Build Diversity and Engagement in a Startup with Vikas Dua

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” podcast, we have Vikas Dua- an HR professional, having vast experience in both, startups and large companies. He has worked to build careers for 1,20,000 individuals.


Name of the guest: Vikas Dua

What he does: Head of HR, IPG Dextra

Find him on LinkedIn.

Get Smart: “So culture becomes really undermining pillar of how an organization really does things or encourages people to Work together. Because ultimately, today, it’s all about collaboration.”


In this episode, you will get valuable insights into:

  1. Digital transformation and employee engagement in the HR function.
  2. Community initiatives and networking for learning.
  3. Thoughts about people organization and remote working.
  4. How should HR help employees learn?
  5. What is the importance of organizational culture? How to ensure the right culture in the company?
  6. How to build diversity in an organization?
  7. Thoughts about employee recognition.
  8. Should a startup invest in HR?


Digital transformation and employee engagement in the HR function:

Vikas talks about the importance of Digital transformation that occurred over the years. He has been a fan of digital elements since he was a student. And seeing this technology merging with the once distant field, HR, brought him immense happiness. The HR field has gone through a massive transformation both in terms of tech and tasks. Vikas has made a significant contribution towards the digital transformation of the HR field by encouraging employee engagement.

Vikas is a strong supporter of employee engagement. He talks about the employee satisfaction survey happening in the organization. Many companies create a three-month plan to work on growth areas according to these surveys. However, Vikas says that a three-month plan can be very short. He explains the method a company he mentors uses. They keep a check on employee sentiment through chatbots daily.

Community initiatives and networking for learning:

Talking about his inspiration, he talks about getting the opportunity to work with a few great leaders. They have been his guides and mentors throughout the journey. Moreover, he talks about the digital perks that we have because of the internet. It has given access to all information in a single click.

However, the most beneficial way of gaining knowledge is the on-ground experiences and community initiatives. Meeting and interacting with different industry aspects can help learn from the experts.

Thoughts about people organization and remote working:

The first and foremost change that Vikas talks about is the kindness of the organizations. In the past 14 months, these organizations have been extremely supportive and helpful towards the employees. They organized task forces, offered financial assistance, and kept a check on their employees. He is a strong proponent of mental wellness and calls it the key pillar of the organization. In addition, he also talks about how companies organized the entire remote work setting within 24 hours of announcing the lockdown. Thus remote work is possible and here to stay.

How should HR help employees learn?

Vikas talks about the ‘Three A’ model in this context:

  1. Adaptability: Employees cannot be unnerved or regimented. They need to think out of the box. 
  2. Agility: Employees need to be agile, keep learning new skills, and implementing them.
  3. Artistry: Employees need to figure out how to bring creative solutions for their tasks. 

Then the HR professionals need to analyze the ability of their employees and design coaching, training, or learning and development sessions.

What is the importance of organizational culture? How to ensure the right culture in the company?

Vikas explains how the people are the ones who make an organization. Culture creates a brand image. It is the undermining pillar of how an organization works. A good culture brings in a better reputation and better people. It makes the people motivated and inspired to work and provide good results.

To bring in a good culture in an organization, Vikas mentions four factors that are required:

  1. Positivity
  2. Transparent
  3. Inclusion
  4. Collaboration

These are the four necessities of any organizational culture. But the company can add more factors based on their requirements. According to Vikas, if the company fails to build the above factors, it may face unhealthy competition and toxicity among employees. 

How to build diversity in an organization?

As Vikas says, inclusion and diversity go hand in hand. It is a significant factor for the company’s growth, and India has been encouraging this concept currently. In order to ensure diversity, companies need to be transparent and collaborative. They should be included in events, such that they can interact with others from different backgrounds. Most importantly, all of them should be treated fairly and equally.

Thoughts about employee recognition:

Vikas advises that any startup should develop a culture and practices before expanding itself. Remote work has made employee recognition an extremely important practice. Every big or small win should be celebrated to keep the employees motivated and engaged.

Should a startup invest in HR?

Vikas says every startup should invest in Human Resources by the time they are a 50-75 people organization. The person might not be the HR head but at least someone who is in a mid-level position. He should understand the nuances of the different dimensions of HR, recruitment and onboarding, talent management, engagement, and more. As a result, a basic framework of the entire startup is created.

Dhristi Shah

Hi, this is Dhristi, Content Writer and Editor at Springworks India. I am a keen learner and am passionate about everything related to writing.

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