2021

#LiteracyDay: How companies are addressing skill gap in the current market

With the skill shortage becoming a major concern, companies are taking necessary measures to address such situations and helping employees to reskill and upskill.

The market has evolved over the decade making companies embrace technological advancements. However, the pandemic caused companies to shift from office life to remote working overnight. This is not the only change that we witnessed amid the pandemic.

Companies switched to the cloud model, started to work with Artificial Intelligence technology, and developed solutions for their clientele to survive the times. This increased the demand for skilled professionals in the market that made companies face the biggest challenge – skills shortage or skill gap.

Commenting on such a situation, Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, Senior Vice President, Head of HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp said, “With almost 18 months into the pandemic, we are already witnessing a paradigm shift in the way businesses operate. The pandemic has resulted in a greater demand for specialized skill sets to help enterprises evolve along with today’s myriad technological advancements.”

He added, “In the IT industry, with agility becoming imperative, custom development skills like JavaScript frameworks, AI/ML, cloud technologies like AWS, Azure and GCP, DevOps, AIOps, SecOps, and NoOps will go a long way.”

The employees were so comfortable in their skins that they stuck to a single technology or skillset without considering to upskill or upgrade themselves. Pandemic made employees and companies address it and work towards it to ensure that it can change.

To stay relevant in the market, the companies started to offer skilling programmes and employees also started to get courses or certifications to increase their chance of employment.

“As enterprises are accelerating their digital transformation journey, leaders have realised that providing current employees with regular opportunities to improve their existing skills and learn new ones is critical to business resilience,” said Smitha Hemmigae, Head of Marketing, ANSR.

Hemmigae added, “As part of their upskilling and reskilling efforts, tech companies are training engineers to become full-stack developers and attain skills in modern development technologies such as AngularJS and Python. This will not only help employees develop a great career path thus reducing attrition, but also keep the business competitive and forward-thinking.”

The company has grown its workforce by 2.5 times in the last two-and-a-half years in Costa Rica. It plans to add an additional 500 employees in the next one year to cater to the rising demand from global clients for multilingual tech support capabilities, especially in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.

CSS Corp remains committed to its global expansion strategy to address growing business needs while enhancing its nearshore capabilities. Costa Rica has been a strong growth engine for the company for delivering world-class services to global hi-tech clients. The services span across the sales and post-sales lifecycle for top enterprise and B2C brands. They include omnichannel sales and marketing support, product development and deployment, technical support, customer success, billing, renewals, and advanced infrastructure and application support.

Costa Rica’s rich and diverse talent pool, its robust infrastructure and favorable time zone make it an ideal nearshore outsourcing destination for CSS Corp’s North America and EU-based clients. With three established centers in the Greater Metropolitan Area, CSS Corp is now looking to open its fourth state-of-the-art facility to accommodate its growing headcount in the country.

The company’s delivery centers are located in hi-tech zones, with convenient access from the airport, and are surrounded by a serene environment, making them ideal locations to work and to co-innovate with customers effectively.

Sunil Mittal, CEO at CSS Corp, said, “This is an important milestone in our ongoing mission to leverage the best talent globally. Costa Rica is the third country where we have crossed a headcount of 1,000 after India and the Philippines. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved here in a short span of time, balancing seamless growth with customer delight. It is really encouraging to see how our employees have adapted to the challenging Covid-19 environment while maintaining the high levels of service that our clients deserve. I expect the rapid growth trajectory to continue in the coming years.”

Jayagopi Andhoor, LATAM Region Head, who has been recently promoted to Senior Vice President said, “We are delighted to have grown so fast to a family of over 1,000 CSS Corpians in Costa Rica. The teams have taken on challenging assignments and excelled at driving business outcomes for global clients through customer-centric solutions. We have comprehensive expansion plans laid out for this region as we expect this momentum to continue.”

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Will the non-human recruiters please stand up?

It was an enforced change imposed by an unforeseen pandemic, but that change is here to stay. Recovery may be on the horizon, but organizations have realized through this experience that they need to build even more resilient businesses than ever before to cope with future stressors.

In this week’s edition, we bring to fore some of the ways different companies in India are already leveraging AI in HR processes and are not only cutting down on manual labor but also seeing massive savings, and in cases even higher revenues.

If you were born before the ’70s, you’d clearly remember the protests against the introduction of computers in banks. Protestors would go on strikes in a fight to safeguard the interests of the employees of public sector banks.

