Amity Institute Of Training & Development


Speaker: Mr. Tarkesh Gupta, CHRO – South Asia, Fresenius Kabi India

Interviewed by: Mr Ashish Sahu, Vice President Training, Amity Institute of Training & Development

Speaker: Mr. Tarkesh Gupta is working in the capacity of CHRO-South Asia, Fresenius Kabi India and is responsible for end-to-end HR functions and delivery. He has over 22 years of rich experience in various facets of Human Resources, Administration, Salesforce Effectiveness and Business Process Excellence. He also has a deep interest in Psychology and has numerous Certifications to his credit which is evident as he has been certified on Social Psychology from Queensland University as well as Personality Assessment from Hogan, besides several other Certifications including Professional Coaching. Prior to joining Fresenius Kabi, he has also worked with Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Ltd, Rockwell Automation India, and Dabur Pharma as well.

Click below to watch the recorded conversation.


AITD: I welcome you all to experience a very interesting conversation with plenty of Insights from our Guest this morning, Mr. Tarkesh Gupta, at Amity Global Leadership Studio – Future of Work series. Today’s topic is 'Shaping the Future of Work in Pharma Sector’.

Now, to talk about the unprecedented phase in scale of technological disruptions brought about the industrial revolution in COVID-19 and how it is affecting the operations and functions across all the Globe.

When talking about Pharma, Pharma is also facing many disruptions. For example, new business models have emerged in such as direct to home personalised medicines. The trend around future of work is to have an unleashed organisation which is enabled to work anywhere, any time.

Now, these micro trends have a major shift in the skills, the operations in any organization with a Future of Work mind-set and is more resilient coping with uncertain times and more able to adapt and thrive it. To understand more about the work culture, business environment, technological innovations, and the impact on the future of work at large, we have with us our Guest this morning Mr. Tarkesh Gupta.

Mr. Tarkesh Gupta: Good morning everyone and thank you very much, Ashish for a very nice introduction and kind words. I am absolutely delighted and feel privileged to be here talking to you and other people. About Fresenius Kabi, let me just give you a little background. Globally it’s a 36 billion organisation, large organisation. We have got 4 business units. Other than the Fresenius Kabi, we have Clair and then we have got Healius. Healius is a hospital chain, number one hospital chain in Europe.

Then we have got another organisation Vamed. Vamed is in hospital projects, constructions and getting the hospitals ready. Fresenius Medical Care is also a number one organisation in dialysis segments. We have got a presence in India also. In Fresenius Kabi India, here we have got two sister concerns - one is Fresenius Kabi Oncology which we acquired from Dabur Pharma and two is Fresenius Kabi Oncology which we have got R&D set up at Gurgaon and then a couple of plants API Plant at Kalyani which is near Kolkata in West Bengal.

Also, we have got a Fresenius Kabi India which is a parent organisation based at Pune. Here also, we have got a couple of plants, one is near Pune, .... are in a large volume, .......... and then we have another plant at Goa which we have acquired from PDPL. All put together, we have got around 3000 employees in India and then we have got approximately 1000-1500 contractual workers in India. So that’s the kind of setup here in India and this Pune Office caters to South Asia operations. So, we are not only responsible for India, but also, we are responsible for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. So SAARC nations primarily. And the business is from basic standard solutions. The bottle costs maybe 50 rupees to a highly sophisticated device which may cost you maybe 4-5 million rupees. So that's the kind of business we are in.

AITD: Thank you very much for giving us the perspective of Fresenius Kabi.

What competitive edge the Fresenius Kabi brings to the business in India where Indian competitors find it hard to copy? Mr Tarkesh Gupta: Yes, so, Ashish, 2-3 things which I would mention here. Number one, Fresenius Kabi’s quality of the product. Wherever we go, we talk about the quality of the products and 100% guarantee, no compromise. We can get into a financial loss, but we would not make any compromise on the quality of the product because we deal with the life of human beings. So there is no compromise on that. So that's one.

Number two, people. I think that’s the biggest competitive edge which we have got. We have got internally grown Senior Leadership team. If you would have gone through our India website, you would have seen that the entire ‘my leadership team’ is homegrown and they have been working with the organisation for the last 10 years or so. So that's one of the biggest advantages which we have in India.

