Front-end developer, Tariq Noorani, 25, has worked for three different companies in the last two years. At first, Noorani, who lives in Pune, explains this with the obvious: each change meant an increment. But further enquiries revealed that, at times, the pay hike he received was as low as 2.5% – and flexibility, growth opportunities and work environment were the real clinchers.
Noorani also represents a generation that refuses to be limited by the constraints of a typical contract and it’s no coincidence that the company he’s worked with for almost a year now has factored this into the contract, allowing him to take up moonlighting opportunities.
“It’s not just about being able to earn a supplementary income,” Noorani says of his after-hours job at a recording studio, “I get to explore my interest in entertainment, plus there’s a chance it may open up entirely different possibilities for me.”
New-age talent demands find takers
Noorani’s sentiment is something that recruitment heads are all too familiar with. Joy Banerjee, Group Head, Human Resources, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited, says, “The moonlighting concept is becoming popular. Often, professionals have no complaint with their jobs, but they also want to do other things that allow them to express their interests.” It’s a trend that’s here to stay, Banerjee says, adding that while many organisations are not comfortable with the idea, some of IL & FS’ verticals have already factored this into contracts. “The contracts in those cases merely stipulate that the organisation must be duly informed of such arrangements,” says Banerjee.
Indeed, around the world, leading organisations have recognised that attracting and retaining new-age talent may require embracing such unconventional ideas. Traditional tools – like, compensation and advancement opportunities – may serve to coax workers away from rival organisations, but they contribute to wage escalation along the way. And if the market does experience a downturn in 2023, or if it is negatively impacted by global cues, organisations will have no choice but to adopt more inventive recruitment strategies.
We recognise candidates that have upheld our organisation’s values and reward them with sponsorship for a learning initiative or course. – Shreyas Desai, talent management lead, APJ, Veeam Software
HR Tech to the rescue
The recruitment teams of organisations are rising to the challenge, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to shape policies. Quoting a survey done by cloud-based integrated HR platform, Darwinbox, Sudeep Ralhan, CHRO, Upstox, points out that 84 per cent of organisations have adopted at least one HR tech solution during the pandemic. Upstox is, of course, among these. The online stock trading firm uses data to better understand the needs of its workforce and develop solutions in accordance with its findings. “We regularly conduct surveys on various topics ranging from inclusivity to managerial relationships that give us insights into the key priorities of the workforce. A daily pulse check on our HRMS is an additional data point as well. In addition to this, anecdotal evidence from various collaboration tools and town halls helps paint a clear picture. Layered with specific data on attrition, recruitment and even feedback from external sites, we make sure we have the right set of insights to guide our people-related decisions,” says Ralhan, who has previously served as vice president-people at Walmart Global Tech, India.
A Mc Kinsey report suggests this is the way to go. It points to the need for hiring managers to look beyond labour supply and demand and consider what different segments of workers want and how best to engage them. One aspect that many organisations have already been examining closely is the percentage of women in the workforce and initiatives that would attract more women employees. Reskilling, returnship programmes and the hybridisation of job roles appeal to women, particularly in India, where many women feel torn between their professional and familial responsibilities.
The moonlighting concept is becoming popular. Often, professionals have no complaints about their jobs, but they also want to do other things that allow them to express their interests. – Joy Banerjee, Group Head, Human Resources, IL&FS
Focus on DEI
Indeed, several studies have confirmed that the option to work from home is valued more by women than by men. A 2021 LinkedIn report, for example, showed that women were 26% more likely to apply for remote jobs than men. “That may be because women shoulder a disproportionate amount of unpaid work, such as childcare and eldercare, at home. The flexibility of remote work can allow people to better balance responsibilities at home while maintaining a full-time job,” the report said.