Despite the concerns, technology has so far been proven to be a net employment generator than otherwise, and therefore when automation hit the recruitment industry itself, there have been more cheers than boos. Recruiters today have realized that AI and other automation technologies can supplement their work instead of competing against them. From resume filtering to validating the potential candidate’s certificates, there are a whole lot of activities that are part of a recruiter’s daily life that isn’t all sunshine and roses. AI helps cut down on these boring yet necessary activities while allowing recruiters to focus on more meaningful work.

In this week’s edition, we bring to fore some of the ways different companies in India are already leveraging AI in HR processes and are not only cutting down on manual labor but also seeing massive savings, and in cases even higher revenues.

Here’s how CSS Corp reduced hiring cost by 50%

The majority of hiring in CSS Corp happens through resume scanning which flows in the system through various sources. To go through those resumes, the company has developed a cognitive search integrated with the internal system that identifies the right candidate. CSS Corp calls this system TAMS

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How CXOs Can Effectively Address Targeted Phishing Attacks

From Amazon’s Prime Day scam to fake websites offering iPhone 11 Pro and tricking people into bogus COVID-19 vaccine sites – the last couple of months have seen a massive spike in phishing attacks. Bad actors have constantly lured users to log onto phishing sites as a way to steal their usernames and passwords. Then there were more targeted and potent phishing attacks, and even seasoned journalists like

Phishing and fraud campaigns are not new and always existed in the history of cyber threats; but the number of incidents is escalating due to the rapid shift to remote work across the enterprise – thanks to the pandemic.

Parminder Kaur, Associate Director, Digital Transformation Practice, Frost & Sullivan, believes that the low volume-high impact phishing attacks seen in recent months are more sophisticated and targeted. “These are difficult to detect compared to mass phishing campaigns, thereby putting individuals and businesses at higher risk,” says Kaur.

One reason is that hackers are increasingly masquerading as legitimate sources and brands. According to a study by Check Point, the most frequently imitated brands by cybercriminals in their attempts to steal victims’ personal information or payment credentials include Microsoft, LinkedIn, Amazon, Google and PayPal among others. In Razdan’s case it was an equally reputed institution like the Harvard University. In most cases, lured with promises of monetary or career gain or threats of financial or physical danger, people are being dodged out of tens of thousands of dollars. Corporations lose even more — tens of millions of dollars.

But are companies ready to face this onslaught?

GV Anand Bhushan, Partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co notes, “While companies in general are taking measures to safeguard themselves from phishing related cyber-attacks, lack of employee training when it comes to cyber-security, skills shortage in the cyber-security industry, and failure to take timely assistance from the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in case there is a cybersecurity incident, are some of the challenges companies continue to face. That being the case, while many companies are giving importance to cyber-security, there is still room for additional measures that organizations can adopt from a cyber-security standpoint.”

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#HRDay: This is how HR role has evolved amid pandemic

International HR Day is an opportunity to recognise all the hardworking HR professionals and their efforts. If we talk about the contribution of the HR managers and their team during the pandemic is truly incredible. While the HR department of today is one of the most tech-savvy and agile teams, their role has undergone a massive transformation in the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. The pandemic has given us plenty of reasons to celebrate HR professionals and their efforts during the crisis.

Sharmila Khan, Director HR, Micron India
All playbooks went out the window with the ambiguity and uncertainty that came with the pandemic. I learnt to trust my instincts, and lead with empathy and kindness, while I validated day-to-day operational decisions with a trusted group of peers within the organisation and a larger HR fraternity.

Hence, this day, on May 20, we must celebrate International HR Day to praise them as a profession and their positive contribution to individuals and organisations. With most employees working from home, the HR team is catering to a new set of responsibilities. Let’s put the light on some of them:

HR people’ made a significant contribution during the COVID-19 crisis
2021 is no less tough than the previous year, and with the second wave of COVID-19, It has already been a tough year for HR professionals. Without their never-ending efforts and expertise from the HR department, continuous motivation to employees, and their respective organisations. Without their efforts, we wouldn’t be seeing productivity and team cohesion thriving in a virtual workplace and ambiguous job market.

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp
The pandemic has changed a lot in our day-to-day life, not least of which has been a seismic shift in work culture, as many of us have spent the past year working remotely. The primary thing that the HR function witnessed and learned is the liberation from the mindset that work can be accomplished when we are co-located (or physically in the office).