And the third is primarily if you ask me is the ‘culture’. We have been a great place to work, we have been certified as a great place to work. Our HR practices are certified, and we have gone into the internal certifications across the region. We talk about Transparency, we talk about Empowerment, we talk about Modesty and we talk about Proactiveness and Ownership, what we call ‘TEMPO’. This is not only on a piece of paper, but every employee lives with it. And that’s where we have got value-based Leadership.

AITD: Very interesting word coined by your ‘TEMPO’. I like the ‘TEMPO’ which talks about transparency and empowerment of people. And very rightly said, that you don’t compromise on quality because it deals with people’s lives. Right. So, what do you think is the vision of Fresenius Kabi overall that these are the differentiators we are talking about?

What is the vision, the overall vision of Fresenius Kabi?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: ‘Caring for Life’. This is our ‘punch line’ or even if you say the motto. This is ‘Caring for Life’. And this is what every employee truly believes in it. Our products are being used primarily for critically ill patients. So, when they are in ICU or maybe some kind of trauma, surgeries are there. And that’s where the motto is, we need to see that how we give the best care to these patients.

In terms of, if you talk about the overall industry and then also if this Kabi, moving forward if you talk about the market and this is my opinion not only in India but even the outside India also. Probably, home treatment is going to be the keyword in the times to come. Patients may not like to go to the hospitals, they would prefer to be treated at home and that’s where the Insurance companies, the Pharma companies need to think about the logistics models, the supply chain models.

Another change that would happen and which I can see today is that the market may move from health care to preventive care. So, in times to come you will see that more immunity will bring health centres that are coming up in hospitals. So, the market would move from disease care to preventive. So, you need to see that how you build immunity to prevent all those diseases. I am sure that these are the things going to have fun in the time to come. Another point which I would like to mention here is that the ‘gig economy’ is going to be the keyword. Not only the Pharma world but for that matter any industry where the roles would depend upon the projects, not lifetime employment. That is going to be, I would say the old, which would not be in fashion in time.

AITD: Thank you very much for these insights and I like the vision, what you were talking about ‘Caring for Life’. We also had in our Studio, insurance professionals, MDs and CEOs of Insurance companies and what you have rightly mentioned is it will be more healthcare to preventive healthcare and people would be more being at home and that's what we have seen during a pandemic. They preferred home and they were treated at home. That’s absolutely what you are saying, your vision is very, very futuristic, I would say.

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: I think, the reason behind this issue is to understand the Pharma world. That maximum number of deaths happens in the hospital because of hospital-acquired infections. So that is one of the biggest reasons not only in India but outside also. And this way, the minute you get into hospitals and your immunity is low, you may get into other kinds of infections other than the problem which you have. And that’s where the hospitals and the way the knowledge is increasing with the normal public, they are becoming more aware of it and say that who needs to go to hospitals, can I be treated at home? Or Do I need to stay in the hospital? And this is going to be, personally, I believe, this is going to be the ‘game changer’ in times to come. And then hospitals, insurance companies need to think that how they align themselves with the changing reality.

AITD: I agree, and I can give you my example. I lost my father in September last year. And in fact, I had got the entire hospital facility at home because as you said, because of his age. We didn’t want to take him to the hospital. Absolutely what you said, I fully agree, all the facilities at home which are required for it. Very, very true and I fully agree.

Coming back to the, how do you develop an organisation to the future mindset, which is more resilient, coping with uncertain times and more able to adapt and thrive, what you are seeing in the current scenario.

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: So, my view here is that certain changes are going to happen whether you like it or not. And thus, what we are trying to do, we have divided the organisation into verticals because what makes sense to plants, does not make sense to field people. We have said that, okay, the plants, warehouse, supply chain, logistics is one part. And then my field force is the second part. When we are talking about plant, manufacturing; we are seeing that we where are the opportunities to automate the manufacturing processes.

The warehouse also, the way you supply the drugs, the logistics are going to play a crucial role, even today within our country. And this year we are looking at what can be automated by using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Moving forward, we are looking that how we analyse the small data available to us through different sources and reducing reliance on manpower so a regular task can be automated when we talk about plants and warehouses.

