"Onboarding Is Beyond Form-Filling Archaic Exercise"

Nita Nambiar, Chief People Officer at Hexaware Technologies, believes that focusing on the 5Cs of culture, communication, compliance, connection and content, while aligning the employee’s talent with the company mission and vision can lead to high retention rates


HR professionals are at the forefront of shaping organisational culture, improving employee engagement and ensuring that employees have the necessary tools and support to excel in their roles. Nita Nambiar, Chief People Officer at Hexaware Technologies delves into the various HR aspects, including employee retention, performance appraisals, fostering a people-first environment and the importance of DEI initiatives. 

How can employee retention be enhanced with smarter onboarding strategies?   

We function in an industry where talent is hard to attract and even harder to retain. Onboarding is crucial to an employee’s success and long-term prospects of continuity. The impact of smart onboarding strategies on retention and productivity cannot be overstated. Be it conventional or virtual onboarding, with increased digitisation and automation in every sphere of our work, smart onboarding strategies do increase retention. Onboarding is more than just a form-filling archaic exercise.   

Properly focusing on the 5Cs of Culture, Communication, Compliance, Connection and Content, while aligning the employee’s talent with the company mission and vision can lead to high retention rates. Smart onboarding can iron out the wrinkles in traditional processes. For instance, combined with our Digital HR, our onboarding process ticks all the right boxes. 

How should HR professionals ensure a fair, equitable and bias-free performance appraisal process for employees?   

Ambiguity in performance metrics is a significant issue facing employees and HR professionals. Besides, conscious and unconscious biases also affect the appraisal process. One way to remove these two is by clearly defining the expectations and establishing objective performance criteria that align with the job role and organisational goals. Timely goal setting and frequent performance discussions with managers and training managers for a meaningful performance conversation are critical to a fair, equitable, and bias-free performance appraisal process. Aligning employee aspirations with organisational goals will help achieve results, individually and collectively. Building Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely plans will enhance the performance appraisal process. It is also vital to make goal formation a collaborative and inclusive process. 

Another way of minimising bias is by making the feedback and coaching process more transparent and ongoing instead of a once-a-year event. It ensures that the employee receives actionable and constructive guidance more objectively. Analytics and data-backed appraisal conversations are a sure way of making the process fair. Robust processes and systems that are easy to use help track and document performance, boosting employee and manager efficiency. An essential step towards an equitable performance appraisal process is training managers to have difficult conversations and overcome unconscious bias. 

As the HR Head, suggest how can performance appraisal results be used to make decisions about compensation, promotions and development?  

Appraisals give clear, effective and measurable metrics on exceptional performers. These metrics are instrumental in deciding whether an employee has the potential to take on higher responsibilities and challenges. Top performers can be given bonuses to motivate people and curb attrition. While the rating is essential, compensation modeling also looks at individual skills and percentile positioning. An important outcome of the performance appraisal system is the 'Individual plan', which focuses on employee-specific, customised learning and development interventions. A way to increase consistency, especially in the wake of performance appraisal outcomes, is to build a solid career progression plan that focuses on the employees’ development and growth potential. Performance appraisal should help the business envision career growth for the high performers and chart a clear roadmap focusing on employee-specific learning and development. 

All these metrics are vital to charting an employee's career plan. Based on the appraisals, HR and managers can work with employees to create individualised development plans that align with their career aspirations. When employees know their appraisals are objective, transparent and consistent, they start engaging in constructive conversations about their career growth and development. Such an approach fosters a culture of continuous improvement and enhances employee engagement and commitment to the organisation's success. 

What initiatives can the employers take to build a people-first environment in order to enhance the productivity and collaboration among the workforce?   

Companies with a people-first environment experience a positive impact on productivity, collaboration and overall employee satisfaction. Prioritising employee welfare through targeted programmes ensures their physical, mental and emotional well-being. The core of a people-first environment at the workplace is to help employees feel more connected and motivated and experience a sense of camaraderie. The essence of putting people first transcends business goals. The benefits of a people-first culture are apparent, especially when it comes to increased productivity, engagement, collaboration, and the company's long-term success.  

Creating a culture of open feedback mechanism, a robust rewards and recognition framework and propagating a culture of trust and empathy have also yielded rich dividends for us. By prioritising the well-being of their employees, organisations can create a people-first environment that fosters collaboration, productivity and long-term employee loyalty. It leads to a positive workplace culture where employees feel motivated, valued and invested in the organisation's success. 

Today, DEI is a non-negotiable. How can incorporating DEI act as a metric for the measurement of employee initiatives and employee performance?   

Diversity metrics are key to measuring progress in building a diverse workforce. These metrics represent different demographic groups at various levels and across regions within the organisation. Internal surveys, interviews and feedback mechanisms give an inkling into inclusion metrics. These are key to assessing the level of inclusion and belongingness experienced by employees. Inclusion metrics can reveal how supported and acknowledged employees feel, whether they feel a sense of belonging and whether they believe their perspectives are valued.

On the employee performance front, tracking and ensuring that the performance of diverse groups and different minorities are delinked from their backgrounds and identities will go a long way in fostering a healthy and inclusive work culture. Leaders play a crucial role in increasing inclusion at the workplace, it is therefore imperative that they are accountable and committed to their personal, department or regional diversity and inclusion goals.

Equity assessment offers deep insights and helps evaluate the level of fairness in opportunities and resources provided to employees across different demographic groups. An objective assessment can help identify potential disparities and areas for improvement. DEI initiatives and strategy have great influence on how an organisation progresses and prospers since these are intricately linked to recruiting, mentoring, career development and much more. DEI will impact business outcomes like employee and customer satisfaction, creativity, retention, and productivity. By making DEI a measurable aspect of company strategy, initiatives, leadership and performance, organisations can drive meaningful change and create a more inclusive and equitable workplace.


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