India Is The Best-suited Location To Provide Quality Talent: Amol Gupta
- By S. AJAY KUMAR |
- Feb 15 2022
In the wake of the Pandemic, The Fintech Industry, already burdened by changing workplace dynamics owing to remote working, was also subjugated by the exodus of high value talent. The leadership in these industries was therefore entrusted with the dual task of holding on to their key talent and at the same time ensure that the available talent was suitably reskilled in order to be sustainable. Human Capital spoke to Amol Gupta, People Leader, India and Philippines, FIS, who articulated the challenges confronted by the Fintech industry and the means adapted at FIS to overcome these challenges.
Post the pandemic and also post the work from home scenario, organisations across sectors are witnessing significant attrition since employees are quitting in large numbers. How has the Fintech sector been impacted owing to this given the fact that the sector is in constant need of niche talent?
In the Fintech space, there is a huge demand for niche talent. Given the kind of times we are in, Clients across the board are looking for innovative, transformative and futuristic solutions. While the current attrition trend in MNCs hovers around 16%, it is more than 50% in Startups. The population with niche talent want things quickly – lucrative offers and growth. The demand is extremely high, while the supply is less. This means that as soon as a company onboards the employee, one is directly pushed into the production floor.
There is hardly any time for good workforce planning, robust training and resource allocation. The strategy and execution around workforce planning need to be strong and real-time all through. Not doing so results in unfavourable outcomes - poorer performance, wrong fitment, non-culture acclimatisation etc. Once the employees’ needs are met through lucrative offers, the essential factors to job satisfaction along with good culture take over.
Our coping mechanism is:–
- To invest in upskilling, hire people with good skills who are linear technologists across Java, .net, QA etc.
- To Upskill them on the functional part of the product through the internal functional training academy
We have also looked at people organically, growing their capability while they are working with us. Additionally, we have invested heavily in campus partnership where we have got people with IQ and culture fitment and trained them expensively on tech and functional skills.
It has been said that the HR and the C-Suite must essentially be on the same page when it comes to defining job roles prior to acquiring talent. What is your take on this and how is this being practised at FIS?
We are right there with the business when the year’s strategy, goals, and objectives are being defined. So, people planning and strategy starts from there. We are with the business to define organisational structure and do the design every time. We help the business pen down the kind of talents, roles, expectations etc. required. Being on the same page to define job roles comes naturally to us because of the process so mentioned and the collaborative culture prevalent at FIS. We win as one team.
We partner with the business in building a sustainable three year practice, baking in internal and market scenarios. This involves building a future-ready organisation with defined role outcomes. This, in turn, involves predicting the skillsets and success profile of people who will do those roles. We use internal and external market scan both for getting outside in as well benchmarked talent standards. We then run an extensive internal talent scan to identify people as part of succession planning and internal mobility programmes. For the roles for which we do not have an internal pool, we partner with the business in acquiring the talent from outside.
The post-pandemic period has seen a surge in the demand for tech talent from global giants leading to an exodus. Do you believe this to be the defining moment that will shape the tech industry for the years to come and create greater demand for tech talent?
I would certainly agree that technology is a game-changer. Technology has helped us to transition to remote working seamlessly. In the Fintech industry, we are looking at technology disruption. Technology has touched all our lives during such a time like never before. We have to definitely up our game on skill enhancement, reskilling the next generation on technology and providing an opportunity to work on new technologies. The stronger the learning framework in an organisation, the better will be the talent pipeline and attrition rate.
India’s growth story has evolved in the last two decades. We have moved from cost optimisation centres to Capability Centres (GCCs) and now to Global Business Sustainability Centres. In the last 18+ months, India has emerged as a reliable partner to run business sustainably even with the pandemic-induced global crisis. The pandemic has additionally redefined the business model where only Client/ Revenue Centres and offshore centres like India exist. This takes away near-shore locations, middle office locations and business centre models. As such, India is attracting 80%+ of global offshore deals post-pandemic.
Additionally, developed countries are finding it difficult to have organically grown talent in their local country who can deal with Digital Transformation, Cloud Adoptions, Building Data Centres, Running Global teams involving Dev Ops, Scrum Environment, Full stack developers etc. Globally, India is the best-suited location to provide quality talent, build massive upskilling programmes to address skill shortages, and add a huge fresher engineering talent pool every year. The Indian growth story is intact for the next 10-12 years.
As a veteran from the Fintech Industry, what are the key skills that must be nurtured for the talent to remain in demand? What skills do you watch out for when hiring a potential talent for FIS?
There is a growing convergence need for having functional knowledge along with technical skills. As such, to be successful, one will need to have both functional product and platform knowledge. People will need to have a detailed view of the product capability, markets functioning along tech stack (read platform). An increasing amount of products are mapped to Apps which are Mobil First models. As such, the know-how of internet-based products with mobile platform development is also handy. Mapping to the outer market which is continuously on the move, technologists having front to back view help them in working effectively in Scrum Teams or Agile Environment.
