We spoke to Kamlesh Dangi, Group Head-HR, InCred to discuss InCred’s journey and growth over the years, the rebranding of R&R as InCred Premier League, the culture of appreciation and recognition at the company, digitising the HR processes, and much more.
Could you give us an overview of InCred’s presence in the market and some background on the size and workforce?
InCred Financial Services Limited is a new-age NBFC founded in 2016 by Bhupinder Singh. Singh was previously the Co-head of Wholesale Banking Asia Pacific for Deutsche Bank, a USD 3.5 bn revenue/1.5 bn PAT business. He is supported by one of India’s best leadership teams in running InCred Finance & its other InCred Group entities.
InCred Finance is focused on lending to retail and small businesses – business segments comprise Personal Loans, Education Finance and MSME Loans. InCred Finance’s lending strategy is based on the twin pillars of domain expertise and risk analytics and has displayed best-in-class risk performance through multiple cycles in the Indian market. The company has a book size of about INR 4,000 Cr and an NNPA of ~1.5%.
What has been the company’s growth over the years – from the perspective of the talent and workforce?
We are a 1,000+ strong organisation and our talent philosophy is simple, “hiring the best talent”. We hire and attract diversified talent be it through campus hiring or lateral recruitment. On-Campus, we target different categories of colleges to cater to specific requirements. We hire from tier-1, tier-2, and tier-3 colleges based on the need and job roles.
InCred Premier League – Please give an overview of how it was conceptualised, the thought behind it, and what the organisation aims to achieve here?
As a practice, we constantly seek feedback from our employees. One of the mediums is anonymous feedback through which we gathered suggestions around improvement in the existing rewards & recognition system. The existing R&R program was not instantaneous and was restricted to a limited number of winners who clear multiple levels of evaluation. Hence, a need to create a program where ‘anyone could recognise anyone’ was identified and actioned on.
We wanted to empower employees and promote a culture of recognition across the organisation. We realised that encouraging employees to appreciate and recognise the good work of colleagues would create a motivated workforce which would strive to outperform stakeholder expectations.
Towards this, we created a program which would empower every employee to recognise a good performance on the spot without an approving authority and thereby emphasise building a ‘culture of appreciation’. The rewards & recognition program was branded as IPL (InCred Premier League) to generate interest amongst employees.
“Towards this, we created a program which would empower every employee to recognise a good performance on the spot without an approving authority and thereby emphasise building a ‘culture of appreciation’. The rewards & recognition program was branded as IPL (InCred Premier League) to generate interest amongst employees.”
Various award categories were internally discussed and decided on with grade-wise coin allocation. Majorly, there were 3 types of award categories –
1) Open to all employees to recognise co-workers
2) Senior management recognising employees
3) A nomination-based award which is discussed by the leadership team.
Recognitions are published on our HRMS portal along with a leaderboard being shared on the company’s official groups. This helps the recipients receive social validation and visibility for their good work across the organisation. Through this, employees can have a view of the recognitions & citations received by their colleagues on a real-time basis and thus encourage & congratulate them for their good work.
How many employees have so far participated and have been awarded? Are there any limitations in terms of what they can or cannot redeem using the coins? How long does the activity last?
With InCred Premier League being around for over a year, we saw a 75 percent coverage rate with employees either giving or receiving an award. In the previous FY, on average, 1300 awards were granted monthly by 55 percent unique employees recognising 65 percent unique colleagues.
We have maintained a minimum threshold of 1000 coins, below which an employee cannot redeem the same. Also, employees whose resignations have been approved cannot redeem these coins.
Have there been any changes made in this year’s InCred IPL?
Based on the usage pattern, we decided to make a few changes to the format. For example, we noticed that there were high volumes of awards given during the month-end. Hence it was decided to make it a quarterly event rather than a monthly one to avoid the month-end bias context. We also studied the utilisation rate and accordingly adjusted the number of awards that can be granted.
Please share InCred’s hiring and expansion plans. What are niche skills/common skills needed, which department and locations?
In the retail business, we have a strong presence in metros and tier-2 cities. We have plans of expanding to tier-3 and tier-4 cities in PAN India.