Field force and then the last one year that has been great learning for us. The entire year, the field was not able to move out and talk to the customers, meet doctors etc. And that gave us good learning that how would be the model in future. So, let me just tell you that the role of field people or rep is not going to move away completely. It would remain there because this business is primarily based on the relationship. And then the relationship can only be done only when you interact with the people. It’s not that machine can do that job.

But it is going to be changed dramatically and then the change has already started happening. And I generally use the word ‘Phygital’. Phygital is a hybrid model of ‘physical’ and the ‘digital world. You would have seen that the doctors have, during the pandemic, you would have seen at least, the doctors preferring the video consultation. They say you need not come; you sit at home and I am also sitting at my home and let’s have a consultation.

When patient consultation is there through the video, then doctors would also like to meet medical reps through the video chat only. So, in the time to come, you may assign one or two days and say that all medical reps can join, the way we are talking, and then one by one doctor is talking to different reps. And that would be supposed to reduce the travel cost. And use that time to build capability with sales reps, with your sales team who analyse the data, use the technology, he should be comfortable in using the technology. I have seen many reps and even the senior managers especially in sales, who are not so comfortable with the technology because they are never exposed to tech. Now it is high time to be comfortable with the technology, otherwise, you would become obsolete.

Digital Analytics Tool will be the engine to accelerate agility and transparency because everybody is looking for transparency, nowadays. New technology like Artificial Intelligence pretty talked about machine learning etc. Those analytics focussed more on merged, already started emerging. So that’s where the industry is moving. And then we even at Fresenius Kabi looking into those elements, seeing what makes sense to me as per my strategy. I am not getting into all these fashion words, because just it in fashion and companies are trying to do, you should also do, our object is very simple that what makes sense to me keeping in mind my business strategy, my business model. My business model is slightly different from a normal Pharma company. I need to see that what makes sense to me

AITD: Right and I am enamoured to hear that what kind of clarity you have as far as the business model and the thought process is concerned. It’s simple and practical. And you talked about ‘Phygital’. I have been talking to insurance companies and other sectors also, they were talking about ‘Phygital’ which is more aptly used in insurance as well as Pharma sector. You also talked about relationships. I fully agree that relationships and in such important sectors like Pharma and insurance, relationship play a very, very critical role and that is when we are talking about ‘Phygital’ which is a mix of both the models.

You also talked about ‘Automation’ now, later in the session about AI, Digital Analytics which are futuristic. In the process, referring to this changing reality, every function and role will be reimagined fundamentally. Changing the future of the workforce. What is your viewpoint on this because there are 3 fundamental changes taking place in the one is in work, workforce and third is a workplace?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: So, there is no second thought on the statement. I do believe that change is the only constant in this world. And it is only a matter of time that the systems and processes which we see today are going to become obsolete tomorrow. And that's where it is the need of the hour to reinvent and reskill not only to yourself but also to your workforce. But it is important to know that what makes sense to me. What is change with this pandemic is the pace with which the change approached us. It is just 100 times faster than was expected. So, it’s not that what we are talking about today, is something happening today only. No, it was happening earlier also but only the pace got changed.

AITD: We call it Digital?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: Yes, that’s why I am saying. And that’s where it caught the industry and the Leaders, I think in many cases, unprepared or unaware and that’s where the challenge is. I do believe that we don't have a choice now, not that we were having a choice earlier also rather than facing it. When I talk about HR since I am an HR professional, but honestly today I spend more time in the business because I am responsible for the Pakistan business also directly.

But HR, for example, entire employee journey will have to be planned and HR gets ready for the new challenges that come along with the distributed virtual atmosphere. So, when I talk about my field team, 1200 people across different locations, forget about the entire country. And then you may not be able to conduct an onboarding exercise physically in this kind of an environment where the travels are very limited for the new employees. So, you need to see that how you are inducting your people, onboarding them, ensuring that the organisation vision and goals are percolated down and ensure that you have given a seamless joining experience to the people.

We already started doing it. This would mean the modification of not only you’re onboarding process but your hiring process. Again, we are getting into virtual hiring, video interviewing using artificial intelligence to do our first level of interviews. Your recruitment practices, your termination policies, your engagement initiatives, be it your exit process and everything else in between everything needs to be redefined keeping in mind today’s reality.

Our philosophy at Fresenius Kabi for years has been focused on building culture, people, and processes. And these things are inseparable. This is not something that I am talking about today, I have been taking this for the last 5-6 years and hopefully, this holistically answers your question.

