In an exclusive interview with All Things Talent, Prashant Bhatnagar, the Director of Human Resources at Credit Suisse talks about embedding employee engagement into the HR framework and delivering enriching experiences to one and all. He also shares his thoughts about Chatbots disrupting the talent management process and the values he looks for in prospective candidates while hiring. Keep reading to understand how this HR leader engages and retains top talent for Credit Suisse.
Prashant Bhatnagar is a human resources leader with cross-cultural experience in building and leading high performing teams across North America, APAC and India. He has contributed to the growth of companies by attracting top talent, building strong employer brands and enabling talent to be their best. He is currently the Director of Human Resources at Credit Suisse, where he is responsible for attracting and enabling talent to help realize our strategy. He is also a member of Diversity & Inclusion committee, as a part of which he helps drive bank’s agenda to create an environment where people value diverse perspectives, work experiences, life styles and cultures. Previously, Prashant has lead HR operations at organisations like Sapient, Hike Messenger, and Headstrong (now a Genpact entity).
Q. You are a veteran with almost 20 years of experience in the industry, how would you define the trajectory of your professional life? Any favourite experience which took you one step closer in achieving your life goals?
A. I am fortunate to have worked with leaders and organisations whose counsel enabled me to reach where I am today. One experience that is still fresh in the memory is the decision to move to the US during the early part of my career and spend time close to business and clients. That experience of running remote, multi-cultural distributed teams ingrained the value of communicating often and repeatedly while offering individuals an opportunity to contribute towards department’s priorities. My manager saw what the team had been able to accomplish in short time and offered me additional responsibilities when I decided to move back to India.
Q. You have a rich experience of building and leading cross-cultural teams across geographies as an HR leader. How important is it for you to continuously motivate and empower your team members and offer a great employee experience?
A. In today’s time, we work in an economy where the difference between a good team and a great team (and also an organisation) is made possible by discretionary efforts of the team. I believe one can achieve this by creating an environment where team members are respected, motivated and inspired to go above and beyond and are able to think and behave like entrepreneurs. I subscribe to the saying that people will forget what was said, but will remember what they experienced. It is therefore my role and those of my managers to create an enabling environment that offers enriching experiences to one and all.
“Companies are deploying chat bots to answer queries for roles that were previously ignored or required intervention from real humans.”
Q. If companies are to pursue their plans for stability and growth they need to place project management at the core of their business processes. According to you, how can project management provide stability in an unstable business world?
A. A Project Management takes structured approach to managing journey of organisation’s initiative(s) that can span multiple months or even years. During that ensuing period, many of the underlying conditions, assumptions, regulations etc. could and often change, thus requiring re-working on the plan. Managing projects with the lens of uncertain external or internal environment allows one to make assumptions and build flexibility into the plan, thereby providing some stability in an unstable, rather unpredictable business world.
“Magic happens when core values of an individual align those of the organisation, stated or otherwise.”
Q. In today’s digitalised corporate world AI and cognitive computing are not options anymore, they’re a must. How are companies using chat bots on company websites and social media channels for attracting talent and then turning that talent from passive into active candidates?
A. There are many use cases where companies are deploying chat bots to answer queries for roles that were previously ignored or required intervention from real humans. For example, the process of applying to a job on a company website feels like a black hole with automated messages that do not reveal much. Many firms are deploying chat bots to help individuals answer questions associated with their job application or even recommend jobs that are likely to be a better fit for candidate’s profile.
Q. A strong foundation of core values powers a successful business. How do you create a company culture at your previous and current organisation that embodies your core values? Do you look for these values in a prospective hire while hiring?
A. Magic happens when core values of an individual align those of the organisation, stated or otherwise. Both the organisation and the candidate often discern this right from hiring to on-boarding and being inside the firm when decisions are made. Given culture changes are slow and happen over a long time, it is wise to take sides on this one. I have been fortunate to work with organisations that allowed me to experience, learn and contribute to their cultures and each part of my earlier organisations lives inside me. I look for value alignment in every prospective hire for one mis- hire can cause more damage that can undo the effects of all previous hires.
“Internal experts at Credit Suisse work closely with our businesses across the globe to ensure that a diversity and inclusion framework is firmly embedded in our corporate culture.”
Q. The best HR talent will help the organisations attract the best talent in other disciplines. In your opinion, has defining talent for HR become as critical as defining the talent for the rest of the organisation?
A. HR is not immune to vagaries of talent and similar to rest of the business, the impact of good talent is seen and felt from a distance. In our role as custodian’s of organisation talent practices, it is incumbent upon us to walk the talk – create an environment that attracts good talent, where talent thrives and is able to make lasting impact, where talent is able to learn and grow skills and able to build long successful and rewarding careers. In today’s world, talent can walk out of the door, taking their capabilities, experiences, and learnings to competitors. All that stops them from doing so is the environment one creates and the people they work with, reinforcing the need to enter into psychological contracts and not just paper ones.
Q. An agile, motivated, and diverse workforce is the key to achieve strategic goals. How important is the workforce diversity and employee engagement at Credit Suisse in order to build strategic capabilities and drive performance and growth?
A diverse workforce promotes wide-ranging expertise and a broad network of contacts as well as an inclusive and open corporate culture that helps us to deliver high-quality products and services to our clients and to work together effectively across the bank. The diversity of our workforce provides us with a better understanding of client needs, cultural aspects, and regional markets. We believe that it also opens up a broader range of business opportunities for our company. As a responsible employer, we promote equal opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, civil or marital status, pregnancy, disability, or any other characteristics protected by law. Credit Suisse also promotes a safe and healthy working environment without discrimination, harassment, or reprisals. Our internal experts work closely with our businesses across the globe to ensure that a diversity and inclusion framework is firmly embedded in our corporate culture. They partner with managers on the planning and implementation of initiatives to promote an inclusive working environment. We also consider it important to engage in a dialogue with external partners in the area of diversity and inclusion.
“In our role as custodian’s of organisation talent practices, it is incumbent upon us to walk the talk – create an environment that attracts good talent, where talent thrives and is able to make lasting impact, where talent is able to learn and grow skills and able to build long successful and rewarding careers.”