HR people have been quick responders
The early response from HR was really impressive, they were able to get a sense of employees’ worries and concerns even in the working from home environment. They put employees’ worries first, while also considering the various business impacts. It was their years of experience in doing this that enabled their responsiveness. HR professionals have demonstrated their strategic approach in the way they’ve responded to this crisis. Not only the HR community’s response to COVID-19 has been absolutely incredible, but they’ve kept their organisations working, they’ve focused on the mental health of employees and shone a light on that for the rest of the organisation.

Pavitra Singh, CHRO, PepsiCo India
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons and my biggest one has been to lead with compassion. I realised that softer skills of empathy, compassion and resilience are key differentiators in these challenging times. We, as leaders, need to be the torchbearers of hope and lead with our heart. We have to be more personal in our approach and find ways to connect in the new normal as there is no face to face interactions currently. Leaders should also ensure high-quality interactions and bring energy to every meeting.

 

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‘AI Cannot Replace 1-On-1 Human Interaction In Customer Service Industry’: Dr Kiran Marri, Chief Scientist At CSS Corp – Analytics India Magazine

Global customer experience and technology consultancy services company CSS Corp helps brands reimagine customer engagements. It helps clients manage over 1.2 billion interactions and, in the process, provides technologies, tools and solutions to enhance customer engagements. Its area of focus includes shifting from reactive to pre-emptive modes and helping companies adopt the right strategies to bring in efficiencies and delivery models optimisation.

Global customer experience and technology consultancy services company CSS Corp helps brands reimagine customer engagements. It helps clients manage over 1.2 billion interactions and, in the process, provides technologies, tools and solutions to enhance customer engagements. Its area of focus includes shifting from reactive to pre-emptive modes and helping companies adopt the right strategies to bring in efficiencies and delivery models optimisation.

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Recently, Analytics India Magazine got into a conversation with Dr Kiran Marri, Chief Scientist and Vice President of Digital Engineering at CSS Corp, to understand how CSS Corp is leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Kiran is an industry consultant, educator, and researcher with over 18 years of experience in software and systems. An alumnus of IIT Madras (BE, MS and PhD), Kiran’s current role at CSS Corp includes developing innovative solutions, creating sustainable business models for growth, and launching new services in the digital, engineering and testing practices. He is currently researching to apply ML techniques and optimisation algorithms to solve complex engineering and software problems, build solutions for early validation strategies, and develop UX tools for global clients.

Edited excerpts from the interaction:

AIM: What are CSS Corp’s core tech products?
Dr Kiran: We have reimagined customer engagements and have enabled over a billion customer service and support transactions in over 25 languages across 19 global locations. We help clients succeed through intelligent automation-led outcomes and customer-centric solutions & services with the help of two AI-driven platforms:

CSS EDISON: AI-led cloud-based CX transformation platform.
CSS CONTELLI: AIOps platform; it takes an outcome-based approach and leverages cognitive RPA, AI, automation, augmented reality, and advanced analytics for IT support and services.
COEUS: provides real-time insights into agent performance and helps improve overall efficiency and productivity. Last year, COEUS analysed over 10 million transactions, resulting in a 50 per cent improvement in service levels across accounts and increasing employee productivity levels by 25 per cent.
These platforms cut across the front and back offices of any enterprise to drive meaningful business outcomes.

AIM: What tech tools do you use?
Dr Kiran: Our tools vary depending on the services. We use a broad mix of proprietary home-grown tools as well as industry-standard tech tools.

AIM: How are you leveraging AI and ML technologies?
Dr Kiran: CSS Corp proposes a set of solution elements that are flexible and extensible – supported by optimum service delivery model and usage of next-generation tools, methodologies, and framework. Our framework for AI/ML projects across domains is based on five fundamental tenets:

Design right talent sourcing strategy for the program
Define a CoE model that will provide utmost operational flexibility and tight alignment to business goals while achieving the benefits of consolidation and standardisation
Enable Service Transformation that consists of tools, accelerators, new practices, and solution components, and part of ‘managed services’ delivery model, driven by SLA framework
Implement an execution framework based on CSS Corp offerings that will enable rapid and de-risked transition, process standardisation and fosters innovation
Implement Program Management and Governance guided by KPIs, metrics, and stakeholder specific dashboard
AIM: Provide us some real-life use cases.
Dr Kiran: Here are some use cases:

One of our US-based OEMs faced difficulty detecting the quality of images (video streaming) in UCAAS products. We improved their quality benchmarking using our AI/ML and computer vision solutions.
A Europe-based CPF company had challenges in detecting faulty image uploads and automating the process flow. With our cutting-edge solutions that leverage AI/ML, computer vision, and customer algorithms, we enhanced their user experience and quality.

