The role of HR leaders have evolved significantly in the past few years. From being a support to the business to being a strategic partner, people managers are gaining ground in the boardroom. HR function today employs technologies across areas from background checks to well-being -- to build strategies from the ground up to maintain and retain a diverse talent pool, manage organisation culture and build a winning workplace.
To find out more about the post-pandemic technology landscape and how HR leaders are exploiting tech innovations, we caught up with Tanmaya Jain, CEO and Founder of an AI startup, inFeedo. Tanmaya is helping HR leaders of 175+ brands like Tata, Samsung, Airtel, Lenovo, and Xiaomi engage remote employees and find hidden gaps in their culture. Starting at age 18, today Tanmaya has grown inFeedo to $5mn - $10mn in ARR, raised $16m from Jungle Ventures & Tiger Global, and made an impact in the lives of 500k employees in 50+ countries.
Here are the edited excerpts.
Human resource technologies, which can run the gamut from background checks to benefits to well-being, are evolving at a faster rate than ever in post-pandemic times. How do you see the HR tech landscape today?
HR tech is one of the most burgeoning industries, globally. Despite slowdowns across various industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing organisations continue to prioritise employee experience, engagement and well-being. C-suite executives have had to re-imagine employee engagement in today’s hybrid world, and this has disrupted traditional HR practices.
Technology in HR is playing a pivotal role in building a workplace that is inclusive and one where employees feel heard and valued. Whether it is at the office, home or a hybrid workplace, HR leaders need proactive tools which can help them engage and listen to their employees at scale, get predictive and actionable insights about employee’s mood and engagement, identify issues such as burnout and stress, and a lot more to retain their top talent and control attrition. Our recent partnership with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive is a step towards enabling HR and business leaders to preempt and manage issues such as burnout and stress before they have even begun.
We believe that people analytics, employee engagement and experience are taking centrestage for every business. For example, CHROs of more than 175 customers use Amber to have honest conversations with their employees, build a culture of transparency where every employee is heard, and get data-rich and actionable insights that help them build fulfilling work cultures with low attrition and high engagement.
The latest data from Gallup on the global workforce shows that stress levels are at an all-time high. How are organisations leveraging tech to tackle burnout, stress, and well-being at work?
One of the biggest challenges that organisations face while managing employee burnout, stress and well-being is the lack of actionable insights and data. When and why does an employee get stressed? Is it due to a change in role, a manager, or the fact that they do not receive enough credit for their hard work? A lot of issues can result in burnout or stress, thereby impacting an employee’s well-being, and this is not just limited to work. With remote work, the lines between personal and professional are blurring. Organisations need to deploy solutions that seamlessly integrate with the day-to-day workflows of their employees and don’t add to the digital clutter.
CXOs need proactive measures for managing employee stress and burnout that are better suited for the workplace of the future. Through our partnership with Thrive, we will leverage our strong network of over 175 global organizations and our conversational AI to deliver Thrive’s science-backed wellness tools to more than 500k employees in a personalized manner.
In the last few years, we've seen incredible advances in data, analytics, and artificial intelligence. Intelligent, data-driven HR is transforming many aspects of how HR teams serve the people in their organizations. What role is HR playing in this data and AI-driven world?
The role of an HR leader has evolved significantly in the past few years. From being a support to the business to being a strategic partner in the business, HR leaders are gaining ground in the boardroom. The HR team is now adopting technology at a rapid pace, building strategies from the ground up to maintain and retain a diverse, forward-looking talent pool, managing organisational culture and building a winning workplace. The HR function is adopting technology across a plethora of areas—the most significant being employee experience and well-being.
How are organisations solving employee disengagement in the hybrid workplace, which is one of the top issues facing leaders today? What technologies are organisations betting on to drive employee engagement in a hybrid world of work?
Employee disengagement is a real challenge in today’s dynamic and hybrid work environment, and organisations are increasingly banking on technology to help mitigate this. But I love this statement from one of our customers - “Technology can act as a mirror and show us the gaps, but it is the HR team that needs to take decisive steps to plug those gaps.”
For example, our customers such as Tata, Genpact, GE Healthcare, Myntra and others actively use Amber’s automation and personalisation capabilities to have intelligent, transparent, and honest conversations with every employee, based on their experience so far, their recent milestones, and their current sentiment. This gives the HR leaders much-needed data and insights to manage employee disengagement in the virtual workplace.
Can you share some of the new developments in the people analytics space that organisations are leveraging?
There is a lot happening in the people analytics space - starting from managing an employee’s lifecycle in the organisation, employee satisfaction surveys, engagement scores and more. We see our customers extensively use capabilities such as People to Meet, employee engagement matrices, Text Sens, Exit Modules etc.
What has the impact of COVID-19 been on your business? How are you sailing through tough times? Can you share some of your biggest learnings and experiences with our readers?
We have onboarded more than 70 customers globally in the last 12–15 months. We are seeing consistent double-digit growth year over year, and we also grew our team size to over 125 happy employees as of June 2022. This aggressive growth, coupled with our vision, also led to our latest fundraising of $12 million led by Jungle Ventures, and other marquee investors such as Tiger Global and Bling Capital.
Building a sustainable and winning workplace where every employee is heard is a must for every organization, and with Amber and the trust of more than 175 customers, we are growing at a rapid pace.
My biggest learning has been to build a workplace where employees feel safe, heard and this results in significant growth across all areas of the business.
How do you see the investment in the HR tech space? What do investors look for before investing in startups like yours?
In 2021, more than $12 billion in venture capital poured into the HR technology market, with the rate of investment more than tripling from 2020 to 2021. It is one of the hottest sectors globally and is poised to grow steadily.
We are fortunate to be backed by the best in the industry and investors often look at the viability of the solutions that a startup has to offer, total addressable market, its market fit and uniqueness, product vision, mission and vision of the startup and more. For us, we are solving a very real challenge - managing employee experience and engagement, and today this is one of the most important aspects for any business.