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EP 6: Mukta Arya, Chief Human Resources Officer (APAC) - Societe Generale

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  

Welcome to episode 6 of Talent Acquisition Trends and Strategy and today we are joined by Mukta Arya. Mukta welcome to our podcast.


Mukta Arya  0:20  

Thank you, James. I'm happy to be here.


James Mackey  0:23  

Before we jump into it, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself, your background, and what you're currently working on?


Mukta Arya  0:29  

Yeah, sure. So currently, I am the CHRO for Societe Generale. It's a corporate and investment bank in the Asia Pacific. I'm based out of Hong Kong and my role is basically for the 12 countries that are present in the Asia Pacific, across all the HR matters, from recruitment to D&I, to well-being to benefits compensation sectors. So I have a team of people working with me for the region.


James Mackey  0:58  

Very cool. And I know so you just mentioned it as well. And something that we had talked about before jumping on the podcast is that you are very passionate about D&I efforts. And I was hoping you could share with us how organizations from your perspective should be approaching D&I. And just philosophically from a strategic level what they should be doing. 

And then maybe we could jump into some tactical steps on what leaders can do to implement better D&I strategies.


Mukta Arya  1:27  

For me, first of all, D&I for an organization should be something that is needed. And it's not something which ticks the box, I think that's very important.And organizations should realize why it is important for them. And then what part of the D&I is something that they should focus on, because every organization is different. 

And for example, for us, we decided in 2015, at the senior level in APAC, that means all the Management Committee members, we decided that for us in APAC, its gender, its culture, which is basically the nationality of people that we have in the organization, differently abled as well as LGBT plus, is something that we need to focus on. 


So then we decided to have a diversity council with these four networks, we had employees who actually volunteer to become the chairpersons. And then we worked with the Employee Resource Networks, and it grew.  For me, I think that this is the first important step, like, you have to have the buy-in from the senior management, you have to identify what are the areas that you need to work on, and then involve employees. 


It is not easy in the beginning, it does take time, it does take a lot of patience, I would say, to really grow the networks and really make a difference. And it starts in stages, so you have the awareness stage. And then you actually embed these kinds of D&I topics into your policies, and then it  goes forward and becomes a way of life. 


So we took a few years to come to the stage. But now I can say that after seven years, I feel we are, we are pretty much mature. But we still have a lot to do. And we keep on assessing, and I think every organization should assess whether, for example, the areas that they are looking at, are enough? Are we changing the times they are changing? So for example, we assess every year and see whether we should have multigenerational networks or something else, which we should add on to. 

So these are some of the steps I think can help start the journey in D&I and then continue it because it has to be continuous, otherwise, you will lose the momentum. 

James Mackey  3:40  

Oh, 100% It's constant iteration. It's never done. It's always a work in progress. There's always more to do. There are always better experiences that we can create. Right? 


So I think you've broken into some really helpful sections and the first thing you mentioned was how important it is to get executive buy-in. So for people, and leaders within organizations, how do they go about getting executive buy-in from other leaders within the organization to really emphasize D&I and make that part of  the core value set of the organization? 


How do you go about doing that?


Mukta Arya  4:18  

The business case for D&I, I don't think it's an issue nowadays, with any layer of management and of course, the executive management, they are smart people. So I really don't think anybody questions why we need the D&I. 


What I think is important and to get the buy-in is to say, instead of just doing activities, you know, like awareness sessions or whatever, what are the next steps. Are we really, for example, doing something which will make a difference to the organization, to the employees that are there? Employees should feel inclusive and what we are doing, will it make that difference? 


So that's what the people leaders have to do is to really have that blueprint, you know, and the game plan, which should say that, okay, this is what we're going to be doing. And this is the impact it will make on the organization as a whole. It doesn't have to be tangible sometimes, you know, in the beginning, of course, for example, gender and culture, you can see the numbers changing.

However, in certain other fields, you know, in LGBT plus, etc, sometimes it's not easy to measure it. But what we want is the environment to be more inclusive, and how can we make it more inclusive? Can we measure it to engagement surveys, etc, I think the blueprint is quite important. And once that is there, the buy in is not difficult, 


I can tell you, it's actually never difficult. At the top management level, the difficulty is really implementing some concrete steps, which are maybe policy-related, or something which will really make a difference in the life of employees.


James Mackey  5:52  

Right. And from the perspective of, in the early stages, forming the blueprint. I'm curious to get your thoughts on how tight collaboration is with the employee group. 


From my perspective, and from what I'm doing at SecureVision, and some of the other conversations I've had with a lot of leaders I've discussed this with, really hone in on the fact that you know, just doing surveys, right? 

