Satyajit Menon, SVP & Head, People & Culture, Hero Vired
Speaking to All Things Talent on how Hero Vired encourages and fosters a culture of entrepreneurship and learning, Satyajit Menon, SVP & Head, People & Culture, Hero Vired discusses in detail the need to offer fast-paced career growth opportunities, upskilling, and wealth creation for employees working in the organisation.
Q. Hero Group launched Hero Vired in April 2021 in a much-crowded edtech space. What has been the biggest challenge in acquiring tech talent in this sector?
A. One of the major challenges in acquiring talent today is the offer to conversion ratio. From my experience, 50 percent of those who are offered jobs actually join the company. The fact that the offers that are being extended to candidates are as high as 100 percent even for skills that are not premium or at par with the requirement will also become a stumbling block in the long run for companies. There is an extensive emphasis on hiring “ready-made or 100 percent skill-fit” professionals while there is minimal intervention on skill-building.
All of these factors increase challenges for others in the industry. Additionally, with the tech talent shortage, on one hand, companies that are hiring for specific skills are unable to match the actual requirements for the job. On the other hand, the premium salaries paid to professionals are not justified by the skills or role they play.
Q. Did the existing talent pool help during recruitment?
A. Candidate interest is high as they are excited by the Hero Vired story and our mission to keep our learners at the center of everything we do. We have found that external talent is often motivated to work with a fast-growing startup like Hero Vired rather than mature firms in the same sector. We offer fast-paced career growth opportunities that are linked to outcomes and impact, instead of years of experience or just credentials. We offer multi-tiered career ladders for our employees. Depending on their interests, they can either become subject matter experts or lead teams.
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“We have found that external talent is often motivated to work with a fast-growing startup like Hero Vired rather than mature firms in the same sector. We offer fast-paced career growth opportunities that are linked to outcomes and impact, instead of years of experience or just credentials.”
Q. What kind of compensation and benefits were offered to hire the right talent?
A. Hero Vired takes a dynamic approach to hiring the right talent and rewarding them for their hard work. Some of the perks include:
- A compensation structure that is among the best in the industry
- Company stocks/equity for our top talent
- We reward our employees for performance through our bi-annual appraisal cycle
- Attractive incentives and prizes for revenue teams
- Lucrative payouts for employee referrals
- Monthly recognition and awards for our top performers
- Medical and general hospitalisation benefits for employees and their families
- Employees are encouraged to focus on results instead of just effort or clocking in and out of the office
- Leadership workshops for women employees
Q. How has Hero Vired leveraged the reputation and recall value of its parent group in acquiring talent?
A. Our core first principles are founded upon a solid foundation of core beliefs. These originate from our parent company (Hero) when acquiring talent. The first principles we look for when hiring our talent revolves around doing the right thing, demonstrating initiative and zeal in your work, owning your outcomes and having an entrepreneurial mindset, showing boundless passion, having a curious mind, and the spirit of winning together.
These first principles are deeply rooted in the way we recruit, promote, and reward our people.
Q. What are some of the talent fixes you see during this boom time? While there is a frenzy for talent that organisations are looking for, the talent in the market may not be up to the mark. How is Hero Vired ensuring the people who join them are exactly what they need?
A. Since talent is limited, it is extremely important for companies to consider internal training. Although it is beneficial to source talent with basic skills, it is important to ensure that they can ramp up their skills within the first 30-60-90 days in a manner that is compatible with the nature of the business and the broader engineering culture.
Over time, the frenzy of offering excessive amounts of money to attract talent will subside. Companies will look to reduce their dependence on competitors and peer groups and consider investing in talent from other technology backgrounds, colleges, and tier-II or III universities.
We at Hero Vired, tailor our technical assessments to the precise needs of the job. We select talent based on the degree of competency they demonstrate with respect to technical, functional, and behavioural skills. There is a mandatory minimum competency score depending on the role they will hold. We invest in 4-5 rounds of cultural and behavioural evaluations and about 1-2 rounds of technical evaluations. It is essential for us to hire Vired-fit talent. We then invest and nurture new hires through a rigorous training program designed to enhance their skills over time.
