In an exclusive interview with All Things Talent, Puneet Khurana, Vice President & Head HR & Training at PolicyBazaar shares his insights on the importance of linking employee engagement to customer engagement, humanising organisational change and how technology can be used to create a culture of engagement.
Puneet Khurana is the Vice President & Head – HR & Training at PolicyBazaar.com. He is a seasoned professional with broad experience in HR Strategy, Change Management, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Talent Branding, Campus Hiring, On-boarding, Employee Engagement and HR Business Partnering. He has an experience of over 18 years in the industry. Prior to Policy- Bazaar, he has held HR leadership positions in organizations such as IBM, Convergys and Stryker. He was awarded as Top 50 Most Influential HR leaders in India by National HRD Congress, CHRO Asia.
Q. With your rich work experience of almost more than a decade in Human Resource, how eventful has your journey been like? What successes are you most proud of in your current role?
A. Over the course of time, working with companies like Hero Group, Dell, IBM, and Stryker Global has given me a unique perspective to analyse the workplace situations unbiasedly and objectively. The journey is full of colours of dealing with different individuals and the most difficult situations.
One of the proudest moments during my journey in PolicyBazaar is growing multi-fold in terms of headcount numbers, employer brand, employer of choice, and maintaining the ever-growing and conducive culture. We grew from 1450 to 10K+ employees in a span of a little over 3 years.
Q. Do you think by integrating talent management fully into the organization, companies can closely connect their talent planning to their strategic planning and perform better financially? If so, how?
A. Yes, having internal talent management gives you enough bandwidth to communicate the changes quickly and clearly, so that all the internal and external stakeholders are on the same wavelength. This reduces miscommunication and the turn-around time on projects, increasing the overall efficiency of the workplace. This also covers the risk of losing “critical” talent as succession is already planned and available. Aligning the organization’s growth strategies to talent development and management is an integral part of PolicyBazaar. We invest, support and nurture our internal talent and provide ample opportunities for unlimited growth. This is the magic trick, which not only increases employee productivity and satisfaction but also makes us financially cost-effective.
Q. Employee engagement and customer experience go hand in hand. How important do you think it is to connect Employee Engagement to Customer Engagement and why?
A. “Happy employees lead to happier customers” For a conducive work environment and a nourishing culture, it is important to have a smooth connection of internal employee engagement initiatives with external customer engagement programs. Our internal employee engagement initiatives are such that they have played an instrumental role in aligning the goals of the management with the workforce creating synergies between the senior, junior and middle management. Our employee engagement activities are planned and executed in such a manner that the employee’s happiness index and service delivery are improved with each passing activity and day.
Aligning the organization’s growth strategies to talent development and management is an integral part of PolicyBazaar. We invest, support and nurture our internal talent and provide ample opportunities for unlimited growth. This is the magic trick, which not only increases employee productivity and satisfaction but also makes us financially cost-effective.
Q. What do you feel are the biggest pitfalls that companies should look to avoid when executing their engagement strategy?
A. Engagement strategies are tricky. One really can’t formulate and have no deviation. This needs a re-visit every now and then keeping organizational performance and goals in mind. Normal pitfalls could be:
- Formulation of strategy without having clear and tangible goals.
- Casual approach in execution and no follow-ups for the outcome.
Organizations need to have a clear path along with the process of all plans to be executed. A clear definition of roles and responsibilities, regular dip-check, in-depth analyses of outcomes, quick and effective re-plan and re-work (Plan B), and aligning and re-aligning as per requirement are low hanging fruits that can help in the overall success of any strategy or plan.
Q. With new technologies bringing new opportunities and new challenges, how can organisations start using workforce data to create a culture of engagement?
A. The goal of any organization is to create a holistic environment that creates and enhances their employee’s skill development, role classification and encourages recognition of their work. In order to create a culture of engagement, organizations can effectively use workforce data to promote employee engagement effectively, also to smoothen the development and learning activities. With the infusion of new technology, the organization can provide round the clock assistance and support to their employees.
Detailed analyses of data which clearly defines the need of the hour, acting upon those in real-time and closing loops around it is what is always required. We have the advantage of the availability of loads of data and data cuts; let’s get our minds thinking and hands acting.
Q. How important is it at PolicyBazaar to articulate and elaborate on the company’s central philosophy with the recruitment of right people that can support customer-centric culture and energetic guidance of the management?
A. At PolicyBazaar we ensure that our employees are imbibed with an entrepreneurial mindset and energy so that they are empowered to make decisions and run their departments like individual business entities. We have nurtured the culture of “My Company” in our employees. This has helped us create multiple P&L owners and the air has a huge sense of responsibility. Also, 80% of our senior management has been mentored, nurtured and promoted internally in order to articulate and elaborate on the company’s philosophy.
Q. Research shows that most large change management efforts fail. According to you, what strategies can organisations adapt to humanise organisational change and keep employees engaged in the process?
A. The prospect of a change can be daunting for everyone in the organisation since most change programs have a flawed assumption that everyone involved in the change process shares an immense common interest. Power dynamics, contextual considerations, and resistance to change are underestimated and even considered deviant. As a result, many of the personal and emotional issues that frequently occupy real people in real organizations during times of change are ignored, which is why change management efforts tend to fail. Hence, communication is the key to initiate change. It is important to keep your employees abreast of the upcoming changes and make sure they understand the importance of it. Employees need to be involved from day one and everyone’s energy should be in sync in order to achieve the end goal.