Top 5 non-monetary benefits for employees

According to a recent poll conducted by us, 75% of employees consider flexible working hours as the best non-monetary benefit, whereas 14% and 9% of employees feel lifestyle packages and personalized rewards as good non-monetary benefit alternatives.

What exactly are these non-monetary benefits?

Any pay given to an employee in a non-cash form is referred to as non-monetary compensation. On the most basic level, this could refer to a vacation given to the “Salesperson of the Month,” when the prize has a value but is not paid as extra money in their paycheck.

Non-monetary rewards have several benefits over other forms of rewards.

They are more cost-effective since the focus is on the act of acknowledgement itself, which provides value from the employee’s perspective.

Non-monetary benefits also have an immediate effect. Additionally, they improve retention. Another employer easily entices a worker who stays with you just because you increased their wages. Non-monetary benefits, on the other hand, foster relationships with employees that they won’t find at competing businesses.

Top 5 non-monetary benefits for employees

1. Flexible working

This has proven to be one of the best-known employment benefits offered. If your employees don’t already have the choice, allow them to work from home or change their schedules as a reward.

Several companies provide this as a component of a hybrid working style, and more and more employers are becoming more flexible with their working style.

However, employees can modify this level of flexibility as a wonderful non-monetary benefit alternative.

2. Public recognition

As corny as it may sound, a simple (public) thank you can go a long way when it comes to non-monetary rewards.

The easiest way to ensure that employees are thanked when they need it is to create an organization-wide culture of recognition supported by a constructive peer group.

Peer recognition can take many different forms, from simple expressions of gratitude and post-it notes to personalized Slack emojis, (virtual) points or badges, and much more. Additionally, it’s a fantastic approach to inspire individuals to uphold the company’s ideals.

3. Lifestyle benefits

As the title indicates, these non-monetary incentives are intended to promote an employee’s lifestyle. This is a pretty broad topic, and usually, it relies on your offices’ locations, the employees you hire, your budget, and other factors.

Intriguingly, this is frequently the area where businesses’ top non-monetary benefits choices diverge the most. However, irrespective of the sector or location, some benefits which are frequently requested are:

  • Yoga classes/gym memberships
  • Child care assistance
  • Domestic assistance insurance
  • Healthy diet incentives
  • Life insurance

4. Personalized Rewards

The advantage of personalized rewards over transactional rewards is that they are more memorable. Additionally, they enable you to create an emotional bond between you and your employees.

Here, the sky truly is the limit, with some businesses offering their employees a trip of a lifetime when they reach a particular milestone.

But the good thing about personalized rewards is that you can customize them according to your employees’ preferences and your company’s spending plan.

5. Fringe perks

Another type of non-monetary incentive is fringe perks. In short, they are extra benefits that you give to your staff.

You can provide employees with a tonne of other ancillary perks, such as health programmes, free lunches at work or restaurant vouchers, commuter incentives, movie tickets, traveller checks, etc.

Summing up

Non-cash rewards can be a useful tool for rewarding your staff for a job well done. They will, however, only be effective in conjunction with a fair remuneration scheme. In this manner, a number of non-monetary rewards might assist in transforming a good team into a great one.

GCC Value Proposition For India: An Insightful Chat with Mr. Irendra Chhabra

In this edition of the Fireside Chat Series, we bring a conversation with Mr. Irendra Chhabra, Global Spend Management Practice and Back-Office Transformation Head for Startek. We talked about the emergence of GCCs as a vehicle for experimenting, embracing and enriching digital businesses, the post-pandemic war for talent and how reskilling is need of the hour.

 

Hi Irendra, it is great to have you as a part of our fireside chat series. Thanks for having this conversation with us regarding the tremendous growth journey that GCCs have had in India and how we can continue this partnership.

Thanks Swati for having me as a part of this conversation. It is a pleasure to be talking to you.

Let’s start by knowing more about how can Global Capability Centres (GCC) reshape today to re-invent tomorrow?

In my view, the core focus for GCCs for being relevant and leading productive partnerships with businesses hinges on the following parameters: 

Prudently invest in people: While there is a need to upskill/reskill, the fast and hard decision will be to also invest in selecting the right capability talent pools and integrating effectively. More automation and intelligent processing will require lesser and lesser resource capacity, resulting in upscale people. While traditionally, most SSC organisations have looked at horizontal upscale – from transaction operation to analysis- the future shift requires vertical upscale from processor to controller to compliance to strategic roles.  

Create an agile work culture: Decision velocity and visibility are core, and building the ability to harness the power of one is critical. Drive experimentation and cultivate an environment of accepting/embracing unknowns. Far too much effort has gone into building policies, processes, SOPs, and checklists, don’t make them static, and last but not least, teach the DNA of “sense and respond”.

Integrated value chain automation: Organisations seek to drive automation adoption, though from functional/activity silo-based automation efforts, the focus will shift to getting the overall value chain integrated via prudent and pragmatic automation. Don’t jump upon every new tech bandwagon; review the fit for business needs – stated/unstated. 360 degree of seamless view of the customer/transaction is a must. Organisations that are heavily leaning toward only automation and analytics should ensure that they have adequate focus on Connect and Operate organisations as the success of any automation/analytics or intelligence intervention is based on how the core functions improve. 

Bring DNA of customer centricity: We are moving from a knowledge economy to an experience economy. The SSC needs to consistently ask themselves, ” What problem are they solving for customers, how are they going to enhance customer experience, and how would they sustain customer loyalty?” Customer centricity is not CXO’s KRA, but everyone is responsible from top to bottom of the pyramid. The question is how SSC first takes ownership of understanding the above and then percolates down the line. Culture certainly plays a significant role. Other than that, there is a structured way to address the customer journey: Here is one of the ways to track the customer life cycle. Connect with customers no sooner than they realise they have a problem. Once the customer has placed an order, it’s vital to have an excellent onboarding experience which will be the start of the loyalty journey. Remain connected with your customer, keep listening, and be empathetic to the customer’s issues. If SSC can be a part of the customer journey, it will lead to the customer returning again and again. 

