A woman wearing futuristic glasses with holographic display against a digital background, symbolizing the readiness of talent practices for a digital world, as depicted in 'Snapshots 2024', annual publication.

Readying your
Talent Practices
for a Digital World

SNAPSHOTS 2024

Our Annual Publication

What does it mean to Go Digital with your Talent Practices?

In recent years, organizations have been increasingly pushing for broader digital transformation of HR processes. They are also taking a fresh approach to talent management & development. However, our conversations with HR leaders reveal multiple challenges in this journey.

From our interactions with leaders in companies that are successfully going digital with these practices, we have identified four common themes. Snapshots 2024 dives deeper to better understand these themes and capture key learnings & best practices.

Interestingly, these themes suggest that going digital successfully may have more to do with the mindset & ways of working, than with the maturing of existing HR/procurement processes or IT capabilities.

Bimal Rath

We learned from our experiences with clients, and have brought them directly to you through contributions from HR leaders in this Snapshots edition. Explore the valuable insights derived from practical experiences.

Bimal Rath

Cofounder & MD​, Think Talent Services

Ajnav Deka

Ajnav Deka

Head - COE (Talent,
Performance & DEI)

TATA Power

Ayaskant Sarangi

Ayaskant Sarangi

Chief Human
Resource Officer

Mphasis

Geetanjali Wheeler

Geetanjali Wheeler

Director - Talent Management & Development

Sun Life Global Solutions - India

Ranjaboti Som

Ranjaboti Som

General Manager - Talent Development & OD

Schneider Electric

Sarika Pradhan

Sarika Pradhan

Vice President -
APAC HR Head

CGI

Shivin Tikoo

Head of
Human Resources

Mahindra First Choice Wheels

Syed Azfar Hussain

Syed Azfar Hussain

Senior Vice President - HR

Bajaj Finserv

Trupti Nayak

Trupti Nayak

SVP & Head -
OD, Employee Engagement
& People Analytics

HDFC Bank

Vinod Krishnan

Senior General Manager -
Learning Leadership
Culture & CoE, HR

Aurobindo Pharma

Vivek Jain

Vivek Jain

Sr. Executive Vice President & Head HR - RA, CIIB, PB & ARC

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Yojana Gawade

Yojana Gawade

People & Organization
(HR) Director

Mars Pet Nutrition India

Theme 01

Data-driven Decision Making

In our conversations with HR teams across industries, making talent processes more data-driven comes across as a key priority. With a plethora of platforms, tools and now AI algorithms available to support key talent decisions, making processes data- driven has probably never been easier. Despite this, we see HR teams working on such initiatives struggling to get them off the ground.

Resistance from People managers who see this process as taking away their “autonomy” is often a key issue. HR capability around designing decision metrics & statistical analysis and navigating issues around InfoSec & privacy also emerge as key bottlenecks. Effectively leveraging digital will require HR professionals to develop new skills and develop a more comprehensive stakeholder engagement process.

A woman engages with a futuristic interface representing data-driven decision making in HR.

Top 3 takeaways for Leaders

Coverage: Entire Talent Lifecycle

Organizations are striving to improve the quality, credibility, and efficiency of talent decisions across the entire talent lifecycle by making them more data driven.

Required: A Change Management Approach

Success requires viewing such initiatives from a change management perspective and creating comprehensive stakeholder engagement plans to align and train key stakeholders.

Focus on New HR Capabilities

Improving the data orientation of processes requires HR teams to develop analytical & process design abilities, along with awareness of Infosec issues.

Are your Capability Building
initiatives focusing on the right things?

Traditionally, focus areas & the design of talent interventions are based on the “perceived” learning needs of the cohort & typically rely on comments & inputs from key stakeholders. Taking a data-driven approach to identifying learning needs can potentially point to a different set of focus areas or skills that may emerge as collective development needs of the cohort.

In this blog, we summarize key findings from the analysis of competency profiles of 2000+ high-potential managers generated through Development Centres. The analysis indicates that supporting ‘self’ & teams through change, fostering an innovation orientation & improving conflict management may be more critical learning needs for high-potential cohorts than the traditional focus areas of people management & collaboration.

Vivek Jain

HR’s primary role is to help managers view data as a complement to their decision-making, rather than a competition to their experience or gut feeling, thereby, embracing transparency amid the changing environmental needs.