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Are you ready for the future workplace?

The definition of ‘work’ has changed and will continue to change as pandemic-driven trends evolve. Here are the top trends driving organisations’ strategies for the coming months.

he combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the off-site working it necessitated, the ‘Great Resignation’ it spurred, and the ongoing digitisation process, has greatly modified the way ‘work’ is defined. Many organisations now have to scramble to implement wide-ranging changes to stay relevant.

We acquaint you with the top trends that indicate what organisations need to do in this situation of rapid flux.

Finding the tricky balance between physical and remote working models will be key

Employers are experimenting with new work models like hybrid work, gig work, and part-time work, with the hybrid model emerging as the work model of the future. The transition to hybrid work is already underway, and is certain to become a permanent feature for organisations who find that a flexible work culture will enhance employee productivity, satisfaction, and work-life balance.

“Hybrid-working culture is and will be the future for those businesses who want to reach a state of normalcy in this new normal. Additionally, as these changes take centre stage, employers will need to further understand that the new way of working will have its fair set of challenges. To help employees make a smooth transition, employers will need to take on a more empathetic leadership approach, put greater focus on health, wellness, recognition, and overall work-life balance of their employees. Taking on more employee-friendly initiatives will be an effective way to ensure the success of a hybrid-working model,” says Birlasoft Chief Delivery Officer Shreeranganath Kulkarni.

Fluid workforce the norm for the future?

The fluid workplace of the future places limited importance on location/geography, and employers will explore various work models to stay competitive.

“New work models like gig working (use of contractual workers and freelancers), hybrid working, and part-time working are in the exploratory stage while outsourcing jobs to agencies/partnering with companies emerge as a norm. However, employers may still construe freelancers as unemployed, and hence a full-time worker is apprehensive about making this transition,” says the Randstad – Future of Work Report.

Flexibility wins

Mercer|Mettl CEO Siddhartha Gupta says the era of ‘9 to 5’, ‘Monday to Friday’ is coming to an end.

The year 2022 will be the year of digital nomadism where employees will have the freedom to customise their work and career experiences with their well-being at the centre of it.

“In addition, we will see an increase in the implementation of a ‘Listening Culture’ .i.e. the formation of workplaces guidelines and policies based on employee feedback.  Fluid hierarchy and organisational structures will also come into play with an emphasis on transparency and accountability. And lastly, re-conceptualising of productivity will take place. This will be done because the modern workforce is digital and distributed across the world. Furthermore, the notion that productivity equates to the number of hours is outdated,” he adds.

Upskilling on the radar

Since the advent of the pandemic, uncertainty has been constant. The result? Agility and upskilling have taken centre stage.

“As digital transformation plays a role in organisations’ efforts to recover and be more resilient, and hybrid multicloud, security, automation, and artificial intelligence become even more important, professionals have felt compelled to learn a host of new technical and soft skills. Hence, upskilling continues to be paramount as we navigate the health crisis and companies continue to prioritise skill-based hiring and skill-building to not just make the most of their digital transformation efforts, but also drive greater value for their clients,” says Nutanix People Business Partner Head India Ramya Menon.

Lendingkart CTO Giridhar Yasa adds that upskilling yourself on the job is very important. “Externship is an emerging trend in this context. Doing an externship is a great way to get paid while learning on the job. It also helps upskill and become ready for an even better opportunity. There are many good companies that enable externship for young professionals. We, at Lendingkart, value candidates who have shown an attitude towards constant learning,” he says.

Which technical skills will really matter?

In the pandemic’s wake, every business has transformed into a technology business and companies have been embracing digitalisation to stay relevant and operate sustainably. Analysts predict that direct investments in digital transformation initiatives will continue to see strong growth and form 55 per cent of all investments in information and communications technology by the end of 2024.

Even though the business focus varies across industries, the technical skills they require to fulfil their digital goals are generally similar across the board.

“These include artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, AR/VR, RPA, mobile engineering and machine learning – skills that are largely in demand because they touch upon multiple aspects of building a successful business in the digital era. In light of this sudden need for talent, organisations are looking to build global teams through Global Capability Centres (GCCs). India is already synonymous with GCCs and will continue to lead as a preferred GCC destination, thanks to an abundance of talent, Tier-I & Tier-II city infrastructure, government support and a thriving startup ecosystem,” says ANSR’s Head of HR Operations and Talent Management Sukumar Payala.