Is the emergence of GCC transforming the requirements of talent? Is there a larger need for talent?

GCC are the pillar of business operations – an outcome that has been served well over the last decade. We are now seeing the emergence of GCC as a vehicle for experimenting, embracing and enriching the new works of digital business and creating value for the customers. Two distinct talents complement the growth of the organisation. On the one hand, organisations need experienced subject matter experts and, on the other IT enablers to create the right technology platform for client serving. Digital is a prerequisite fundamental to businesses in the post-pandemic world. With companies relying heavily on technology, the usually young profile of GCC is getting more attention to drive the digital business model: This is driving the need for new capabilities/competencies and structures within GCC. Let me remind you, it is not more tech talent that is in demand; it is also talent that can bridge the business-digital divide; it can understand deeply the as is business operating models, stakeholder change mindsets and an ability to demystify tech and drive a business-centric implementation.

The way large firms are looking to bridge these talent gaps are:

  • Build the base with fresh talent – Ones who are digital natives and, with the proper induction, curation and motivation, can work on critical areas
  • Drive aggressively internal to business talent reviews and competency mapping, and create a fast track for talent which has long-haul relevance in the digital business
  • Identify gaps in the mid-level talent pool and prepare a buy plan
  • Leadership talent – Look at building their competence in emerging areas through an effective dual role portfolio – eg. Head of Sales Marketing entrusted the portfolio of customer analytics and insights portfolio; Head of Accounting Ops required to drive digital finance, etc.
  • Finally, creating a culture where employees have fun, laughter and motivation to work towards the organisation’s goals is essential. A culture of inclusivity with significant factors are respect, trust, fair treatment and listening. Leaders need to focus on all softer aspects of the business for growth and preserving talent to move ahead of the competition

 

If yes, does it pose a challenge to you as a leader?

A short answer is yes, but this pressure is also making me look at more innovation and experimentation as a leader. 

I would not have imagined four years back that I would assemble a set of leaders for Operations, Intelligence & Analytics and Transformation – all not company employees but experts in their field.

And my role moved from a boss to more of an inside coach and facilitator for internal dynamics, management, and driving collaboration which I find is more streamlined than dealing with internal line leaders.

With technology set to disrupt every area of business across industries, how do you see the role of GCC evolving over the next 2-3 years and what would be the key factors for growth? 

GCCs will have to be at the forefront of leading the way in embracing the digital way of business for its larger business organisations. This is obvious; what is not so obvious is that the success for GCC will come from its ability to be at least a step or two ahead of its business counterpart, not in having the technology know-how but in how to make it relevant.

This is placing an enormous onus and challenge for GCC, which hitherto was a replica of its parent business in terms of structure, policies and roles. The legacy GCC operating model based on sequential assembly-based organisations has a top-org structure with a heavy layer of general management. 

The move is to have flatter, agile, business outcome-driven and consumer-centric capability pools. Imagine that GCC is a digital twin of the parent business vertical with offices and plant distribution centres. GCC has to build, operate, optimise and transform the digital twin to add business value to the parent organisation. 

Hence the critical factors of growth will be:

  • Ability to create agile/nimble structures
  • Create an integrated view of digital business
  • Be ready to be measured, rewarded and compensated for achieving real business outcomes such as revenue growth, cost take-out that reflects on the company’s balance sheet – a true profit centre
  • Be accountable to the end customer, partner, and vendor for delivering outcomes
  • Create a network that enables it to integrate and provide oversight control of physical field elements
  • The ability to retrain, retain, hire and develop talent faster and better than the competition and parent business

 

As the capacity centre technology prowess and staying ready for the future is a must, what are the upskilling priorities of existing GCC in India?

With Technology changing so fast and organisations having no choice but to adapt, the need for reskilling will be multi-fold. 2022 has led to the unexpected phenomenon of the ‘Great Resignation’. With this, the entire paradigm has changed, and the era of reskilling has begun. 

As per WEF, companies estimate that to meet their expected needs by 2024, around 40% of workers will require up to six months of retraining, and almost all business leaders expect their employees to pick up new skills on the job. A separate line item in the budget for investing in reskilling would be a part of the long-term business strategy. 

The era of AI, machine learning, and IoT is also an era of reverse mentoring. BOTS would perform the transactional jobs, and thus the existing staff would undergo reskilling, especially from GenZ, to train themselves on adopting new technologies.

However, I would not look at it from a GCC entity point of view but take an industry sector view, considering the entire GCC ecosystem as one vital segment of India’s services economy.

The quality of output from these talent manufacturing zones is less than adequate to fuel and power the ecosystem’s needs.

What I believe should happen, just like in manufacturing where firms have co-developed industry skill centres, for tech-centred operations, it is important that a more programmatic long drawn strategic partnerships be there between academia, polity, policy and industry. NASSCOM has been working on the same for some time and hopes it will bridge this gap. 

For internal upskilling, GCC has to integrate skilling with business management; just like a medical professional gets awarded a speciality/super speciality degree/permit only after basic academics reinforced by on-the-job internships, and then continuous maintenance of the credentials through mandatory speaking/workshop. Demo engagements; mid to senior level management in GCC also should have a similar framework. One cannot be Head of Digital Finance unless you have undergone a spiral development model.

Will GCC maintain its upward growth trend? If we walk down the history of the last 20 years, the concept of outsourcing/capability centres was growing based on cost arbitrage for transactional work.

I agree that cost savings will never go out of fashion, but a significant shift happened in 2008 on the back of the subprime crisis, when the first wave of growth for multi-functional centres got established. Based on that, the growth continued with increasing initial digitalization and a shift to cloud-based architectures backed by the success of transactional improvement.

And the pandemic digital disruption has made GCC look beyond cost arbitrage, process reengineering, and digital transformation to creating value for the client organisation. 

