24 Jun 2016 19:51 IST

The most important trait we look for is learnability: Unmesh Pawar

Fresh hires should adapt to new situations and technologies even as they grow with us, says Accenture’s global head of Talent Acquisition

With the rise of the digital workforce, companies have changed the way they respond to talent needs, says Unmesh Pawar, Global MD, Talent Acquisition, at Accenture. Pawar spoke to BLonCampus about the role of technology in changing the face of HR, and the kind of talent Accenture is looking for. Excerpts from the interaction:

How has technology changed today’s employees?

When technology disrupts the way work is being done, people who were doing such work are going to look very different from the way the traditional workforce has been seen. People who work in a truly digital environment — for whom analytics, mobility and cloud are a way of life — are what we personify and call the digital workforce.

Has technology helped HR become a strategic partner in businesses?

Technology has changed the entire career environment and how companies are responding to talent needs.

If you look at identifying talent, today technology enables us to understand where the talent pool resides. Even before deciding to grow a business, you know where the talent pool is available. You can make business decisions about where you should open the centre, from where business should be sought, what kind of talent is available, and what kind of training will be required.

Has technology changed the hiring process as well?

Having recognised and identified the talent, next it’s time to look at the entire process. The democratisation of data today enables companies to access talent without any intermediaries. Today’s candidates create a wide enough digital footprint that provides considerable information and insight about them in the recruiting process.

Even for assessments, for instance, look at the game-based recruitment process. You don't have to go through multiple interviews and examinations; instead, or in addition, you could rely on gaming as an approach to accessing people.

Fast-forward to learning; learning is not about training programmes, where you sit for three days together in a classroom environment. People want byte-sized learning that comes through handy devices. For instance, if I want byte-sized learning on banking, to take one area of attention, I could choose that on my smartphone's learning board. I can read articles, access curated content, and watch videos that are suited to my need.

At Accenture, we have something called Connected Classrooms where, at any given time, we can connect to 15-20 locations across the globe and deliver a truly detailed experiential training programme to our people.

If you look at performance, it's not the same anymore. The day and age of one-time performance is gone. You need to be able to measure performance in real time.

Employee engagement is no longer about conducting an employee survey once in a while. For organisations, it has become important to do emotional and social listening.

At Accenture as well, we do emotional and social listening, such as what people say about us on Glassdoor, and similar forums. We are not spying on people but, when people talk outside or inside Accenture, we are listening in. The listening is not to pry but to understand their emotions.

When you are looking to hire, especially management graduates, what qualities are you looking for?

We are looking for learnability. When we hire from a B-school we look for people who can learn and adapt quickly to newer situations and technologies. That's a big factor for us. Second, is the ability to manage stakeholders; because we work with clients and help them improve their businesses. So, we look for people who are able to engage with our clients and help them become really high-performance businesses.

Other important elements are analytical and problem-solving skills, and whether the candidate has a strategic bent of mind.

What can management graduates expect when they join Accenture?

Accenture spends around $840 million on training, which is huge. We truly believe in helping people reach their full potential. As an organisation, Accenture aspires to work on the intersection of an employee’s passion, strength and aspirations, in terms of what they want to become. When you triangulate all three and encompass this with good training, it will help you to reach where you want to be.

The big opportunity with Accenture is to work with fantastic leaders. We work with our clients to help them get better. The people who work with our clients are truly phenomenal, and working with such great people allows you to grow with the organisation. The core of all this is a human organisation that values you as a person and allows you to do what you want to do.

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