In Conversation With Priya Cherian, Chief People Officer, PayU, EVP (Employee Value Proposition)
Priya Cherian is the Chief People Officer for PayU and a member of the company’s global executive management team.
In her current role, she is responsible for leading PayU’s overall human resources strategy, global talent acquisition, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, organizational design and cultural development, and employee learning & development.
She joined PayU after working with Alibaba, where she was heading the talent acquisition and HR department at a time when the company was on its path to strengthening its India operations. Prior to this, Priya was the Director- HR at Flipkart and Yahoo India.
She has led major organizational transformation initiatives in the past and helped develop a structured talent management framework for the companies she has worked with.
Q- What are PayU’s EVP, its aim, and its foundational pillars?
Our Employee Value Proposition (EVP) encompasses both PayU’s vision and our PayUneers’ aspirations. “Transforming financial services through cutting-edge technology” is its overarching theme.
PayU’s phenomenal growth necessitated a formalized EVP. The EVP was created to give employees a clearer picture of what the company prioritizes and the initiatives it is taking to improve the employee experience.
We conducted over 1000 surveys and multiple focus group discussions with employees. Based on this, we identified organizational strengths and 4 key differentiators that make us winners in fintech. These are sense of ownership, high-growth environment, Massive resources & sense of challenge in everything. The essence of these four factors went into building the three pillars of the EVP – collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
- Collaboration is at the core of our growth. It takes multiple forms – end-to-end collaboration within each of our businesses – Wibmo, Credits, Payments, etc., and collaboration across the ecosystem. We have 3000 PayUneers across 20 countries & 43 different nationalities, working together to solve financial problems. One of the main reasons behind our tremendous growth over the years is collaboration. PayU is a full-stack financial services provider, and its employees solve problems across all facets of the fintech ecosystem, for all stakeholders i.e. banks, consumers, and merchants – impacting millions of lives. This journey is enriching and fulfilling as employees get to actively benefit the community.
- Innovation & Entrepreneurship are the other two pillars of our EVP, and are integral parts of PayU’s DNA. PayU’s fast-paced growth and ambitious vision make it a fertile ground for professionals with entrepreneurial qualities looking to challenge the status quo and do cutting-edge work that transforms the financial ecosystem.
PayU operates like multiple start-ups within an organization, offering entrepreneurial employees full conception-to-outcome ownership of ideas & services. Entrepreneurship and Innovation drive PayU employees to overcome challenges, explore new avenues to deliver impact, and build large-scale solutions.
An example of this is the fact that 30% of PayU’s revenues today come from diversification of PayU’s merchant portfolio and new segments and products such as omnichannel, affordability, etc. Regulated, speedy innovation is seen in various facets; for example, at PayU an employee creates approximately 10 products over the course of 3-4 years.
Q- What is the role of the EVP in unlocking the full potential of PayU employees in the world of fintech?
PayU’s EVP is a promise to existing and new employees about the opportunities they will receive in the company. We want to provide them with an exceptional employee experience and support them to become the best versions of themselves by unleashing their inner potential.
PayU’s core values are extrapolated into 10 PayU behaviors; we expect our employees will embrace these while working at PayU. We launched the “Be more with PayU” campaign where we look at all aspects of an employee’s lifecycle, offering benefits that support professional growth and personal wellbeing.
- Learning & upskilling programs. We offer 5000 certification courses in partnership with organizations like Harvard, Coursera, Udemy & Udacity. The newly launched PayU University offers employees the opportunity to upskill across Payments (domain), Functional, and Leadership pillars.
- Work-life balance. Our employees can choose to work for two days at the office or three days at the office. Moreover, we established a 10-day work mandatory time off and employees also have 40 days of earned leaves.
- Mental & physical well-being. PayU’s Employee Assistance Program offers employees legal, psychological & financial counseling for employees & families.
- Awards and recognition. This year we have increased our bonus eligibility for employees. The company has enhanced its Employee Referral Program, with 3X the referral bonus, to give shape to ‘One Policy for One PayU’ (across PayU Payments, PayU Credit, and Wibmo). We also celebrate employees’ personal and professional milestones.
- Diversity & Inclusion are focus areas. We have an Equal Employment Opportunity policy. It ensures that internal processes are inclusive for all, including our LGBTQ+ colleagues. All policies and processes are gender-neutral. PayU’s medical insurance now covers same-sex partners, hormone therapy, gender affirmation surgery & the definition of ‘family’ includes same-sex and live-in partners. We have a number of programs that support women employees, e.g. Return, Reset, and Reimagine program offers an opportunity for women to transition back to work after a career break.
Q- How does the EVP at PayU help attract new talent, employee retention, and overall employee experience?
An EVP addresses the needs & concerns of employees, attracts desired talent & builds a team that can drive with purpose.
With our EVP, we are intentionally articulating what kind of a workplace we want to create. “We are entrepreneurs transforming financial services through cutting edge technology” – This is a promise to existing & potential employees to build a more rewarding future for them by investing in their growth, learning, well-being, and overall development.
We are ensuring this proposition comes alive through multiple initiatives and mindfully crafted HR policies, which I’ve elaborated on earlier. This helps us motivate existing talent & explain our proposition to desired talent. The EVP acts as an attraction & retention factor.
The EVP sets the guidelines for us to create an exceptional employee experience as we support our employees to grow and become the best version of themselves. When employees see a company is invested in its growth, they commit to it.
Q- How do you align your employer brand with evolving job seeker expectations?
In today’s competitive landscape, a lot of factors to into making a company an employer of choice. To align with evolving job seeker expectations & expectations of existing employees, you need to incorporate multiple channels of feedback, listen to your people, and keep your ear to the ground.
So, while developing our EVP we worked with an agency to conduct an external market study to get an outside-in perspective of the expectations of potential talent.
We surveyed 1000+ employees and conducted multiple focus group discussions before deciding on relevant benefits to include in the EVP. We took into account that the pandemic has significantly changed expectations. Prioritization of personal wellbeing has become more prominent and companies have increasingly focused on work-life balance and mental health.
Factors like diversity of the workforce, and opportunities for growth influence joining decisions. In response to this, PayU’s EVP offers a mix of policies and benefits. For instance, mandatory 10-day time off, counseling programs, D&I policies for women & the LGBTQIA+ community, and upskilling opportunities.
Q- Any concluding remarks?
An EVP is not just a brief interlude in an organizational strategy. In fact, it is the whole ethos of the company, its culture, values, and promise distilled into one emphatic statement to resonate with the current and aspiring talent pool. Let me share why we needed to establish this EVP
- Growth of the organization: PayU was a $50 million company recently and now we are close to an $11 billion corporation. In FY 22 alone, the company’s TPV in India grew 66% and revenues increased 49%. This tremendous growth required a well-structured EVP.
- Plans and responsibilities: PayU is a key player in the fintech space. We have the ambition to transform all parts of the fintech ecosystem. Our people are central to achieving this vision. We have plans and responsibilities for our people. The EVP is our promise to employees as we receive their commitment.
- Opportunity: We empower employees by offering support & opportunities to meet their career aspirations. We heavily invest in them and support them through policies and benefits which enhance their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and financial growth.
All three of these aspects came together in our EVP.
Thank You, Priya!