In my view, the growth is expected to continue over the next decade as the GCC ecosystem is going through a significant upward learning and reinforcing cycle, making GCCs more and more integral and integrated into businesses to create business value and move towards an experience economy. 

Given the recent headwinds in GCC customer markets where there are demand drops and supply-side constraints, temporary global business confidence will be dipped, but that’s just a 3-5 year pitstop that has occurred in the life cycle of GCC. 

However, as is true for any business, so is for GCC. The growth will be a function of GCCs ability to add value to customers continually. Be invested in people’s capabilities and technology changes and be vigilant about risks – now pandemics should not catch us by surprise in future or wars or supply chain disruptions.

How does the company decide between insourcing work to GCC or outsourcing to a service provider? What are key considerations? 

Organisations should start cultivating the strategy to view the investment and sourcing decision as a spectrum instead of looking at outsourcing and insourcing as only two endpoints. 

Usually, if it was core and strategic – it was deemed to have been insourced. Still, with the rapid leapfrog on technology and even more shortening product life cycles within the core, decisions are taken to outsource the services.

There is a possibility of outsourcing in strategic components or, as it exists, co-source. An example from the Indian auto industry, when the first wave of the open economy happened, traditional manufacturing and small footprint of platforms was a critical existential threat, and auto companies needed to create capability for design and product development. A major gap and scarce in-country talent come in co-source, where auto designers did design in Italy, but with the core market, customer and infra availability inputs from marketing. Production engineers from auto companies working together as a team side by side both in Italy and India.  

Another alternative that we have seen is companies having outsourced earlier, now bringing back the work inside, given that economic changes have made that work core/strategic e.g. manufacturing of key product lines, as these provided an internal platform for rapid innovation. Market feedback and cost structure visibility. 

Lest I can say, the decision on what to outsource/insource/co-source is integral to the success of GCC strategy but also involves continuous review, learning and reshaping the contours to be relevant and be ahead.

So to sum it up, it’s more of a strategic decision based on the organisation’s ability to attract talent and regularly invest in technology. In both cases, whether insource or outsource, both have to create value for clients, failing which decisions are taken from moving from outsourcing to insource and vice versa. 

What are some of the immediate priorities to further augment the growth of the GCC in India? 

The pandemic-driven talent captures anxiety and the scorching pace in compensation growth is not commensurate to the expected value add. This has to stabilise. 

The no-shows, the external talent at 2-3x of in-house talent and money taking only priority rather than learning long term and being value adding to business has to get some collective GCC industry level alignment and action. 

Second, recognize the fact that the pandemic has made and validated the WFH/hybrid model. Don’t force fit to the pre-pandemic WFO model. 

And given the bursting at seams infra constraints in overflowing India mega cities, align the resource and GCC location strategy that enables a more seamless, more quality of life balanced transition – satellite offices in tier 2/3 cities, the concept of co-working in these locations. 

And relook at the org structure staffing levels, and start proactively balancing demand to needs, to avoid layoffs/redundancies by the time we enter FY24. 

How can India continue to attract more GCCs? 

The scale and performance over the last 20 years have built an incredible success story. The agility with which GCC has aligned itself to the business needs is testimony to the fact that GCC is the extended arm of the parent organisation.  

However we can not remain contented with the past glory, but we GCC need to consistently invest and build a capability of becoming true subject matter experts in many areas, and the measures of these on:

  • What’s India’s share in patents and ranking in innovation – we climbed to 46 from 81, but need to aspire and move up, 2022 target is to be 25th place 
  • PhD of global reach, which requires more than a contest hackathon approach but building a network of public, and private institutions of new age science and technology
  • The private academic institutions need to be rationalised and upgraded for soft infrastructure- capability needs applied academicians, not AC classrooms, buses, or hostels

And as employees, we need to realise that in whatever our task, we need to build deep insights and expertise – even if it is a simple task of manning a cab.

We cannot have this dichotomy of trying to deliver world-class while our ecosystem is not even at par to provide acceptable class. 

These are anchor bolts for long-term foundation, if we don’t build this now, we have so many tailwinds. We will fritter this global advantage in the next 10-15 years. 

What are some of the reasons for the failure of GCCs?

I am pretty clear some of the GCC fails primarily because of the following reasons: 

  • Unrealistic time and maturity development expectations and change management
  • Wrong outcome measures on the business case – cost savings if the only reason for setting up GCC, the Global CFO will be after the GCC head from year 2, as the savings already get accrued in the first year on moment transition is over
  • Not investing upfront time in understanding the incoming business – not only process steps technology but more critically organisational stakeholder system, adapting to changing business requirements
  • Getting over-enthusiastic in creating technology exhibition in the organisational context
  • Not focusing on creating a culture of innovation, inclusivity and teamwork

 

Thank you Swati for these fantastic questions. 

Swati Yadav is the Manager for the GCC and Shared Service practice at Catenon India. She holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College for Women (DU) and a MBA from ESCP Business School.

Other editions | Fireside Chat Series

 

Advance your talent acquisition strategy.

Is talent acquisition and recruiting the same thing?

Yes, they are the same thing. Actually, not quite.

And for businesses that have a close eye on talent — just about every organization — it’s crucial to discern between the two.

Recruitment and talent acquisition work well together. However, developing a talent acquisition plan requires longer-term strategic thinking.

Talent acquisition is a hot topic right now. As a global economy, we are experiencing unprecedented data regarding employment, talent, and opportunity. By 2023, 97 million new jobs are anticipated to be generated. That is a mind-bogglingly large amount, and there is a lot of talent to draw in.

Employers are reevaluating their talent strategy in the wake of the Great Resignation. After all, organizations today place a greater emphasis on employee retention than ever.

Learn more about the differences between recruiting and talent acquisition. You can create an effective talent acquisition strategy and advance your hiring with some assistance.

What is talent acquisition?

Before you begin creating your talent acquisition plan, let us take a moment to understand what talent acquisition is.

According to the Gartner dictionary, Talent acquisition is the process of identifying, attracting, recruiting, and retaining top talent. This includes selecting qualified candidates who are best suited for the available positions. But it also encompasses retention — not just attraction.