Virtual working appeals but human connect will never lose its sheen

Virtual working has espoused the virtues of flexibility, which were hitherto not so appreciated, and hence would find greater acceptance in futuristic workplaces. Birlasoft Chief People Officer Arun Dinakar Rao, however, feels that humans are social animals and barring a few, who may not have this primary driver, most of us would look to satisfy these needs.

“Human connections have a huge upside to productivity as we have seen in team productivity levels when people dynamically collaborate – the best outcomes have come when people whiteboard their thoughts in a closed room with a unified dream. On the other extreme, haven’t we observed the yearning for a human shoulder to cry on when we find ourselves in a hole or with our backs to the walls, and digital modes unable to assist us in these situations? Hence, I believe that leveraging technology or otherwise, people would continue to look for human connections at workplaces,” says Rao.

The much needed soft skills

Multiple reports state that over 50 per cent of IT employees need significant reskilling and upskilling – not just in technical capabilities, but also in interpersonal and soft skills.

“Besides, skills such as creativity, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, innovation mindset, empathy, and decision-making, will be most in-demand by the organisation. A hybrid work model makes it important for employees to be digitally savvy, emotionally strong and possess social skills. Having a continuous learning mindset, flexibility to perform in challenging circumstances, and willingness to adapt to situations when things don’t go as planned define the modern emerging hybrid workforce,” says Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, Senior Vice President, Head of HR (Global) and Head of Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

As per Umar Ali Shaikh, the CEO of Atos India Pvt Ltd and Head of Growing Markets – Country Cluster India, Head of India National Business, adaptability bundled with perseverance will be the most desirable attribute at the forefront of the way employees and employers both need to be aligned.

But he notes that adaptability is “a hard trait to comprehend, as it involves many aspects in the preview of soft skills that professionals would need going forward”.

Diversity and inclusion at work, mental well-being the primary focus

Employers need to think about D&I initiatives in the new normal, along with how mental well-being discussions can be normalised, and by clubbing these aspects with others to devise what it takes to become an employer of choice for the next generation of employees.

As per the Randstad report, the post-COVID workplace will see more conversations around mental health and higher acceptance of its impact on work and productivity of the employee, and require support mechanisms at work, building skills like empathy and compassion, and providing personal space to employees as ways for employers to prioritise mental well-being.

“Employees are the backbone for a successful business, and we want to ensure that our employees get the necessary benefits, the flexibility of choice, a true alignment of their aspirations with and what they do, psychological safety, and well-being at their workplace,” says InMobi Group CHRO Sahil Mathur.

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CSS Corp wins 2021 BIG Innovation Award

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, today announced that it has been named a winner in the 2021 BIG Innovation Awards in the best products category by the Business Intelligence Group (BIG) for their homegrown platform, Contelli.

CSS Corp’s Contelli enables enterprises to unlock the full potential of their IT infrastructure with a business-first transformation approach, powered by cutting-edge cognitive technology. It is a one-of-its-kind advanced AIOps platform that harmonizes, automates, and modernizes every aspect of infrastructure operation.

It drives self-provisioning and self-healing infrastructure, on-demand capacity management, algorithmic operations, proactive security threat prevention, predictive analytics through advanced pattern matching, and cost analysis and optimization. Contelli is incredibly flexible to modern enterprises’ needs as it can work in multi-cloud, on-premise, hybrid, and multi-technology ecosystems.

The platform is highly modular to be tailored to suit any client environment. The solution has proven to be a key driver for operational excellence, process efficiency, and resource optimization for CSS Corp’s customers.

“Being recognised by the Business Intelligence Group reinforces our deep expertise in effectively manging enterprise and IT operations ecosystems. Our solutions are built with a focus to drive business outcomes for our customers and transform their challenges into opportunities. This recognition is a testimony to our constant effort in delivering winning results for our clients. Our focus on improving customer engagement has helped us innovate and adapt to changing industry trends and seamlessly meet customer needs through our technology-driven solutions,” said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

“Not only innovation allows organisations to stay relevant in the market, but also helps humanity to progress by making our lives more productive, healthy and comfortable. We are thrilled to be honouring CSS Corp, as they are one of the organizations leading this charge and helping humanity progress,” said Maria Jimenez, chief operating officer of the Business Intelligence Group.

