Open & transparent communication is the most important element of employee experience: Rohit Hastee

Open & transparent communication is the most important element of employee experience: Rohit Hastee

"If organisations want to develop a blended workforce, then senior leadership must bring about a mindset shift in the company that the notion of only full-time employees ensuring completion of work/projects is wrong," says Rohit Hasteer, Group CHRO,,
Prop and Read this exclusive interview to know more about effectively building a blended workforce in the real estate sector.


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 COVID-19 pandemic. Which roles in the real estate sector are best performed by full-time employees, and which are better suited for contingent talent? Do you foresee certain full-time jobs veering into non-traditional domains?


When it comes to the Real Estate sector, I believe roles that require interaction with customers and clients are best performed by full-time employees as this allows continuity of relationship as well as greater control on Consistency of Service. If roles particularly contribute to revenue generation, it makes complete sense to have such roles as permanent positions rather than contingent talent. Strategy and leadership roles too are best hired as permanent positions as it allows for competitive advantage.


On the other hand, roles that are operational in nature or roles with specialised skills requiring limited collaboration may be hired as contingent talent viz. software engineers, designers, accounting team, IT & administration roles etc. provided there is a proper process of knowledge/learning transfer so that with changing contingent employee, history of what was done gets preserved. With the advancement in technology and features like AR/ VR which help clients visit properties online, I do not rule out the possibility of certain full-time jobs veering into non-traditional domains.


Many years ago, NASA engineers were apparently against employing crowdsourcing platforms for the simple reason that they stood to eliminate the culture of NASA— collaboration and brainstorming. What are the possible fallouts of a blended workforce on the culture of an organisation?


Some of the pitfalls of a blended workforce on the culture are:


• First and foremost, it is a challenge to preserve an organisation’s culture in a blended setup. This is because people who work remotely or part-time cannot observe and emulate behaviours that make up an organisation’s culture which is not the case in a physical office setup where culture can be experienced in day-to-day things.


• An organisation’s culture also helps people to stay connected with the overall vision and mission of the organisation. It becomes difficult to retain the essence of the same amidst a blended workforce and it requires extra effort for the leaders to reiterate and reinforce it so that people stay wired and motivated.


• How can someone feel they are part of team when they are miles away, completely isolated from their colleagues? Hence, organisations face the other challenge of building rapport and team mindset in geographically distributed teams that communicate through digital platforms.


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 your industry?


I would like to highlight the positives first.


• It offers a cost advantage as you pay only for what you need. An organisation spends a good percentage of its salary on the top leadership. Hiring CXOs on demand means organisations need not incur that cost on a yearly basis.


• Often, organisations require different expertise at different growth stages. The ‘CXO on demand’ strategy allows organisations to do that and be laden with the right skills at the right time.


 • Another advantage of hiring on demand executives on a part-time basis is that it allows organisations to tap into senior talent and expertise they otherwise may find difficult to afford.




• The role of a CXO in an organisation is very crucial and hiring a strategist on a demand basis may not be a great idea. An organisation can experience phenomenal growth or crisis at any stage which may require the expertise of a CXO. And, if there is no one available then organisations can lose direction. In urgent times like these, one may not even have time to invest in hiring as the need is immediate.


• Hiring an on-demand CXO means that there is no continuity of strategy or legacy information which may not be good in the long run for an organisation.


• Also, it is often difficult for on demand CXOs to get emotionally invested in the organisation because he or she is aware that it is a temporary stint.


In developing a blended workforce, do you believe that the senior leadership is required to bring about a mindset shift within the company that full-time employees alone cannot ensure the completion of work/projects? If yes, how can leadership channelise such a mindset change within an organisation in your industry?


Absolutely! When it comes to change management’, be it any initiative, it has to be driven from the top, otherwise there are chances that it may fail. If organisations want to develop a blended workforce, then senior leadership must bring about a mindset shift in the company that the notion of only full-time employees ensuring completion of work/projects is wrong and other types of workforce can be as successful.


Leadership teams can channelise such a mindset in the following ways:


• Hold sensitisation sessions before the change and make people understand the ‘why’ behind it. If people understand the purpose and direction behind a blended workforce and are onboard in the journey together then it helps in a smooth transition.


• Share success stories. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit us in 2020, no one could have imagined that we can sell properties online or make product pitches to brokers and developers virtually. But last year, we saw that the real estate sector used technology efficiently to enable this without any impact on productivity. Hence, people should not be wary of change and give chance to a blended workforce model.


• Organisations should also allocate responsibilities to even part-timers so that they are equally accountable for its success and feel a part of the organisation like full-time employees.


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?


Some of the ways in which organisations can deliver optimal employee experience for all workforce segments are:


Boost Internal Communication: Open and transparent communication is the most important element of employee experience. It is important for leaders to communicate with all workforce segments through townhalls, skip level sessions, daily standups, etc. and keep the teams informed about the updates in the organization. These sessions should also be used to enhance personal connect with employees by checking what’s going on at their end. This goes a long way in making them valued and connected.


Improve Connect: A great way to enhance experience of non-full-time employees is by involving and engaging them in celebrations, virtual coffee breaks, happy hours with teams, etc. along with full-time employees.


Focus on Health & Well-being: While it may not be possible for organizations to extend the same set of benefits as full-time employees to all segments of workforce but one should definitely try to extend all possible support to everyone in terms of health insurance, counselling, etc.


Invest in Learning: It may also be a good idea to invest in their learning & development as people value organisations that take focus on their personal growth. This also helps organisations as a skilled workforce is more equipped to handle challenges and are more productive.


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