The human resources (HR) team generally includes your talent acquisition team. But every business has a different approach to hiring. It depends on your organization’s overall human capital goals.

Recruitment vs. Talent acquisition 

It may seem like recruitment and talent acquisition are the same thing. But it is essential to understand the difference between the two for any business that takes its talent strategy seriously. Let’s take a look at it.

Talent acquisition 

Talent acquisition takes a comprehensive approach to the entire hiring process. Consider talent acquisition to be the long-term objective.

In a well-developed talent acquisition strategy, companies invest in these components:

  • Branding for employers
  • Potential consumers and attractions (i.e. recruitment)
  • Employee and candidate experience 
  • Employing a diverse workforce
  • Overall metrics and performance 

Recruitment

Recruitment tactics may be a component of the overall scheme. That implies that a recruiting strategy may merge with a more comprehensive talent acquisition plan.

The distinguishing factor is that it’s focused on the short-term.

The goal of recruitment is to fill unfilled roles that are burdening teams and workloads. It’s strictly focused on the current open vacancy, which means finding the best candidates as soon as possible.

Posting job descriptions online, promoting job ads on social media, and reaching out to qualified individuals are still part of the recruitment process.

Which one is best for your business?

Employers today cannot afford to be reactive in the job market.

We are aware of a record number of employees quitting their positions voluntarily. Hospitality, retail, and healthcare workers are among those who leave their employment more frequently. 

It is predicted that 23% of the workers will still be seeking jobs in 2022.

In a lot of ways, recruiting is about responding to open opportunities or job listings. Although recruitment has been effective in the past, it is not suited for the Great Resignation.

If you are serious about employee retention, then invest in your talent acquisition plan. It could be tempting to just take care of your urgent hiring requirements. But if you make an investment in a comprehensive talent acquisition plan, you’ll discover it pays dividends.

3 great practices for talent acquisition.

So. Are you prepared to step up your talent acquisition strategy? Follow these three key elements (and learn what not to do).

Do invest in all phases of the talent acquisition process.

Contrary to popular notions, hiring is only one aspect of talent acquisition. The phases of the talent acquisition lifecycle are as follows:

  • ​​Job search
  • Application
  • Assessment or Screening
  • Interviewing
  • Hiring
  • Onboarding

Look at the organizational structure of your company. Are you ready to succeed? Does each of these stages of the talent lifecycle receive support from your staff? Where can you add support, if not?

For instance, you have the necessary staff and assistance. But if your applicant tracking system is poor, you can be missing out on qualified applicants.

Don’t recruit pedigree.

Adopting a growth mentality is crucial, particularly if you’re a seasoned corporate executive accustomed to one method of recruiting.

We firmly think that talented people may be found anywhere. Additionally, we think that a perfect résumé on paper does not necessarily convert into a perfect fit for a job.

DO diversify talent plans.

This brings us to our next best practice. How are you broadening the scope of your talent sourcing plan?

Diversity at work is an absolute necessity. Every company should be deliberate in its approach to hiring people from diverse backgrounds. However, if you’re taking applicants to the same places and expecting different outcomes, reconsider your strategy.

Advance your talent acquisition strategy.

There are people out there with the best talent. It is your responsibility as a company leader to invest in talent acquisition because there are more job seekers than ever searching for the next best opportunity.

Pay Transparency: What is it?

The world continuously moves towards structuring more labor laws and policies for employee well-being. The working population is continuously trying to move forward from the effects of the pandemic on the workforce. With the emphasis on mental health and other healthcare practices in the wake of remote or hybrid work environments, many employees are demanding pay transparency.

Pay transparency is the practice of communicating salaries of employees in a workplace. How much an employee works is made open knowledge to everyone inside and outside of an organization. Some companies choose to apply pay transparency in the mere form of telling an employee how much they earn, while others employ more detailed practices, such as sharing pay ranges for certain roles, as well as how those ranges are calculated. 

There are many pros and cons that are to be considered when thinking about pay transparency for an organization.

Pay transparency can increase productivity. 

According to an article by Buffer, pay transparency can lead to an organization’s team being more engaged. Tel Aviv University’s research concluded that productivity was lower when employees were unaware of the salary ranges of their workforce.

Pay transparency could curb potential exploitation of workers.

Some companies pay their employees different salaries, even if there is no difference in their performance. This is easier to do when salary ranges are not transparent. However, when transparency is employed, everyone will know how much money is being made, and can thus talk to their employers about receiving fair compensation for the work that they are doing in a company.

In a similar vein, pay transparency could help close the wage gaps. 

When an employee knows how much their peers are earning, strides can be made in closing wage gaps that exist in the workforce, such as the gender gap. 

However, pay transparency without a clear salary policy could lead to failures in its employment.

For the nuances of a role’s requirements and the things that make a role different to be understood, it is important for there to be clear salary policies that are set in place and actually implemented. If the mere salaries of a company’s workforce are made publicly available, there may be issues within the employee circle regarding pay scale, which could lead to problems for the company.

Pay transparency is not a solution in itself for wage disparity.

While salary transparency may result in employees being paid an equitable compensation, this will not be enough to combat wage disparity. Even within companies that offer complete pay transparency to their employees, a wage gap was observed within men and women. 

Some of this issue comes with employees being ranked at different levels of expertise within their roles. However, it was observed that a large number of women were set at overall lower levels than men. More women were ranked at  intermediate levels, while most men found themselves ranking at an advanced level of expertise. Therefore, the wage gap continues to exist with preconceived notions and biases regarding the skills and expertise of different groups of people, which is not something pay transparency will solve.

The 10 Rules of Job Interview Etiquette

First impressions matter. While getting a job, especially, it is most important to make a good first impression– that could be your chance to ensure better chances of getting hired. It is crucial to know how to present yourself and behave during job interviews. 

