Hybrid work model is the need of the hour, work from the office is more productive: Jyoti Bowen Nath
Digital acceleration has enabled organisations to develop increasingly sophisticated strategies with which to survive in the new world of work. In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Jyoti Bowen Nath, Managing Partner, Claricent, shares her insights on new workplace norms, hyper-personalisation, development, and tackling talent dearth in the new age of business.
Jyoti is the Founding Partner of Claricent Partners LLP, a niche Leadership Search and Advisory firm that caters to organisations in India and abroad, since 2016.
She has spearheaded executive search assignments at the C suite level and helped clients hire CEOs, CFOs, and independent directors over the years. She has worked closely with Indian business houses and multinationals across sectors.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
There is much conversation around the idea of a four-day work-week. How good is the concept?
The four-day work week despite being a good concept in terms of work-life balance isn’t fully fruitful. If there is an expectation that people would work 10 hours a day, and complete 40 hours in a week, then it will have few takers considering they still complete that many hours in a five-day or six-day work week. This will be difficult in a country like India where expectations are 48 hours of work a week.
About 50% of our (Claricent Partners) Tech clients, more so the ones with global offices, feel that a four-day week is workable, but for the clients in the industrial segment, not even 5% are comfortable with a four-day working week.
What talent strategies will help organisations stay ahead of the disruptive developments emerging in the modern workplace?
It’s an era of hyper-personalisation. While the overall policies and guidelines in terms of organisational functioning have to be standard, the focus has to be on understanding the personal career motivations of each current and new employee. It will help in tailoring a suitable career graph in terms of growth, progress, and development which will help in increasing productivity and ensure better retention in times of disruptive developments.
It is important to offer flexibility and a better work-life balance to the team members. It’s also important to showcase a well-defined career plan with specific milestones – all these coupled with monetary growth as well. It also helps to offer a diversity of experiences and new learnings.
How prepared are clients and partners to embrace hybrid work culture in changing business environment?
There are always going to be challenges in any work style. Even when employees worked from the office full-time, there used to be situations when they were “physically present, but mentally absent”. It led to a lack of productivity, which also created trust-deficit issues.
The question that a leader should ask is whether “I want people to switch on the lights for me or whether I want people to shine with me in the organisation?”
The first step towards addressing engagement and trust issues is where the leader asks pointed questions about how he/she will be engaged and trusted better. Only then they can engage the team in a better way. Again, this is subjective. Let’s not forget that we are dealing with human beings. Today, companies, especially in the technology and the start-up space, are dealing with the issues created by ‘moonlighting’ and again the views on this are extremely divergent.
Almost 70% of our client partners are not aligned with these new-age ways of working and are comfortable with traditional employment models. One of our partners, which is a large conglomerate, is starting a new business that is different from their old economy businesses.
To attract talent for this new age business, they need to redefine their hiring policies – this becomes imperative more so when we are dealing with slightly non-conventional roles and some very creative people. It’s all about flexibility.
What is the top technology trend to keep in mind for organisations?
A hybrid model mandates that data should be stored accurately and made accessible to everyone without any losses in transmission. Hence, cloud technology will grow, and along with that, the usage of video meetings will also continue to grow.
What are your words of advice to the community on developing new work arrangement strategies?
Metaverse is the new buzzword, and there is a talent war over a minimal talent pool. Here are some pointers.
- Focus on what each individual wants to achieve when laying the rules for what the team should achieve.
- Help employees state clearly whether they want to leave or work from home when unwell.
- While the hybrid model of working is good and perhaps here to stay for some time, try and motivate employees to work from the office on most days as it helps in collaboration, and bonding, especially since the markets have opened up. Client demands have increased significantly, and working together next to each other helps a lot.