Organizations from across the globe submitted their recent innovations for consideration in the BIG Innovation Awards. Nominations were then judged by a select group of business leaders and executives who volunteer their time and expertise to score submissions.

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What lessons did HR leaders learn from the pandemic?

On the occasion of International Human Resources Day, we spoke to many HR leaders about their learnings from the pandemic in the last 1.5 years. Here are some insights from the leading HR professionals of India Inc.

What is the one lesson you learnt as an HR leader in the last 1.5 years, since the pandemic struck?

 

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head – HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

“The primary thing that the HR function witnessed and learned is the liberation from the mindset that work can be accomplished when we are co-located (or physically in the office). Physical needs (Meeting rooms, logistics, time conflicts) have melted away with a positive acceptance of collaborative tools (Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting, and many more). Also, the onslaught of the variants and waves have made even the most brave-hearted to be mentally fragile. An immense amount of support and efforts have to be made for positivity to flow continuously like oxygen.”

 

Akash Sangole, Head of Human Resource and General Administration, Panasonic Life Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.

“The pandemic has taught us many lessons. As organizations rallied to respond to the crisis, the biggest challenge for the HR function was how to keep the workforce safe, motivated & engaged. As an HR function, we could manage the situation by being authentic, empathetic, and resilient. The major takeaway for me was to be agile/quick and being resilient in every approach.”

 

Annoora Singh, Head – HR, Training and Admin, Organic India

“COVID-19 pandemic presented an unrivaled situation all over the world and there is no individual or organization that was not impacted in some or the other way. Employees who had never worked remotely found themselves working from home for the first time and this has urged HR function to re-think their strategy and plans.With WFH, the role of HR has become more critical than ever before as they now are essentially the bridge between the leadership teams and employees till the grass-roots level and ensure that all employees continue to work towards a common goal and move in the same direction.”

 

Arun Dinakar Rao, Chief People Officer, Birlasoft

“If there is one lesson I have learned in these 18 months, it is that “We should never forget our basics”. It has proven that empathy and care go a long way in dealing with challenges than what they were credited for. It has proven that adversity brings out the true character/resilience among people and that necessity is truly the mother of innovation. The pandemic has forced organizations to adopt and accelerate their digital journeys, dynamically altering the way organizations look at their technology roadmap and has shown a new way of building and engaging with ‘work-from-anywhere teams.”

 

Ashish Mittal, Head of People Function, Aviva India

“We witnessed a dramatic shift in the work culture and recognized early that we didn’t have all the answers. We realized that “learning as we go” was the best strategy of all. The one lesson that I have learned as a leader is to create a work culture that is humanitarian in approach. As leaders of a people-centric organization, we have built a strong foundation with empathy, humility, and strong bonds with our people.”

 

Bernard Martyris, Global Chief of Human Resources, VFS Global

“Forming deep and meaningful human connections with employees has become even more critical to companies and business leaders in these turbulent times. For me, the COVID-19 pandemic required working closely with remotely connected teams to ensure agility and address the 360-degree requirements of employees and equip them to work through such a crisis via an enhanced focus on Learning and Development. It was also imperative to care for mental and physical well-being through meaningful and empathetic two-way communication.”

 

Jayashubha K, Chief People Officer, TVS Credit Services Limited

“The pandemic has been a learning curve that has taught me to be adaptive and flexible in order to survive and succeed in this COVID era. As an HR leader for a large organization, the pandemic pushed us to break through all stereotypes. It encouraged us to move from traditional to remote working style, broaden our network, learn and relearn and find new ways to reconnect with people around us.”

 

Pavitra Singh, CHRO, PepsiCo India

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons and my biggest one has been to lead with compassion. I realized that softer skills of empathy, compassion, and resilience are key differentiators in these challenging times. We, as leaders, need to be the torchbearers of hope and lead with our hearts. We have to be more personal in our approach and find ways to connect in the new normal as there are no face-to-face interactions currently. Leaders should also ensure high-quality interactions and bring energy to every meeting.”

 

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CSS Corp is looking at IPO in late 2023 for its standalone business: CEO

Company’s CEO says firm is working with business process management (BPM) company Startek on opportunities where they can add value

Customer experience and technology services provider CSS Corp’s chief executive officer (CEO) Sunil Mittal said the company is looking at an initial public offering (IPO) in late 2023 for its standalone business.