AITD: Yes, it does answer my question and we were talking about culture, people and processes and you also talked about onboarding. You have mentioned that you are an HR professional.

Now what should the role be of resources and HR mindset shift though you talked about some part of it, does it represent for the future and how different are these priorities?

We will deep dive into some of the aspects like I have been talking about clear cut differences between enabling performance or managing performance.

What is Fresenius Kabi looking at? Whether Fresenius Kabi looking at job focussed, or well-being focussed? whether it is bureaucracy or self-managed teams, whether it is culture and behaviour focused or strategy/goal focus? Whether it is people focussed or technology focussed? Some of the areas you have already mentioned like technology, culture. What about enabling performance or managing performance?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: Okay, I will touch upon one by one. And since you asked me questions, I may not remember, you will have to help me. When we talk about enabling performance or managing performance, I think keeping in mind the younger generation, their mindset, it is not about managing, and it is more about enabling. We firmly believe that managers need to play the role of a coach which enables performance. People need to manage themselves. I have no right, or I would say power to manage others as a Leader. Let people manage themselves and that’s where we talk about Leaderself-Leadership. When I have got 1200 people who are in the field, it is difficult to make any supervision, effective supervision, I would say. And that's where it takes people mindset that they should not need any supervision, and this is what we ensure during our recruitment process also. That the entrepreneurship must be there, you don’t need any supervision. Your manager’s role is only to enable your performance. And the integration must be direct only your managers will enable your performance. untap your potentials.

The second aspect, I think you mentioned ‘job focussed’ or ‘well being focussed’. I have slightly different thoughts here. And then since I am a little more analytical, I mean my personality towards the logical way of looking into things. I believe yes you need to look into well-being but while looking into the well-being of your team, you cannot compromise on the deliverables. While you are looking into the deliverables, you cannot ignore the well-being of your team members. So, it’s neither this nor that. It is somewhere you are striking a balance. You should be able to ask the right questions while ensuring the people's well-being, their stress, their pressure, their work-life balance etc. But also, at the same time ensuring the delivery.

AITD: You have already mentioned the other three points which are Bureaucracy or self-managed teams, culture, behaviour, strategy/goal focussed which you have already answered. And then answered about people focussed, strategy focussed, talking about digital analytics.

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: One thing I would say here while without a culture behaviour focussed or strategy and goal, again it is not either-or. My strategy has to be aligned with the culture or my culture needs to be aligned with my strategy. I strongly believe that if your culture is not aligned with your business strategy, it means your culture will eat your strategy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It must be aligned. When I am talking about that one of my key elements, one of my strategy innovations that innovation needs to be lived on the employees and managers but if my managers are not giving that kind of space for the team members to innovate or they are not allowing them to ask the questions, then whatever be the strategy, it won’t give you the results.

AITD: I am amazed by the way you put it so simply and that's what shows the kind of depth that you have. It comes so naturally like what we call in our training. I am from the training industry and what we say is, ‘a trainer makes complicated things simple whereas participant simple things complicated’. The way you have been putting all these thought processes in such a simple manner, I am amazed.

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: Thank you. I do believe in simplicity only without getting into management jargon.

AITD: And you talked about one very interesting thing which I will mention here is ‘Self Direction’ which we normally, there is a competency which we always develop in virtual onboarding which is being conscientious, and which primarily means I am set director I don’t need supervision all the time. It should be clear micromanagement does not work. So, it is more about people are empowered, as you rightly said, there should be transparency and people should be empowered and have a sense of direction. So, it gives a sense of culture what you have been talking about as far as Fresenius Kabi is concerned.

So, what is your people’s strategy, the kind of talent you recruit, how do you manage them? Are there instances where you have been differentiated or your strategy has worked wonders for the organisation?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: Yes, I think I strongly believe that people are always a great differentiator in the marketplace especially when you are in a generic kind of a world. Every company is borne out of the same kind of products. So when I am talking about the Pharma market, paracetamol is paracetamol, whatever is the brand name. How you differentiate yourself, that’s where the people play a very crucial role. The relationship you build with your customer, the kind of services you provide to your customer, that gives you a difference. People strategy is around to create an ecosystem. When I talk about culture, I talk about the ecosystem which encourages certainty. It is something like you actually plant a seed and then you want it to blossom. There are certain rules and systems which help. You have to have fertile soil, water it, you need some kind of fertilizer etc. You have to ensure that enough air and sunlight is there. If you put that plant inside your room, perhaps you would not be giving that ecosystem to the adequacy.

