Embrace the spirit of inclusion: Hari T.N.

Embrace the spirit of inclusion: Hari T.N.

"Employee experience is centered around four elements: interesting work and opportunities to learn every day, freedom to make decisions and fail, fair pay, and flexibility in accommodating non-work related priorities," says Hari T.N., Head HR, BigBasket. Take a look at this exclusive interview to know more about building and scaling a blended workforce.

Although the blending of workforces (full-time, part-time, contingent, bots, in-office, remote, etc.) is not a new trend, it has gained new momentum following the pandemic. Which roles in your industry are best performed by full-time employees, and which are better suited to contingent talent? Do you foresee certain full-time jobs veering into non-traditional domains?


Organisations started by trying to be ‘self-sufficient’, which meant doing everything in-house. Over the decades, companies realised that as the world was becoming more specialised, self-sufficiency was no longer a smart goal. It got replaced by trying to be ‘self-reliant’, which involved keeping the core capability in-house and outsourcing the rest to specialists who could do it better than the in-house talent. Therefore, the trend has been to outsource and use contingent talent for tasks that are specialised and do not constitute an organisation’s core capability (or their source of competitive advantage).


Employee experience (EX) has been typically associated with full-time employees and often goes unaddressed for other workforce segments. With non-traditional talent becoming an increasingly important source of competitive advantage, how can organisations deliver optimal EX for them?


In my opinion, employee experience is centered around four elements: interesting work and opportunities to learn every day, freedom to make decisions and fail, fair pay, and flexibility in accommodating non-work related priorities. These are important for everyone associated with the company in whichever form of employment: full-time, part-time, virtual, outsourced, contractual, and so on. Keep an eye on these and ensure that anyone providing any kind of service to the company experiences these well.


In light of the pandemic, it has been witnessed that organisations are hiring CXO-level talent on an on-demand basis. What are the pros and cons of such an engagement in startups and small and medium-sized businesses?


Full-time CXOs are not essential in the early stages of a business or startup. At an early stage, a few strategic decisions need to be made from time to time in setting policy or direction. For this, the startup can access CXO talent on-demand from firms that provide such talent to multiple startups. Once the startup begins to see traction and experience scale, strategic decision making becomes full time, and that’s when the business needs to hire full-time CXOs.


With older talent rejoining work post their retirement, we are witnessing a more age-diverse workforce than ever before. How can organisations foster intergenerational collaboration and cohesion given the different types of work arrangements (from full-time to freelance) and work models (from remote to hybrid)?


The workforce is getting more age-diverse not because older talent is getting back to work after retirement, but because the average age of society across nations (including nations like India, with a young demographic profile) is increasing by the day. Intergenerational diversity is no different than any other kind of diversity and requires the company to embrace the spirit of inclusion.


Depending on the sector, the nature of the work that people do, and the setup an organisation prefers, some companies are going virtual-first while others are rallying to get employees back in-house or piloting a blended working model. Do you believe the office to be an important hub for collaboration, creativity, and innovation?


Assembling at the workplace under one roof is the only way to perform some work (factories, warehouses, airports, hospitals, etc.). All other types of work can be classified further into two categories: (a) those that can be performed with minimal interaction with others, or involve minimal handoffs, or do not need real-time feedback for high-quality output. These can be performed remotely; and (b) those that require extensive real-time interaction, intense feedback, back and forth, etc. These are best performed face-to-face in an office setup.

Ankita Sharma is working as Senior Editor with Human Capital. With 6+ years of experience, she has performed diverse roles across the entire spectrum of corporate HR — from hire to retire.


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