Full Stack developers with a view on UI-UX are in demand now. People now talk about ‘next billion user adoption’, since the quantum of the user base has increased manifold. Pandemic induced digital adoption from remote has further accentuated the need for optimum capability on Data Handling. The ability to handle data to make user stories and actionable product roadmaps will keep people ahead in the game. Last but not the least, with automation, people with the ability to code, develop algorithms, build product bottomsup will be in demand as well as employable in future.
At FIS, we hire both for new-age skills as well as for legacy skills that are required to run existing platforms. We hire for all skill sets across Java, Microsoft Technologies, BA, Scrum, Dev Ops, UI-UX, Mobile platform developers, QA etc. While people come through the door with their existing skills and technical proficiency required for the job, we look at cognitive flexibility and growth mindset as the key component for people. This helps them in adopting to upskilling programmes, adapting to the new tech environment, being successful in differing functional requirements of the role etc. People keep progressing within BUCs in the Indian Region as well as move Globally to manage larger responsibilities.
Despite the rampant disruption brought about by the pandemic, it has established remote working and the gig economy as a mainstay in the organisational ecosystem. What changes are we likely to witness in the days ahead in such a scenario?
The Hybrid workspace is going to be the norm. The Gig Economy will gain further momentum with our employment laws, engagement strategy and policies revolving around them. From expanding talent attraction base and retention models as well as running sustainable cost optimised business, we will have Hybrid as well as WFA (Work from anywhere) models existing simultaneously. The Gig working model gives organisations the flexibility to manage a niche book of work as well as peripheral activities for which organisations need not invest in building enterprise talent base.
- Remote working going to be the norm.
- Organisations will have to review and revive the policies. We are likely to see labour laws accommodating and provisioning the WFH concept. Be it in the Code of Wages guideline and dedicated separate WFH guidelines. We will see our laws accommodating the definition of extension of notional place of work, commute to work, coverage of insurance, workmen compensation etc.
- WFH will help us source talent across the country. The source pool will increase.
- Another benefit arising out of it is that our Tier 2/3 cities will see more commerce and infra. The Local economy will increase with greater spending power and better infra. The need for digital infra will increase and so will be supporting industries
- Virtual team bonding needs to be taken care of like that of brainstorming sessions/war room etc. More and More design thinking principles need to be applied on virtual platforms.
- More supporting companies will have to think out of the box to support engagement/culture priorities of the company to support a Hybrid model – be it a food delivery app, ability to serve food to all employees attending a meeting across locations at the same time, virtual meeting enabling solutions, engagement solutions etc. There can be so much more opportunities coming our way from an Industry opportunity perspective.
- Companies will have to relook at internal mobility practices. Companies will need a Formal matrix for people to enable continuous reshuffling/repurposing and facilitate a diverse experience
- The market will see- short stints will no longer be considered as career instability
- Labour laws need to acknowledge the gig workers. Company’s responses to social security aspects- benefits, medical retirals etc.
- Dichotomy: Companies have to deal with a lot of ambiguity at the same time to manage the gig workers there has to be definite clarity (unambiguity) on what they need to deliver.
- Hierarchy will be irrelevant as managers and leaders will change with every project or assignment
What are some key initiatives that were undertaken by FIS during and after the pandemic in terms of engaging employees so as to keep the attrition numbers at a bare minimum? What has been the one thing that you believe ensured that employee attrition at FIS remained unaffected during the pandemic?
Our good work environment, flexible workplace, empathy in all we do is core to our strength and culture in FIS. We truly live our values. Win as one team, lead with Integrity and Be the change. Alongside principle, we have plethora of opportunities for employees to navigate and take up. We have multiple success stories around on how our culture has fostered and nurtured talent.
- The underlying value of being empathetic has helped us ride through the pandemic and the attrition wave. Employees have witnessed and experienced our care in the form of COVID-19 war room, COVID-19 helpdesk, vaccination drives, our cautious approach in calling people back to the office.
- We have an employee benevolent fund programme - FIS Cares where the company endeavours to help employees and their families during their financial exigencies which are not covered by the company’s existing set of benefits.
- FIS supported Home Office set up infrastructure
- FIS had always practised workplace flexibility which we continued during the Pandemic by turning into a more robust policy.
- FIS has continuously encouraged employees to exploring new opportunities within the company. FIS has an eco-system to set people for success even in new domain/untested areas. People have changed roles from sales to technology, technology to finance to HR etc.
- FIS has given enough learning forums which were always online like We learns, Hackathons, Innovate48 (innovate in 48 hours) etc.
- We looked at our career level during the pandemic with a view to give a very clear career path to employees including career pivots.
Do you look forward to permanently working from home after the pandemic subsides?
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