When The Chips Are Down, Focus More On Your Existing Employees: VP HR, World Bank
How one can make bold and transformational leadership commitments to move towards a future that redefines one’s relationship with collaborative winning? In an email interview with BW Businessworld, Sean McGrath, HR Vice-President - The World Bank, talks about talent management skills and how to keep employees happy
How one can make bold and transformational leadership commitments to move towards a future that redefines one’s relationship with collaborative winning? Sean McGrath, HR Vice-President - The World Bank, will be sharing his thoughts as a keynote speaker at ‘The HR Evolution’ at the ‘6th SHRM India Annual Conference & Exposition’ on 14-15 September 2017 in New Delhi. In an email interview with BW Businessworld, McGrath talks about talent management skills and how to keep employees happy. (Edited Excerpts)
Work flexibility is gaining popularity across globe. How do you keep the employees engaged?
Nowadays it doesn’t matter where you work but how you work. Technology offers us an array of tools that can be used to stay connected to the office when needed. Over the last few years, at the World Bank, we’ve made significant strides to improve the flexible working toolkit and to make sure our 16,000 employees know what options are available. With our workforce deployed in different time zones, we have to be able to deliver on our work in a smart way.
What is more important- flexible and talented workforce or time bound employees?
Development doesn’t mean a 9-5 job or business and neither can we do that. Our staff needs to be able to able to adapt their workday, even if that means travel from Washington to India for a meeting. We have an extremely engaged staff which works tirelessly to deliver for our clients.
How to instill confidence in employees when the hiring is really low?
We receive large number of applications for job posting and hire while our voluntary turnover remains very low, this demonstrates that our ability to attract and retain top level candidates remains high. But what’s important is to focus on the staff you have on board, to give them a workplace that is challenging and interesting; one which allows for personal and professional growth.
People who join the World Bank Group do so to make a difference in other peoples’ lives and our recent survey tells us that 92 per cent of staff are proud to work in our organisation and we’ve seen a significant increase in our number of engagement indicators, which signifies good coordination between staff and the management.
What can be done to bring parity in employee appreciation and make them feel comfortable in the workplace?
We are a global organization, with staff working and coming from many countries across the world. How we enter and leave the organizations is very important, and staff needs to be treated equitably. We also have to ensure fluid talent within the workforce, not differentiated by location or contract type which has not always been the case. We need to ensure we have similar recognition for our staff based on differentiated performance.
We’ve made significant advancements in the past few years, but much work remains to be done and the way we recognise our people should evolve. We are ensuring that the recognition tools we use each year (presidents awards, Vice President awards, awards for innovation to name a few) are available to all staff.
How to deal with discrepancies in employees? Is background checking becoming all the more important?
At the end of the day, if the person you are bringing on board claims to have the necessary qualifications and credentials to do the appropriate work, we have sufficient management discretion in places to both address issues prior to bringing staff on board, and after orientation.