With the age of remote and hybrid work environments, a significant percentage of job interviews get conducted virtually; interviewers connect with candidates over video conferencing services. As such, following appropriate etiquette has become crucial for virtual interviews. 

Ensure an appropriate background. 

While, yes, candidates often partake in interviews from their homes, it is still important to maintain a sober background. Make sure that your background is not too busy, and is free of offensive or inappropriate material that might prove to be distracting during the interview.

Angle your camera the right way.

Make sure the angle at which your camera is situated makes your entire face and neck visible to the interviewer. It is important that an interviewer gets to see your face clearly. In a similar vein, it is best for a candidate to participate in interviews using their laptop. Using a phone, while sometimes necessary, might create a video image or an angle that might not prove best for the interview. Ensure that your camera or webcam is sturdy and steady enough for there to not be any distractions on that end.

Rehearse, and be prepared. 

It is often hard to make a good first impression especially when you are not conversing face to face. There are common questions that are almost always asked in an interview that a candidate should be prepared to answer. You may be asked why you wish to work for an organization, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and similar questions. Ensure that you are prepared to answer these questions. It will not prove beneficial to fumble over questions that are common for interviews across the board. If there are any industry-specific questions that you may be expecting, ensure that you have prepared for those as well.

Interlink to the blog post: most common/challenging interview questions and how to answer them

Do your research.

It will always serve a candidate to show up with some knowledge of the company they are interviewing for. Know your interviewer’s name and background, as well as other details about the company. It may also prove helpful to reference these details during your interview. You can mention a recent achievement for the organization or the kinds of markets they have expanded into. It will show that you have done your research, and your interviewer will appreciate the genuine interest you are showing in the company and the role.

Exhibit the right body language. 

The right body language will make you come across as confident and prepared. Don’t slouch, sit up straight. Show interest visually, make eye contact with your interviewer, and don’t fidget or look around the room too much. It is advisable to greet everyone present in the video meeting. 

Dress appropriately.

Ensure the right clothes– a dark jacket, a white shirt, and pants or a skirt are almost always appropriate. This applies even to virtual interviews, as well. Just because an interview is being conducted from home does not mean that a candidate does not have to dress the part. 

Don’t be late. 

Showing up on time shows that this interview is important to the candidate. In fact, it is advisable to show up a little earlier to account for any hiccups along the way. Even if your interview is being conducted virtually, ensure that your video camera and microphones are working right and you are handy with the right documents in advance.

Keep your mobile phone turned off. 

While this may seem obvious, many candidates forget to turn off their mobile phones during an interview. It is important to give your interview what it’s due by not causing distractions due to the ringing of your phone. If your phone does right, try to shut it off, and apologize for the inconvenience.

Ask questions. 

While it will be the interviewer who asks most of the questions, a candidate is also allowed to ask questions during the interview. Yet again, this exhibits that you have a genuine interest in the role that you are interviewing for. Sell yourself to the company with your interview, and then ask questions about the workplace. This helps to feel out whether the role and the work environment are right for you, and whether you will be a good fit for the organization and the role.

Finally, thank your interviewer. It is considered good practice to thank your hiring manager after your interview has finished. Through an email, thank your interviewer for the opportunity and their time, and for the chance to learn more about the company. 

These small things will ensure that you solidify your candidature as one with genuine interest, and as someone who cares for the role. If things of this nature go awry, it is possible that even your skills and qualifications might not land you the job. With a few deep breaths and these tips in mind, the interview will be a piece of cake.

Common Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

It is highly likely that most have been in a job interview where you walked in with a perfect resume, submitted an excellent cover letter, but dropped the ball in the interview because of the questions you were asked. Let’s face it, job interviews are challenging, and the questions that are asked within, are tough. Knowing how to answer these questions is very important to landing the job.

Here are some of the most common challenging questions that are asked in interviews, and how to answer them.

Tell me about yourself.

It is very likely that you get asked to introduce yourself or tell the interviewer about yourself in an interview. Some candidates might think that the question is unnecessary, too, considering they’ve already submitted a resume.
An interviewer might ask this question to ease a candidate into an interview or even help guide the rest of the interview through figuring out the next questions.

When answering this question, it is possible that a candidate might end up repeating their resume, and this is quite possibly not what the interviewer wants.

To answer this question, you may speak about your current job, perhaps a recent accomplishment, and then speak about what you are looking to do in the future. Fit your answer to speak about the role you are interviewing for and the company. It might be an opportunity for you to let the interviewer know why they are the right person to be hired for the role.

What is your greatest weakness?

When an interviewer asks, ‘What is your greatest weakness,’ they want to know how self-aware a candidate is, and whether a candidate can be honest and specific when it comes to areas of improvement.
With a question like this, it is important to hit the sweet spot. An answer to this question cannot seem like your strengths are being spun around to sound like weaknesses. However, they also cannot be counterintuitive to the role you’re interviewing for.

It is important to choose a real weakness but to show a silver lining of growth and improvement. Therefore, pick a real weakness, and then explain how you are working, or have worked to overcome that weakness. Talk about how you’re weak with numbers, but took an online course in analytics to overcome it.

Why should we hire you?

This question comes in different skins. Sometimes, this question might be asked as, ‘What do you have that other candidates do not?’ And that is exactly why an interviewer will ask this. They want a candidate to show their uniqueness and separate themselves from the talent pool.
For this answer, highlight experiences that show you have the skills that the role you’re interviewing for requires. Even if the answer calls for talking about why you would be better over other candidates, keep the answer about yourself. Describe your strengths and apply your answer to the company so that you can position yourself to get the job. You may share past experiences, quantify your accomplishments, or talk about your skills and passions that make you the right fit.

What is something you did not like about your last job?

This question can be somewhat of a trap because it seems like the interviewer is looking for a negative answer. That is true, but they are also trying to find out whether there are aspects that you might end up disliking in the role you are applying for, as well.
When answering such a question, be honest, but don’t say anything negative. Try to incorporate a positive angle into your answer.

