How HR can impact organisation’s top and bottom line?

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Tips for a budding HR professional?

Following would be my tips for any bussing HR professional:

  • Don’t allow ‘bias’ to creep in
  • Focus on strengths and not on weaknesses
  • Show you care
  • Try to automate as much as possible
  • Be more data oriented in approach to get effective results
  • Create a learning environment

Your personal achievement as an HR professional?

2016 saw the merger between Goibibo and MakeMyTrip which was pegged as the biggest merger in India’s online travel space. Was an active member from HR for both companies to see value in capitalizing on each other’s strengths. We were successful in bringing two cultures, two teams, two companies together with setting up open culture which worked positively.

Culture building for a startup & change manager: Culture sustains employee enthusiasm in building  company with a desirable culture extends far beyond any tangible benefits, building organic leadership team, having strong and open communication, creating values, building talent brand, optimizing hiring process to ensure we are bringing in the right people and have thoroughly enjoyed my 12 years tenure in Goibibo. Looking forward for many more years to come.

How can an HR contribute strategically to the organization?

In an industry where careers are characterized by skilfulness of the talent and professional markets are defined by competition for such skilled talent, HR leaders make an impact on both organization’s top and bottom lines, especially in a sales-driven environment. From hiring to developmental interventions to plying retention strategies, HR strategic partners espouse the characters of data-driven results and for echoing down key contributions from the workforce to lead the organization towards common business goals.

For organizational leaders, this means getting the HR Business partners together to a strategic fold.

We initiated Bug bounty, Hackathon, Go to market & Annual outbound as some strategic HR initiatives. A brief description about each of them is as below:

  1. Bug Bounty: In order to ensure a stable, seamless & bug free platform by creating internal audience and also to ensure a structured process for internal product improvement, we introduced Bug Bounty Campaign. As a part of the campaign, employees turn into bounty hunters every month and help point out bugs on various platforms. The employees help improvise the platform reliability.
  2. Go to Market: HR launched a strategic initiative for addressing the needs and requirements of our customer. ‘Customer focus’ being one of our values is in the DNA of each of us with a goal to make the customer experience not just the best but legendary. We made our senior folks to visit the market, meet the customers and understand their problems. They took direct feedback and suggestions from the market and came up with solutions. We were able to get diverse data during this initiative which we used as our data points while fixing old problems and came up with new features which not only suited customer requirements but also helped us improvise and grow ourselves.
  3. Hackathon: Our Hackathon and Battle Hacks give our engineers a free rein to work on code outside of their regular coding activities. In fact the internal Hackathons have led to innovations benefiting us with tackling some thoughtful problems. Having such events that encourage software engineers to have great fun and experiment, is our way to offer up autonomy, technological and creative freedom and finally to capitalize on the engineers’ ingenuity. Our external Hackathons have helped us recruit some interesting and smart engineers! We also have initiatives that go in extension to internal hack events. These are heavily incentivised to engineers and teams that go live with their problem-solving hacks.
  4. Annual Outbounds: Local, regional or international – we have picnicked everywhere. Why? Because we are a Technology company in the travel space, and everybody has a travel bug in them. While the outbound are essential to gain some business perspective, it leaves ample time to socialise and know fellow peers and sets a perfect platform for the engineers to exchange technological camaraderie.

One HR practice that has always worked for you as an HR

As HR, I feel we need to have cordial relations with all our employees not only who are working with us but also who have left us, this congenial environment, building open culture lead to many employees to come back which we called as Returnship of Super Heroes.

Returnship: While it is important to note the appropriateness basis re-hiring eligibility, availability of the ex-employee, and the reasons for one’s departure, we have made atleast 30 to 35 successful rehires as they continue their journey with us.

Boomeranging a former is definitely worth trying for any organization that believes in growth, success and intrapreneurship. When someone wants to depart, we would have already instilled the sense of belonging subconsciously, and we ensure one would leave with a great deal of learning and on a high note. Many of them who have come back never credited their departures as Exits, but have only referred to them as “Term breaks” 🙂 We greatly benefited with bonding again with these superstars because of their pre-existing knowledge of culture and ways of getting things done. We greatly reduced training time and costs, and it continued to add to our success story. This also provided assurance that as an organization, we are built on idealistic values, a great culture, employee loyalty, continuous innovation and a place with strong family-like ties and has values of an extended family. Also, many of the rehires have vouched for greater professional enrichment, and ability to propel to higher and more impact roles and opportunities.

The rehiring paid us off in terms of increased loyalty, productivity and innovation with faster results.

When we rehire, we ensure there are no resilience, and a constant engagement activity is in place to get the Ex-Alum come back to the fold smoothly. At Goibibo, re-accustoming is simple because of our transparent, egalitarian and fun culture, and the unrestricted flow of things. Also, rehire goes through standard interview processes, keeping in lieu the current technological and business trends required to perform the role, indicating we merit the hire with the right suitability and role while rejoining us, and as a result creating a win-win with the talent.

By rehiring, we advantaged quick contribution, fitting in smoothly and swiftly (because of past relationship), and repaying our decision to hire with extended effort and employee loyalty.

Do you think Experiential Learning can play a huge role in the coming decade? How?

Experiential learning is all about learning by doing and understanding, this is in the DNA of Goibibo, be it interns or freshers who are guided by senior leaders, they learn while they perform the task which can result in better grasping, being creative with cost effectiveness & faster yields. One such initiative was Role Reskilling (Team Rotation for Employees).

Self-growth and career development for our team are HR’s most important considerations to align with our Retention and Innovation philosophy. To embrace a promising new retention strategy, we came out with ‘Employee Role Re-skilling’ scheme. Role Re-skilling will target team members in each  team who are currently locked into a single/ repetitive responsibility and are looking to enhance with a specific career trajectory, Tech stack or a different vertical altogether. The key is to motivate strong resources in each teams and help them broaden their skill sets and, most important, retain them. It will also help us know if there’s someone in individual team who can quickly fill a different team’s requirement. The scheme is targeted to help employees spread their wings and extend their boundaries than their current roles.

How do you create a buy-in for trainings at workplace?

  • Managers buy in
  • Making learning as a part of culture
  • Linking training to individual’s growth goals/aspirations
  • Result oriented trainings
  • Role specific trainings
  • Training feedback incorporation
  • Incentivising training 

Disclaimer: The responses to the questions are solely the views of the interviewee as a professional and do not reflect that of the Organisation he/she works for.

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