Vivek Jain

Sr. Executive Vice President & Head HR – RA, CIIB, PB & ARC

Kotak Mahindra Bank

A data-driven Framework to evaluate Effectiveness of your Promotion process

Data allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of our talent practices more comprehensively. Here is a framework of metrics being used by leading organizations to evaluate effectiveness of the promotion process:

Click on the tabs to open & read.

  • Issue Rate – Percentage of Participants who faced Issues during the Process
  • Participant Experience Score – No. of Immediate Positive Feedback received from Participants
  • Line Manager Feedback Score – No. of Managers/Leaders included in the Content Review Process
  • Failure ratio – No. of participants rejected after Promotion Centre / Total no. of participants after Promotion Centre
  • Type I Error % – No. of promoted participants who received Low Performance Rating after 6 months / Total no. of promoted participants
  • Turn-around-Time (TAT) – Time required from nomination to final decision
  • Coverage Ratio – No. of People covered in Promotion Centre / No. of People having Basic Eligibility for the Role
  • Fairness Perception Score – Percentage of Participants who rated in Engagement Survey “Promotion processes are fair & objective in my organization”?

Revamped Promotion Process at a Pharma Company

A leading Pharma company redesigned the process for internal promotion from individual contributors to managerial roles. All employees nominated for promotion now must clear a structured assessment center, followed by a final interview, to be finally cleared for promotion.

Enhanced Talent Review with 360° Feedback at a Conglomerate

The annual talent review & development planning process at a leading Conglomerate has been redesigned. All employees in managerial roles now go through a 360° feedback survey prior to the conversation with their managers, with the 360 data being a key input into the development planning conversation.

Vinod Krishnan

Senior General Manager – Learning Leadership Culture & CoE, HR

Aurobindo Pharma

Promotion decisions used to rely on leadership nominations and performance, lacking a reliable measure of potential. The risk of promoting individuals beyond their competence level was a constant worry. 

HR issues often are dealt with from a behavioral lens or a behavioral angle. But, when you start expressing things in terms of tangible numbers, then business stakeholders are able to grasp & appreciate the value of effective talent processes.

Click to Jump Sections

01 Data-driven
Decision Making
02 The Agility
Imperative
03 Designing
for Scale
04 Focusing on
Future Readiness

Theme 02

The Agility Imperative

Reacting rapidly to changes is an essential requirement for businesses to succeed in the VUCA world. Business stakeholders increasingly expect HR teams to make processes more agile and shorten TATs on key deliverables, especially recruitment. HR teams successfully delivering on this agility imperative are running well-designed pilots, shortening process cycles, and leveraging predictive analytics to proactively anticipate and manage issues.

Digital platforms, being on-demand and easily deployable, can greatly enable agility. However, HR teams often come across as being too focused on avoiding mistakes and getting things right the first time. This can become a barrier to agility.

How HRs can be more agile in the VUCA world

Top 3 takeaways for Leaders

Digital does not ensure Agility

Agility is essential for HR teams to be effective in a digital world. Digital platforms enable but do not by themselves automatically ensure agility.

Fostering an Agile Mindset

Achieving agility requires a mindset change: giving up a perfectionist mindset and embracing a beta culture.

Leaders as Champions

Agility also requires leaders to champion new ideas, sponsor and support changes and be more tolerant of failures or things not working as per expectations.

Yojana Gawade

Employees are actually ready for the disruption & they are waiting for you to have the right talent process designed which fits both theirs & the organization’s agile goals. Business leaders can promote an agile culture by openly celebrating experiments & recognizing that it’s okay to fail. This cultural aspect doesn’t require a dashboard; it seamlessly integrates into our narratives of successes & experiments.

Yojana Gawade

People & Organization (HR) Director

Mars Pet Nutrition India

Piloting your way to Program Success

Pilot your way to program success with tips on setting clear objectives with measurable outcomes, targeted participant selection, continuous feedback for real-time adjustments, and building champions who advocate for the program’s value.

How to run a successful pilot of a Learning Program or Talent Development Program?
Ranjaboti Som

Gone are the days of managers nominating employees for learning programs. Now, if my team wants to learn, they go the self-service route on YouTube or Google, bypassing traditional processes. As my learners become more agile, the question arises: How can I support their newfound agility & align their goals with our organizational goals?

