Article: Navigating 2023: The importance of caring, enablement, and human leadership


Navigating 2023: The importance of caring, enablement, and human leadership

Shruti Tandon, Managing Director of People Enablement at Nagarro, highlights how leaders who prioritise employee experience play a pivotal role in shaping the future of work. In her insights, she elucidates why these leaders are poised for success in navigating the upcoming challenges.
Navigating 2023: The importance of caring, enablement, and human leadership

As we find ourselves in the midst of 2023, it is imperative for leaders worldwide to possess a deep comprehension of the realms of people management and people leadership that will have the greatest impact on the future of work. Numerous challenges have surfaced in recent years, necessitating HR leaders to reconsider their strategies, devise novel solutions, and adapt existing ones to suit the evolving environment.

In a conversation with People Matters, Shruti Tandon, Managing Director of People Enablement at Nagarro, talks about the future of work and how to tackle some widely discussed challenges that will continue into this year.

How do you personally define the future of work? 

Interest in digital workplace transformations and more flexible hybrid workplace models is not a new concept. However, the pandemic has accelerated these trends and forever changed the way we perceive the workplace of the future. It has now become imperative for HR leaders to evaluate the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19-induced trends and the degree to which existing solutions and talent strategies need to be tweaked to ensure safe and resilient change. It has also necessitated a move away from past standardisations, and now the need of the hour is a unique, hyper-personalised experience for each employee in the organisation. 

To me, the future of work means responding to these fast-shifting priorities of talent, understanding and adjusting to the new power shift, and gearing up to redesign the company's culture in a way that the top talent wants to work for you. To achieve this and to be the employer of choice, you must be a feeling organisation – a workplace that cares for its employees and gives employees the flexibility they desire. 

We believe that if you're willing to spend eight hours and have an internet connection, how does it matter where you are working from?

Most Nagarrians around the world work from anywhere, including our 13,000 colleagues in India. Very often we see our colleagues being online from Goa, from Bir, or other exotic locations. We have always been focused on the idea of borderless work. Flexibility and employee experience are supercritical pieces and must be treated as the number one priority by the HR fraternity. I feel companies are increasingly realising that it is employee experience that shapes organisational success, and this realisation is great for the future of work.

According to a recent survey by Executive Networks conducted across CHROs, 83% of the respondents said that they were struggling with talent retention. Going forward, what should be the right success mantra for HR professionals to better retain talent?

In the current scenario, it’s not just salary or bonuses that set companies apart. It is imperative for organisations to refocus – they must create exceptional employee touchpoints that make people feel valued and appreciated and encourage them in many ways to be with the organisation for a longer period of time. They must be more flexible in their approach. Most HR leaders stay divided on remote only or hybrid work models for success. At Nagarro, we have gone far beyond that realm. For us, WFA has been a game changer and we have managed to grow fastest by hiring talent where it wants to be.

Lastly, organisations must consciously invest in automation that can drive intense personalisation. We have to invest in the right kind of tooling that would enable that support. We need to be able to better gauge employee sentiment to help determine where early intervention may be needed that will help them stay productive and engaged. The need to use technology to personalise messaging and to nudge employees for effective communication has never been greater. With a large number of people working remotely, keeping them connected in a digital world is a challenge and organisations must invest in this.

In the corporate world, assessment is a two-sided term. On what grounds do you think an employee is going to assess the performance of their leaders going forward?

Post-pandemic, the entire landscape has changed, including the expectations of colleagues. The topmost attribute an employee seeks in a leader is empathy. Leaders with compassion – those who can put themselves in the shoes of others and understand the needs of their teams will be the ones that will efficiently drive distributed teams in today’s environment. 

The second attribute would be effective and consistent communication. Employees like engagement and constant communication from their leaders, and this goes a long way in providing clarity of expectations and also in establishing a relationship of trust. Thirdly, employees will also look up to leaders who have an openness towards feedback. A leader should be ready to accept feedback as well as then introspect and course correct himself/herself.

An analysis conducted by McKinsey in 2016 while analysing the success rate of company transformations found that 70% of organisational transformation programmes had failed. Common pitfalls the researchers pointed out were a lack of employee engagement, inadequate management support, poor or nonexistent cross-functional collaboration, and a lack of accountability. A good leader would not let these gaps exist and would ensure that their vision of the company is not theirs alone, but it is one shared with everyone within the team and within the organisation. Those are the kinds of leaders in my opinion, who will drive change.

Where do you see yourself as a leader 10 years from now?

I see myself as a dreamer and an explorer, and I personally feel that's the only way to grow. Giving everything to the moment but never stopping to dream about a better, more productive, and more compassionate workplace. This also reminds me of this very interesting read from the late futurist, Mr. Edward Cornish. In his book called ‘Futuring - The Exploration of the Future’, Cornish connects history and the future with an analogy. He says, “The great explorers dreamed their ships across the seas long before sailing them. In their imaginations, they tested their mettle against snake-infested jungles, blazing-hot deserts, cruel mountains, and merciless ice floes. By exploring future possibilities in their imagination, they could anticipate their future needs realistically and prepare for what lay ahead of them. This was productive dreaming.” 

If you were to ask me today, ten years from now I still see myself exploring, learning, and contributing positively to every space I touch and every person that I meet. In the process, if I get recognised as a good leader, I will be very grateful.

To learn more about talent acquisition trends from global leaders including the secrets of recruiting talent in a competitive market, the evolution of talent assessment, informal hiring for Gen Z and Gen Alpha and what is the quiet phenomena all about, join us for People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference 2023 on February 9 in Bengaluru. With an interesting agenda on Winning Talent: Get Your A-Game On, you and your organisation can find answers to all your talent woes. Register now!


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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement, #Outlook2023, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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