Workplace Challenges Are Overcome By Transparency For Efficacy: Motilal Oswal HR

"We focus on hiring freshers and grooming them basis role requirement and individual aspirations. Likewise, even at the senior level; we focus on developing in house leaders and building the skill gap through various developmental interventions"


Motilal Oswal Financial Services (MOFSL) is ranked among top 15 companies and has been recognized as the best places to work in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry by the Great Place to Work Institute. 

Sudhir Dhar, Head-HR, Motilal Oswal Financial Services talks to BW People about their hiring, man-management and employment outlook in the financial sector.     

Do you see some change in your approach in managing a workforce six times bigger in a short time than what you were managing earlier?

With our organizations' workforce changing and growing six folds, it’s imperative for any organization to change and manage its employees in a manner which enhances their overall productivity and efficiency to work. We as an organization also had to change the way we approached and managed our main assets; Employees. There are 2 perspectives here; one is the organization getting bigger at a single location and organization becoming 6 times at multiple locations. The approach for both these situations shall be different. 

With branches getting opened at multiple locations, multiple departments, various businesses; the challenges and complexities involved are higher and diverse in nature. When employees operate at multiple interior locations the reach of HR towards these employees is very limited. To work, engage and connect with these employees we drive various open house sessions, forums where employees are addressed by top management giving them an opportunity to understand company’s plan and also get their issues addressed in the same forum. This way we create two-way communication between the employees and senior management. We also have frequent targeted branch visits done by HR to understand issues, address grievances, monitor discipline and in this process build a strong connection with them.

When the organization is small or when employees are operating from a single office the communication pattern is simpler; word of mouth, communication through emails or one-on-one sessions would suffice. With changing times and the organization expanding it was important that the communication is driven consistently and rigorously for it to be accepted across. With an increased headcount majorly in the broking and housing finance division which are widespread across the nation and our reach is limited, the modes of sharing information had to be multiple. Communication is now shared through various channels in addition to the visits and forums; WhatsApp, Email, Videos of key people sharing messages, other social media sites.

The main objective of these communications, visits and open forums is with the aim of integrating the company’s culture across. It’s important that the process and culture being driven at the Head Office is replicated across the branches and across businesses to bring about alignment in achieving the company’s mission.

Motilal Oswal had to ensure a tough time last year due to losses in Aspire. How important is showing a clear picture to the employees to keep them engaged? Do you also need to ramp up your efforts to keep the momentum going?

Every business has its own challenges and moments of ups and downs. With the housing finance sector, the complexities were different. We have our branches across India in the interior locations as well considering the loan ticket size we offer. Our focus remained on expanding our reach in the first couple of years, which we actually succeeded in achieving. But with quantity, we aimed at quality as well. Being a part of the Motilal Oswal Group which has its core competence as Process Orientation, streamlining the processes across the various departments of the housing finance sector was key. Hence, the focus lied on being better before becoming even bigger. The company still has business opportunities and is generating business like earlier but with business, the focus also is about enhancing processes, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

With this agenda in mind, we ensured that as a group we are very transparent with the kind of activities that we are carrying out to increase overall efficiency. To drive this, we had our senior management team including the CEO from the Head Office meeting the employees at branches through various branch visits across the nation. Meeting/Calling was majorly to connect and engage with them so as to keep them informed in a very transparent manner about the happenings occurring in the business at large and showing them the real bigger picture.

Does stock option to employees help in engagement, also aligning them to step-up to revive the situation?

Yes, it definitely does. Employee Stock Options make the employees Intrapreneurs. They act as the active owners of the company and have the realization of the fact that they shall benefit from the ESOP scheme when the company is profitable. This creates a sense of ownership and inspires the longevity of the employees in the company. This also brings about alignment with the company’s mission as, as a team then everyone is aiming towards achieving the same goal and works in a very objective manner. We have seen a lot of momentum in the working of the employees in the company post issuing the ESOPs. To retain top talent and key employees, stock options really add value as it’s an opportunity for the individual for wealth creation. Its cashless compensation to the employees and it’s of much higher value than that of their salary.

How does your organization adapt to meet the requirements of a changing workforce?

Change is inevitable. Our organization is recruiting manpower at a high rate and most of them are millennials. The millennials constitute about 50 percent of any corporate sector. They have different needs and expectations from the corporates. As an organization, we work on two aspects; identification of needs and customizing our approach basis needs. For instance; we all know it’s the digital era and is the need of the hour, we as a team are investing in technology introducing various apps for the smooth functioning of the employee life cycle. Like, we customized an App for employees so that they can mark their attendance when they reach the office, it also allows the employee to apply for leaves, managers can approve those leaves through the same app. We developed an App for employees named ‘Paathshala’ which has various e-learning modules, videos for employees’ perusal which helps them with ‘Learning on the Go’. So, the key lies in identifying the needs of the employees and ensuring we work on the lines of adapting to those needs. 

Since there is a lot of talk about the skill gap in the market, how difficult is it for the HR to hire?

For our organization, acquiring talent is not much of a challenge as we have the majority of the hiring done at the junior level. We as an organization, dedicatedly invest in the development of our employees at all levels. We are a Knowledge-Driven organization and keep striving on enhancing the knowledge of our employees continuously. We focus on hiring freshers and grooming them basis role requirement and individual aspirations. We have a campus recruitment program running wherein we hire from Tier 1 and 2 colleges and develop them into being future leaders by providing them with fast-track developmental opportunities. Likewise, even at the senior level; we focus on developing in house leaders and building the skill gap through various developmental interventions.

What is the outlook of the financial sector in terms of employment? Do you plan to continue increasing your headcount?

The future of the financial sector is expanding and diversifying rapidly, and has always been bright. The financial sector is booming and the economy is increasing. With this, technology has been growing at a tremendous rate too. Considering the last 5 years of technological changes, there have been changes in the job market as well. There is a need to redefine jobs. There is a lot of talk on jobs getting redundant and human capital needs decreasing, but in my view, there will always be need of human assets but the major need is the competency being aligned, skills need to be re-defined. Organizations and employees need to invest in themselves on building the skill sets of the employees in vogue with the artificial intelligence world.

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