Deepika Banerjee is the co-head of Human Capital Management for Goldman Sachs Services in India, based in Bengaluru. She has over two decades of experience in various Human Capital functions and has also served as head of Talent, Employee Relations, Leadership Development, and Diversity and Inclusion for India.
Deepika joined the firm as a Vice President in 2015 and was promoted as a Managing Director in 2021. Deepika holds a Master’s degree in Business Management and Psychology and is a trained counsellor. She is also certified in administering many psychometric tools.
In this exclusive interview, Deepika talks about creating an appealing EVP for a distinct competitive advantage, the three pillars of Goldman Sachs’ EVP, investing in the growth of managers as ‘coaches’, and the need to evolve from an employee centric to a human centric approach when building an employer brand.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
What does employee value proposition encompass for Goldman Sachs in India?
In India, we are witnessing key shifts in the employee attitude and preferences towards work and their motivations. At Goldman Sachs in India, our employee value proposition (EVP) has evolved to respond to these changes with not just competitive compensation and benefits, but also by appealing to employees’ sense of purpose, preference for growth and commitment to communities. This empowers us to create a distinct competitive advantage through our people and positions us for long term success. Collectively, the three robust pillars that bring Goldman Sachs’ EVP to life are:
- We strive to deliver an inclusive employee experience with a focus on workforce and operating environment of the future
- We consistently focus on prioritisation of the holistic well-being of our people through a suite of world-class and differentiated offerings
- We endeavour to make deep and sustained investments in our people and offer avenues for learning, growth and community engagement
How are you enabling awareness, access and adoption of the offerings within revamped EVP for existing talent? How does it differ for potential talent that the organisation is looking to hire?
We ensure that our EVP equally energises both current and prospective employees. Our harmonised approach globally enables a shared understanding of our offerings that transform aspirations into actions. Through Goldman Sachs’ manager effectiveness framework, known as KFCI, we invest in the growth of managers as “coaches.”
We believe that great managers at the firm Know their team’s capabilities, Focus their impact, Care about them and their contributions, and Inspire them.
Our cross-regional ‘Leadership Pipeline Review’ process sustains our focus on developing a high-performing, diverse leadership bench through mentoring, leadership acceleration programs and bespoke career development opportunities.
Our employee well-being commitment was reinforced, when we introduced new and enhanced benefits and wellness offerings during COVID 19, such as new leave policies, mental health and resilience programming, opportunities to strengthen financial health, and an array of virtual offerings to support the employee families.
Our hiring activity in India has gained significant momentum. We hired ~3,800 hires in 2021 and over 80% of our Hyderabad office based employees joined us virtually, during the pandemic. We continue to adopt a structured approach to drive integration of our new hires through culture orientation programs, leadership connects, manager check-ins, buddy and mentor programming.
Our suite of e-learning resources and tools has enabled new hires to gain an elevated understanding of the firm`s ecosystem and enhance awareness of our EVP offerings.
We hold ourselves accountable to an ambitious goal to increase diverse representation at all levels and create an even stronger culture of inclusion across the firm. We exceeded our gender diversity goal of 50% in our campus analyst hiring efforts last year in India, and our latest class of managing directors is also a testament to that commitment.
Beyond gender, we are actively engaging and communicating our EVP across all recruiting channels and diversity recruiting programs in India, including initiatives to increase representation of the LGBTQ+, disabled and veteran communities. Across all our candidate engagement efforts, we demonstrate focus on well-being and growth of our people. This has broadened our aperture and search for diverse talent in new places and in new ways, seeking different backgrounds, education, experiences and skills.
For many organisations, EVP emerges as an afterthought to rising attrition. What are your thoughts on this?
A well-established EVP is a result of a proactive and intentional approach of a firm, and not born out of a response to a situation. Our people strategy in India is closely tied to our business objectives. Being proactive and responsive to our people, and their holistic growth is a key priority for the firm.
Our approach to measure and understand the impact of our EVP offerings, enables us to understand what our employees perceive as important when they think of us as an employer of choice. We leverage short semi-annual surveys and in-the-moment surveys to capture how our employees are experiencing the workplace, which enables us to create EVP that is deep rooted in science and people insights.
We empower managers with active employee pulse that help them with the current sentiment of their teams, to guide for current needs. Our “Three Conversations at GS” framework emphasises managers as coaches, and makes them accountable for the team’s overall development. Our employee outreach efforts create multiple employee touch points to evaluate our EVP, with an objective to enhance employee experience.
What do you think are three top factors that a company needs in its employer brand today?
To create an employer brand, organisations need to evolve from an employee centric to a human centric approach, that focuses on employee experiences both within and outside the workplace. The top three factors that influence the employer brand positively are:
- Connect with a shared vision and purpose: Commitment to excellence is a mindset that permeates our firm. It informs the kind of people we attract, the advice we give and the way we strive to meet our clients’ expectations. As organisations continue to diversify their hiring and find ways to best engage their talent, firm’s should unify people towards a common purpose.
- Emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: The strength of the employer brand depends on a diverse workforce and an inclusive work environment. Goldman Sachs attracts diverse and diversely talented candidates, and democratises the access to opportunities. Our aspirational diversity goals, talent development programs, diversity-retention initiatives and inclusion networks are examples of how our diversity efforts have evolved to a more deliberate, data-driven and targeted approach.
- Focus on delivering aligned employee experiences: Employees need to see the employer brand in action across the entire employee experience. At Goldman Sachs, the focus on experience begins before an individual even becomes an employee. Then, we prioritise how we can best develop, retain and reward our people in order to support their ambitions. Lastly, we cultivate opportunities for our employees to positively impact our clients and communities.
Every investment made must be an investment to elevate the employee experience at the firm, and the impact they create in the communities they live and operate.
Employee wellbeing and engagement are top of the mind for organisations across the globe as they enhance employee experience for their distributed workforce. What risks do organisations carry if they lose focus on these elements as they enable return to office?
Our people are at the core of everything that we do. At Goldman Sachs, we have adopted a multi-pronged strategy to provide a safe and wholesome workplace integration, underpinned by robust, technology led safety and wellness protocols, and a vibrant campus for employees to connect, collaborate and celebrate.
Our deeply embedded apprenticeship culture is reflected in the way employees engage and partner across teams to create the best products or services for our clients. This is the secret sauce that sets us apart.
Our focus is to ensure our new joiners experience the same opportunities for apprenticeship, learning and growth as our tenured employees. The engagement efforts, for both new and tenured employees, is designed to experience the culture of the firm and celebrate a sense of community.
It’s important to remember that without an employee experience that energises and enables, organisations can end up significantly undermining the complexity and depth of challenges ahead when it comes to creating a culture.
What is your advice for organisations seeking to reimagine their EVP? What can they not miss and what should they be wary of?
Organisations should begin by acknowledging that there is no one size fits all approach, when it comes to crafting a credible EVP. Be wary of making assumptions on what the employees value, focus on research, to identify the key EVP pillars. Employees should be involved early on, to capture critical insights and gain advocacy. Simultaneously, developing a deep understanding of the talent landscape and shifting candidate preferences is critical.
Finally, organisations need to ensure that EVP acts as a strategic lever for all defining moments of its employee experience, that takes ahead the vision of business and sets the organisation for success.