It's not necessarily enough, you have to go out and talk to employees and, and really dive into this and figure out, you know, ask them for their feedback and figure out okay, what high leverage opportunities or changes do you think we can make right now to create better, more inclusive experiences for everybody?


I'm curious to get your thoughts, what does that process look like when you start doing that outreach to employees and, and getting your employee groups involved to help kind of create this blueprint? How does that work?


Mukta Arya  6:52  

Yes, so first, you need to have these employee champions, passionate about diversity topics, to become your chairperson. For the employee resource group. I think that's the first step where you need to have those people because they have a cloud, they have, they are the influencers, if I may say that, for the organization. So for me, I think identifying the right people is very important. 


We need to have support from HR, the diversity person, if you have a separate one, or from HR, who can actually guide, you know, these ERG networks into what it is that we are planning to do. A budget is necessarily the things that, you know, in some guidelines, what other companies are doing. So we do need that support group for the ERGs, the chairpersons, the committees, etc. So that we're not going all over the place. 


Because you know, sometimes when we have a topic,  we can get into just doing awareness sessions saying that, okay, if we have a panel discussion, this is good enough, etc. So for me, it's a combined effort with the chairpersons, the volunteers that are there, HR, and the diversity teams that are there. And together, work on the nitty gritties, because it does require a lot of support in the beginning. And we need to really sort that out so that we're not getting embroiled in the admin part of it. What is more important is what we're trying to do. And once that is there, then of course, you know, you can get the buy-in from the diversity and inclusion steer call, or whatever you call it in the organization.


James Mackey  8:31  

So I have a follow-up question on ERGs. I've been doing a lot of research on ERGs lately. And there's a lot of articles out there that talk about some of the challenges or some of the, in some organizations, they're having a hard time extracting, like value and actually implementing change from ERGs. 


And I'm just curious, what's the difference between the companies that are effectively executing ERGs? And the ones that maybe you're trying but aren't getting the results they want to see from it? How do you set that up in a way that is actually going to drive change, organizational change?


Mukta Arya  9:06  

For me the difference, as I said, it's the support from the organization, for the ERGs, you know, you do need to have some framework, you need to have the budget, you need to make sure that you have somebody you know, in the teams to help them to implement those. 


Because what might happen is you may have a lot of ideas, but if you don't have and these are employee volunteers, you know who are doing this in addition to their jobs. So for that, you really need to provide support for them. So if you provide the support, I think it will happen and you have to I think also make sure that there are deliverables at the end of the year or whatever milestone that you have quarterly or half yearly or yearly basis and make sure that what you said at the beginning of the year, it is followed properly and it is done. I think that is important. 


So quarterly meetings on the diversities, telco doing that I can, you know, checking with the ERG is what is happening, do they need any support? It's quite important. And in our organizations, it's the HR team that provides that support to the ERGs. And I think it also keeps things within that, I would say that it doesn't go haywire, you know, we try to keep things on the track with that. And also, I think what is also the most important thing is that once you keep track, you can also publicize which can create, you know, more buzz for this particular topic, which is quite important. And then more employees can get interested and then participate in it. 


So it's a consolidated effort, which is through different teams and including communication teams, in organizations, because communication is very important. If people don't know what is happening. They will, they will not know what to do and how to join it. 


James Mackey  10:53  

Sure. So it sounds like within the ERG, strong leadership needs to be there to keep things essentially kind of organized and to kind of collect everybody's thoughts to really then create actionable, tangible changes that can be implemented. 

And then going back to your first point of executive leadership, buy in, to actually provide the budget and the resources to actually help implement the changes, right? And then it just comes down to the emotion of deliverables, check-ins, and just constantly iterating over a period of quarters and years. 


Mukta Arya  11:26  

Yes. It's an integrated kind of ecosystem, you know,  it is not activities which are in isolation, it has to all come together. And then it will be more effective. 


James Mackey  11:39  

And then so basically, the next step then is  the deliverables, and that kind of goes into the blueprint, if you will, that feedback loop, and then baking it into policy. I'm assuming that's just as that's really where HR comes in. And that goes into employee handbooks, goes into our onboarding processes, really just any area, within the company that is going to be impacted?


Mukta Arya  12:05  

Many things actually, for me, it is, for example, when you have your promotion policy, so do you put some sort of, you know, gender, kind of, not quotas, but basically percentages. 