Cognizant of this, market leaders are making efforts to create a more diverse workforce. Aside from setting up an Inclusion and Diversity Council, Marico has also adopted the Ways of Work (WoW) model which allows employees to take advantage of a flexible hybrid working model. Currently, the organisation’s employees work from the office on alternate weeks. Talking about Marico’s focus on inclusion and diversity in a recent interview with All Things Talent, Amit Prakash, CHRO of Marico, said, “In 2021, an average of 81% of our members feel included, and we endeavour to continue this further. We also regularly conduct POSH surveys for members of all genders to understand issues and challenges, which continuously helps us identify any areas of improvement and drive focused sensitisation efforts”.
Reskilling and mentorship programmes are just as important. Counsel Connect, one facet of Godrej Capital’s SheRises initiative, has thus been designed to allow women employees to engage with senior leaders for mentoring and coaching. Ruhie Pande, CHRO, Godrej Capital, says, “As we build the representation of women across our organisation, we are also committed to their success with us. SheRises is one of the avenues in place to listen to their needs and respond with action. We will continue to enhance and create policies and capability development opportunities that help women thrive at Godrej Capital.”
We do surveys on a regular basis to find out what the top priorities of the workforce are. These surveys cover a wide range of topics, from diversity to relationships between managers and employees. A daily pulse check on our HRMS is an additional data point as well. Also, stories from different collaboration tools and town halls help paint a clear picture [of what employees want] – Sudeep Ralhan, CHRO, Upstox
Investing in people
IT major Capgemini, which made waves with their announcement to hire 60,000 employees in India, in 2022, has long been investing in its people, through powerful learning and development programmes. On its LinkedIn page, the organisation highlights its focus on horizontal mobility – this is rendered possible because of the skilling initiatives that are available to employees.
Indeed, more and more organisations are now investing in developing such a culture of internal mobility that can help meet skill shortages and prepare the next generation of leaders. As Shreyas Desai, talent management lead, APJ, Veeam Software, says, there is a need to nurture in-house talent through both, learning and rewards programmes. The organisation brings both these aspects together in its Value Awards programme. Desai explains, “We recognise candidates that have upheld our organisation’s values and reward them with a sponsorship for a learning initiative or course.”
Aditya Kanabar, a recruiting manager who has worked with several IT majors, including Accenture and TCS, confirms that the corporate world has made concerted efforts in recent times to facilitate horizontal as well as vertical mobility. “In the past, a candidate would only be considered for lateral or vertical movement after a tenure of 24 months. This was subsequently reduced to 18 months and now stands at a year. This change is a significant consideration for new hires, too,” he says.
Today, job stability and pay hikes are not enough to hold onto the best talent. “Employees want to work with organisations that are looking out for them,” says Desai. Veeam Software has thus launched a massive programme to build a career roadmap for every employee in the organisation. This involves building competency cards and success profiles for each role/employee, as well as working on a career portal that will serve as a one-stop shop for every employee to see where they stand with respect to growth opportunities.
The right combination of benefits, rewards and growth opportunities are what employees look for, and investing in skilling and L&D also helps employers to unlock hidden sources of talent. Satyajit Mohanty, VP – HR, Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited, highlighted the need to weave these aspects into EVPs in an interview with All Things Talent in January 2022. “For the first time, in the company’s history, we [Crompton Greaves] have articulated EVP for the employees. It is around two topics: one is ensuring the growth of employees to transform Crompton and innovate. We grow employees by giving them the empowerment to transform and innovate Crompton. So, the keywords here are – growth and empowerment. The second is transformation and growth through innovation. We may not boast of a state-of-the-art talent management system like some of the world-class companies, but what we know is that we are best at growing employees through empowerment and autonomy,” Mohanty said.
It’s also important to remember that the inventiveness and agility of recruitment leaders are likely to be tested in these uncertain times when payroll is vulnerable to cost-cutting. This makes it even more important for HR teams to align their strategies and goals to ensure that talent continues to drive growth. For this to happen, talent strategies must be framed from the point of view of potential hires.