Amid India’s evolving business landscape, talent demand in the BFSI sector, particularly HFC, is on the rise. Ruhie Pande, CHRO at Godrej Capital, discusses these shifts, the company’s talent strategy, AI in HR, and the need for inclusivity.
Understanding the BFSI hiring boom
“Hiring trends in India have been on an upswing since the beginning of the new financial year. This was particularly true for sectors such as Real Estate, BFSI and Oil & Gas and in emerging tier 2 cities,” says Pande. Her statement is supported by figures from Naukri JobSpeak Index, which also shows that the trend is continuing.
According to the index, the hiring activity in India’s white-collar professional segment remained steady in May 2023 and witnessed multi-sectoral growth across sectors such as real estate, banking, oil and gas and pharma.
“The significant increase in white collar jobs will also provide stimulus for growth in demand for housing and, in turn, opportunities for financing,” Pande says, pointing out that, in her view, “lending for home buying purposes will rise and financial firms in the lending space, specifically HFCs, will see a growth in demand for talent”.
This trend correlates with the increased adoption of digital customer acquisition and servicing, making it easier for potential customers to avail loans. “Customers who have been fence-sitters may, consequently, feel more comfortable with the idea of taking the plunge by way of a new home loan or they may choose to upgrade their existing homes”.
Pande explains that the positive outlook has encouraged BFSI firms to expand their reach and set up bases in tier 2, 3 and rural cities. “This growth, consequently, leads to a rising demand for talent across all geographies in India,” she says. On the flip side, the BFSI sector grapples with an attrition rate of more than 30%, especially among frontline staff.
Ageism in the workplace is a nuanced issue. We’ve observed that it’s not exclusive to any one age group; rather, it derails careers across the board. On one hand, young professionals may encounter obstacles due to perceived inexperience. On the other hand, employees from older age brackets often confront limited employment prospects. In Godrej Capital, we see age as a spectrum, not a separator. Each generation brings unique value to our organisation.” – Ruhie Pande, CHRO, Godrej Capital
Combatting high attrition rates
There have also been instances where the top three banks in India have seen this figure skyrocket to as much as 50%. Pande shares that new fintech companies have exacerbated this by tapping into the BFSI talent pool. Frontline staff, vital to customer relations, are easy targets for poaching by such companies, which often offer only marginal pay rises and other benefits.
Pande believes that BFSI companies need to fully comprehend the cost of attrition and its potential long-term impacts on success. “It’s imperative that we wake up to the reality of this situation,” she says. “We need to offer flexibility, enable our teams to succeed through the adoption of digital work strategies, and create opportunities for growth and capability development. These are the keys to reducing attrition rates in the sector.”
Attracting the best talent
Despite being a relatively young company, Godrej Capital has already hired its 500th employee. The company’s strategy revolves around hiring the best quality talent for roles across the organisation, focusing on both skill sets, experience, and cultural fit. Its multi-pronged approach to attracting talent includes a robust employer branding strategy, partnerships with dedicated vendors, and encouraging referrals from team members.
“We also are focused on hiring diverse talent – be it women, LGBTQIA+ members or people with disabilities,” says Pande. This focus ensures that the new-age workforce is well-represented across the organisation. Another integral part of their hiring process is their campus hiring efforts. “By hiring from both tier 1 and tier 2 B-schools and engineering courses, the company ensures fresh talent infusion into the organisation and the BFSI industry,” Pande highlights. Indeed, this approach also allows the company to integrate the unique skill sets that GenZ brings to the workplace into the landscape.
Building inclusive environments
Godrej Capital strongly advocates in favour of inclusivity, initiating various policies for a diverse environment. Pande says, “Our first CXO team had 43% gender diversity, reflecting our organisation-wide approach.” Their inclusivity extends beyond gender, encompassing sexual orientation, ability, religion, education, and experience. As Godrej Capital grows, diversity remains central, with initiatives like partnerships with diversity hiring agencies, internships for the LGBTQIA+ community and individuals with disabilities, and employee sensitisation workshops. Pande adds, “We’re auditing for accessibility to ensure an inclusive workspace, and our buddy programme aids in the assimilation of diverse hires.”
The importance of this outlook is underscored by a 2020 survey, which revealed that a considerable 33% of Indian employees had encountered age-related bias in their workplaces. This study brought to light the critical need to shrink ageism and promote generational diversity.
Age as a spectrum, not a separator
Pande is acutely aware of the broader aspects of diversity, including age diversity. “In Godrej Capital, we see age as a spectrum, not a separator. Each generation brings unique value to our organisation,” she affirms. “Ageism in the workplace is a nuanced issue, affecting both ends of the age spectrum,” Pande says. “We’ve observed that it’s not exclusive to any one age group; rather, it derails careers across the board.”
