Talking to All Things Talent, Pratima Pinto Thomas, Head – HR, Fino Payments Bank shares insights on maintaining and growing work culture before and after getting publicly listed, addressing challenges during the IPO process, and preparing employees for an IPO windfall.
How to maintain and grow work culture before and after getting listed?
As a recently listed entity, we at Fino Payments Bank realised that it is important to focus on institutionalising processes, continue studying and implementing industry best practises and see what has worked for the organisation so far, and what is required to be done for the future needs of the work environment desired. As the processes evolve and the organisation grows, it has to demonstrate a consistent and predictable performance culture that drives the business goals.
This can be achieved by creating a listening mechanism and framework for the organisation. These mechanisms could be internal or external, formal or informal. The GPTW is one such external partner we work with, apart from the many other internal initiatives.
Another important facet to be imbibed as a part of culture is the focus on regulatory and compliance frameworks. Communication in this whole journey is critical. Throughout the transition, communication should be transparent, clear, and precise, especially while percolating information down the line.
“Another important facet to be imbibed as a part of culture is the focus on regulatory and compliance frameworks. Communication in this whole journey is critical. Throughout the transition, communication should be transparent, clear, and precise, especially while percolating information down the line.”
What are key parameters to keep in mind while going public in terms of employee wellbeing?
Pre or post listing consistency in performance is always the key to creating stakeholder value and sustained investor confidence. Such results can be brought about only by having a proper and streamlined performance management system in place through robust KPI setting, tracking, and evaluation process. This provides employees direction to perform on a continuous basis that helps deliver consistent performance.
Consistent performance and the need to be on go at all times needs to be coupled with continuous focus on employee wellbeing and employee-related programmes to avoid work pressure and fatigue. Programs should include:
- Regular employee mental health programs
- Support system infrastructure and policies
- A suitable balanced fun environment to help ease out work pressure
- Leaders with open doors for the teams
What are some of the probable hiccups during the IPO process that an organisation needs to weed out?
Going public is an important milestone, mostly a once-in-a-lifetime event, for any organisation. Having said that, it can be called a period of rebirth or new beginnings, for both the organisation and the employees, bringing about a mental upheaval.
Therefore, it is important for the company to understand “what going public means to the organisation and its employees”, and accordingly communicate internally to reassure people and manage retention. Else, there is a possibility of employees getting misled by speculation and misinformation that could trigger negative word of mouth/publicity for the organisation leading to exits.
To avoid such situations, a mechanism should be in place to monitor the flow of classified information driven by the Investor Relations (IR) team supported by HR and others. Strict adherence to communication guidelines across organisational hierarchy is a good practice, with an embargo on media interactions, social media posts, etc to avoid any glitches.
Also, as a listed entity there should be equal and more focus on long term vis-à-vis short term gains and goals, which can be clear in all communications.
The run-up to the IPO is seen by employees as a good time to cash in on the employee stock options (ESOPs) they have been granted. Once exercised, some people cope with the newfound wealth better, while others may not. Some continue to stay back and perform well, while some may move out after cashing in on the opportunity.
How can newfound wealth among employees lead to attrition and how to tackle it?
It is a realistic scenario and highlights the need to find ways post-IPO to keep employees engaged and passionate about their work.
To tackle this situation, organisations can look at connecting with employees on the level of intrinsic (meaning and personal fulfilment) motivations, along with tapping into purely extrinsic (monetary) concerns. Simultaneously, organisations can work on equity compensation programs that are in line with peer group firms to retain people. Employees might see more value and growth sticking around than moving out.
Can you share the experience of going through the process of modernising the employee processes – key challenges and learnings?
The pandemic situation had already accelerated the transition of many earlier planned employee processes into the digital mode. The IPO event was incidental which further sped this transition journey by including thorough audits, reaffirming some of the initiatives that helped us evolve them better.
We sometimes observe that when an organisation lays down certain processes and procedures, we tend to lose out on flexibility, however, we need to understand the ease of work these processes also bring about, with a focus on compliance and balance on the two sides. At Fino, we look forward to reinventing ourselves as an ongoing learning process, through the challenges that come ahead, to create milestones, and yes the IPO was one such milestone.
Year of Incorporation: 2017
Market Presence: Pan India presence through asset light network covering 94% of the districts
Employee Growth: Around 12% from Dec 20 to Dec 21
Employee Count: 2877 employees as on Dec 21 end
Workforce Pie (%): 80% of its workforce is field sales and the rest is corporate functions, which includes products, technology and marketing, central operations, government functions, HR& admin and corporate finance treasury.
Hiring Pipeline: Plan to build upon its core strength by hiring and expanding Sales and Technology teams to provide seamless services to our customers.
Business Operation: Fino Payments Bank is a fintech with a banking license that aims to improve banking access, adoption and usage through digital platforms.