What kind of investments has been made in HR Tech? Please share a bit about the digitisation processes in the HR department. How important is the HR tech angle for a high-growth company like InCred and the role of HR Tech as an employee engagement tool?
At InCred, all our HR processes are completely paperless. Initiatives like the R&R program are also hosted on our intranet portal. Digitising HR processes is one of the key focus areas for us. We have recently developed online pre-onboarding touchpoints for candidates and moved some parts of the post onboarding induction via online mediums. We have launched a chatbot available on our GSuite that is accessible to new joinees in the first 45 days of their joining. The chatbot answers basic queries on leaves, holidays, insurance, etc. We have a platform called “Vibe” on our intranet portal which is an internal networking/engagement platform where employees can post updates, photos, create groups, etc. We also use this platform for both informal and formal communications.
Please share your views on the inclusive workforce, gender diversity, and how is it followed for InCred?
At InCred, we believe in being people-centric, creating HR structures and policies that align with both the interest of the organisation and its people. Meritocracy is the only driver when we make our hiring decisions or internal promotion decisions.
“At InCred, we believe in being people-centric, creating HR structures and policies that align with both the interest of the organisation and its people. Meritocracy is the only driver when we make our hiring decisions or internal promotion decisions.”
The company claims a low attrition of less than 10%, how was it achieved considering the financial services sector, in general, has a high attrition rate?
We ring-fence our talent through various initiatives:
- Periodic interaction with senior leadership
- Regular engagement initiatives – InCred Champions’ League (sports event), women’s day, mental health seminars, etc
- Rewards & recognition programs
- Adaptable and flexible policies and processes
- Disproportionate rewards for different roles and jobs
InCred creates a team of top executives in driving different business divisions into separate businesses. Can you throw some light on the experience of attracting senior hires and at the same time ensuring that the existing HR ethos of the company is implemented in the new business division, say, in the wealth business which is looking to increase the numbers to 200 employees?
We are able to attract and retain senior hires since we offer fast growth opportunities and a lot of empowerment-led jobs which drive ownership and entrepreneurship among high performers. Our hiring process is very inclusive. For example, for certain roles, we also get the team members to interact with their probable manager and seek their comfort before we finalise the candidate and make an offer.
The thought process behind this approach is to allow everyone to participate in the decision of adding a new individual to the team and owning it, also ensuring merit is the only measure while making hiring decisions. In our experience, this leads to employees being more supportive of each other and having a collaborative approach to their work which in turn takes care of the HR ethos we want to establish across the organisation.
Year of Incorporation: 2016
Number of Employees: 1200+, Has offices across 24 cities in India, as well as in Singapore and the Middle-East.
Founder: Bhupinder Singh, Founder & Group CEO
Key Executives: Kamlesh Dangi, Group Head – Human Resources; Vivek Bansal, Executive Director & Group CFO; Prithvi Chandrasekar, President – Risk & Analytics; Rahul Bhargava, Chief Technology & Product Officer; Saurabh Jhalaria, Head of SME & Education Lending
Investors: Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain, Ranjan Pai of Manipal Group, OAKS Asset Management, Investcorp, FMO, Moore Capital and Elevar.
Business Units: Wealth Management, Asset Management, Investment Banking and Capital Markets, Institutional Equities Research & Broking and interests in FinTech start-ups in lending, analytics and wealth.
Hiring Plans: Since we are growing exponentially, we are continuously looking to hire the best talent in the industry and looking to expand its wealth management division by doubling its team strength to 100 people
– Gender diversity across the group is 21% whereas in the Wealth business it is 30.5%
– We provide ESOP & ESAR options to the senior grade employees
– About 50 employees were given a special celebratory bonus which amounted to about 1-2 months of their salary. The main reason for the bonus was to acknowledge the efforts put in by the team in building the InCred wealth franchise. This was not counted as expenses in their P&L and will not impact their incentives/appraisals bonuses.
– IPL: A rewards & recognition program called InCred Premier League, our very own IPL. IPL is an initiative to recognize the efforts and contributions of employees across levels on a day-to-day basis
– Unique work-life initiatives: InCred has multiple initiatives organized for our employees like the ‘InCred Champions League’ – a property that includes different games with an intention to increase engagement and interaction with colleagues conducted across multiple cities.