Compared to 2021, the previous year (2022) may not have been good for the startup world. The number of new unicorns lowered and funding slowed in 2022. However, the good news is that 80 percent of India’s existing unicorns and soonicorns are on the path to profitability, according to Redseer’s report.
In a recent interview, we spoke to Sheetal Bhanot Shetty, CHRO, Infra.Market, one of the fastest growing Unicorn in the construction solutions space. Currently valued at $2.5 billion, it offers a technologically superior procurement to execution-experience in the construction ecosystem.
With a vision of transforming the entire construction ecosystem and its supply chain in India and abroad, the company is rebuilding the future of construction through technology and innovation. To achieve the company's vision it is critical to invest in talent and technology that enables the team to work at their best.
Sheetal highlights the key investments Infra.Market will make in talent and technology transformation in 2023.
What are your top predictions for the talent market in 2023?
The talent market is seeing a revival, especially in this new era of working. Employees now seek aspirational work lifestyles, not merely jobs. To keep up with the evolving dynamics, employers are also changing things to provide a holistic employee experience.
As we head into 2023, organisations must be at the top of their game to deploy working models that offer great flexibility, thereby maximising employees’ productivity and efficiency.
Hence, it has become necessary for businesses to transform through technology and set new benchmarks in performance. Technology will play a more prominent role in the future in improving processes, automating redundant functions, or building an intelligence-based sourcing capability.
Leadership will be the next area of focus for emerging companies and other businesses. As they say, people leave managers and not companies. Thus, it is imperative to ensure strong leadership that can motivate, inspire, and guide employees. Organisations must identify and cultivate talent to take on the leadership reins and move the wheel in the right direction.
Empathy and compassion in talent recruitment and retention have emerged as the most crucial criterion. It is a hallmark of a successful management style that creates a more positive and fulfilling work environment. A skill to empower, support and comprehend human behaviour has become essential for a thriving workplace that is most strongly and consistently linked to performance.
Another area of focus will be health and wellness. While it has been a topic of discussion for a long time, even mental wellness and physical health should be included. Health benefits catering to employees and their families will attract and retain promising talent. It is an excellent opportunity for organisations to provide more unique offerings and meet ever-evolving employee requirements.
Another aspect that has gone through change and will still change in the future is the narrative around work-life balance. While pandemic-induced working from home has been beneficial in several ways, it has blurred the lines between work and personal life.
With the unprecedented times still lingering, employees are looking for flexible work options to maintain a healthy life-work balance. On the other hand, many employees yearn for increased collaboration and team engagement after years of working like lone wolves. Over the next few years, this will be a parameter based on which employers choose employees and vice versa.
As an HR leader, what will be your top talent priorities for the upcoming year?
We want to build a workforce that brings their best and works with a cohesive vision.
However, it is a two-way street; for employees to give their best, organisations must provide them with the right tools and room to flourish. Keeping in line with the trends we foresee, we look forward to using their potential and infusing them into our organisational processes.
Our top talent priorities will be incorporating more technology and building a solid leadership team that can engage and inspire.
The investment in technology and leadership building should ultimately lead to more transparency across all forms of communication, increased collaboration, and improved overall employee experience.
Additionally, demand for new capabilities, skilling, upskilling and multiskilling will take centre stage to remain competitive.
Emerging technologies have not only streamlined processes and improved workplace efficiencies, but they have also elevated the skills required to succeed on the job.
With hiring a top priority for your business, how are you preparing for multiple potential scenarios in this shifting business landscape?
The last few years have compelled organisations to push their boundaries and adapt to new working methods. As business landscapes change, we aim to focus on some critical areas regarding our hiring strategy.
We want to maintain a diverse pool of employees with different skill sets to achieve our organisational goals. Developing soft skills will also be a key priority, with teamwork, the art of communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, adaptability, and interpersonal skills critical for team and business success.
One must, of course, focus on technology and the role it can play in enhancing operations.
Through digitisation, we aim to make working a smooth experience for our employees where they can contribute to their maximum potential. We are integrating our HR processes with advanced technology and improving the overall modus operandi of the organisation.
Most importantly, an organisation’s strength is its employees. We want to invest in providing career paths to employees so that they can build a relationship of trust and work accordingly to set themselves up for success.
How are you managing the multigenerational workforce? What are some key initiatives that have worked well for you?
An office with a workforce spanning generations is a common sight now, especially with organisations emphasising diversity and inclusion.
We endeavour to promote and encourage sharing best practices and perspectives to create an atmosphere of trust and support. While our overall policies remain standard, we try to gauge the specific needs of different work groups and offer flexible solutions. Another critical factor is understanding how connected employees feel with the business, the organisation, and their ease of integrating with other generations. While focusing on all of this, the organisation will continue to focus on performance-oriented culture.
Charting career paths for younger employees are also critical. We must provide them with growth opportunities and ensure that the seasoned workforce remains included, as they bring a wealth of unmatched experience. This allows for building a robust talent pipeline, boosting innovation and productivity at the workplace.
A critical piece of retaining talent for the long haul is onboarding experience. How do you plan to create a more engaging and meaningful experience for the new joiners?
Employees are looking for a work lifestyle, not just a job; thus, when you are inducting a new employee, it is essential to go beyond the usual. Instead of treating the induction as just an introduction, providing them with a full flavour of the organisation can strike a chord.
Showing employees the culture for what it is and how they can contribute to it, making the experience more engaging, and, most importantly, being transparent can enhance the overall experience.
It is also important to remember that work-life balance is a deal breaker for many employees, and organisations must look for ways to ensure employees can have a personal life and not face burnout. Additionally, employers should provide feedback on performance to discuss improvement areas and mutually recognise and reward good work. These factors will surely give employees a sense of belonging and result in long-term associations.
How do you plan to improve and transform HR systems, processes, and teams in the next year?
Any business unit always has scope for improvement and evolution.
We intend to create meaningful experiences digitally and through personal connections.
In association with subject matter experts, we continue to focus on building a culture of growth and learning through personalised development plans based on employee interests and feedback. We continuously strive to prioritise our employee's well-being and growth at our organisation. We plan to focus on employee journeys and encourage regular engagement with them to foster a culture of connectedness.
We also aim to enhance the value proposition through HR technology, promote ease of governance, and help fuel success. And we thoroughly believe ownership combined with entrepreneurial skills can be a start of a healthy work culture that enhances an employee's career map.