Deloitte plans to hire more women post lockdown

Here is what all is happening at Deloitte, a Big Four company, on the people front. The company’s chief talent officer, SV Nathan, shares with HRKatha…

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There is an opportunity in every crisis. One only needs to delve deeper and identify that opportunity.

Deloitte has seen an opportunity in the lockdown. It now plans to hire more women. The Company’s chief talent officer, SV Nathan, considers the ‘new normal’ to be the biggest opportunity to bring women back to work. Given the flexibility of work from home amidst the lockdown, this option will be considered on a serious note.

Nathan opines, ‘Reshuffling of policies cannot help to bring about all these major changes. It’s the mindset that needs to change. Bringing women back to work is one of the biggest advantages that this lockdown has given us. Women will feel more empowered and inclusions will have different meanings.”

The Company is committed to having more women leaders. “At Deloitte, we are planning to ensure a certain percentage of women in leadership. The organisation will stand to benefit from women leaders,” Nathan adds.

For Deloitte, gender equity, pay parity and women’s empowerment have always been one of the top priorities.

Future after lockdown

Clearly, Nathan is looking forward to some incredible happenings in the near future.

One of the major changes, he believes, will be the change in HR policies. “In the coming times, HR will undergo dynamic shifts in its roles, functions and overall impact in shaping organisations,” he asserts.

SV Nathan

Remote working will be looked at as an option, not just for the present but for the future as well. The flexibility in work has increased and we will not mandate our employees to come to office

The new normal will be the reality and almost every organisation will prefer remote working. “If people are able to work remotely, processes will change, the approach to work will change, workplaces have changed already and will change even more. Even our global CEO works from home,” Nathan explains.

He further adds, “In the beginning, when we had to sell this whole notion of work from home to our leaders, everybody was up with several reasons for its possibilities. From doubts about the hiring processes, training employees, to inductions and their exit, everything seemed impossible initially.”

The general perception was that remote working was surely not going to solve any of these challenges.

Deloitte had launched a ‘work from home’ policy even earlier, but unfortunately, it failed to grab the much-needed attention. However, since remote working has become the new normal, the mindset of the people has changed.

Without a hint of doubt, this lockdown has made people more collaborative, innovative and trustworthy. “Remote working will be looked at as an option, not just for the present but for the future as well. The flexibility in work has increased and we will not mandate our employees to come to office,” Nathan elucidates.

Nathan also believes that companies will be shelling out money for employees working from home.

While the co-working spaces in India have been hit severely post the outburst of the coronavirus pandemic, Nathan believes that due to the demand for flexibility, the market changes will lead to their demand post lifting of lockdown.

Technology – the saviour in many ways

The reason why everybody has started believing in remote working, is because technology has turned the tables and managed the new work structure unbelievably. It doesn’t matter anymore, where one is working.

“In the last couple of days, employees have become more innovative. Instead of asking for solutions, they have come up with ways to do things differently,” Nathan observes.

It was always considered essential to establish a trusting relationship with a client, especially if one is working with them remotely. Now that this is the reality, companies such as Deloitte consider that the situation is even better now.

“Earlier, meetings involved waiting in the lobbies, observing the customary business etiquettes which eventually took up much of the golden hours, which meant that by the end of the day, one could only turn up for a few meetings,” Nathan points out.

Now, with sales executives able to make multiple calls, and also attending meetings virtually, without any obstruction, remote working has turned out to be most ideal for Nathan. He find that even the most complicated work can be done within the four walls, provided one is well-equipped with technology.

Employees first

Deloitte believes in ‘People First’, and the lockdown has been the opportune time to showcase its beliefs strongly.

For employees’ safety, the Company has gone that extra mile and built a global application that tracks employees’ health. The application comes with voice-activated messages with the following options:

I don’t have COVID-19 symptoms
I have mild symptoms, but I am unsure
I am currently being tested for COVID
I am tested positive

Within seconds of choosing any of these options, the employee receives updates of all other employees. Another feature of this application is that it also traces an employee’s whereabouts and tracks them.

“Caring for our employees has always been our priority, and safety is just an important part of it,” highlights the CTO.

Change in hiring processes

As per industry experts, the overall hiring sentiment in the country is likely to witness an adverse impact in the short term, with 60 to 65 per cent interviews getting delayed, especially in the services sector, following the slowdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Echoing a similar view, Deloitte also seems to take the similar route. The Company is currently going slow with the hiring process. “There is a caution being exercised at Deloitte and it will continue for some time even after the lockdown is lifted,” reveals Nathan.

However, at the same time, the Company is not laying off. “We are not planning to reduce our workforce in any way. We can’t ask our people to suffer the brunt of whatever has happened,” clarifies Nathan

The decision shows how the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus response is even affecting some of the Big Four.

But Nathan also believes that there are a few critical positions that an organisation always has to hire for.

Talking of learning and development, Deloitte has always been on the forefront when it comes to holding training sessions for employees. The ability to learn, connect employees to one another, and drive innovation and effectiveness is what makes it part of the Big Four. With things getting digital, the Company is looking forward to creating new training modules as well.