Ranjaboti Som

General Manager – Talent Development & OD

Schneider Electric

Program cycles are getting shorter for Learning Programs

Cohort sizes are on the rise as clients aim to democratize learning journeys and make them available to more employees.

Clients expect significantly shorter turnaround time for RFPs and RFQs.

Looking to use standardized, existing or build on top of it, rather than creating custom content from scratch.

Diagnosis increasingly focuses on contextualization of communication and identifying possibilities for on-the-job implementation.

Taking a virtual or hybrid approach depending on context and cohort size.

Multiple methodologies and running simultaneous cohorts ensures inclusion and a wider reach.

  • We have considered 30+ programs across 20 companies over 7 years.
  • Data is focused only on learning journeys and not on other engagements.
  • This does not include assessments or standalone training sessions.
Infographic showing learning programs cycles from 2015 to 2023 with increasing cohort sizes and shorter turnaround times.
Geetanjali Wheeler

Hybrid working is redefining the modern workplace, and similarly, hybrid learning gives us a chance to reimagine the learning experience. The way forward is to determine how all these multiple learning formats or modalities — synchronous vs. asynchronous, virtual vs. physical — can be used to create a more impactful learning experience for the employees.

Geetanjali Wheeler

Director – Talent Management & Development

Sun Life Global Solutions – India

Supporting Agility from Within

The Strategic Imperative of Investing on an Internal Talent Base

It is a very difficult task to create a strong base with a focus on primarily acquiring talent from the outside all the time. The costs, including hidden & opportunity costs, point clearly to investing in internal talent being preferable to hiring all the time, except maybe in very specialized areas. To bring increased certainty in talent availability & link to expected performance, investments in internal talent may yield better results. 

Often, we create policies & practices but do not understand the capabilities of the (tech) platform. Often, both are done in isolation. So, (when designing programs & policies) one not only needs to keep the user in mind, which is the design thinking, but also needs to understand the platform capabilities because unless both meet, you cannot get a seamless integrated experience.

Shivin Tikoo

Head of Human Resources

Mahindra First Choice Wheels

Click to Jump Sections

01 Data-driven
Decision Making
02 The Agility
Imperative
03 Designing
for Scale
04 Focusing on
Future Readiness

Theme 03

Designing for Scale

Talent processes are increasingly being democratized and becoming more inclusive. Whether it is providing access to learning programs, tools for personal development planning, career management, or being considered for talent review, HR teams are increasingly mandated to cover more employees and deliver existing processes at larger scales.

Digital enables simplified access, a more engaging participant experience, automation of repeatable tasks, and potentially rapid personalization at scale. However, we often see HR teams equating going digital with going virtual and scoping process transformation initiatives as IT initiatives without changing process design or participant experience.

Person interacting with holographic interface in virtual reality, representing the democratization and scaling of talent processes through digital transformation.

Top 3 takeaways for Leaders

Democratizing Talent Practices

Organizations are expanding the design & coverage of talent initiatives & practices to make them more inclusive & participant-centric.

Digital enables Better EX

Digital enables simplified access, a more engaging participant experience, automation of repeatable tasks & potentially rapid personalization at scale.

Digital Ways of Working

Effectively operating at scale requires better operational efficiency through simplification, automation & a better adoption of digital ways of working.

Trupti Nayak

To scale programs, making them employee-centric is critical. The first thing we do is to try & understand the psyche of the participant, their priorities, their learning styles, their language around issues, the way they engage with and consume content. The same program, when designed for senior leaders, will be different than when designed for middle managers.

Trupti Nayak

SVP & Head – OD, Employee Engagement & People Analytics

HDFC Bank

5 Things you may have to do Differently to Scale your Programs

Discover 5 transformative strategies, backed by real-world examples, to scale your programs effectively. From agile pilots to hyper-personalization & data-driven nudges, revolutionize your approach to learning & development.

Illustration depicting 5 transformative strategies, backed by real-world examples, to scale your programs effectively. From agile pilots to hyper-personalization & data-driven nudges, revolutionize your approach to learning & development.
Ayaskant Sarangi

Business leaders typically focus on the speed of scaling, improving a repeatable experience & driving hyper-personalization. Embracing technology significantly enables these & fits in beautifully with the organizational & workforce needs. Therefore, it becomes the role of HR to ensure that these needs are effectively addressed.

