We try to future-proof employee experience by replicating what employees experience in their personal lives: Amrita Padda, Chief People Officer, Airtel

Airtel has always been a pioneer when it comes to technology adoption and implementation. This is seen from the way the telecom firm leverages technology to serve its customers better, and also in the way it uses technology to improve employee satisfaction. Amrita Padda, Chief People Officer, Airtel, shares with us, how Airtel studies how people use technology in their daily lives to raise the bar for employee experience

Some edited excerpts:

As one of the leaders in the HR space, what are some of the main changes that you have witnessed during your journey, and what role does AI/ML and cloud technology play in this entire journey?
The HR sector is evolving at a fast pace as new working models are being introduced across industries, which also demands modernisation of systems & processes. Advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, underpinning Cloud have completely transformed the business ecosystem. Tech- driven solutions have aided easy administration and the focus has shifted to real-time performance evaluation & feedback process which is more development oriented. A hybrid model of learning & development has been put to practice for enhancing the capabilities of employees and is possible with an advanced level of AI and ML build solutions. Investment in advanced automation, data-driven analytics are helping businesses to achieve their goal by making strategic decisions. Further, they are assisting HR leaders to have more time to focus on skill enhancement, talent & people management, and career advancement, thereby increasing employee satisfaction.

How does Airtel leverage emerging technologies?
Airtel has always been a pioneer when it comes to technology adoption and implementation. We operate with the primary agenda to leverage technology to serve our customers better. By adopting best-in-class technology, we aim to amplify our processes and improve employee satisfaction, thereby increasing productivity and performance.
When it comes to future-proofing employee experience, our motive is to replicate what employees experience in their personal lives. For instance, if employees want to know about certain policies or processes, they can see it online on their mobile screen rather than writing an e-mail, accepting an answer, or reaching out to someone. Today, the entire Talent Management process at Airtel is digitally driven, which provides the entire HR division including Managers “one view of Talent”, thereby making them more effective and aiding in better decision making.  We intend to get the company future-ready in terms of employees taking ownership, self-service, productivity improvement, and experiences.

Transformations within large organizations like Airtel require a commitment from the leadership and a cultural shift. How did you manage this mindset shift across employee levels?

Whenever any big-sized company looks at shifting their transformational gears, it is extremely critical to take a collaborative and an integrated approach in which both leaders and employees work together for a successful implementation without any disruptions. We also followed a similar approach with an intention to get our company future-ready and digital-ready in terms of employees taking ownership, self-service, productivity improvement, and experiences. We work towards promoting the culture of digital-first and we align all our business priorities to this goal.

Airtel’s goal is to prepare for the future in terms of employee ownership, self-service, productivity improvement, and employee experiences. As a result, we intend to use new-age technologies as an enabler to support our internal processes and make it easy for our workforce to become better and assist them in thriving in one of the most competitive industries—the telecom sector.

What are some of the main reasons that has pushed Airtel use technologies such as cloud and HR related technologies? How has the adoption of Oracle HCM cloud helped?
We have always been a front-runner in terms of implementing cutting-edge technologies and this progressive approach has helped us in having a strong footprint in the telecom market. We are ahead of our peers and have already had digital solutions in place to support our HR functions, much before the pandemic. We digitized our HR department a few years ago to simplify the processes internally in order to deliver a better employee experience. At the same time, when the pandemic hit us, we developed this further and fast-tracked our adoption of digital technology across verticals.

Our transition to Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM enabled us to integrate our internal systems across performance and reward. Oracle’s Fusion sits as an overall solution provider, integrating seamless functioning across finance, SCM & HR.

What are some of the key aspects that Airtel kept in mind while deciding on a cloud-based service provider for the HR division?
Basically, the scalability of the available solutions, the speed with which these solutions can be implemented, the entire suite of talent management options – goals, performance, careers, and more, all integrated together with systematic planning and integration mechanism were some of the key aspects we had in mind while opting for a right cloud-based service provider. We have a long-standing partnership with Oracle and their Fusion Cloud HCM solutions became a natural choice for us.

What according to you is the new dimension of workplace success in 2022?
We have already seen some significant changes in workplaces in the last few years due to the pandemic-induced remote working, and these changes are expected to continue this year as well. Workplace success is no longer defined solely by concepts such as employee efficiency, time management, profit maximization, and so on. It now goes beyond the quantifiable aspects and accounts for things like employee satisfaction, which is directly related to an organization’s success. Being supportive and authentic are key aspects that qualify for a better workplace and HR needs to foster among managers while enabling the business to quickly learn & respond to newer situations.

Employees are looking for organizations that allow them to grow and advance, knowing that workforce priorities have shifted. This means a higher focus on upskilling and reskilling. The pandemic has shown us how transferable certain skills are across roles and even in industries, and learning modules can help employees learn and grow their skills aligned to the most relevant needs of the industry.

Technology will play an important role in workplace management this year. Cloud-based solutions will play a prime role in enabling this; we are seeing how organizations across industries are relying on these to improve their HR processes, and with the current rate of new technology introduction, this sphere will continue to progress.

AirtelAmrita PaddaChief People OfficerCloudOracle
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  • jackie jackson

    Jobs are changing fast thanks to technology. Upskilling is the process of teaching existing employees new and relevant skills needed today and in the near future.