Article: Building a global talent pool: Krishna Shetty shares NTT DATA’s strategy


Building a global talent pool: Krishna Shetty shares NTT DATA’s strategy

In conversation with Krishna Shetty of NTT DATA, discover strategies for navigating the digital age, fostering diversity, and balancing automation with the human touch.
Building a global talent pool: Krishna Shetty shares NTT DATA’s strategy

Krishna Shetty is the Global Workforce Planning Leader at NTT DATA. He has a diverse and broad experience within NTT DATA with multiple successful executive leadership positions that include delivery, P&L and corporate functions. Since 2021, he has led the global workforce planning organisation, which comprises demand planning, talent acquisition, internal fulfilment, and contingent labour.

In this exclusive interview, we tap into Krishna’s insights and uncover his perspectives on critical themes such as Gen AI, digitisation, and emerging trends in recruitment.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation. 

Given NTT DATA's global footprint, how do you navigate the challenges and opportunities in talent acquisition across diverse regions, and what strategies have you found effective in ensuring a cohesive global talent pool? 

With a workforce of more than 190,000 employees in over 50 regions and countries, our employee base is diverse. To have an effective Talent Acquisition strategy, we must recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach isn't an option.

Our strategy is built on three core principles to ensure we retain a cohesive global talent pool: demand planning, internal fulfilment and effective external hiring. 

Effective demand planning provides us with a clear understanding of our talent needs with adequate lead time. We therefore work closely with our business functions across regions to understand their forecast and prioritise looking for candidates internally before going to market. This foresight also allows us to keep career progression always at the forefront of our planning.

Our “internal first” approach is at the core of our Talent Acquisition strategy and ensuring employee progression is at the heart of our recruitment processes. We leverage internal talent by identifying individuals who are readily available or have the potential to be upskilled for new opportunities. This focus not only helps career progression but also ensures we're constantly upskilling our workforce and providing the best services to our clients.

When we hire externally, we ensure our Talent Acquisition teams are aligned to regions or specific countries to ensure fitment with local markets and business functions. We also maintain a centralised repository of all open career opportunities across the globe. This provides for tighter collaboration with business functions, and we remain tuned to both global talent needs and availability.

Given the rapid advancements in Generative AI, how do you see its influence on the skill sets and competencies sought after in potential candidates? How are you preparing for these shifts in the talent landscape? 

While there is undoubtedly a need to have talent who knows GenAI, NTT DATA focuses on making it easy for our existing employees to upskill faster than ever before. For example, we have launched a three-level Gen AI Certification program for all our employees regardless of their role or practice area. Our clients too are reinventing their business models and coming to market with new differentiated products at breakneck speed. Therefore, I think the importance lies in creating an ecosystem where our employees can acquire new skills in an agile manner.

One of the key skills we look for in our candidates is their ability to learn – what I refer to as the “learnability index.”

We continue to invest in our training and certification tools to make sure our employees are getting the best-in-class training and development opportunities. This enables us to retain and nurture top talent while creating a workforce that is constantly evolving as GenAI continues to disrupt the landscape.  

As technology continues to advance, how do you strike a balance between leveraging automation tools in recruitment processes and maintaining the essential human touch in candidate experiences?

With hybrid and remote work being the norm, we are witnessing a trend of candidates going through virtual interviews. Along with the constant development of AI tool capabilities, the need for human interaction has naturally been reduced. To counter this, NTT DATA has purposefully retained a hybrid model within which both our recruiters and hiring managers actively engage with candidates during the recruitment process. 

While tools such as GenAI are making us more productive by reducing the number of candidate-recruiter interactions needed, what isn't changing is the need and desire to interact in meaningful ways. The focus is now placed on when you interact and what you talk about, making sure that a candidate feels respected and appreciated. Recruiters and resource managers must adapt and embrace these new technologies, which not only allow them to streamline their workflow but also more effectively engage with the most suitable candidates. 

We've made significant investments in enhancing our recruitment platforms, including rolling out AI-based tools for fulfilment. As this technology continues to advance, this is an area which NTT DATA as well as the wider recruitment sector will continue to refine and strategically utilise. 

Diversity and inclusion are increasingly recognized as crucial elements of a successful organisation. How does NTT DATA approach diversity and inclusion in its talent acquisition efforts, and what impact has it had on the company's overall success?  

NTT DATA views Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as business imperatives that enhance employee and client satisfaction, improve financial performance and yield socially responsible outcomes. To that end, we have multiple strategies built into our recruitment framework to attract a diverse talent pool to the company. These include a recruiting and sourcing playbook that helps train recruiters on diverse talent sourcing strategies and engaging with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for employee referrals.  

We have also implemented a new AI-driven talent management system with bias-mitigating candidate selection capabilities, and a simple DEI dashboard for all employees to showcase new skills and pursue new opportunities. We're also partnering with speciality organisations for diverse talent along with our office of DEI to review data and determine where adjustments are needed. 

We are proud to be recognised as a Global Top Employer for 2024 by the Top Employers Institute for the first time. This year NTT DATA was one of the only 17 Global Top Employers to be recognised for their outstanding people policies and practices worldwide. We received exceptionally high scores for “Talent Acquisition” “Career” and “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” This is a trend we intend to continue and maintain at the core of our business. 

Looking ahead, what do you believe will be the most significant trends in talent acquisition for organisations, and what advice would you offer to fellow talent professionals navigating these complexities in the digital age? 

We are living in an age where technology is changing faster than ever. With the penetration of AI in general, job functions are either getting eliminated or being calibrated at a pace that we have never experienced before. Clients and businesses around us are adopting these technologies to create new solutions and offerings.

The best analogy that comes to mind is electric vehicles – it’s still a car, but you no longer need an engineer who is an expert at internal combustion engines. Hence, the question is what do you do with your best engineer?

This means every organisation needs to get better at constantly upskilling its talent and have nimble and flexible workflows that adapt to change and continue to provide career opportunities. External recruitment will always be critical for every business, but organisations that do better in harnessing existing talent will have a competitive advantage. I think this is an immediate area of opportunity for every talent acquisition professional.

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Topics: Leadership, Talent Acquisition, Diversity, #Culture, Technology

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