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President and CEO of Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) APAC Pushkar Misra is passionate about the value of cultivating a “family-like” atmosphere within the customer experience provider as it fosters deeper levels of employee loyalty and engagement. He believes this approach to the pandemic resulted in one of HGS’s most profitable years.
“Fortunately, we have a set of clients who have actually benefited from the pandemic and grown significantly. As a result, we have also grown with them and that growth is continuing,” he says.
The challenges imposed by the pandemic created the right amount of friction necessary for HGS to create new processes that in turn resulted in a significant acceleration in their artificial intelligence, automation and analytics departments.
“We were ignited to find a solution for transactions that could be automated,” he explains. “Something which could have taken one year previously started happening in a couple of months due to the intense pressure created by the pandemic.”
“You take care of your employees, the employees will take care of the end customers, the end customers will take care of the clients and the clients will take care of you. I think that has worked really well.”
A common theme that’s arising globally is the beneficial transformations that are occurring within organisations, allowing them to come out of the turbulence raised by the pandemic stronger than ever. “I think that has been actually a sort of a blessing for the industry, although it wasn’t without its challenges,” he shares.
Pushkar reflects that initially, it was a “logistical nightmare” as HGS had to hire people remotely and ensure their internet bandwidth was suitable. “We were inspired to hire people on video conferences, without face-to-face interviews. We had to train them while they were sitting at home.”
However, the perceived setbacks were a minor brush stroke compared to the sharp increase in demand within the healthcare, consumer and financial service industries that they were servicing. “It was more of a question of supply; how we cater to the demand rather than worry about whether we’ll have business or not,” he says.
In terms of their human resource logistics, HGS was able to successfully shift its workforce from primarily being in the office to 85 per cent working from home and 15 per cent in the office. “We’ve had the flexibility to go into areas where we had not been hiring in the past, so the pool of talent has expanded,” Pushkar says.
He also reiterates that the commitment and loyalty of their workforce had led to a prosperous relationship with clients. “You take care of your employees, the employees will take care of the end customers, the end customers will take care of the clients and the clients will take care of you. I think that has worked really well.”
One of the key factors that has positively trickled down through the organisational chain is the integrity upheld within the management team. It has fostered a deep sense of allegiance and safety within the organisation, positioning HGS as a respectful and in-demand workforce provider.
“We still have people who have been with the organisation for 25 years plus, which is unheard of in the past as this is an industry where people move around jobs frequently. Our tenure of the management is one of the longest, which has really created the foundation for having growth without fear of people leaving the organisation”
“I think that has been actually a sort of a blessing for the industry, although it wasn’t without its challenges.”
Pushkar reflects that although money is a powerful motivator, the intrinsic factor that attributes to the momentum and drives success is the values that the management team upholds around sustaining a family-like atmosphere. “Your voice is heard, you are also encouraged, and there is a career which is waiting for you. They have role models whom they can see,” he shares.
“I think, this industry is all about people. We have to understand the people. We cannot expect an old dog to do new tricks. We have to constantly make sure that the management and leadership knows what’s in store in the future, and is well set to actually gravitate towards that.”
He also advocates for those in the industry to embrace new technologies. “There is a fear that technology will take away jobs and reduce revenues but our experience has been different. Wherever we have introduced new technologies, the client has appreciated it and we’ve ended up earning more.
“For leaders especially, it’s important to be open minded and to welcome technologies. Rather than be a late entrant when it’s already established, one has to be innovative and be prepared to take some risks.”