In an exclusive interview with All Things Talent Sumeeta Desai, Director, APAC Head of Talent Acquisition, Global Recruiting at NASDAQ shares her insights on the importance of employee experience and D&I in the workplace. She candidly talks about the changing dynamics of talent acquisition and recruitment process over the years.
Sumeeta Desai is the Director, APAC Head of Talent Acquisition, Global Recruiting at NASDAQ. She is a seasoned professional with a qualitative track record in Talent Craftsmanship across Geographies. She has an experience of over 18 years in the industry and prior to NASDAQ she has worked with Xerox & CISCO Systems for almost 7 years. Her area of expertise includes- Talent Acquisition, Talent Engagement, Customer Centric Approach, Strategic Leadership Hiring, Nurturing Careers, Talent Mapping etc.
Q. Throughout your distinguished career, you have worked as an HR leader across geographies. What has been the most remarkable professional experience that changed the shape of your long vocational journey?
A. Definitely a thought-provoking question. There is not a single experience which I would not like to mention. It is an entire gamut of experiences over the years, which has created a wider vision in my mind. My thought process has changed. I empathize before I take any vital decision. Emotional intelligence does play a pivotal role. Apart from this, one has to understand and respect the cultural values of different geographies, especially in the Recruiting World where everyone goes through a variety of experiences, where they see no light; but what I have learnt is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Be passionate about whatever you do and do it diligently. I am a believer of shaping up careers based on the strong value system. Over the years I have come to learn that life is eventually about the choices we make.
The choice to learn, choice on your life priorities, choice of your vocation and organization. These choices which we make now eventually shape our life experiences and the meaning we create from our life experiences shape who we are.
Q. Companies today are focusing on elevating the employee experience which involves treating employees like customers. According to you, why companies need to focus more on employee experience rather than employee engagement?
A. With technology and the age of information empowering employees to change jobs more frequently, employers are realizing they need to offer more than feel-good perks. What some organizations forget is that their employees are their first (and most important) customers. Therefore, focusing on the employee experience is even more critical than evaluating the customer experience.
As a step towards creating a “wow experience” for an employee, we have recently implemented some pre on-boarding & off-boarding strategies, which are yielding great results. Ultimately, it defines the moments where employees become the brand ambassadors of an organization. Employee satisfaction is the greatest measure of a success story of any organization. Many measures purport that employee satisfaction is a factor in employee motivation,employee goal achievement, and positive employee morale in the workplace.
Q. Being diverse doesn’t necessarily mean being inclusive. Is inclusion more crucial to an organization than diversity or they weigh an equal importance in an organization? How progressive, diverse, and inclusive is your company culture?
A. A sense of belonging comes when the employees are responsible for the growth of an organization and aligned with the goals of the organization. We at NASDAQ believe in our employees which is extremely important in inculcating trust and increasing productivity. There is a sense of “one team”! Diversity has
many faces and we at NASDAQ have various “Employee Networks” as a part of D&I and we believe sustainability comes from being inclusive and diverse.
“Diversity has to be invited by the way of hiring (mostly) in the organization and Inclusion is what we do for the employees and how we deliver within the organization.”
Q. According to you, how can recruitment programs make job candidates flock or flee? How has the dynamics of talent acquisition and recruitment process evolved over the years?
A. There has been a drastic change in the way candidates are being hired. Social media is one of the key facilitators, I would say. There are different strategies, efficient tools and masterminds working together to simplify things and making candidates life easier to get attracted to the jobs. So, the programs are customized with the growing talent needs in the industry, not to distract but to help them realize the ease with which a gamut of opportunities are presented to them on the platter.
Q. The recruitment process is likely to undergo significant changes with the rapid pace of digitalization and advancements in the technology. What changes do you anticipate in the recruitment process in the coming years?
A. Definitely we are in the age where technology is changing every second. With that comes a lot of curiosity in everyone’s mind. Will it change the equation the way the talent is hired now? Will it replace a human touch?
In my opinion, digitalization & technology enhance the efficiency of Talent Acquisition as a function. We get more time to strategize and make things more efficient than ever before. From professional networking sites to online applicant systems technology is now impacting how employers recruit great talent and how great talent finds the right employer.
Q. As someone who holds experience of working across all HR functions, which set of skills do you think HR leaders should possess which makes them highly efficient and competent?
A. Apart from that, HR leaders need to be equipped with business acumen skills to have a good understanding of the internal and external business environment so that they’re able to align people programs with business needs. HR today is no longer limited to personnel files, data entry and record keeping instead, today’s HR leaders need to have the spontaneity of turning strategy into action where they should be able to implement programs that align with business strategy.
Q. How important is it at NASDAQ to articulate and elaborate on company’s central philosophy with the recruitment of right people that can support customer-centric culture and energetic guidance of the management?
A. It is all about creating a positive impact on the psyche of our clients whether internal or external. We emphasize a lot on ‘Customer Satisfaction.’ In fact, we are very careful in picking the right talent from the pool as behavioural aspects go long run and it should be rightly picked up at the time of recruiting. Client satisfaction is one of our utmost goals. In order to boost morale, we do reward the employees who bring in
“SMILE” on their client’s face!
“HR leaders need to have the spontaneity of turning strategy into action where they should be able to
implement programs that align with business strategy.”
Q. Nurturing talent and personal development plans fail because they’re not driven by the individual interests. What can be done to change this process and to ensure the success of these plans?
A. In order to nurture and retain talent one has to make sure that you provide the employee with adequate personal development opportunities. This can range from leadership training to building a new skill or simply pursuing a hobby that inspires an employee in and out of the workplace. And honestly, for making personal development plans to work successfully the development opportunities need to be tailored in such a way that it fits an individual’s interest since personal development is not ‘one-size-fits-all’. For this, we need to foster a
culture of learning and offer more innovative learning experiences. The employees will be able to apply themselves better when the organizations will think beyond formal training and make learning more informal. An employee’s performance increases when he/she feels empowered to pursue his/her personal goals.