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Navigating the Future in Shaping Talent Strategy Amid Global Economic Shifts: Sahil Sharma, CHRO, RateGain shares insights with ObserveNow

New Delhi: In the ever-changing business world, companies understand the vital need for a strategic approach to acquiring and managing talent. The saying “building today’s workforce for tomorrow” summarizes the essence of preparing for future challenges through the identification, attraction, and retention of top talent.

Ongoing industry evolution requires businesses to regularly update their teams, leading to the adoption of innovative hiring practices. To keep high-performing individuals in a competitive market, companies are exploring unconventional methods beyond traditional compensation, emphasizing professional development, flexible work arrangements, and a positive organizational culture. In this regard Shreya Singh, ObserveNow interacted with Sahil Sharma, Chief Human Resources Officer, RateGain.

Here are a few excerpts from the Interview:

What’s your organization’s approach to talent strategy and hiring? Is there a perfect recipe to get it all right or is it always a balanced view? 

Crafting an effective talent strategy and hiring approach is a dynamic and nuanced process that varies across organizations and industries. While there’s no one-size-fits-all “perfect recipe,” successful approaches often involve a balanced view that considers various factors.

Given the profound shifts in the global economy, there is a heightened emphasis on upskilling and reskilling. Navigating these transitions successfully necessitates a fundamental re-evaluation of how hiring and employee development practices are approached.

At RateGain, our emphasis lies in adopting a skills-based approach to hiring. We strive to be deliberate in hiring for a candidate’s future potential rather than solely relying on their past history. However, it’s acknowledged that this transition will be an extensive journey. Our conventional recruiting processes still exhibit a bias towards specific educational backgrounds, experience levels, or personal referrals, contributing to a potentially homogeneous workforce. 

As an HR leader, how do you ensure that the workforce you have today is the one you need tomorrow? What is your master plan for the skills update of the team? 

Ensuring the alignment of our current workforce with future needs is a strategic imperative. The multi-faceted approach we follow involves:

  • Continuous Skills Assessment: We implement regular skills assessments to identify current strengths and areas for improvement within the team. This involves leveraging data analytics and performance metrics to gauge proficiency in existing roles and readiness for future responsibilities.
  • Individual Development Plans: Collaborate with team members to create personalized development plans. This involves setting clear goals, identifying necessary skills, and creating a roadmap for each employee’s professional growth. Individual development plans ensure a targeted approach to skills enhancement.
  • Training and Development Programs: Invest in comprehensive training programs that address both current and future skill requirements. This includes technical training, soft skills development, and exposure to emerging industry trends. Training initiatives are curated to bridge skill gaps and prepare the team for evolving roles.
  • Encouraging Continuous Learning: We promote a culture of continuous learning and self-improvement. This involves providing access to online courses, workshops, and industry conferences. By cultivating a learning mindset, team members stay abreast of industry advancements and proactively seek skill updates.
  • Succession Planning: A robust succession planning strategy to identify high-potential employees and groom them for leadership roles. This ensures a pipeline of talent with the necessary skills to lead the organization in the future.
  • Technology Integration: Embrace technology for skills development. This includes incorporating e-learning platforms, virtual simulations, and other tech-driven tools to enhance training efficiency and effectiveness.

What innovative approaches are businesses adopting to retain top talent in an increasingly competitive market? How are they prioritizing employee well-being and career growth?

 In the face of escalating competition for top talent, we at RateGain are deploying innovative strategies to not only attract but, crucially, retain the most valuable assets. Recognizing that employee retention is closely tied to well-being and career growth, we are prioritizing a multifaceted approach to create a compelling workplace environment.

  • Firstly, a key trend is the implementation of flexible work arrangements. As work-life balance becomes a paramount consideration, we are offering options such as remote work, or flexible scheduling. This flexibility enables employees to better manage personal and professional commitments, contributing significantly to their overall well-being. Beyond traditional benefits, we are increasingly focused on mental health being, recognizing the profound impact of mental well-being on employee satisfaction and productivity. Employee assistance programs, counseling services, and initiatives that promote a healthy work-life balance are becoming integral components in our wellbeing strategy.
  • Professional development and career growth are pivotal elements in talent retention. As a forward-thinking business we are investing in continuous learning opportunities, mentorship programs, and skill-building initiatives. This not only helps our employees stay relevant in VUCA world but also communicates a commitment to their long-term career progression.
  • Another innovative approach is the emphasis on creating a positive work culture aligned with organizational values. We are placing a great importance in building an inclusive and diverse environment with our recent DE&I framework “RGFORALL”.

 How do you approach diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices, particularly in the context of hiring veteran workforce or Women returning to work?

Our hiring policies and practices aim to promote diversity and inclusion based on merit. We consistently ensure that every role is accessible to individuals from diverse backgrounds. We have launched a second innings program to bring back women who were on career break & we ensure the required training is given to them which can support them in their roles. The training programs are carefully curated to bridge any gaps that may have emerged during their career breaks, ensuring a seamless transition into their roles.

 In what ways can your organization support and empower fresher’s to understand work life, chart a path for them, and find their sense of purpose in alignment with the company’s vision?

Ensuring the smooth transition of fresh talent into the intricacies of the professional landscape is a critical endeavor. At our organization, we recognize the significance of supporting and empowering newcomers as they embark on their career journeys, aiming not only to familiarize them with the work environment but also to guide them in charting their professional paths in alignment with the company’s overarching vision.

Central to our comprehensive onboarding process is the Amigo Program, a unique and dedicated initiative designed to provide personalized support to every fresher. Within this program, each newcomer is paired with an experienced colleague who assumes the role of their designated buddy. This buddy serves as a go-to person, offering insights, guidance, and a supportive presence throughout the initial phases of their tenure.

Is there any advice you would like to give to the new HR Professionals entering the industry?

HR is a dynamic and people-centric field. Your role is not just about policies and procedures but about supporting and enhancing the employee experience.

·       Learn as much as you can – explore different roles and build out your network. The learning journey may not follow a linear path, but every experience and pivot contributes to your growth.

·       Always ask questions: Be curious and inquisitive. In this AI Era, this is one of the most important trait that will help you to remain relevant.

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