For example, just as an example, that you have, say, 60/40 in terms of the male-female ratio, do you have the number of promoters which are, you know, similar?  When you are hiring people are you making sure that there's a balance of gender, there's a mix of culture, there is a mix of  other diversity angles that you have? You can build it into your system, it has to be done systematically. 


So for example, when you have programs, do you see that you have a mix of different diversities, succession planning. Do you check on that? Do you have, for example, when you have your medical benefits? Do they take this into account you know people have the same sex, for example, you know, do we do things which are therefore differently abled? Is your office accessible for differently abled people? You know, it's as simple as that, or your toilets, for example, are accessible by people who have different diversities. 


So there are many different things. There are actually 1000 different things, the language, are you using the language, which is gender neutral, you see. So these are little things, but it has to be done. And it does take time in the beginning. But once it is done,  the awareness increases. And then it's like, it's like, it's like a nice, virtuous cycle, you know? But for me, yes. Again, it's a consolidated effort. HR does come into play, it's a very important role. Because if you don't embed it into policies, it's not tangible.


James Mackey  13:56  

Sure. And then it's like, how do you bake that into leadership training as well, right? Because if it's just like these policies that are kind of in the corner somewhere, but it's not part of like the core day-to-day operations of the business, then it's not necessarily going to be followed either. And I think that's kind of a good segue into another topic that I know you're really passionate about. And actually, so am I getting into learning and development and leadership development? 


I would love to get your thoughts when it comes to learning and development. Maybe we can just start with like, why do so many companies get this wrong? And what are the holes that they're falling into? And how do you set this up from a systematic perspective as well to make sure you have a process in place where learning and development is an ongoing part of the organization? It's actually done in a way that's truly helpful and beneficial to leaders and employees.


Mukta Arya  14:52  

Yes, it's a very important topic and what you said is also very true. Sometimes, even though there are resources, companies can get it wrong. 

For me, one of the biggest pitfalls is off learning and development if it's not done properly, and why it is not done properly is that it is not linked to the business, you know. So alignment is very important. So whatever we do in learning and development, it's not in silos, it's not a program, which is just here, it has to be addressing the needs of the business. 


And in the Asia Pacific, it is different from, you know, what the need is in, in Europe, or in the UK and US. So we do have to customize things, which is according to the need. So I think that for me is very important. And frankly, it's not rocket science, everybody knows that it should be addressing our business needs. So that is one. 


The second is that it should be consistent and continuous learning. If you're doing a program, then next year, you forget about it, because the training budget is cut, and then somebody else joins the team, and then they try something else, if you do something, which is not consistent. And we do not have, for example, a continuous learning and development kind of pathway, then frankly, it loses its impact. 

What I believe in, and then what I have also seen in our organization is that we built it over time. And in the beginning, of course, you know, it was not something which was very popular, but it gained ground over a period of time because people did see consistency, people did see that okay, I mean, we are changing the content based on you know, the economic environment and the business that is there. But we do have the basic principles, which have been there for a longer time. And then slowly, slowly, people word of mouth, people talk about it, and then it becomes better. 


So for me, one of my advice to myself and to everybody else in HR professionals is that perseverance is very important. So if you do not see the results in the first two years, don't get frustrated and think that Oh,  nothing is happening, people are not joining this, it will happen when people see it on a consistent basis, I think it will happen, you know, and the value is seen only after two, three years in leadership programs. So you have to be a little bit patient in this and then continue the good work. I think this is the most important thing. And also, of course, there are a lot of companies which cut the training budget when the going is not good. And I don't think that's not a good strategy at all, you can twist it a little bit. But I think investment in people definitely pays off, especially during bad times, you know, so if you have people who are well trained, they will be more resilient when things are going bad. So, some of the things that I believe in, and I think it works, at least in my experience, it works.


James Mackey  17:52  

That's a really good point. So that's got me thinking a lot actually. Because, right now at my own company, we're thinking about expanding the coaching program to give more access to more of our employees. And I really want to.


Right now we're trying to figure out the cost and the budgeting of that. But I think particularly for new leaders stepping up into management roles, that coaching aspect is crucial. And I think you're right, I think, intuitively, the way that most people think about it, is that okay? If the company is in a really good place, the economy is going really well. Yeah, sure. Like we can, we're going to invest in more coaching and more learning and developing resources. 


But then it's like, you know, okay, if there's a correction, then maybe that's, that's always one of the first things to go. But maybe that's when people actually need the support the most. And so maybe we're thinking, if people are thinking about that the wrong way, and maybe learning development and coaching, they shouldn't be seen as these expendable parts of the business, that they should be a core function because they're going to help people thrive, right, which is good for the individual, it's good for the company, it's good for the customers. So I think that's a really interesting perspective that you just shared.