“Over time, the frenzy of offering excessive amounts of money to attract talent will subside. Companies will look to reduce their dependence on competitors and peer groups and consider investing in talent from other technology backgrounds, colleges, and tier-II or III universities.”
Q. The surge in hirings has also led to many engineers and others getting wooed by multiple offers. How are you ensuring that the right candidate chooses Hero Vired over others?
A. Hero Vired encourages and fosters a culture of entrepreneurship among its employees. In a learning company like ours, the platform and opportunities to learn are limitless. For instance, Hero Vired can be a melting pot of interventions for engineers to learn and grow. Working with Hero Vired also means that one is a part of the large global business conglomerate (The Hero Group) but with an acute startup mindset where agility, being lean, the rich experience of running big companies, and investment in the career of our employees are some of the many aspects that work in our favour.
People joining the initial founding team will have the opportunity to build their T-shaped career (gaining experience throughout the company) and create wealth. It’s not something most people have access to. Each of our teams spends time and energy meeting with every candidate and sharing the company’s mission and values. By doing so, we reinforce what Hero Vired stands for and what our unique culture and core principles mean to us.
“Hero Vired encourages and fosters a culture of entrepreneurship among its employees. In a learning company like ours, the platform and opportunities to learn are limitless.”
Q. Many organisations are moving away from metros and are turning to tier-II and tier-III cities for their hiring needs. What has been Hero Vired’s mediums and geographies for recruitment? In such cases, how much upskilling and reskilling is required?
A. When it comes to finding the right talent, we are geography agnostic. What one does is more important than where one works from. Our talent comes from diverse parts of the country and we leverage all sorts of communication platforms to hire the right talent. We offer 30-day new hire boot camps to maximise functional capabilities across departments, enabling new hires to rapidly improve their productivity and efficiency.
Q. How important has D&I become in this space?
A. We, at Hero Vired, believe that diversity emanates from your thoughts and actions. The education industry has by design provided a strong foundation for diversity and inclusion. This has made it even more important for companies to invest in D&I when it comes to hiring faculty, learners, and other actors in the learning ecosystem. Edtech is an industry where the education system and technology disruptors can be a catalyst towards driving D&I in the right direction.
Q. What are the top tech skills required for working in the edtech space?
- Frontend/Backend Development (both mobile and web)
- Full Stack Development
- UI Development
- Moodle Development
- QA Automation
- Product Management
Q. What is the differentiating factor for Hero Vired?
A. We have curated programs in partnership with world-class universities like the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) to ensure our learners receive impactful content. 90 percent of our sessions are instructor-led and expert classes. We also offer our learners – industry projects, case studies, career workshops, discussion forums, and a practical hands-on experience. Our programs and courses have been designed to support gamified and interactive learning, and are mentor-driven. Additionally, each learner gets to work with an assigned career specialist from the Learner Success team to build out their personal and professional brand, prepare and work on their presentation, interviewing, and communication skills.
Q. Why did the group venture into this space?
A. Our goal at Hero Vired is to provide effective learning that is linked to real job roles in domains where there is a visible, sustainable, and long-term need. With Hero Vired, we want to fill this gap and play an active role in realising the government’s vision of a self-reliant India by training professionals for industries, jobs, and skills of the future. That’s why the group forayed into the edtech segment. Our philosophy at Hero Vired is to maximise expertise and knowledge in online learning, skilling, and upskilling, and deliver it to students and professionals. The group understands the need for a skilled workforce that can contribute to India’s ever-changing industrial landscape thanks to decades of experience in this industry. The proof of this idea is in the dissemination of practical knowledge that is benchmarked with the highest global standards, and Hero Vired is a step ahead in this direction.