You may talk about how you’ve been satisfied with your past jobs, but are looking for more growth. You may talk about being assigned projects at the very last minute or were assigned projects that didn’t allow room to grow. Compare your incompatibilities in your last job with the job you’re applying for hypothetically.

Why do you want to work here?

When an interviewer asks a question of this nature, also sometimes as ‘Why do you want this job?’ they want to know whether your career goals can match with what the company stands for, and with its needs. It is also an opportunity for you to show that you know about the company, and its mission and operations. This will show the interviewer that you have taken the time and effort to learn about the company and figure out what makes you a good fit
This is your chance to sell yourself to your interviewer. If you have done your research, you will be able to talk about what kind of growth opportunities the company and the role will provide, and then highlight what you can bring to the table that will fulfill their needs. You may talk about how the role in the company will emphasize your greatest skill sets, and thus provide quantifiable examples of where you have used those skills, and where you can.

How do you deal with stress?

This behavioral interview question gets asked a fair bit. In asking, ‘How do you deal with stress?’ an interviewer wants to know how you handle stressful situations in the workplace, and whether you can handle job-related stress.
This means this is an opportunity to highlight your skills and use real-life examples to show how you overcame a stressful situation, rather than simply encountered it. Focus on the success part of your answer– make sure you put forth that you overcame the situation with your soft skills.

Pro tip: Do not think of situations where you were at fault.

What critical feedback do you most often receive?

An interviewer will want to know how sensitive you are to receiving feedback and criticism in an interview, and will ask you such through this question.
When answering such a question, it is best not to imply that you are constantly criticized in the workplace, but also not that you are simply perfect either. The optimal answer will show how you improved upon the feedback you received in the past and turned it into a strength. For example, you can talk about how you used to be very critical of other people’s work but learned how to manage your suggestions and give kind and helpful feedback, which has now turned into a positive attribute.

What Are Digital Twins In HR?

The technology of creating electronic representations of real-world objects has existed for a while. Called Digital twins, these electronic representations are used in combination with business processes to drive efficiency and make decisions based on data.

What are Digital Twins?

Decision-making becomes more efficient, due to the increased amount of actionable information to work with. It is easier to test out performance under various conditions and put into play various different situations and stressors and assess the outcomes before they are actually exercised. 

How Are Digital Twins Helpful in HR Practices?

Digital twins can help in many various ways, for example, in lease and space management. Digital twins can help you monitor the occupancy of your office to ensure that it is within the stipulated targets of your organization. Thus, occupancy targets can be monitored and managed. Similarly, real estate management in accordance with your future business needs can also be taken care of. Digital twins can also thus help create achievable timeframes for the management of leases.

HR relies on the predictability that digital twin technology offers to guide their decisions. 

Data within an organization that generally exists in a siloed format can be merged into one platform, that is when digital twins interface with HR software. It becomes easy to coordinate with different departments so that all the required data gets sent where necessary, and critical information can be distributed where it is supposed to go.

The employment of digital twins in HR also makes it easier to gauge workplace insights. The merging of data from separate systems will help in improving the efficiency of workplace processes and add context to the environments where decision-making takes place.

With an “anytime anyplace workforce,” HR becomes a more and more integral part of organizations, to lead a company in its operations and their revisals, which is where digital twin technology can prove to be immensely helpful. 

So, HR uses digital twin technology to create virtual representations and simulations to analyze the performance of their workplace, thus gaining the insights to proceed with all processes in the right direction. 

Digital Twins Can Help Guide Leaders in Making Decisions

Digital twins can help immensely to predict problems so that solutions can be brainstormed to fill in potential gaps and find solutions before problems occur in the real world. There is thus a large margin for flexibility to avoid errors in workplace operations.

The future is not necessarily looked at when assessing problems. HR can use digital twin technology to play out future scenarios with real-time information to look for areas for improvement, fix little glitches, and prepare for real-time scenarios.

Scenario testing can also prove helpful when looking at the unexpected departure of an employee of the organization. Such situations can also be prepared for efficiently so that it is handled properly when it does come to it.

Thus, predictability in digital twin technology makes it an invaluable tool for various scenarios. This technology can be used to get a synthesized look at the workplace. For more human resources branches of organizations to adopt this technology will only lead to progress in the world of digital transformation.

Creating An Accessible And Inclusive Workplace

While inclusivity has been the focus of workplaces recently, it is also important that offices and organizations focus on making their spaces accessible and equitable for their employees. This means removing barriers from their spaces so everybody gets a fair share of tools and tasks required to perform their role properly and efficiently.

Accessibility is crucial to ensuring that every employee in an organization is working with the same tools to perform their role. When everyone begins on an equal footing, it gives everyone a fair chance to do their jobs with the utmost efficiency, and a chance at producing the best possible results. Focusing on this along with diversity will ensure that there isn’t a missing link in access that is being provided to everyone. 

Accessibility doesn’t just mean equipping everyone with the right physical infrastructure to make things easier. It also applies to technological and web accessibility.  All employees must be provided with access to physical as well as digital resources for performing their jobs.

While equality would mean equipping everyone with the same tools to do their job, equity would mean equipping everyone with the tools that it would take to give everyone the best chance at performing their best. That takes an individual person’s needs into consideration rather than making a sweeping generalization about an organization’s workforce.

What does accessibility mean in the workplace?

There are different dimensions for which accessibility is considered. These dimensions are, physical accessibility, technological accessibility, and attitudinal awareness.

  1. Physical accessibility: Making spaces physically accessible includes providing spaces within parking lots, creating appropriate entrances and exits, having the kind of elevators, restrooms, and break areas that facilitate easy accessibility for everyone working in an organization.
  2. Technological accessibility: Accessible technology is such that all users can use it without the need for any assistive technology. There are steps that can be taken to ensure technological accessibility. According to the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT), “accessibility means that everyone can use the exact same technology as anyone else—regardless of whether they can manipulate a mouse, how much vision they have, how many colors they can see, how much they can hear or how they process information.”
  3. Attitudinal awareness: Organizations must also ensure that the attitude of an organization makes every employee feel welcome in the space. This includes ensuring that employees with disabilities are not seen as inferior, are not pitied, or are not stereotyped within the workplace. Employers can help break down attitudinal barriers in the workplace by engaging employees in discussions about disability and providing training to increase employees’ perspectives and understanding.

