This article is a lightly-edited summary of the key takeaways from our speakers’ appearance on our podcast, “The Shape of Work.” If you haven’t listened to our show yet, be sure to check it out here. These speakers have an incredible stable of startup experiences to draw from, the kind of stories that are unbelievably helpful for HR/people managers to hear.
In this episode of The Shape of Work, we welcome Krishnan Ramaswami, who has two decades of experience managing consumer internet businesses.
GUEST AT A GLANCE:
Name of the guest: Krishnan Ramaswami
What he does: Chief Business Officer – SEA and Head of Performance Marketing at Redbus
Find him on LinkedIn
Get Smart: “Make mistakes but learn from them.”
In this episode, you will get valuable insights into:
1. Challenges of managing a globally dispersed team
2. Improving team performance through the feedback loop
3. Krishnan’s view on employer branding and its importance
4. Aligning human resources with the business strategy
Challenges of managing a globally dispersed team
Since Redbus was the first to start OTA in Indonesia, there was less awareness about this facility in the initial days. According to Krishnan, the interviewing process in Indonesia was not easy because the candidates lacked “relevant” experience. So, Redbus had to look for alternatives, and shortlisting the candidates became a task.
He says that setting up an international operation is a tough process where you have to keep learning and unlearning. You face fundamental differences in handling a remote team. But, when a company has a team in place, it saves countless hours scheduling employees. Being acclimatized to the geography or culture also helps in the management of teams.
However, it is also irrational to expect your employees to change or adapt how your organization functions. It is all about adaptability from both the employer and the employee to ensure that it does not hinder the company objectives.
Improving team performance through the feedback loop
At Redbus, there are programs, at regular intervals, asking employees certain questions like feeling empowered in their team? Do they think their team considers their opinions? Though, these may not be the standard questions asked every time. The questions are pointed towards particular themes like self-respect, contribution to the company, how essential employees feel to the organization, etc.
Redbus believes that apart from monetary benefits, these programs influence employees to stay in the organization. Through these programs, we were able to understand the mindset of our employees with time. Sometimes, employees cannot open up about their issues with their bosses, so these programs help them. Redbus allows its employees to make mistakes but learn from them.
Krishnan’s view on employer branding and its importance
Krishnan says that most top-level management can’t understand employer branding since they would not be present in the recruitment interviews. But, as an employee, you should know about the company, its principles, its working ethics, etc. Employee branding helps in the candidate screening and selection process.
Although it is fancy to put up a mission and vision statement, employer branding is a new genre in itself. Redbus started employer branding around 1.5 years ago. We learn about our returns when we meet interviewees who tell us what they like about our B2C brand. In B2C, marketing is different as you get very little time to engage with the prospective user. But, with employer branding, the fundamental difference is the prospective user is willing to give you some time by searching on the internet. Here, there is no need to Attract, Brand and Communicate with them. Moreover, the audience is also segmented, which makes communication easier.
Moreover, Redbus takes pride in the product roles that they carve out. We trust our lean teams with responsibilities and execution. In the past 1.5 years, Redbus has given its employees opportunities to change or enhance the travel experience of millions of people.
Aligning human resources with the business strategy
According to Krishnan, if you cannot write an inspiring JD, there is probably no requirement for the specific role. Employer branding helps in communicating the company’s mission and vision to the world. For instance, In Latin America and southeast America, Redbus reorganized teams to reflect the new reality and know their requirements and then conducted the recruitment process. It’s better to align the organization before hiring. It is always better to be slow with the procurement process rather than recruits leave the organization midway. \