Best Practices , CXO / IT Leadership

CIOs Must Lead People to Deliver on Business Goals

Deutsche Bank's Ravi Ramakrishnan Outlines Top People Skills That CIOs Need to Have
CIOs Must Lead People to Deliver on Business Goals
Ravi Ramakrishnan, Vice President, Head of APAC DWS Production Assurance, Deutsche Bank

As we emerge from a two-year pandemic - which is far from over in some countries - the workforce is either in hybrid mode or has returned to their offices for a five-day work week. While employees readjust to old routines, many find it difficult to cope and are quitting quietly. Business models are readjusting to pre-COVID times, resulting in declining sales or deferment of new projects. The consequences are layoffs and hiring freezes. In this scenario, recruiters are finding it difficult to identify and retain talent. Ravi Ramakrishnan, vice president, head of APAC DWS production assurance, Deutsche Bank, shared some of his strategies and best practices for identifying/hiring talent, keeping employees happy, and for skilling.

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Identifying and Sourcing Talent

Ramakrishnan says the interlock between the hiring manager and recruiter is necessary to observe a strong "talent fitting" to the organization's culture and objectives.

His recommendations for talent sourcing are:

  • Use a sourcing tool to capture each stage of hiring;
  • Engage and communicate effectively with active and passive candidates;
  • Responsibilities for sourcing, and recruiting should be clearly defined;
  • To attract talent, select your sourcing channels carefully;
  • Focus on referral programs that are the most effective source for quality hires.

Skills and Knowledge Gap

A key area that organizations must focus on is the skills-knowledge gap of its employees, Ramakrishnan says.

This gap widens due to internal factors like on-the-job training or external factors like evolving technologies.

"The gaps in skills and knowledge downgrades the employee’s performance. This has to be addressed for individuals, business and for the industry," he says.

To bridge the skills-knowledge gap, Ramakrishnan recommends:

Monitoring and measuring: Measure skill inventory and conduct regular gap analysis with qualitative and quantitative checks.

Source of information: Have a 360-degree feedback mechanism and analysis of the feedback, segregated by person, business, and process. This is critical to define the skill matrix and the mapping to roles and responsibilities. It is necessary to analyze the gaps and prepare remediation.

Talent pool creation: This helps in addressing the gaps in skills and knowledge. The pool should clearly define the level of skill one possesses and map it to the available role opportunity.

Reskilling and Upskilling

Evolving technologies and business transformation call for periodic reskilling and upskilling. This also contributes to employee growth.

Ramakrishnan outlines the following reskilling programs and initiatives:

RUN program: Reskill, upskill and new skill program initiatives need to be assessed and organized periodically, matched to the employee's role.

Tech-talk sessions: Internal sessions with different functional groups help to spread knowledge within a wider group.

Knowledge portal: With repositories of runbooks, how-to articles, information articles and remedy articles.

Online learning portal: Assign learning paths to promote a continuous learning culture.

Hackathon-like events: Create opportunities for innovation, break mundane routines and reduce production efforts.

Keeping Up With Technology

With the advancement of technologies, people must keep abreast of developments.

Future of work is not a discussion about automation versus augmentation. A blend of automation with augmented human efforts using artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud technologies will make for enriching, hyper-personalized customer experiences.

Fundamental training of the emerging technologies aligned to business solutions should be in the learning curve of the knowledge worker group and information worker group. This should be encouraged for the new hires by having such technology acumen training in their 30-60-90 days plan.

Be informed about technology trends in your industry by participating in professional events organized by industry leaders. Hire diverse skill sets in the team that will support the adoption of new and innovative technology-driven use cases.

CIO and People Skills

CIOs need to harness technology to deliver business value. To do this, they must manage IT processes to deliver results and to meet key expectations from customers, shareholders and the business leadership. Apart from process and technology, people also play an important part in enabling this. So, it is important for CIOs to lead people to deliver on those goals.

Ramakrishnan says the top soft skills that CIOs need to have are:

  • Communication;
  • Teamwork and team bonding;
  • Strong leadership;
  • People and talent development;
  • Integrated thought process involving technology and business leaders;
  • Balance between freedom and constraints.

Keeping Attrition in Check

Good talent is hard to find these days, so it is equally important to think about employee retention strategies. To do this, Ramakrishnan recommends orientation, mentoring and employee engagement programs.

He says it is important to have flexible work arrangements to improve work-life balance. One should also foster a culture of teamwork, innovation and creative freedom.

Apart from that, leaders should introduce professional career development programs. They should also motivate the team by celebrating achievements and successes.

"By giving continuous feedback on performance, the employee is encouraged and motivated to keep improving and growing toward excellence," Ramakrishnan says.

About the Author

Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira

Sr. Director - Editorial, ISMG

Pereira has nearly three decades of journalism experience. He is the former editor of CHIP, InformationWeek and CISO MAG. He has also written for The Times of India and The Indian Express.

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