“There is a need for cross-pollination to arrive at solutions” Manu N Wadhwa

In media & entertainment, the digital revolution is having an unprecedented impact on content creation, its distribution and monetisation, Manu N Wadhwa, CHRO, Sony Pictures Networks India for HR 2020 Forecast


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

My vote goes for employee experience (EX), but both data and technology will be enablers for greater employee experience.

For me, EX is the sum of everything employees experience throughout their connection with the organisation — from the first contact as potential recruits to the last interaction after the end of employment. Superior EX provides employers with competitive advantage in attracting good talent and engaging them.

Technology will provide more capacity, more time and budget, and more accurate information for more meaningful people interaction and management. Artificial Intelligence (AI) based technologies offer significant opportunities to improve HR functions. The end objective of automation and AI is to simplify systems and processes and ensure a seamless employee experience.

Similarly, data and analytics help understand the root cause of problems or predict issues before they arise. As per the Bersin People Analytics Maturity Model, predictive analytics has a long way to go, as currently only two per cent of the organisations have an institutionalised and business-integrated model. Large amounts of people data are processed in HR systems, and by using predictive analytics, HR can study the impact of policies on employee experience and thus forecast the bottom-line performance.

Biggest challenge for HR in your sector

It is a great time to be in the workforce when we are transitioning to Industry 4.0. We are witness to the many changes that are transforming industries and organisations. Increasingly, new technology is redefining the skill sets needed for the industry.

In media & entertainment, the digital revolution is having an unprecedented impact on content creation, its distribution and monetisation. Shifts in consumer behaviour and demographics are altering business models by unprecedented on-the-go content formats. All of these are redefining competency needs in the industry just like many other industries. All these changes, ambiguity and volatility need to be addressed by HR with speed and agility.

Rewire the way we work:
Collaboration is multiplication. The need for cross-pollination to arrive at solutions is the way to work. New mindsets and technologies are easing the shift to new team-based models of work. The focus is on building talent practices and behaviours that fully support a team-based operating model. Collaboration, therefore, plays an integral role in this ecosystem.

Reimagine the talent landscape:
Changing demographics, employee expectations and the war for the maximum talent has challenged organisations to appeal to the most
in-demand and diverse workforce.

Our Employee Value Proposition (EVP), therefore, focusses on superior EX – curation of new and hyper- personalised experiences, movement among and between jobs and non- linear career portfolios – to appeal to talent. Also, new models of life-long learning including alternative forms of learning for the workforce, are essential to help them gear up for the new roles and bring meaning to work.

Ladder-Shaped to Pulse-Shaped Compensation Mechanism

With evolution in industry, like every other HR process, compensation needs to address the changing and evolving times. Traditional stepwise/ ladder-shaped salary adjustment is suitable only for the relatively stable business environments and industries, which are few and far between. Changes in terms of demographics, employee expectations and the demand for talent, have pushed organisations to attempt to create a high quality and diverse workforce.

The workforce of today comes with multiple challenges:

  • Multiple generations working together
  • Consumerism of the workplace
  • Growing popularity of gig workers
  • Advent of ‘SuperJobs’

The above challenges can only be addressed through the pulsed compensation mechanism.

Personalise compensation: No one size fits all. Offer the workforce flexible benefits, which are best suited to their job level, mindset, generation and individual persona.

Reward performance: Break the traditional rules. Rewarding high achievers with meaningful measures is the key to retaining and motivating top talent and ensuring their best inputs.

Extend reward beyond the monetary: It has always been emphasised – and continues to a be a top agenda – to think of development and compensation hand-in-hand, role enlargement, cross-functional projects, and mentoring are some suggestions.

Develop meaningful benefits for the gig workforce: Applying similar principles to create rewards for the gig workforce like full-time employees.

Internal equality and internal equity

In today’s world, equality is perhaps one of the most misused words. By ‘equality’, we mean ‘equity’ – providing opportunities, means, and resources to people in accordance with the differences that they possess. Equality, while normative in nature, offers a blanket solution to problems. Equity, on the other hand, is personalised, and from the standpoint of a human resource professional, contributes to a happier workforce.

To attract the best of talent in the volatile markets of today, it is essential to establish oneself as an employer of choice. A prime factor in today’s best companies, is the sense of equity that forms the DNA of workplace cultures. From a bare minimal standpoint, here are the two domains where I feel that the ever-changing landscape can impact, and possibly, drive equity:

Feedback: In the feedback structures existing today, feelings of inequality arise due to limited access to information and a resulting cycle of misconception and lowered performance. At SPN, we have moved to a system of continuous performance management, tagged as Connect- Plan-Mentor. This system is aligned to the fast-paced environment of today and has the agility to get individuals and teams to respond to the requirements of the dynamism of the industry.

Instantaneous, continuous, and employee-centred feedback is the backbone of this system. It is feedback, which provides the opportunity to develop and course-correct in such a fast-paced environment and places the onus of exploring potential on the employee. This system results in employees remaining intrinsically motivated, without having to rely on external factors.

Personalisation: With the gig economy up and running, there will be new, diverse jobs, that demand diverse contracts, flexible policies, pay structures, and instant rewards. From an HR standpoint, our existing rewards models need to be upgraded to a flexible one to accommodate these changes.

Digital recognition and virtual medals

Digital recognition and virtual medals have long existed, and are here to stay. With the technological revolution, that has pervaded all industries, solutions for recognition are being improved by the day.

The integration of all HR systems under one platform, mobile friendliness of HR platforms and usage of AI and interactivity through chatbots will only augment and enhance the effectiveness of digital recognition.

Since all our interactions are on-the-go, using some screen or the other, the key advantage of going digital is, that the power to recognise is present on the same platforms as well. The other advantages of digital recognition include:

  • Access and information to all, irrespective of location and time zone.
  • Ability to build more consistent and cost-effective communication plans.
  • Measurability of engagement levels.
  • Effective tracking of progress and conversion.
  • Ease of reporting against defined goals and business objectives.

While the debate on online Vs offline recognition can go on forever, an ideal mix of both, as considered suitable for an organisation on the basis of its size and employee demographics, will be the best-customised solution.

(This article was first published in HRKatha print edition)

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