Interaction with Anil Salvi Managing Director & Group Head – HR, JM Financial Group
Anil Salvi, Managing Director & Group Head- Human Resources at JM Financial Group. Prior to this, Anil was leading the Human Resources function at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in India as SVP and Head HR. Previously he has worked with companies like Deutsche Bank, Syntel Inc., and Blue Star Limited.
He has experience of over 30 years of which he has spent near 23 years in the Banking and financial services Industry. Anil holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and has completed his Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Bombay University in 1990.
Q- What has been the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on BFSI sector and its workforce in 2020? How do you look forward to 2021?
The impact of the pandemic on the BFSI sector will be long-lasting and the impact will be multi-faceted and would vary from organisations to organisations. The impact would be different on the retail intensive businesses as against the institutional ones. The retail business has been instantly and immediately impacted and would also have a tendency to bounce back no sooner we witness normalcy. The institutional businesses, on the other hand, would have gestation and the impact would be felt over the long term and so would the recovery be. By and large, irrespective of the industry, the pandemic will impact the nature of employment and will also alter the demand for the skillsets and competencies.
The industry has been introduced to remote working in a hard way. Hard way since the challenge was not foreseen by anyone and the situation mitigation happened more on basis of trial and error. The organisations which were dead against the remote working model did not have a choice, today are experiencing that remote working can work and it is not as difficult to implement as they initially thought it might be. Since the world became remote and confined the acceptance of the remote working model changed too. There are no longer expectations of physical meeting making the transition a tad bit easier. The learnings from the experience are immense and contingency planning today has a whole new meaning to the approach.
The history is witness that we would weather this storm too and we would soon be back dealing with usual survival and growth challenges, both at a professional and business level. 2021 would not be akin to any year that we would have seen previously since it would be the first year post the pandemic and organisations would be tentative in testing their approaches. I believe that the risk appetite of the organisations would take a beating and the focus would more be on rebuilding the organisation and regaining lost ground.
Q- What are the steps you have taken to transform employee experience during these unfortunate times?
Fortunately for us, we already had commenced the journey of technology transition for the people processes right from onboarding to off boarding of the staff prior to the pandemic which made the technology embrace necessity. But the pandemic surely did hasten the transition and today almost all the employee processes have been automated. The automaton and technology enablement is largely designed to facilitate speed, access, and transparency.
We are conscious that a high level of tech enablement could impact employee connect and have tried to take care that the transition doesn’t affect the level of employee engagement and general employee morale. We as a firm have constantly communicated with the staff and remained accessible and have ensured the transparency so that there are no undue concerns that the employees might have. And at the same time the employee concerns if any have been swiftly and humanely addressed as setting the example and creating an experience is always the way to create the credibility of our approach.
Q- What changes are you seeing in the talent landscape in 2021?
It appears that the organisations will tend to be a little impatient with the performance and results. As such the demand for talent and competencies would undergo a change.
It is widely assumed that the tech skills will be in high demand and so would be the staff with proven performance history. I feel the organisations also have realised that the soft skills are equally essential along with the hard competencies. In absence of the physical monitoring, the ethical behaviour of staff has never been so important. Also, the staff who are inherently proactive have proven to be the ones who are steering the positive business outcomes. Also, the staff who have adapted to the newer environment swiftly are the newer organisational assets today.
So welcome to the new employee-employer equilibrium and order, the one which is based on trust, transparency, and partnership.
Q- What are your hiring plans for the coming years?
There is no change in the plan for recruiting critical or replacement hires, what is being evaluated is the fresh headcount addition as the competencies that would be needed in the coming years would be different due to the change in the business environment.
While the net headcount addition may be the same or more but the competency mix may undergo a change due to the change in the business environment and demand.
The approach to talent management would need to evolve in the coming times. It is not going to be a simultaneous or post-performance investment in employee development but would need to be prior and upfront.
Q- What will be HR Trends for 2021?
The HR trends for year 2021 should be empathy and support. The firms which would have adopted this approach towards the employees consciously or unconsciously in 2020 should continue to remain invested in employee relationship. This would prove to be the most meaningful investment that any organisation would have made and they will reap benefits of the same for long time to come in form of staff loyalty and commitment.
Q- Any concluding remarks?
The organisational ability has come under severe stress and its ability to carry or accommodate non-performance has reduced significantly. The employees too should appreciate that the organisational tolerance today is all-time low and should not act contrary to the role expectations. The demand for leadership roles too has increased significantly and leadership is expected to lead the teams by setting examples.
Difficult times make ways for newer approaches and force flexibility to make us nimble and agile. The organisations which will survive or thrive would certainly be more agile than what was for the one who did not manage that change would find it hard to remain relevant and hence perish.
Thank you, Anil!