Mittal also said the firm is working with business process management (BPM) company Startek on opportunities where they can add value, but has had no conversations with regard to increasing the minority stake of Startek in CSS.

Whenever a private equity deal happens, there is a fund that gets created. There are multiple investors in that fund. The Startek Investment Fund is an indirect investment into that fund that is managed by Capital Square Partners. From a Startek perspective, I don’t have conversations with them on these aspects. We work at arm’s length distance, (unless there’s an opportunity). The way forward is for us to be independent, continue with the momentum and create value for our investors through an IPO,” he said.

He said the firm plans to go public as a standalone business in late 2023.

Startek’s chief financial officer (CFO) Vikash Sureka had told Business Standard that it expects to increase its minority stake in CSS Corp to give it access to a larger market.

Startek announced a strategic investment worth $30 million in CSS Corp in March. The investment was made in a limited partnership managed by Startek’s majority shareholder, Capital Square Partners.

Mittal, who took over as CEO in May, said CSS is also looking at expanding to new geographies and eyeing acquisitions in areas such as healthcare.

“We have plans to take in 3,000 people and we have already hired 1,800 net positions this year,” said Mittal.

The Texas-headquartered company crossed the 10,000 employee-mark in August, and 6,000 of these employees are based in India.

“Last (financial) year, we grew by 25 per cent, and this year also we will grow more than 25 per cent. Based on the trajectory we’re seeing, we should be able to maintain that momentum for the next few years as well,” Mittal added.

The firm has presence in the US, Costa Rica, Manila, India, Colombia, and will expand to Romania from next month.

Around 80-85 per cent of CSS’ business comes from the technology and telecom sector, while 5-8 per cent is from retail consumer packaged goods. It plans to up its focus on retail consumer-packaged goods and healthcare through acquisitions.

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IT sector, prepare for the 3rd year of disruption: 2022 is coming

If you are thinking, what new things we can expect in the upcoming 2022, we need to trace back to the source of such hits and trials — the pandemic. Experts say the “new world order” we are all going to see in 2022 will not only be driven by what we learnt from the previous year, but it will be an amalgamation of both the years 2020 and 2021.

Several in the Information Technology (IT) sector proved that it’s a general practitioner of all experiments. You name it, firing in bulk, it’s IT. Hiring in thousands, it’s IT. Announcing permanent work from home (WFH), its tech sector, among others.

And if you are thinking, what new things we can expect in the upcoming 2022, we need to trace back to the source of such hits and trials — the pandemic. Experts say the “new world order” we are all going to see in 2022 will not only be driven by what we learnt from the previous year, but it will be an amalgamation of both the years 2020 and 2021.

What can we have in hiring trends?

The IT sector saw a drastic change in its talent management strategy – from mass layoffs in 2020 to mass recruitment in 2021. As per Monster Employment Index data, compared to June 2021, July 2021 witnessed an overall monthly growth of 4 per cent in hiring. While, overall job postings have also improved by 8 per cent year-on-year.

According to the report, the IT – Hardware, Software industry witnessed the highest growth year-on-year with 39 per cent increase in the hiring of professionals, with a notable growth in metropolitan cities.

To tackle the surge in the demand for resources, companies are investing in fresher hiring, and also upskilling existing talent, feels Shyam Verma, Global HR Head at JK Tech. “Multiple reports talk about a 12 per cent surge in the HR market in the next 6 years,” he said.

Verma said there was an expedited demand in 2021 for specific capabilities and skill sets across the IT job market, due to the massive digitalization wave that was felt globally. “Adapting to the digitised trends was not difficult for the IT Industry. But HR operations also had to be made effective and agile, to meet the high demand and unique skill set,” he added.

Thendral Rajendran, Vice President and Regional Head – Talent Acquisition, CSS Corp, is of a different view. She believes the market is employee-driven now and attracting top-notch talent, increasing their knowledge and skills, retaining them becomes a key factor for any organisation which strives for growth.

In October 2021, CSS Corp announced it is looking to hire 3,000-odd employees this financial year, out of which approximately 60 per cent will be for its India footprint. A majority of the hiring is to be focused on engineers. The company is also looking to hire non-engineering graduates.

“We are no different as we continue to put in our efforts to sustain our 25-30 per cent YOY growth. With new engines of growth emerging, we will definitely look to sustain hiring for some time,” Rajendran said.

 

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CSS Corp is now Movate

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