She elaborates on this, saying, “On one hand, young professionals may encounter obstacles due to perceived inexperience or youthfulness, even when they possess the aptitude or potential for more significant roles. On the other hand, employees from older age brackets often confront limited employment prospects, along with reduced opportunities for learning, changing roles, or earning recognition.”
Pande highlights that ageism is thus a double-edged sword that can limit the potential of young minds while simultaneously undermining the value of experience.
“Each individual brings a unique set of strengths to the table, and harnessing this collective power is what lends richness to an organisation’s talent pool,” says Pande. She goes on to highlight examples of how different generations can add value. “Baby boomers and GenX, with their wealth of experience, provide invaluable mentorship, while millennials impress with their tech-savviness and passion. And Gen Z, known for its candidness, brings fresh perspectives and challenges norms.”
Pande believes that leaders should capitalise on these unique strengths. “Both mentoring and reverse mentoring can foster learning and strengthen bonds across age groups,” she suggests. “At Godrej Capital, we have a programme called ‘Becoming a GC People Leader’ which initiates dialogues for understanding different generations better, specifically between millennial managers and their Gen Z workforce,” she offers, by way of example. Another example of the company’s forward-thinking approach is the fact that it offers a flexible salary component that allows employees to customise their compensation structure—to have more in hand or to save on tax etc., as per the individual’s preference.
Managing expansion with a flat structure
Pande points to another crucial aspect of Godrej Capital’s organisational design that facilitates inclusivity and encourages growth. “At Godrej Capital, we have consciously chosen grades and designations that allow us to maintain relatively flat hierarchies and structures,” she explains.
Speaking about the company’s 30-city expansion plan, Pande reveals, “We’ve hired the teams with a specific premise in mind. Each member is expected to fulfil both individual contributor roles as well as team management responsibilities. In certain cases, we assess roles to understand if their scope can be expanded with additional deliverables. The idea is to challenge our people to step up and grow.”
Pande firmly believes in empowering her workforce. She says, “At Godrej Capital, we ensure all our employees are sufficiently empowered and have decision-making authority. We strive to foster an environment where everyone feels valued and trusted to make impactful decisions.”
Recognising the changing dynamics of the modern workspace, especially in light of the recent shift towards remote working, Pande brings our attention towards another crucial aspect – virtual onboarding. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of ensuring the seamless integration of new employees into an organisation, even when it’s done virtually.
Godrej Capital strongly advocates in favour of inclusivity, initiating various policies for a diverse environment. Ruhie Pande, CHRO, Godrej Capital says, “Our first CXO team had 43% gender diversity, reflecting our organisation-wide approach.”
Successful virtual onboarding initiatives
Godrej Capital has, fortunately, been an early adopter of digital transformation. “Our onboarding process, for instance, has been fully virtual even before the pandemic necessitated such measures,” Pande shares. The onboarding experience is enhanced with an in-depth induction program called ‘Get Set Grow.’ “This is a virtual orientation that provides newcomers with an overview of our organisation, our culture, and our values.”
As employees continue their journey in the organisation, they find that many aspects of our work culture — be it ways of working, functional delivery, policy and benefit experiences, or recognition and reward programs — are all deeply rooted in Godrej Capital’s values. “We’ve developed a consistent culture that emphasises and reinforces our values at every step,” Pande shares. The organisation also relies on a variety of engagement tools and listening systems to stay connected with employees so as to be able to address any concerns they may have. “Our aim, after all, is to continuously improve and create a positive work environment for everyone,” says Pande,
By adopting such strategic practices, companies like Godrej Capital are setting the stage for the future landscape of Human Resources in this fast-paced sector.
About the author: Ruhie Pande currently leads the Human Resources department at Godrej Capital. Prior to this role, she directed the HR initiatives at Godrej Properties for over two years, before making her mark as the very first employee at Godrej Housing Finance.
Year of Incorporation: 2019
Number of employees: 690 employees as of May 31
Name of the founders: Godrej Capital is a part of Godrej Industries Limited.
Name of the key execs:
Business line: Godrej Capital is the holding company for Godrej Housing Finance Ltd. and Godrej Finance Ltd. Together Godrej Capital is in the business of lending and provides secured and unsecured loans to customers across India.
CAGR of workforce growth: up to 50% with growth across multiple products & geographies (CAGR is from the date of inception)
Workforce pie across departments (in %): Business – 48%, Risk – 23%, CC & Operations – 13%, Technology – 6%, Finance – 5%, HR, Admin & Directors office – 7%
Key HR differentiating factors: Diversity of gender, orientation & ability, Digital Customer Acquisition, ESOPs for core leadership positions.