The future of how work gets done will be entirely enabled by digitisation.
Introduce yourself and tell us about your organisation
I am VP & HR Head, Global Growth Markets at Cognizant Technology Solutions. Cognizant is one of the world’s leading professional services companies – our aim is to transform our clients’ business, operating and technology models for the digital era. Our unique industry-based, consultative approach helps clients envision, build and run more innovative and efficient organisations.
We use our international expertise in 20 different industries to help clients capitalise on the tremendous opportunities the latest technologies offer in key areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, data and digital engineering, which underpin everything we do in our lives today.
I am based in Amsterdam, and the company has its headquarters in the US. We have over 289,000 employees in 290 offices and we are consistently listed among the most admired companies in the world. We are ranked 193 on the Fortune 500, and this year, we are very proud to be certified a Top Employer in 15 countries.”
What do you think defines an organisation as a top employer today?
To compete in the war for the best people, companies are working to improve their recruiting efforts and employee retention. In doing so, most organisations regularly ask themselves: Why are potential employees attracted to our company? Why do existing employees think our company is unique? What do they value most about working here? Why do the existing employees stay? And why would they leave?
The answer to these questions defines the culture of an organisation, which in turn defines whether a company can be classified as a top employer. Culture is the character and personality of an organisation. It makes a company unique and sums up its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours and attitudes. A positive workplace culture attracts talent, drives engagement, impacts happiness and satisfaction, and affects performance. Leadership, management, workplace practices, policies and people significantly influence culture.”
Tell us about a recent initiative that you have instigated within your organisation that you are most proud of?
We are committed to supporting and helping more women enter the STEM/STEAM industries, and while there is still a long way to go, we are proud to now have 100,000 female employees, across more than 25 countries. In celebration of reaching the milestone, our team travelled around the world to capture some of their stories — from North America to India to Australia.
We also held a pride celebration across some 25 countries with love, support, admiration, and respect from the entire business for the LGBTQIA+ community. As part of the celebrations, we hosted events ranging from showing documentaries, talks on important LGBTQIA+ matters, a “rainbow” fashion show, a pride charity run and many more.
We also contribute to society through our outreach programmes, such as a work experience week in the UK to help train family members of associates for placements. We know there is a long way to go for all community members to find acceptance, equality, and love, no matter what. However, at this point, it is heart-warming and reassuring to know that we had such a great start to celebrating something truly wonderful.
What is the next objective in your organisation's journey to keep improving the employee experience?
Employees’ experiences at work drive their engagement, which, in turn, ultimately drives performance. If we really want to find ways to sustain higher levels of employee engagement and performance, it starts with designing the right culture for them.
The employee experience is made up of all day-to-day interactions we have with all the things that make up what we call “work”. It includes everything from the physical work environment and the technology we use, to our interactions with others.
However, one size does not fit all in this instance and we have recognised the need to customise the benefits we offer each prospective employee to suit their lifestyle and needs. The next objective is to ensure we continue to successfully implement and build on this bespoke offering.
What is the biggest challenge facing your organisation today and how are you planning to overcome it?
An ongoing challenge is climate change. We are seeing floods in US, India and Iran, typhoons in Japan, and forest fires in the Amazon and Australia, as temperatures increase in almost all parts of the world. The human, nature and infrastructure losses are enormous, and economies and organisations are unable to predict the business impact. HR teams, especially those operating within global organisations, should prepare themselves as best they can for the challenges presented by the evolving climate change situation, which will continue to disrupt business operations, productivity and have an emotional impact on individuals.
The biggest challenge currently is the spread of Covid-19 across the globe. We have two priorities: to ensure all our associates are safe, with the capability to work from home wherever possible, and that we can continue to help our clients, especially those in critical industries.
How will your organisation have to adapt to meet the changing future workplace?
The future of how work gets done will be entirely enabled by digitisation. This will fundamentally change how humans work together – as networked and adaptable teams, with emerging machine co-workers, creating massive value for customers and businesses. AI and automation will continue to take over routine and repetitive tasks as well as permeate highly skilled work, forcing us to rethink the skills we will require for future employment. As a result, companies, including Cognizant, will need to revamp their training programmes to prepare employees for the world of work, now and in the future. Some of the new roles we believe will be created are outlined in our 21 jobs and 21 more jobs report.
As a result of this, it will be our job over the coming years to develop our recruitment process to attract candidates with different and appropriate skills, to meet the needs of these new roles. For example, skills that make us more human such as empathy, and those that are more technical like robotics and AI. As existing roles inevitably change, it will also be vital to upskill our current workforce by providing them with new training opportunities to prepare them for their future careers.”
This interviewee was kindly introduced to us by ‘Top Employers Institute – the global authority on certifying excellence in employee conditions.’ Their organisation is certified as a Top Employer.