Hybrid Work Culture and Social Media Hiring: How Axis Mutual Fund Plans to Continue Riding into the Sunrise Industry 0

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The Covid-19 pandemic and its talent disruptions have given new urgency to the challenges facing the MF industry. To navigate these challenges, at Axis AMC, the priority has always been providing a work environment with clarity on a long-term business vision, having strong values and culture, challenging jobs, and leaders acting as mentors for their teams to help them retain talent long term. 
 

2021 could be the year where the markets change the fortunes for many. With several new and well-funded fintech players entering the mutual fund industry that boasts of an asset under management of Rs 33 lakh crore, the industry is once again going through the phase of being a sunrise sector whose overall AUM is growing at a CAGR of 20.6 per cent in the last five years. If that’s not enough, it added 81 lakh investor accounts in 2020- 21, amounting to Rs 9.78 crore folios across 43 fund houses at the end of 2020-21. In 2019-20, the accounts added were 72.89 lakh, as per the Association of Mutual Funds in India.

The sector’s unprecedented growth finds its backing from the surge in digitisation, better product offerings, easy norms by market regulators, low-interest rates, ease of transaction, and ballooning capital markets. The increased interest in financial products is also seen as a reason behind the industry’s improvement. However, despite the boom, India’s mutual fund penetration is considerably low compared to the global economy.

As per a Jeffries report, assets under management in India are just 12 per cent whereas the global average stands at 63 percent. That definitely promises that the Indian market has a huge scope of growth. How much of that growth impacts the talent acquisition framework for AMCs?

All Things Talent spoke to Meghna Gupta, Head of HR, Axis AMC, on the impact of the MF industry’s growth potential on talent acquisition, retention, and the gig economy.

As per a Jeffries report, assets under management in India are just 12 percent whereas the global average stands at 63 percent. That definitely promises that the Indian market has a huge scope of growth. How much of that growth impacts the talent acquisition framework for AMCs?

The Sunrise Industry – Then and Now

Axis’ social media recruitment strategy has been to use multiple platforms to share information about the job opening with both passive and active candidates. The challenge comes when one is inundated with thousands of profiles. Having a good Applicant Tracking System helps to reach out to the relevant profiles from all the profiles received.

When Gupta joined Axis in 2009, the industry was known as the sunrise industry. The moniker still fits but the shade has changed. The world of fintech and wealth management is changing the way businesses are being run by traditional players. As HR people, there’s also the need to shift the definition of talent to address this changing shade of our industry. Axis AMC continues to believe that they will always need talent for covering the partners spread across the country, but now they will also need to identify talent that can resonate with today’s digital world expectations.

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“Earlier, people were driven in their careers to meet their Maslow’s need theory. This pyramid has completely shifted. Earlier, the aim was to save money, tick a few things like buying a house, getting married, buying a car, saving for the future, etc. Now, it has inverted, today’s generation would like to save to travel and explore the world, live a comfortable life. This also brings a shift in the way the citizens of our country look at investing their money,” Gupta shares.

Identification of high potential talent has always been a challenge and the MF industry is no exception. Gupta observes that talent is moving within this industry. The inflow of new talent is limited for roles that are more populous rather than niche roles in investments, digital, technology, etc.

Gupta is of the opinion that hiring on the basis of one’s educational qualification and experience is a story of the past. Today, everyone hires a niche skill rather than an experience.

“At Axis, we have always been open to exploring talent outside the industry. Retention has been and will always continue to be a challenge. It’s a critical business need to hold back our talent. We believe that providing a work environment with clarity on a longterm business vision, having strong values and culture, challenging jobs, and managers & leaders acting as mentors for their teams helps us to retain talent,” says Gupta.

Gupta is of the opinion that hiring on the basis of one’s educational qualification and experience is a story of the past. Today, everyone hires a niche skill rather than an experience. Click To Tweet

Axis has around 600+ employees, 80% are in sales and operations and the others in Investment and shared services. They have noticed an increase in headcount across all verticals of the business, with a focus on sales and operations to handle the growing business needs. Keeping the changing business goals, the organisation has also been hiring specialists in investments and shared services. Digital technology and process transformation are some of the other areas they plan to improve their capabilities. The plan is to keep building the organisation in line with the growing business. The focus in the last two years has been to hire sales and operations resources in B30 locations for better reach and penetration. Axis plans to have 750 employee strength by the end of this year.

Social Media Hiring

Social media has emerged as a very strong platform to help build a strong and clear employer brand and employee value proposition.

Axis’ social media recruitment strategy has been to use multiple platforms to share information about the job opening with both passive and active candidates. The challenge comes when one is inundated with thousands of profiles. Having a good Applicant Tracking System (ATS) helps to reach out to the relevant profiles from all the profiles received. “Till now, social media as a channel of hiring has been successful for us for a populous position. It has really helped us in hiring specialists. The strength of social media lies in reaching talent across industry, experience, gender, and seniority,” observes Gupta.

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Skills-Based Hiring

Organisations need to be reskilled keeping with the changing times, especially post the current pandemic. It’s important to assess where the organisation is against the key skill requirements in this changing world and focus on building the new capabilities and filling their talent gaps. Gupta is of the opinion that hiring on the basis of one’s educational qualification and experience is a story of the past.

Today, everyone hires a niche skill rather than an experience. Some of the common areas for Axis are data analytics, science, IT, web designing, process transformation, channel managers for Fintech partners, etc.

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Future of Work – Gig Workers and Hybrid Model

The last 18 months have completely changed the future of work. Work from home has its share of advantages and disadvantages. Axis AMC is in the process of identifying roles that can be completely virtualized in the company. That means an incumbent who currently holds the profile will never come to the office and even their replacement will be working virtually.

The company is also in the process of identifying roles where they can hire Gig resources. “In recent years, we have seen many professionals taking a break in their career to do what their heart is in. They have the requisite skills and capabilities but would like to give limited time to their career. We are exploring reaching out to them to work as Freelancers with us. Compensation is completely based on measurable deliverables. It’s a perfect win-win situation,” Gupta elaborates. Axis AMC, thus, plans to follow a hybrid model where the employees will only come to the office for either 2 or 3 days and be working from home for the rest of the days.

The Rise and Rise of Learning and Development

Learning and Development (L&D) has always been a very important function for business and HR. It has become essential now. Learning is no longer restricted to classroom training around the company products, policies, and benefits. Learning now is agile learning, continuous learning. At Axis, there’s a defined learning calendar that skills and re-skills the employees, and helps to build their current and future capabilities. “With work being done from anywhere, it’s equally critical to retrain our managers to deal with this distance and yet ensure that deliverables are not compromised as well the employee engagement is not affected,” says Gupta. Axis has a meaningful budget allocated to drive learning across the company.

-As told to Bruhadeeswaran R and Moumita Bhattacharjee.

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Meghna Gupta is heading the Human Resources at Axis Mutual Fund. An HR professional with over 20 years of experience, Meghna is passionate about the future of work, cultivating workplace happiness, and building people-first organisations.

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