And this is what I strongly believe in the organisation that your ecosystem plays a very, very crucial role. And that’s what we try to do here that we develop a value-based Leadership. In value-based Leadership, I have got a certain set of values; those certain values talk about certain behaviour, what employees and the Leader need to exhibit. Then we ensure we have a mechanism to get feedback around both behaviours. So if you are not doing well on those behaviours, you would not be in a position to exhibit certain behaviours which are expected by employees of the organisation, you would not be in a position to grow in this organisation So, this is number one.

Number two, Entrepreneurship, that’s a keyword here. So, we say as a Leader, as a manager, you should not show helplessness – what can I do, someone else has not done the job, what can I do, the economy is not growing, what can I do, the customer is not looking into? These are the strictly ‘no’ ‘no’ excuses. If you are an entrepreneur, how do you make things happen? This is what we talk about. Wherever, whatever the follow up is required, whatever you need to do, whether you have done those efforts or not. After that whether you get a result or not that’s a different thing altogether. But were those efforts there or not, and that’s where we talked about ownership at every level. I am responsible, accountable for what I am responsible for. I cannot give any excuse, I cannot abdicate my responsibility.

The objective is very simple, to build a highly engaged and performing workforce. I don’t want to build only an engaged workforce that means you are into the comfort zone. So this is the philosophy that replies second part of your question when you talked about whether you have seen any such things happening. I can share my example here, example means my organisation’s example. In the generic market, once again I am touching upon that topic, that is how you differentiate. It is not about your product, it is not about your brand also, it is people who make difference, once again I am repeating the same line but I strongly believe. We dislodged innovators from the market and reached a cold position primarily because of the people and the relationship we had with our customers. This is what I have seen not only in one product but in a couple of products.

AITD: Thank you very much for the very, very interesting insight about the people strategy which we are talking about. Now, what we are seeing during these times, the organizational challenges of this era are to Transform, Change, Accelerate, Improve, Modernize, Go Faster, Get Better, Make It Cost-Effective.

Among all these challenges being a CHRO of the organisation, how does the organization prioritize and strike balance to accomplish these objectives in such a dynamic world?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: Interesting. And this is what I struggle with in many forums when I interact with many HR professionals, not only the HR professionals but others also. Because these are all ‘words’, nice words I would say. And then will talk a lot around it. For me, these are nothing beyond words. Your priority should and would always be linked with your people and business strategy. You cannot do everything, you have to decide what you need to do and why you need to do it. ‘Why’ need to be answered first. Then I will give you a very interesting anecdote.

So, one of my experts, industry expert I would say. He was talking to me and he said that his organisation this year in 2020, book a theme ‘Change’. I said very good fantastic, ‘change’ is the only constant thing. Of course, we need to change. I said whether your junior person in the organisation can articulate that what needs to be changed at a personal level and organisational level. And why the change is required. If every employee is not in a position to articulate, the way you see, you articulate, change is not going to take place. So, the organisation needs to spend a lot of time answering the ‘why’ and ‘how’. If it is not clear, if your employees are not in a position to understand, then these remain only fashion words, nothing beyond it. So you decide whether you want to transform – wonderful, fantastic, you want to transform but what you want to transform, why you want to transform and how you are going to transform. That need to be answered and that’s where many CEOs, and the Leader’s struggle. So my thinking is very simple. As an organisation, what is more, important for me? Let me take one, make it cost-effective. How I am going to make it cost-effective, what are the opportunities available, whether every employee, even the office boy understands this, to switch off the lights when the room is not in use? And that’s where you bring the changes.

AITD: I fully agree and very interesting thing which you talked about ‘why’. You also talked about aligning the people towards organisational goals. I think that says it all. If your organisations are aligned to the organisational goals, all those things will be prioritized accordingly. I fully agree with that. The foremost task is aligning the organisation. Now this pandemic has brought in tremendous change in human resources planning and is operating to ensure employee wellbeing, performance enablement and upskilling employees to perform well. How is the Pharma workforce going to change? You have mentioned ‘Phygital’, you have mentioned about field sales force, you have also mentioned about video interaction.

