Winning the talent game: Acquiring, retaining & elevating the most valuable resources

The work, workforce, and workplace have all changed drastically in the past two years. This shift in the paradigm has made the task of talent acquisition and r etention ever more challenging. Today, pertinent topics like work-life balance, mental health, and quality of work are gaining prominence over the pay-check, and employees are increasingly becoming more sensitive towards societal values. They are willing to work in firms that replicate the kind of beliefs and value systems. that they possess. Therefore, talent attraction and employee retention re not just about handsome packages, increments, and monetary benefits anymore. An organization has to build a healthy workplace that is empathetic towards employee needs in order to acquire, retain and elevate the most valuable resources. As a result, global HRs require new talent attraction strategies and must leverage digital tools to generate meaningful insights into daily events.

With this backdrop, ETHRWorld and Darwinbox organized a virtual closed-door roun dtable discussion on “Winning the Talent Game: Acquiring, retaining & elevating the most valuable resource,” wherein industry leaders and veterans joined in to share their insightful outlook on how their companies managed to acquire talent and retain and elevate their most valuable resources, especial ly with the help of digital.

Vijayshankar Ananthanarayana, Vice President & Global Head- Transformation, Darwinbox, moderated the session. While talking about the impact of the pandemic overall employee recruitment, Urooj Fatma, Head HR- Corporate & Plant HR, Macawber Beekay, pointed out the fact that “Recruitment is not happening in bulk like it was happening earlier. But slowly, the numbers are picking up.”

While addressing the roundtable, Pankaj Lochan, Group CHRO, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd, shared his thoughts on the changing mindset of the modern employee. Lochan said, “The employee mindset is changing from meeting basic requirements to meeting latent requirements. They are focusing more on the quality of work a nd work-life balance, and this has been triggered by the pandemic.”

During the roundtable discussion, Ranjan Phadke, VP and Global Head HR- Healthcare, EXL Services, said, “Earlier, in our industry, location strategy was very important. But now, location strategy is not important at all because you can hi re talent from anywhere. Talent is the only thing that matters today.”

New ways of talent attraction

 While sharing his thoughts on employee attraction and retention from his industr ’s perspective, Sirshendu Mookherjee, Group Head- HR, Narayana Health, said “In ustry, we have not seen a significant impact on attraction or retention because of Covid. If you look at the fundamentals of what attraction and retention is, it’s about the kind of work that you provide to the individual. If I segment my people, there is a set of doctors, a set of nurses and paramedics, and administration. The variety of work that the doctors get in our hospital is probably a unique proposition and that is the thing that attracts them to come in.”

While sharing how his firm does talent acquisition, Biswaroop Mukherjee, Head HR – Commercial Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors, said “We have two broad spectrums of employees – one is white collar and the other is blue-collar. For the whi ite-collared employees, we have switched to the digital way of talent acquisition. Be it our internal processes, internal systems, requisitions, everything is online. For the blue-collar employees, we have adopted a blend of high-tech and high-touch processes, because we need to see the incoming candidates. In that segment, we are moving towards automation.”

While talking about talent acquisition for blue-collared jobs, Shiv Rawat, CHRO, DTDC, opined “I divide talent acquisition and retention into two parts. One part is for the people who are working blue-collared jobs and their needs. They want supervisors to connect with them, resolve their queries, and appreciate and recognize them for their work. When you do these types of exercises your employees start referring candidates for job openings within the organization.”

Digital to the rescue

 During the session, Priya Mathilika, Head HR Retail and Corporate, Titan, opined “Being able to customize, in a large organization, your journeys for your talent is a very important aspect for retention and an individual approach helps in looking at how you craft this journey.”

Adding to the point, Ananthanarayana point, Ananthanarayana pointed out, “The power of digital also comes down to the ability to personalize at scale, while also helping us work with the right data parameters to see what talent is critical, because we know that we may not be able to offer these pathways around careers to everybody.”

While sharing at the roundtable discussion how her firm connected with its employees while they worked remotely, Shalini Jain, Associate Director, HR eClerx, said “When we were all working virtually, we had limited teams that could connect with the employees and take the pulse. So, we took up a toll which helped us reaching out to people, taking the insights, and drawing up actionable conclusions from those insights.”

Jain also mentioned that new hire pace picked up during the pandemic, causing them to resort to smarter onboarding alternatives, “During the pandemic years, 40-45% of our workforce population joined remotely. Being a people-centric organization, we faced a lot of challenges in assimilating new employees joining in from different parts of the world. Hence, we evaluated our employees with their performance and introduced interventions around upskilling, setting the culture, and putting the online learning framework in the whole spectrum.”

Lochan elaborated the role of tech in the new age of talent management, “Digitization and automation has helped organizations drive this change across functions while providing employees with better health and wellness facilities. Digital Digital transformation has not only digitized the processes but also turned out to be a great enabler in talent attraction and retention.”

Adding to the point, Mookherjee said, “With technological advancement, the pandemic has accelerated the concept of remote consulting that allowed doctor’s practices to reach out to the patients irrespective of any geographical boundaries. With digital transformation, a lot of businesses that were taken as for granted in the past have now changed and accelerated the pace of development. When it comes to talent attraction and retention, it is important to look at the varieties of work you are providing your respective employees to keep them engaged while placing automation at the core of every business initiative.”

However, Mookherjee maintains that a mix of physical and digital will be the way forward to effective talent management. Wwe have adopted automated systems of hiring processes to make the whole procedure seamless. However, we will continue to operate in person hiring programs and traditional earn-and-learn schemes for our blue-collar employees.”


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