In an exclusive interview with All Things Talent, Pranali Save, Director and Head HR India at Tieto talks about how technology is revolutionising the traditional ways of HR and bringing unprecedented opportunities for business growth. She also gives insights on organisational practices and D&I culture of Tieto.
Pranali Save is the Director and Head HR-India at Tieto. She is a seasoned professional with versatile global experience across different industries, different geographies and varied domains of people management, change management, leadership, and business revitalization. She has an experience of over 2 decades in the industry and prior to Tieto, she has held HR leadership positions in organisations such as SunGard, eGain, Geometric Global, Godrej Properties and Thermax. She is currently playing a dual role in Tieto Software – Director HR for Tieto India, and HR Head for Technology Services and Modernisation, the horizontal services unit in Tieto, spanning across six countries. Pranali holds a Masters in Management from WE School and a Bachelors in Statistics from Mumbai University.
Q. With your versatile and rich global experience across different industries, how eventful has your journey been? What was the defining moment in your career?
A. There’s never been a dull day in my career. Each time I got the slightest hint of routine or stagnation, a new challenge or an interesting project would pop up. So right from fast track HRIS implementations and large scale talent ramp ups, to cross cultural acquisitions and integrations, it has been a roller coaster ride all the way!There have been several instances that have shaped my career. My favourite is the one that came right in the beginning, in my first job itself, and set the tone for all my future choices. This was with the Godrej Group where within my first year itself, I got an opportunity to set up and head the HR function for Godrej Properties, a new subsidiary of Godrej Soaps. There were many firsts in this assignment – first job in HR, first exposure to the semi organized construction industry, first time leading a team, and that too, one where the members were older to me. This was my biggest learning in taking that leap of faith – jumping into the unknown, facing it with confidence, and trusting and making friends who could and would support me on the way.
Q. When we talk about rethinking global talent strategies, how is Tieto undertaking some unique experiments in this area? What challenges have you encountered so far in implementing these strategies?
A. Digitalization, Automation, AI, have all disrupted the traditional ways of looking at talent. Earlier the norm was that all talent had to come through the traditional route of employment. Today Tieto is looking at sourcing talent through different ecosystem partners and co-creation opportunities rather than just employees. Our ways of attracting and engaging talent have changed. In the near future, all talent will not necessarily come from within the organisation. Tieto has also begun investing in digital employees. Baby steps still, but we have started.
“These are indeed exciting times in business and HR has a unique opportunity to be at the fore- front in this change. SMAC, Security, Compliance, all call for superior social skills, networking skills, change management etc. The traditional ways of working, structures etc. are no longer valid and leaders are struggling to manage this huge revolution.”
Q. The digitally transformed economy brings unprecedented opportunities for business growth. What does HR look like in the era of cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security technologies and how is it helping organisations grow?
A. These are indeed exciting times in business and HR has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront in this change. SMAC, Security, Compliance, all call for superior social skills, networking skills, change management etc. The traditional ways of working, structures etc. are no longer valid and leaders are struggling to manage this huge revolution. Within this space, HR is uniquely positioned to understand the needs, mindsets, and drive change. HR can take the lead and rally the organisation and its leadership to tide through all this and come out successful.
Q. Today almost every organisation aims to be a global champion in diversity and inclusion programs. What are your tips for delivering feasible yet impactful campaigns that can foster congenial cultural workspace?
A. I think the best outcomes are a result of passionate people coming together to work towards a cause, not to meet a target ratio. Our D&I program at Tieto is driven by a network of employees, men and women who feel for this cause and want to make a difference. The organisation supports them through budgets, top level sponsorship, etc. but it is these networks that make and set the plans. We believe in the concept of ‘ambassadorship’ wherein employees become active internal ambassadors within the organisation. These Ambassadors champion the cause by living it, and this brings in the largest impact.
Q. Speaking of leaders, executive teams across all companies are responding to digital business disruption in one way or another. How are you working with your leaders to create a more digital Tieto?
A. Our digital strategy is embedded within the business strategy. It is an integral part of everything we do. Apart from the more formal adoptions that we do on this, every year we bring together our top leaders across the company in an open forum to discuss ideas around newer trends, customer expectations, and of course our strategy. This sets the direction for our leaders who then cascade it down the rest of the organisation. Apart from this we have our internal plans for digitalization within Tieto as well – we have moved systematically to lighter, cloud based, real time applications; mobile friendly digital learning platforms, automation in daily operations, and some baby steps in predictive analytics. Recently we changed our HR service delivery model to bring in newer ways of connecting with our leaders, which is aligned to the wave of digitalization in Tieto.
“Digitalization, Automation, AI, have all disrupted the traditional ways of looking at talent. Earlier the norm was that all talent had to come through the traditional route of employment. Today Tieto is looking at sourcing talent through different ecosystem partners and co-creation opportunities rather than just employees.”
Q. Millennials bring a number of skills to the workplace and are undoubtedly very global in their perspective. But according to you, what’s the number one job skill that the next generation will need to learn to thrive at work?
A. Millennials already have most of the new age skills. They are digital natives, born into a world of collaborative working, high on learning agility and know exactly what they want! This also means that they sometimes expect quick results, and while ‘fail fast’ is one of the routes to innovation, a bit more of stickiness is needed to thrive at the workplace. So my wish would be for a bit more persistence from their side. Not complacency, but trying enough before moving to the next challenge.
Q. As an HR leader, how important is it for you to continuously motivate and empower your team members? In this era of disruption, what do you think is a leader’s role in delivering a great employee experience?
A. In today’s age it is not possible to know everything yourself or do everything yourself. Knowledge is available for all who know how to access it. So the trick is in being able to identify and build a team or network of passionate talented people, motivate them and build a shared vision with them. Final step is to clear the obstacles out of their way and empower them to do what they are good at. They will succeed, and so will you and the organisation. Needless to add then, motivating and empowering the team becomes the key focus for any leader. A great employee experience is not just about a positive experience that is isolated or in certain pockets of the organisation only. The experience also needs to match the positive external image or brand of the organisation. It needs to be felt and experienced by everyone who is connected with the organisation. A leader has the onus to ensure these connections and matching of positive experiences. In this era of disruption, doing business is like sailing in open waters. The role of the leader is to set the course; and then allow and empower the team to play their roles in taking the ship to its destination.