How to achieve accessibility in the workplace?

To achieve accessibility in the workplace, there can be many small actionable things that can be done.

  1. Changing physical features

An organization can ensure that there are the right physical resources for an employee to spend eight or nine hours in the workplace. This could include adding appropriate steps and stairs, pathways, passageways, elevators, as well as the right lighting and ventilation.

  1. Providing Specialist Equipment

This includes anti-glare screens, ergonomic office features, height-adjustable desks and seating, and such.

  1. Using Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can help those employees with visual or hearing impairments. Organizations could use braille displays and keyboards, color-coded keyboards, software with speech recognition, and text-activated speech. 

  1. Assess immediate needs

With the assessment of an organization’s immediate needs, there can be space to make an organization as accessible as possible without any further delay. Therefore, with efforts for immediate accessibility, the process can be made more approachable for everyone involved.

  1. Train organizations effectively

The process starts at home. Organizations should be well-equipped to communicate with and make space for employees with disabilities. Hiring managers should be well-equipped to interview candidates with disabilities. Similarly, management should be prepared to avoid situations where people with disabilities are not given the same treatment that everyone else is.

Final Thoughts…

Not only will accessibility, diversity, and equity give everyone a fair chance at performing the best, it will also bring goodwill to the company regarding its working conditions. It will increase employee morale, productivity, as well as retention. This goodwill can act as an efficient recruiting tool– it will do wonders for a candidate to know that a company will go to great lengths to ensure that they smoothen out whatever obstacles stand in an employee’s way of performance. 

Workplace accessibility will bring pride and positivity to the work that an employee does, and motivate them to keep doing good work. 

What Is An Automated Job Interview And How To Prepare For It?

In a technologically advancing world, more and more job interviews are being conducted with the help of artificial intelligence. According to research published by the Harvard Business Review, around 86% of job interviews are conducted with the aid of technology. A sizable portion of these are automated video interviews, also called AVIs.

What is an Automated Job Interview?

Also called ‘asynchronous video interviews,’ automated job interviews rely on a technology developed for recruiters to be able to assess candidate profiles without having to conduct interviews in real-time. Interviews are then conducted via video interviewing software, where, in most cases, candidates answer preset questions while recording themselves within a stipulated time.

There is also a software that automatically schedules interviews for candidates, called automatic phone interview technology. One can refer to this as an on-demand version of a phone screening that takes place before an interview. This technology removes the back-and-forth that goes on between a recruiter and a candidate while trying to schedule an interview. Through automated phone scheduling, recruiters can screen multiple candidates in one go, and candidates can schedule interviews for when it is most convenient for them. This thus gets rid of the most time-consuming and harrowing process of trying to schedule an interview.

How Do You Prepare For an Automated Job Interview?

While the prospect of an automated job interview may seem beyond daunting, it will be easier to go through if a candidate is well-prepared. It is important to prepare before the interview begins to hit all the right notes during your interview.

  • Before your interview, make sure that you have gathered all documents that have been asked for by your recruiter. This may include identity proof, address proof, salary slips, etc. Also maintain soft copies of such documents, in case your automated job interview tool asks you to present them before your interview begins.
  • Run all possible technical diagnostics to ensure that everything is smooth sailing during your interview.
    • Check to see that your hardware is compatible with the interview software. 
    • Check for audio, video, and internet issues.
  • Ensure a professional background. While it should not directly affect the outcome of your interview, it is important to create a well-rounded first impression. Keep your background tidy, not too busy, and ensure that the general ambiance remains pleasant.
  • During your interview, act the way you would if your interview was being conducted offline, face-to-face with an interviewer.
  • Maintain eye contact, keep a pleasant expression on your face, and use adequate hand gestures. 
  • Questions in automated job interviews wherein your answers are recorded will most likely be timed. Be prepared to keep your answers succinct so you are able to get all necessary information in before time runs out.

Some Drawbacks of Automated Job Interviews

Often, there is unconscious bias in the judgment of a candidate’s profile from an interview. The aim of automated interviews is to try to remove some of this bias. However, there are issues that have come up with AVIs that need to be assessed and addressed before their practice can become mainstream.

Firstly, the technology that AVIs use itself can be hard to understand. While a candidate might be young, they might not be aware of the processes that an AVI operates on. The initial confusion surrounding how to interview with a non-human party might throw a candidate off. Furthermore, questions that a candidate has that they might want answered will also not be possible, because their interviewer is not human. 

This might make a demoralizing experience for the interviewee. There isn’t anyone on the other end to assess a human candidate’s emotions. There are no feelings of humanity in the interview. AI might not know how to assess candidates outside the frame that it has been set to do, which becomes confusing for the candidate in terms of how they can behave. Do they have to stay still and only move their mouths while talking? Are they allowed to move their body as they would if their interview was being conducted by another person? These questions remain unanswered in AVIs.

However, this does not mean that the technology surrounding automated job interviews cannot be made more conducive to use for everyone involved in the process. With the right support systems and the right usage of this technology, automated job interviews can become a commonplace activity for hiring processes.

Top in demand skills in 2022, and where to learn them

Companies around the world are in a never ending search for candidates who have the most sought after abilities. One thing we have learned from the last two years is that the job market is constantly changing and tech driven careers are becoming more in demand than ever before. 

Digital and AI-powered technologies are transforming the world of work, pushing the workforce towards the need to learn new in-demand skills and adapt to future jobs. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, 50% of all employees will need to reskill by 2025 as the adoption of technology increases. Let it sit just a little: a HALF of all the employees will need to gain entirely new in-demand skills and competencies to keep up with the digital transformation and stay employable.

