Vishwanath Joshi leads Human Resources at Hexaware as Chief People Officer. In his twenty years of experience, Joshi has worked with top global IT consulting organisations on organisational development, driving human-centric strategies and propagating reward solutions. The HR leader discusses the strategies taken by Hexaware to reimagine total rewards, introducing inclusivity to said programmes and weighing in on future Rewards and Recognition (RnR) trends.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
How are you adapting your reward and recognition strategy to the new world of work? Are they giving you the benefits?
We have revisited our rewards and recognition strategies, considering three crucial points. The first point is recognising all the initiatives and contributions that have been integral to the organisation's success. It is maintaining a comprehensive rewards programme that covers every significant effort. The next one is a focus on creating more inclusive rewards programmes. Ensuring that individuals or groups at all levels with varied responsibilities are acknowledged is our priority. The third point of consideration is that we have relooked at the value of the rewards and ascertained that employees perceive the rewards as adequate and meaningful. These points sum up our concept of RnR 2.0, which is applicable globally. Additionally, we have expanded the scope of our RnR programmes beyond in-house initiatives with client-driven rewards, wherein our clients evaluate and recognise the value additions made possible by our employees. Employees also have the opportunity to be recognised by their managers and peers with our peer recognition initiative.
The benefits of revamped RnR programs are still nascent, and any statement at this stage is likely to evolve. However, there is unanimity about the encouraging initial response and higher levels of participation. With the right kind of attitude, organisations can steadily progress toward achieving the goals of RnR 2.0.
How do you see the expanding and shifting total rewards landscape in the post-pandemic era?
The shift will be determined by how the post-pandemic era looks. The factors influencing total rewards strategies will be collaboration and a focus on programmes geared toward health and well-being. For instance, we encourage work-life balance through a Work-life Balance Trophy at Hexaware. There is growing awareness about the value of benefits that were not considered critical in the pre-pandemic phase. One such example is health insurance. Organisations should include such benefits in their total rewards strategy to make it impactful in the post-pandemic world.
Implementing a rewards and recognition strategy has its challenges as well as opportunities. What is your take on how to overcome those challenges?
I agree that organisations face challenges while implementing rewards and recognition strategies. However, there are a few ways that can help resolve these:
Increased involvement of leaders and managers at different organisational levels can exponentially enhance the effect of these programs. If the programmes are designed to include them as nominators and reviewers, they can proportionately identify and reward outstanding performances.
The second way is to align the RnR programs with the organisational values. At Hexaware, we have introduced an annual award based on realising our purpose: Creating smiles through great people and technology. Such recognition can be sponsored by the senior leadership and can be given to anyone who demonstrates the cultural attributes of the organisation.
The third way is to maintain simplicity in the RnR programs, not cluttering them with too many parameters. It should be easy to understand for it to be easily implemented.
The fourth way to overcome RnR implementation challenges is a robust technology tool that can capture performances and help assess them.
How can total reward strategies help corporations attract and engage top talent?
In today's world, talent will join where it is invited, perform where it is recognised, and stay where it is respected. This is where the brand promise becomes crucial. To attract talent, organisations must maintain clear indicators in their total rewards strategies of how talent will be recognised and rewarded for its contributions to their ecosystems. In this competitive landscape, learning and development opportunities become the differentiator when every capable individual is seeking new skill sets and is inclined to innovate. RnR programs that reflect opportunities for recognition of such passion are sure to attract talent.
From an engagement point of view, RnR programs are a form of feedback with a positive stroke. It is the simplest and most effective way of conveying that an employee is valued and their contribution is important to the organisation.
How do you see the effect of recession on total rewards management?
To achieve success in implementing RnR programs, a substantial volume of resources is vital, and theoretically, during the recession, the sanction for such resources is expected to drop. However, Organisations must revisit their total rewards management and communication strategy from a long-term perspective to spread a favourable message. They can motivate their workforce by announcing greater rewards for staying committed even during a recession. So, rather than impacting RnR adversely, the recession will possibly redefine who truly deserves to be rewarded.
What trends will drive total rewards and employee benefits two years down the line?
The evolving work models will play a decisive role in determining the future of total rewards and employee benefits. Administering rewards management fit to address gig working and hybrid working will be critical in the coming years.
Another trend impacting reward management is the significance of skills and capabilities. In the past years, we have witnessed some skills gaining value and tailoring rewards management to recognise specific and relevant competencies will be a shared imperative.
Collaboration is an evident driver of uninterrupted service delivery. In the coming years, collaborative achievements will have an edge as synergy within and among teams will enable the completion of crucial projects while dealing with the pressures of a dynamic market.