In Conversation with Paneesh Rao, Chief People Officer, Mindtree on Return to Office and Hiring Plans for FY22
Paneesh Rao is a career Human Resources professional with a successful track record spanning across industries and geographies. His rich experience spans the entire HR spectrum including strategy, career development, organization development, compensation & benefits, and M&A.
Earlier, Paneesh was with L&T Technology Services, having led their HR function globally. Prior to LTTS, he was the HR leader for Atos India & Middle East. Paneesh holds a master’s degree in Personnel Management from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune.
Q. Is Mindtree prepared for the return to office? What is your blueprint to bring employees back in workplace?
The health and safety of Mindtree Minds are paramount to us. Mindtree was among the first companies to announce WFH. We have tied up with reputed medical care providers to conduct fully company-funded vaccination drives for Mindtree Minds and their immediate dependents at Mindtree locations across India.
Return-to-office will only happen after all Mindtree Minds and their families have been vaccinated. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will decide regarding return-to-office at an appropriate time based on government advisories and expert recommendations.
While we are still deliberating on our post-pandemic work model, a flexi, hybrid model is a strong possibility, where we might allow Mindtree Minds to choose to work either from home or office, or opt for a combination of the two, subject to client and security clearances, and company considerations.”
Q. What’s your plan for employees who refuse to return?
We will continue to take all possible precautions and follow stipulated protocols to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for Mindtree Minds.
In the unlikely instance of a reluctance to return to office, we will take a call on a case-by-case basis and act in the best interest of Mindtree and Mindtree Minds.
Q. How do you see the future of workplace? What’s temporary, and what’s transformative?
The current situation has made it crucial for organizations to build a future-ready, hybrid workforce model that can adapt to unforeseen challenges in times of crisis. Companies must adopt a resilient and people-centric model aligned with the future of work.
Technology is the backbone of every industry, operating at the cutting-edge of digital and business transformations. The ability to seamlessly execute business continuity plans and embrace new technology and advanced collaboration tools will help us stay ahead of the curve.
One of the most important factors in redefining future possibilities will be a sharp focus on people. Innovative methods of employee upskilling, virtual hiring, talent onboarding, and employee engagement will play an important part in creating high-delivery organizations.
At Mindtree, we have successfully implemented a plethora of in-house initiatives around these areas, and challenging and growth-oriented career opportunities. As we adapt to the new normal, we are confident of building a workplace that is attuned with the future of work.
Q. What is your opinion on employment generation in IT Industries in near future?
Employment generation and hiring within the IT industry in India is at an all-time high. With the adoption of cloud across sectors, businesses are undergoing a transformation to prepare themselves for the new normal.
As a result, we see a greater demand for trained IT professionals who are also adept at cloud services.
Q. What are your hiring plans for 2021-22?
We added a net of more than 3,400 Mindtree Minds in Q1 of FY22 and ended the quarter with a global headcount of over 27,000. We expect our intake of both campus and lateral hires to go up in the next few quarters. Given our robust pipeline and order book, hiring is going to be substantially higher in the areas of cloud, data, and security.
We are focused on providing Mindtree Minds with opportunities and motivations aligned with their expectations and domain expertise. This approach is helping us attract and retain the right talent.
Q. Any concluding comments?
New and exciting times are ahead of us in the HR function. We believe that the employer of choice will be the one who cares for the health and well-being of its people.
Reskilling has always been imperative for success. While we continue to provide platforms and opportunities for Mindtree Minds to upskill, learning to stay relevant will be an individual’s responsibility.
Continuous learning and collective efforts will be crucial to thriving in this new normal. Similarly, focusing on leadership skills to effectively manage a virtual workforce, using storytelling to drive organizational impact, retaining the organization’s cultural fabric, and managing health and wellness will take precedence.
Thanks so much, Paneesh!