Feedback becomes challenging for the supervisors who may belong to an old school of thought: Ashwajit Singh, MD, IPE Global

In an exclusive interview with BW people, Mr. Ashwajit Singh MD, IPE Global, talks about inspiring workplace, skill gap and the challenges faced while hiring a millennial.


Q- What is the value of Wellness of your workforce? What steps are you taking for it in your organisation?

My belief is that no company can be successful without paying attention to the well-being of their people -- and people can’t be successful without feeling good every day. Starting out with a team of five people to a current 900 plus full time workforce with nearly 1000 empaneled consultants. At IPE, we follow such steps:

* Flexible working hours

* Sensitation towards corporate culture through presence of policies in place have catalyzed our growth

* Young Leaders Programme (YLP) to accelerate growth of the mid-management

* ESOPs, Incentive scheme and profit/bonus share for employees

* Taking care of the people right from day one – Buddy policy which makes new joinees immediately feel at home

* Training and capacity building – should values culture

* Passion with their work

Q- What is the importance of an inspiring workplace?

The success of any organisation depends on its employees. It is widely understood that a positive ambience can make or mar your performance, be it school, college or workplace. No matter how talented and smart you are, you can work to the best of your capabilities and creative skills when you are surrounded by an encouraging environment that values human resource. At IPE, we run programmes for employees such as Toastmaster Club Rewards and acknowledgement, Gong for announcing wins for major achievements, exposure which helps all round people development, arrange off-site and on-site trainings to build employee capacities and incentivise to up motivation levels.

Q- Can we leave an important decision as hiring on a Robot?

Hiring is a combination of analytics, creativity and conviction on the capabilities of the candidate. Having a robot may increase efficiency levels, but may not bring about a people connect – an essential for any new employee joining an organization. While regular hiring processes can be automated with robots, the human intervention is necessary to understand the values, culture and give the process a human level.

Q- What are the challenges of working with instant gratification seeking millennials?

Technology is the biggest challenge and recency and quick availability of information among the millennials has made interaction almost real time. Often their constant call for mentoring, feedback becomes challenging for the supervisors who may belong to an old

school of thought – learning by doing. Looking at this, in IPE we try and address this challenge through building up a Performance Management sheet which not only spells out their individual targets (both soft skills and hard skills) in line with the department objectives but also gives them enough room for training, capacity building and subsequent mentoring, family life culture, concern for employees open office, low hierarchy level etc. The important ones IPE 360 Survey – judges a leader/manager around 8 attributes and then promotes them a score card of allrounder performance.

Q- How should a CEO and CHRO bridge the skill gap?

Company’s performance depends largely on the fit between people and jobs. The CHRO can be of enormous help by crystallizing what a particular job requires and realistically assess whether the assigned person meets the requirements. Jobs that are high leverage require extra attention. So, at IPE both the CEO and CHRO periodically sit and collectively discuss progress, challenges, employee engagement at the higher side, concern and issues that need more attention. This helps to action out work on a priority model and improve business performance.

Q- What do you think are the expectations from a futuristic CHRO?

In the current market scenario, CHRO is the eyes and ears of the CEO. I think the CHRO plays a crucial role in the organisation. A proactive approach through a need and fitment analysis can go a long way in improving the overall organisation productivity with career path and trainings. Looking at strategic variables like technology, markets, mergers, monthly and quarterly financial performance, the role of CHRO has become even more crucial – in fact, they have at times even become a short term result producer with their talent.

Q- What are the best practices that CHRO’s are leveraging from Social Media for the right kind of hiring and recruitment?

Breaking the conventional ways of hiring and manage to hire the best from a competitive market by name itself is not that easy. It is indeed a challenge to get the relevant sources involved to fulfilling the hiring needs. Driving engagement on social media through regular updates, responding to messages in short-span of time can attract a large talent pool. However, what is needed over and above this is the right sifting of applications through instinct and experience. The presence of updates on social media doesn’t just help in hiring but builds brand awareness too. Possibly the CHRO can even opt for a 360 degree approach where the hiring information is present across all company digital platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc – both social media and website. The latter can carry descriptive details on the position.

Q- A job interview is a conversation between two liars, how to get the best out of that is the skill of a CHRO. Can you give us some hacks for the same?

It is important for the HR managers to understand the job requirements well and ask relevant questions regarding the concerned person profile to get the deeper insights of the person. But at the same time HR should be a good listener, because as it says “First impression is the last impression.” A transparent conversation, body movements and eye connect are some quick things to watch out for in an interview. A combination of questions that are both straightforward and situational can help assess how the candidate would deal in different times. Consistency of responses can be tested along with that can help figure out the truth behind the talks.

Q- Explain the fine line between Talent Acquisition and hiring?

I could say they are two sides of the same coin. While hiring is about filling vacant positions (may be short term), talent acquisition is an ongoing process to find specialists, leaders, or future executives for the company. Talent acquisition tends to focus on long-term human resources planning and finding appropriate candidates for positions that require a very specific skillset.

Q- How to keep your employees motivated in a crisis situation?

Yes, that can be a tough time for a company. But it is during these situations, when the company needs to recognize employee contributions and hard work during its growth journey. Getting the best out of employees and continuously motivating them. It is these times that also test the employee loyalty towards the organisation and their ability to adjust with conditions.

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