What lies at the focal point of developing the right business strategy? Given that no business can survive bleeding operations, most business leaders share the key objectives of having profitable outcomes and happy stakeholders. Indeed, it would be best if you had the same goals on your radar. This triggers the need to retrospect, reflect and reset the milestones, targets, and processes. With a little effort, you will discover that 'People' lies at the epicenter of a holistic business strategy. Shiv Nath Ghosh, Country Director & Senior VP, Artech India, said, "focus on people at the epicenter of the entire business strategy will continue to remain in the times to come." Let us explore what other views India Inc leaders shared during the 'SAP HR Connect' conference about marrying people, processes, and technology for meaningful outcomes.
Technology And Personalization
"Technology for the sake of technology and digitization for the sake of digitization has only incremental value unless it adds value to the user experience," said Vinayak Pai, the CEO & MD of TATA Projects. Pai's quote evokes the need to reflect if technology alone is sufficient. If not, then what principle or value rotates the wheel of finer human experience?
There's no denying that automation platforms powered by AI are great in many ways. At the same time, arguments about technology and automation being meaningless without human empathy and personalization are fertile. Shweta Mohanty Roy, VP-HR of SAP India, said, "Empathy must be the core of our processes and practices in organizations." "I also believe empathy is not the only differentiating factor." "We need to keep empathy at the heart and personalization at the core because our people want us to view each of them as unique individuals." Dr. Raju Mistry, President and Global Chief People Officer of Cipla, shared the view and added, "we can continue to leverage technology." "However, the personal touch and rapport can never be substituted by technology."
A good experience is not enough. Hyper-personalized employee experience powered by technology is going to be the new mantra for building an ecosystem of trust and ownership. HR professionals have a crucial responsibility to forge relationships with their staff based on trust and transparency and respect their unique perspectives. "Employees should be at the center of every decision. A happy employee will make a happy customer, and a happy customer will create shareholder value," said Mussarat Hussain, Senior Advisor-Leadership & Functional School, Maruti Suzuki India Limited. Efforts to empower and recognize must start with people within (employees), which naturally translates to people outside (customers). A happy workforce is responsible for an optimistic culture, resulting in a satisfying customer experience.
Best Practices For Excellent Employee Experience
Offer a career, not just a job – Organizations taking ownership of their employees' career growth will eventually have employees taking ownership of their roles to help realize business objectives. "We at Quess don't just provide our employees with jobs but a career by looking after their learning, skilling, and well-being," shared Nitin Dave, CEO of Quess Staffing Solutions.
Employees in the post-pandemic era are in a demanding position and no longer want to view their workplaces as merely "places to work" but as socially active settings where business operations influence and are shaped by social processes.
Integrate rewards with business strategy – Rewards are the weaving on the tapestry of business strategy. Without real-time and just rewards, it won't be easy to drive people to achieve business objectives. Therefore, the rewards strategy must be seen in tandem with the business strategy. "Constantly measure the success of key matrices of your reward strategy and conduct dipstick check with your employees to check whether the reward strategy is working," said Manas Martha, Sr. VP & Head HR, TTK Prestige Ltd.
Compared to monetary rewards, the total rewards bouquet has an empowering and sustained impact on the employees' sense of relatedness to the organization. Rajeev Juneja, Vice Chairman & Managing Director of Mankind Pharma, said, "HR must ensure that people in the organizations get the right balance of everything - paycheck, recognition, respect, and a sense of belongingness."
Provide psychological security – No reward can substitute the sense of security that employees desire to sense in an environment. They have an innate need to feel physiologically secure about their jobs, career, compensation, and the social circle they co-exist in. Yashwant Mahadik, President of Global HR & Co-Lead Business Transformation Office, Lupin, supported the role of leadership in creating a secure ecosystem and emphasized, "servant leadership is the best form of leadership." "Cultures have thrived, where leaders have inspired and connected with people and where leaders have created psychological safety for people and led from the front."
What value of a leader is most enticing for his people? Rajiv Sibal, President of India Business, Lupin, shared his idea of an ideal leader, saying, "the litmus test of leaders starts when the chips are down, this is when you will know who the true leaders are. As a leader, you should be able to roll up your sleeves, sit down with your people, identify the gaps, and bring people back on the performance track." Ideal leaders are learning-agile and flex their influence while communicating and delegating effectively. They support their people during the most challenging times without buck passing.
Build employee connectedness – Industry leaders have varied ideas about how to have an empowered and well-connected workforce. Dr. Mistry opined, "the idea of having an empowered workforce starts with allowing them to have access to information." Supporting the idea that emotionally connected employees feel empowered, James Thomas, Vice President of SAP SuccessFactors India, said, "many believe the myth that an emotionally connected customer is good for business, but an emotionally connected employee is not." When it comes to our employees, we want them to be more rational than emotional." The truth is that an emotionally engaged employee will contribute just as much ownership and value to a system as an emotionally engaged customer will.
Considering that employee needs are dynamic, HR must evolve with the changing times and technology. Technology makes it simple, if not easy, for human resources to incite excitement at work. Tech and digital media allow easy access to the distributed workforce, collaborate with them, and listen to their unique voices.
Organizations delivering business outcomes have Human Sigma at the center of their business strategy. HR practices cannot be non-aligned with the core of the business objectives. Therefore, HR must have employees at the heart of their practices and employee experience as the North Star.