What changes do you expect as far as the Pharma sector is concerned in the workforce?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: I think there are certain things, not really linked to Pharma but overall I would say. I mentioned I think the ‘gig economy’ is not only the Pharma but everywhere. It’s more about the project related roles. So you have today one particular project, you hire people and then thank you very much. Unless you have another project then reskill the people. It is going to be like Bollywood, you work in a film, thank you very much and then you work in another film. What organisations need to focus more on developing the versatility with the people. So today you are, for example, if you are starting a greenfield project, maybe you are going to have a plant, so project management is a key skill. But after your plant is up and running, what is more, important than? operational topics. Whether you are reskilling those people to getting into those kinds of roles. Otherwise, those skills would be obsolete. It is something like that you have done a romantic movie, so you need to be a good actor in a romantic movie. Maybe the second movie is a comedy movie. Immediately you need to shift your role and then actually perform well in the comic role. Maybe immediately after, you get a fight movie, you need to show that kind of skills there also. This is what is going to be there unless as an employee, as an individual, I am looking into those things and reskilling and reinventing myself. Organisations need to help with this. Organisations can facilitate but the responsibility lies with the individual. Moving forward also, even today the younger generation this is what we need to understand, where we have got younger generation, even kids, those who are 14-15 or maybe 20 yrs. of age, if you have noticed they do not believe in instructions. When you are going to deal with such kind of generation at the workplace, you need to know how to coach them. Coaching is going to be very critical for managers without getting into the complexity of the coaching. Coaching if you ask me, in one simple sentence how to ask the right questions. Nothing beyond this.

The second thing is ‘Technology’ of course. If you are comfortable with the technology, you call it, you need to be comfortable with that. Moving forward, when organisations are also going to be more bottom-line oriented, they would look at the bottom line because the pandemic also taught us that at the end of the day, you need to have cash in your pocket. So, organisations also need to see that how to ensure that they have got cash in their pocket and then that’s where they would investigate the technology, they would look into the flat structures going to be there. With an adequate control mechanism, flat structures, a virtual workforce with adequate control mechanism using the technology, so that we are not losing the race.

AITD: Yes, I must say I was mesmerized by the anecdote you used ‘Bollywood’ and the example you used that today you are doing an action-oriented movie and you have to align yourself towards that kind of role. And then you switch on to another comic role, you need to align to that. It is such a deep thought which you put it so simply. And being into training, one line which you mentioned is about coaching which says how to ask the right questions. So I have been making a lot of notes because I need such wonderful insights from you regarding...

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: So nice of you but honestly whatever the little coaching experience I have got, it’s not very complex. It’s all about that when you can ask the right questions in the right manner, nothing else.

AITD: Right, and I know you have been certified as a coach also. COVID has disrupted working experience and we were talking about customer experience, productivity, how do these organisations create a positive employee experience because employees are going through tough times and keep their morale & productivity as high as possible?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: So I think the worst part of a pandemic is over hopefully. I think during such kind of times, it is about the connection and communication and what we have seen in the last year or so. The most important point here is that Leadership has to be visible. Leadership visibility – it should not happen when you are working from home and then you don’t know what to do. Leaders should give guidance and courage to the team. And that’s where what we have seen that regularly connect with the Leadership team, it is very, very important, why in the confidence and sense of security of employees and give a clear message around that what are the company's strategies, objectives and way forward. So, this is one key thing which is very, very important. What we have also done, we have utilised this time to launch our Artificial Intelligence-powered employee connect program. We have also set up a chatbot, which is reaching out to every employee asking tailored questions. So I am saying that every employee will have a few different questions depending upon the value in the organisation and depending upon the kind of move the person is executing.

And that's where that gives you great insight that what is happening and what it is on a real-time basis. Another thing that we have also done is that we have also got into employee well-being, so we are reaching out every week, talking to the people or whether everything is okay, whether you are having any kind of symptoms etc. Else also organisations can do, make people or make well-being part of the employee daily routine. To encourage work-life balance, creating engagement programs around healthy lifestyles, some kind of engagement programs around the healthy work lifestyle that what we need to do, when we are working from home etc. So showing concern to the employees and makes a difference.

