Holistic Employee Engagement Comes From Hyper-Personalisation: Neha Mantoo

Holistic Employee Engagement Comes From Hyper-Personalisation: Neha Mantoo

In an exclusive interaction with Human Capital, Neha Mantoo, Head of Talent Acquisition in India for, shares how the pandemic has transformed the manner in which talent is acquired and onboarded and how the company's hyper-personalised people strategy enables and empowers employees to be and do their best in the hybrid future of work.


While many organisations cautiously put their recruitment plans on hold when COVID-19 hit, was bursting with hiring activity last year. What are some new practices you've established so far in terms of sourcing, interviewing, assessing, and enhancing the experience of candidates and new hires? How do you weigh the pros and cons of remote versus in-person recruiting and onboarding?


The pandemic has steered us towards creating hyper-personalised people development practices to manage a hybrid working environment in a more refined manner. We realised early in 2020 that we needed to pivot our people function to perpetuate the culture across a distributed workforce.


From sharing information internally to hiring virtually, we collectively developed ways to make the candidate experience more meaningful. We have hygiene checks in place, interview for the right fit and capabilities, and leverage a variety of tools, channels and digital technologies to help achieve our hiring goals.


While the shift towards remote/ virtual recruiting and onboarding came with lower costs and faster employee ramp-up, a lack of in-person accessibility to teammates and limited engagement continued to challenge the virtual model. We soon understood that the fundamentals of HR shouldn't change; however, we needed to strike the right balance between candidate experience and productivity.


Going forward, recruiting will look different, whether companies adopt a hybrid strategy or not. However, by utilising HR tools, people benefits and technology, companies can create a more forward-looking workplace experience. Right from recruiting to onboarding and retention, we strive to do better for our people, ensuring they are aligned with the firm's growth journey.


For most organisations, the future appears to be hybrid, combining co-located and remote work. Although the goal of providing employees with the "best of both worlds" is admirable, hybrid setups run the risk of creating a "two-tier system". How is building an inclusive digital work culture for a dynamic environment comprising a hybrid, dispersed workforce?


We have always maintained an intense focus on our people, their experiences and careers. Our people practices and programs extend not just to our employees but also their families. Through the gestures program, we celebrate milestones in an employee's life with their families. On the engagement side, our employee families are a part of our mental and emotional wellbeing programs, coaching sessions, concierge services and engagement events. We understand that holistic engagement comes from hyper-personalisation and reducing the gap between work and personal life.


The impact of our efforts is reflected in our engagement surveys, attrition numbers, and business growth. We have grown six-fold through the last couple of years. Our employee strength is 3500 in India, and we are proud to share that 97% of our employees at say it is a great place to work.


Creating a high-involvement culture lends towards creating an inclusive work culture, which is especially important in a hybridised work environment. Most of our growth is attributed to the fact that we invested time and resources into our people's wellbeing and building a strong and inclusive company culture. In an environment where employees are dispersed across geographies, and with many choosing to work from home, we are deeply focused on empowering our people to own their futures and drive flexible and adaptable workplace strategies.


Building an inclusive digital work culture depends on how well companies embrace hybrid work, democratise information-sharing, proactively collaborate with employees and boost virtual work. The new hybrid model opens doors of opportunities for employers to improve employee experience, and as a firm, we've sought to seize the moment by designing new strategies to equip, connect and empower our people, whether they are in-office or working remotely.


In the wake of the pandemic, how have you been re-evaluating and re-defining your benefit offerings for employees in India?


We introduced a series of employee wellness initiatives early in the pandemic, including helping our people monetarily to furnish a WFH setup, launching virtual therapy sessions, offering virtual childcare to all employees, and providing flexible working hours for parents with children. We are one of the few firms that cover medical benefits for all immediate family members — and we think this is an important step towards supporting/protecting our people.


We have introduced paid time off if someone on our team gets impacted by COVID-19. Going a step further, we have also introduced caregiver paid time off in the event an employees' spouse, parent, child, partner, etc., is ill at home. Additionally, an exclusive parental concierge service for employees' parents helps take care and assist with daily needs. During the pandemic, our concierge partner — Club Concierge — provided supplies, testing kits and medicines in far-flung areas.


We also launched virtual therapy sessions with licensed therapists to help improve overall mental health; counselling is also available to our employees' family members. We have tied up with an external partner YourDost, one of India's largest online mental health and emotional wellness platforms, to enable our people to approach experts on their emotional wellness.


We also partnered with Portea for medical support for our employees in case any of their family members were suspected or asymptomatic or had a mild case of COVID-19.


Our intention behind launching these key initiatives was to improve our existing processes, change what didn't work pre-pandemic, increase engagement, constantly innovate and make wellness a strategic priority.



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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