As a part of an interview series called “Preparing For The Future Of Work”, Authority Magazinew spoke with our CEO and Co-Founder Madhu Chamarty. Read the full interview on their site here.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
Iam an engineer by training, and come from a family that has lived, studied, and worked in 7 countries: India, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Canada, Curacao, Antigua, and the United States. I am a math-nerd at heart, and studied math (surprise surprise), computer science, and electrical engineering in undergrad and grad school. Living in many countries meant that my parents (both practicing doctors to this day) and sister (also pursuing a medical career) and I have essentially been a globally distributed team, ever since I was about nine. I come from a lower-middle class family in India, and thanks to relentless support and unconditional love from my grandparents and parents, I am who I am today.
In terms of life experiences that helped shape my current self, I will attempt to be brief yet candid in my description. Living in different countries made me develop the ability to embrace and adapt to new cultures, languages, accents, and social norms. The sudden passing of my grandparents in my teens force-taught me to cope with any drastic unexpected change, quickly. My parents showed me the value of hard and patient work, over long periods of time (as is often the case with medical careers). Working with ambitious and demanding teams and customers at tech companies throughout most of my past 16+ professional years made me develop a strong appetite for tech-driven societal change. Many good mentors throughout these years helped me channel that appetite into a pursuit of compassionate capitalism. I am thankful for it all, and am always striving to demonstrate a net-positive impact on society through my professional and personal actions.
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What do you expect to be the major disruptions for employers in the next 10–15 years? How should employers pivot to adapt to these disruptions?
The most significant disruption that the pandemic has brought to the forefront is the shift in power dynamic between the employer and the employee. A few observations play on repeat in my mind:
- I believe that the Next Industrial Revolution is here, and is defined by the transformation in which talent, more than capital, becomes the most critical factor for business. As we begin our journey into this new revolution, we face both promise and peril depending on the way that individuals, businesses, and government act — together. For the first time, can business become more human and profitable at the same time?
- Workers in tech-enabled companies are demanding — and getting — greater empowerment, choice, and flexibility in the workplace. Forward-thinking organizational leaders are tackling the challenging issues around where, when, and how to scale their workforce and workplace. They are moving from infrequent high capex discussions (single HQ) to ongoing conversation around distributed low capex solutions (homes and hubs and remote work).
- Organizational silos around decision-making for a company’s location strategy will continue to be torn down. HR and Real Estate will work more closely together with Finance, and with all other departments, to ensure the organization is always thinking about where to evaluate, hire, redistribute, etc. The point-in-time Annual Planning for headcount and real estate will die off, making way for continuous agile planning.
- Mental Health & Well-being will no longer be treated as optional peripheral benefits for the workforce, but as essential attributes. This will lead to a thorough redefinition of what productivity is, and how it will be tracked.
- Workforce Diversity, focusing on gender, race, age, religion, and socio-economic strata, will become a much more existential necessity, powering competitiveness and business growth. This will require companies to go to hubs of diversity globally, and once again, drive significant and much-needed changes in talent analytics and recruitment strategies company-wide.
- The technology stack for almost every aspect of a company’s operations will look very different in 10–15 years, and its half-life will continue to drop. Whether it is satellite imagery for monitoring global supply and demand, AI-powered chatbots for customer service, blockchain-powered asset tracking and security, or new forms of measuring productivity with a workforce consisting of digital nomads, the employer has to embrace a greater infusion of technology-powered processes in every aspect of operations.
- More and more future workers will present their candidacy through a combination of skills not necessarily all acquired through a standard 4-year college. The war for talent in the future will be based on skills more than on college degrees. Online education, rapidly changing job requirements, and technological change will all reward creative approaches to upskilling, and employers not recognizing this will miss out on top workers.
A few ways in which employers can stay abreast of these disruptions:
- Embrace the changes in the employee-employer dynamic highlighted by the pandemic, and reexamine how each aspect of people operations can be redefined to embrace long-term change. There is no returning to what worked, only building anew what will work.
- Recognize that ‘where’ work gets done will be increasingly geographically distributed, and this distribution will change more often than it has before. Continuously tracking and comparing talent availability, costs, business environment, quality of life, and location-specific activity globally will give employers a competitive edge.
- Commit to truly investing in workforce diversity, and even demonstrating that investment to employees, customers, and society. The benefits will outweigh any costs of the initial investment — many studies and much data already bear evidence of this. As work goes global, this investment will become even more critical.
- Reskill and upskill your employees, as they will be your best assets to keep up with the rapid pace of technology-powered change across all aspects of the company. There is mounting evidence of this effect (examples: here, here, and here).
- With so many aspects of employee experience starting to change, across industries, revisit and revamp your recruiting experience. 49% of job-seekers working in highly in-demand sectors like tech have already shared how they have turned down job offers due to a poor hiring process. This % is likely to grow if employers don’t adapt to the emerging hybrid world of work.
- Finally, consider promoting a more fulfilling job opportunity, not just a commercially lucrative one. Offering roles with a broad range of roles & responsibilities will become a secret weapon for employers.
Read the rest of the interview here!