AITD: All right. So, you are talking about employee productivity, you are talking about that you have chat-bots that talks differently with different employees depending on their roles to get a good insight.

How does the organization capture and scale up the productivity that can come with the new ways of working specifically that you would be talking about?

Like it gives an insight that this is the way work should be done with a new combination of virtual and hybrid models. Now, since we have been talking about a hybrid model where some people will be working from home and some will be coming to the office which most of the organisations are opting for now.

So, how do you accelerate individuals’ learning curves, so that they become more productive in this kind of scenario, in this kind of hybrid model?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: So, let me again keep it very simple. It is all about the clarity you give to employees in terms of the deliverables. It is also a lot dependent upon that how your managers are relooking into the goals which you have set in. It is not that you set it and forget it and then you will review it after the end of the year only. So, the world is changing. You remember the advertisement for one of the bikes ‘fill it, shut it and forget it. So it is not like that. In this dynamic world, fast-changing world, you need to see how regularly you are seeing into those goals which you set at the beginning of the, maybe every month or every quarter. Then you can see what kind of changes are required, you give the clarity to the people. For example, what goals we set in 2020 beginning, by the time we reach to the first quarter, end of the first quarter, I think those were supposed to be changed. I don't know how many organisations have looked into those aspects. Every month you need to look into it depending upon the kind of market situation is there, the kind of environment is there. So I think when you talk about how to make employees productive, it is all about giving that clarity on things.

Second thing, from a manager perspective, how comfortable you are in the crucial conversation. I have seen in many cases, people – say that they have a very highly engaged team. But whether that highly engaged team is delivering what they are supposed to deliver, that is also very, very important. And it is important to develop the mechanism whether it is offline or online. Now, we are talking of technology, you have to have every manager that has to have a dashboard. So that you are on top of things. Organisations need to help by using the technology, create a dashboard for every level of managers and employees. And then regular feedback that where you are. And I strongly believe and am in love with the Gantt charts, so you keep on tracking the projects, it’s not only projects but even your regular day to day work that makes a lot of difference. I strongly believe without getting into too many complications, that clarity on your deliverables and then regular review mechanism, the dashboard. If you can develop that kind of culture in an organisation, that helps you a lot and then your managers should be comfortable looking into things, asking the right questions and enabling the performance. So everything is interlinked together.

AITD: There's one question which I would like to ask you which is of our interest and you are saying that what will be the role of outsourcing for HR functions and Learning and Development?

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: My favourite topic when we talk outsourcing. If you ask me, you can outsource anything and everything. Nothing is there which you cannot outsource. Even my role can also be outsourced. But it depends on what is needed. You need to decide as to what needs to be produced internally, what you are good at. That is what is very important. What needs to be bought externally, where my skills and experience lying, whether someone else can do this job better than me, I need to take help. And then I remember some of the quotes, it says that ‘If someone else can do your job better than you, then you need not poke your nose into that. So it’s true that if you can deliver better training for me than I or maybe the resources I have got available, I would be more than happy to go there. Why should I unnecessarily try to invest or spend resources on something which is not good as you? So that’s what the organisations need to see. If I have got the system, resources, capabilities as good as anybody in the world, let me do it myself.

AITD: It has been a very, very interesting conversation. Before we end our conversation, we would like to have final thoughts, to sum up, the entire discussion that we had today.

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: So, I think if you ask me when we talk about future moving forward or future workplace, as a Leader or even as an employee in the corporate world, you need to be comfortable with the new technology, you need to be comfortable with the numbers. That's also very, very important no matter which function you are in. If you are in HR, you should be in a position to understand the numbers and make the right influences and create a story around them. That's going to be a critical task.

Second, the critical elements that - can you find opportunities from hopeless situations when the pandemic attacked the world. There are organisations, there are Leaders who see the opportunities and then took advantage of them. This is also very crucial. The third thing which is not something new, but in the short supply always, is humility. Humility is always in demand and will continue to be needed more and more in Leaders. And I am always amazed to see that it is in short supply.

AITD: Yeah, you are right.

Mr Tarkesh Gupta: Morality and humility are going to be keywords moving forward.

AITD: And that’s why we talk about values, we talk about cultures.

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Moderated by: Ashish Sahu

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