“The concept of ‘Teal’ organisation is not practical in real world, and I have my reasons for it” Paneesh Rao

Any human intervention in the appraisal system leads to biases, Paneesh Rao, chief people officer, Mindtree, for HR 2020 Forecast


Technology, data, employee experience: What’s high on agenda

In 2020, employee experience will be very critical for all organisations. There is enough technology and data. We have data on attrition, recruitment and skilling & development. We do have sufficient information and data on employees, now it is time to use that data to make people more productive and motivate them to excel at work through different touch points. For us two things will be very important in the next year. First is employee experience. Secondly, we are experimenting with automating the performance assessment and feedback mechanism in our organisation. On the basis of the feedback and performance, we want the tool to recommend a few more career options or choices that an employee can excel in. We are looking to use AI and VR technology to automate this function. The performance of the employees will be measured by the machine and will give feedback to employees on that basis. By doing this our objective is not to scare people on being measured but for better quality and accuracy.

The biggest challenge for HR in your sector

The shortage of talent will continue to be a challenge that has been there forever. Companies are working on newer technologies that are more in demand. These technologies are two to three months old and we do not have people who have worked on it before. The challenge is to decide whether we invest in developing talent internally or look for people in the market. Though we are aware that there are very less people available in the market who are appropriate for the job. We are looking for people with digital and technology skills. We always believed in developing and investing in talent within the organisation. We need to improve ourselves everyday and perform better. I personally believe in ‘making more’ than ‘buying more.’

The future of ‘Teal’ organisations

You cannot run organisations without rules and regulations. However, I believe that these policies and rules are just guidelines for us. As long as we are doing business effectively and ethically, we can bend some policies. I do not think we can go ahead without having any rules and regulations. I have read about organisations which give liberty to employees to decide their compensation, working hours and where they want to work from but for me these things are not practical. If you are running a business of 1000 to 5000 employees you can never have people who have the maturity to use this freedom effectively. You have different kinds of people in an organisation and everyone is not 100 per cent honest. For me it is a distant dream.

Time to say goodbye to a few age-old HR practices

In my mind there are some processes and some policies. In terms of process, I would want to make everything digital and get rid of the archaic ways of doing work. At Mindtree, we won’t ask for hardcopies or photographs and record everything digitally.

Secondly, what comes to my mind is getting rid of the five day induction programme. Instead of telling the employees everything during the orientation, make it more specific to their project and function.

Third will be to get rid of appraisal rating because wherever there is human intervention in the appraisal system biases tend to seep in. Instead, there should be continuous feedback and rating system should be thrown out of the window. We should give qualitative feedbacks to employees which helps them in improving their performance.

Another policy, I would like to change is making a single line travel policy. No matter at what level or function the employee is working in, they should get similar benefits. In a manufacturing company, I worked for, back in the 90s, everyone from an MD to a worker used to travel business class. Insurance benefits should also be similar. This makes employees feel valued and a lot of administrative work is reduced in terms of giving approvals.

(This article first appeared in HRKatha print magazine)


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