  • We have created a list of the most in-demand skills in the 2022 job market.
  • We used data from 660+ million professionals in the network and 20+ million job listings on LinkedIn to determine the skills in high demand relative to their supply.
  • You’ll find the 10 skills listed below, as well as what you can do to upskill yourself.

Cloud Computing

As the cloud has come to become the standard of data management and storage, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for cloud engineers, especially since the pandemic, wherein companies of all sizes wanted to enable more remote and distributed workforces.

Some key cloud computing career paths:

  1. Cloud Architect
  2. Cloud Security Analyst 
  3. Cloud Automation Engineer 
  4. Cloud Administrator

Sources where you can upskill:

  1. LinkedIn Learning’s Learn Cloud Computing: Core Concepts
  2. Udemy’s Distributed Systems and Cloud Computing with Java
  3. Coursera’s Cloud Computing Specialization

Business Analytics

Business analysts have become an important part of all organizations as businesses rapidly move to increase efficiency and reduce structural costs. Business analysts are involved in every part of a project in a business.

Some key analytics career paths:

  1. Business Analyst
  2. Data Scientist
  3. Information Security Analyst
  4. Project Manager

Sources where you can upskill: 

  1. Coursera’s IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate
  2. LinkedIn Learning’s Become a Business Analytics Expert
  3. Georgia Tech’s Data Analytics for Business on edX

UI/UX design

Across all industries, there is a need for UI/UX specialists, and this demand keeps increasing. Within UI and UX comes the sweet spot of the blend between creativity and logic, that a large base of people can tap into.

Some key UI/UX career paths:

  1. UI/UX Developer
  2. User Experience Designer
  3. Product Manager

Sources where you can upskill: 

  1. Coursera’s Google UX Design Professional Certification
  2. LinkedIn Learning’s course on User Experience for Web Design
  3. LinkedIn Learning’s course on Learning Design Thinking
  4. Udemy’s comprehensive course on UI/UX, Figma, and other web and mobile design tools

Blockchain

According to a report, blockchain development skills have gained extensive demand since 2020. Despite being fairly new, it has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The expenditure on blockchain is estimated to reach $19 billion by 2024.

Some key blockchain career paths:

  1. Blockchain Developer
  2. Blockchain Solution Architect
  3. Project Manager
  4. Blockchain UX Designer

Sources where you can upskill: 

  1. edX’s Developing Blockchain-Based Identity Applications
  2. Udemy’s Blockchain A-Z: Learn How To Build Your First Blockchain

Machine Learning

As the access to machine learning increases, so does the demand for machine learning engineers. Records show that machine learning has seen a 344% rate of growth in the last few years, which is only projected to grow further in the coming years.

Some key machine learning career paths:

  1. Data Engineer
  2. NLP Scientist 
  3. Machine Learning Engineer
  4. Machine Learning Cloud Architect

Sources where you can upskill: 

  1. Stanford’s Machine Learning course on Coursera
  2. LinkedIn Learning’s Machine Learning with Python: Foundations
  3. Udemy’s Machine Learning A-Z: Hands-On Python and R in Data Science

Video Marketing

One might think that search engines like yahoo, bing, etc. are Google’s immediate rivals. But they are not even the close ones.  As it turns out, YouTube, with over 2 billion logged-in users per month—according to Search Engine Journal, is the world’s second-largest search engine.

Video is predicted to be the major source of viewed web content by 2024, amassing 85% of all web-related traffic, coupled with the fact that 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool.

Some video marketing career paths: 

  1. Content Creator
  2. Video Producer
  3. Video Editor
  4. Social Media Marketing Specialist

Sources where you can upskill:  

  1. A video marketing course by Hubspot
  2. Video Marketing Primer by Udemy

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a way to drive sales and build brand awareness in a way that benefits both the brands and the affiliate marketers. It is a new push towards less traditional marketing. It follows a simple process – Affiliate shares a product link on their website or social media -> Customer clicks on it -> Conversions is tracked -> Affiliate is paid commission.

In this new era of marketing, when everything has moved digital, brands are on a never ending search for individuals who can generate significant online revenue.

Some Affiliate Marketing career paths: 

  1. Affiliate Marketing Manager
  2. Merchandising Manager
  3. Category Marketing Manager

Sources where you can upskill:  

  1. Affiliate Marketing Foundations, available on Udemy
  2. Improve SEO for your E-Commerce Site, available on LinkedIn Learning

Artificial Intelligence

From robots serving food in restaurants to self-driving cars, AI has been taking over our daily tasks everyday. A Gartner study suggests that AI will create 2.8 million jobs by 2024. If you are evaluating career options in this field below are some of the artificial intelligence skills that you need to have:

  1. AI Engineer
  2. Neural Network Architect
  3. Big Data Engineer/Architect
  4. Business Intelligence (BI) Developer

Sources where you can upskill:  

  1. Artificial Intelligence Foundations: Thinking Machines, available on LinkedIn Learning
  2. Artificial Intelligence A-Z: Learn How To Build An AI, available on Udemy

Data Analytics

Research suggests that Data literacy is the most wanted skill that the employers want in a workforce by 2030. Executives say that in the coming years, they are willing to pay 35% more for candidates with data literacy skills. Data literacy will be just as important as using a computer today. Some of the key Data literacy skills include:

  1. Financial Analyst
  2. Data Scientist
  3. Marketing Analytics Manager
  4. Data Analytics Consultant 

Sources where you can upskill:  

Data Science Foundations: Python Scientific Stack, available on LinkedIn Learning

A study suggests that 85% of the jobs in 2030, still don’t exist. 

Factors such as the widespread shift to remote working, the emergence of the gig economy, and employees’ increasing expectations of flexibility in their relationship with their employers will also play their part.

Adding seismic shifts such as the great resignation into the mix means companies are frantically searching for new strategies when it comes to hiring and retaining talent. Meanwhile, individuals are finding themselves increasingly confused about what is expected of them and what types of skills and experience will be valued in their own search for secure and meaningful careers.

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