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.
Starting his career with Digital Marketing and currently in the HR function in Capgemini, “The Shape of Work” presents our next guest, Sarang Brahme.
He focuses on specialized HR functions of Employee Engagement, Experience, and Employer Branding.
GUEST AT A GLANCE:
Name of the guest: Sarang Brahme
What he does: Program Manager – Employee Engagement, Experience & Employer Branding, Capgemini.
Find him on LinkedIn.
Get Smart: “Make it a leadership conversation, a leadership imperative.”
Our host, Abhash Kumar, talks to Sarang about some interesting facets of employer branding, the role of HR, and the hybrid work environment. Here is what you will get to know:
- How to build effective employer branding?
- How does a company ensure a good employee experience for everyone?
- Has the HR academia been updated over the years?
- Things to maintain in a hybrid work environment.
- Conducting Learning and Development specifically in startups.
- Trends in the role of HR in the following years.
- Think in a way a marketing manager would
How to build effective employer branding?
Employer branding is strongly used as an advertising mechanism. However, Sarang mentions that the approach of employer branding should be more inside out. Culture has grown more transparent over the years. Employees can find out the culture of a company through digital media. Sarang views employee branding as more of talent branding. Employer brand is defined by employee experience. The reputation of your talent represents the brand. People should feel belonged in the company. They should be vocal about their growth to showcase the company’s efforts. This helps potential employees figure out if they want to be associated with it. External candidates form their perception of the brand through market reputation.
How does a company ensure a good employee experience for everyone?
Sarang’s key focus is that HR should learn customer serving skills from people in marketing. The first step of the process is to map out the entire journey of employees and candidates in the organization. This should be done along with consulting the employees. They should adopt design thinking and identify factors that can affect an employee’s experience in the organization.
The company needs to invest in these areas, build specific programs to reduce the gap, and, most importantly, listen to their employees. Specifically, after the pandemic, the entire strategy needs to be revamped. This process should keep updating itself every few months.
Sarang specifically mentions that this process is not for HR, but for managers. HR can only facilitate the process. The managers need to understand the importance of employee experience.
Has the HR academia been updated over the years?
In terms of academia, the HR industry is far away from where we should be. There is a lot going on regarding the kind of talent that should be hired. The role of HR has changed with the change in employee expectation. However, the HR industry did not start updating its strategies before the last ten years. The role of HR has changed with the change in employee expectations. Hybrid style of work, employee well-being becoming an integral part of organizations, revamped way of work- these elements need to be embedded in the academia, and also in the industry. The role of HR has expanded itself, covering a vast segment of any organization, from business to culture.
Things to maintain in a hybrid work environment:
Sarang throws light on the necessary guidelines in the hybrid way of work. People in senior positions shouldn’t get to come solely because of their designation. Management style middle managers
Additionally, he talks about middle managers who are particularly responsible to meet both the seniors’ and their employees’ expectations. Their actions build the on-ground culture of their organizations. The employees need to be made comfortable in the new way of work. The middle managers should maintain the same kind of engagement even in a hybrid environment. They need to constantly come up with new ideas of engagement and help them grow.
Conducting Learning and Development specifically in startups:
Most startups don’t have much of a hierarchical culture. Thus they can undergo this change pretty easily and quickly.
They can conduct small training sessions for their employees or provide them with infrastructure that can help them perform their duties better. They can build role models, that is, to whom people look up to for more knowledge. These role models can be change agents within the company by providing valuable advice and tips.
Having interactive sessions in between working hours or conducting meetings differently can be fruitful in this process. Including brainstorming sessions or workshops has also become much more exciting and convenient through a few softwares. Role models might initiate this change, but it is up to the individuals to adapt to them. Additionally, including sessions focusing on the mental health of the employees can be a helpful step. It has the potential to benefit the companies in the long run.
Organizations need to keep experimenting. These experiments will mature over the years and they can find a specific way to build a proper training framework.
Trends in the role of HR in the following years:
The role of HR has been evolving before the pandemic. It has expanded its reach to people analytics, employee experience, and training. HR’s role is not limited to keeping employee data. They need to analyze that data and explore new ideas regarding it.
They need to ensure a good employee experience and help them grow in their forte by providing them training opportunities.
Think in a way a marketing manager would:
One of the biggest areas of interest for Sarang is the link between HR and Marketing. He strongly feels that HR should adopt a marketer’s way of thinking while recruiting talent. They should be able to analyze the value proposition of the programs they are organizing for the employees. Furthermore, they need to prove the value proposition in order to bring an authentic image of the company. Thus every HR should possess a good business acumen.