be better at managing emotions, people, and relationships remotely/virtually. We have to hone our soft skills and become better at having conversations. We also have to learn to create an ecosystem where our employees feel empowered and have the ability to innovate and grow.
Successful organisations like GlobalLogic are built on the platform of collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity, irrespective of the physical space of work.