Ayaskant Sarangi

Chief Human Resource Officer

Mphasis

Program Dashboards

An Effective Alternative to Excel Reports

Dashboards allow Program Managers to:

Leverage & act upon real-time data to drive
faster program completion

Cut through the noise & address the needs in
specific pockets of demography

Draw deeper insights into employee behaviour,
preferences & engagement level

Make decisions on designing more personalized
development journeys for employees

*Data is for illustration purposes only.

Ajnav Deka

Ajnav Deka

Head – COE
(Talent, Performance & DEI)

TATA Power

We redesigned our assessment intervention, going fully digital. The first asynchronous phase allowed participants to complete exercises anytime, anywhere, and those who qualified proceeded to the synchronous phase. This marked a significant change in our thinking.

We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from all 400 participants, with an average score of 4.7 out of 5. Many participants felt that the company genuinely cares for them, as they found the approach friendly and experience valuable for both their personal & professional development.

Click to Jump Sections

01 Data-driven
Decision Making
02 The Agility
Imperative
03 Designing
for Scale
04 Focusing on
Future Readiness

Theme 04

Focusing on Future Readiness

From our interactions, we have observed a stronger focus on aligning people practices to future business plans and emerging needs. Competency frameworks are getting refreshed, JDs are being re-created, and career management processes are being re-evaluated. 

At the same time, organizations are prioritizing learning agility and nudging employees to upgrade their skill sets continuously – both functional and behavioral – in line with emerging business requirements.

A person contemplates a vibrant portal in a futuristic passage, symbolizing a focus on future readiness and continuous skill upgrading in organizations.

Top 3 takeaways for Leaders

Comfort with Non-linear Paths

There will be no single answer to a problem, nor will there be a clearly laid-out path. Unknown variables & events will often create disruptions.

Comfort with External Partnerships

Resources, ideas & execution through partnerships will be key. The best partners will have choices & specific needs. It may take completely new skills to make things work.

Comfort with Failure

Failure will be a given along the way. More things will likely not work, than will. Appetite for failing fast & redefining the problem will be required.

New Emerging Career Paradigms

Syed Azfar Hussain

Most organizations often prioritize skills; however, neglecting the ‘self’ can significantly impact the leader’s effectiveness. For instance – a leader’s insecurities can manifest in their interactions with the team, organization, peers & customers. If you skip addressing their insecurities & just focus on teaching skills such as design thinking or empowering them, you won’t bring about fundamental & lasting change.

Syed Azfar Hussain

Senior Vice President – HR

HR Bajaj Finserv

Learning to Learn

What competency should be assessed if the organization aims to be future-ready?

Think Talent has conducted over 30k+ assessments in the past year across various organizational levels. Invariably, as we design the assessments, apart from considerations of scale, implementation of the platform, and program management, one of the key elements that comes up for discussion is the fact that – what competency should be assessed if the organization aims to be future-ready?

Sarika Pradhan

So, how does HR adapt to the evolving landscapes and emerging technologies? And how do you ensure readiness for the next decade’s challenges through effective changes? First, foster agility in ways of working. All of us have great ideas, but the proof of the pudding lies in the speed of execution. Second, build a culture of unlearning with a growth mindset that aligns with the business growth.

Sarika Pradhan

Vice President – APAC HR Head

CGI

Click to Jump Sections

01 Data-driven
Decision Making
02 The Agility
Imperative
03 Designing
for Scale
04 Focusing on
Future Readiness

Disclaimer: All quotes mentioned on this page have undergone editing for conciseness, with a focus on retaining the contributor’s intended message and context.

Snapshots 2024

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Download the PDF & get comprehensive expert insights & valuable tips on digitalizing your talent management strategies.

Check out our previous editions!

Explore the trends & challenges in Learning & Talent Management over the years

  • Snapshots 2023: Building a Resilient Talent Pipeline
  • Snapshots 2022: Reinventing Leadership for the Times Ahead
Snapshots 2023

Click to Jump Sections

01 Data-driven
Decision Making
02 The Agility
Imperative
03 Designing
for Scale
04 Focusing on
Future Readiness

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