Mukta Arya  19:03  

And it's an investment and it should be continuous, you know. If organizations are learning organizations, you don't have to spend a lot  because when you are training some people they can train other people, it's a cascading effect.


James Mackey  19:22  

Absolutely. And I actually do have another kind of question on leadership, training, and coaching. Curious, about your thoughts do you have any advice on how to put together programs for first-time leaders and first-time managers.


Mukta Arya  19:36  

Yes, we have done that in our organization also. So we have for every level of manager you know,  first time,  the mid-managers, the senior managers et cetera.  What we experimented during COVID time and maybe could be a good thing is to have really design thinking, you know, really use design thinking in creating the program. 


So you have people who are first-time managers, people who are managing managers, people who are the subordinates, you know, of this,  all involved in design thinking, and it can be done, you know, online, it can be done remotely with a good facilitator and tools like mural, etc, you can use that. And really, when you use design thinking you are getting the views of, you know, of different parties different perspectives, the content that you create out of that is really, it's like, you know, like, to the point, what you really want, because you're getting these different perspectives. And when people are involved in the designing of the program, you will see that the buy-in is very quick from the beginning.


So we did that for our senior level programs. And I can tell you that it worked very well, for me at first level, it's exactly the same process that you do. And of course, you also interview some people who are your successful first-time managers, you know, and then see what kind of qualities they have, what are the things that they faced when they became first-time managers. So it's a consolidated thing, which you put together, and then do it. 

We use external facilitators, and we also have an internal trainer, but for some programs, we use external facilitators, just because you can get a different perspective. In the beginning, of course, it's a lot of effort, it may take a few months actually, to define it, to make the final program, but I can tell you, the result is worth it. Yeah.


James Mackey  21:33  

Oh, 100%. I agree with you. It's  got to be a priority. And I think I wanted to also talk to you about something that I think is a hot topic right now, getting into the future of work. And to me, this is about, and I'm curious to get your thoughts on what that means to you. 

To me, what it means is, how do we create compelling employment opportunities for top talent, so that we can attract and retain the best fit individuals for organizations? Right? 


Is that your perspective on future work? How do you view the topic of future work?


Mukta Arya  22:09  

So, um, maybe just as a background, as you know, banking is a regulated industry. So we do have sales and trading, and we have regulated stuff in most of the countries. So when we look at the future of work, sometimes we have to be a little bit more careful, compared to some of the other industries, which are not regulated. 


For me, the future of work means more flexibility, which, as you know, the pandemic has actually accelerated that, and, which is quite good for us. Luckily, our infrastructure is quite good so, basically, people could work from home, like, for example, my entire team in HR can work from home, we don't have to go to the office, and we can really run the business like this. And so do most of the other departments, which I think is an important step towards the future of work, which is flexibility. 


The other thing for me is “ Can  people do different roles, at the same time? Now, that is my view, we don't do it in succession right now. But I think that in future people will be able to do multiple jobs, while being, you know, part-time here or part-time there, or maybe two days in one organization two days, another, and then maybe two days, or three days, what their passion is, like, you're also for example, I can be an HR professional, then I can maybe work in a restaurant because I like cakes, or and then the third is I am maybe doing coding and doing something else. So I do think that this is something which is happening in some industries. And I do think that it might become something which is more popular later on. 

I also think in terms of the future of work, that people now because they can work from anywhere, people have seen that they can work from anywhere. So really, you know, we will have to change the way we think about contracts, the way the deliverables are produced, the way taxes are, etc. I do think that this is something that is going to be impacted in the future. Maybe not right now. Because right now we see different kinds of stories where all these questions come up, but I think it is definitely going to happen. 


I also feel that, in the future, the future of work is also coexisting, as we know, with AI and really using predictive, for example, people analytics, you know, much more than what we are doing right now. And really taking some concrete decisions which are there. I feel that it's the coexistence of humans and technology and I do not think that technology can take over completely, you know, I still feel that it is going to be coexistence. And it's going to be a mutually beneficial coexistence and not in some movies that we see where he, you know, the robots are destroying the world. But I don't think so.


James Mackey  25:20  

Yes. And I think there are so many shifts that are occurring right now, in the workplace.

So what we're seeing right now is just a huge emphasis on flexibility, huge emphasis on the integration of personal and professional life. 


People are adding a lot more significance to the question. How is this position going to help me get the most out of life? Or what types of experiences will this opportunity create for me? Will I have the flexibility to do the other things that are outside of work? 

I mean, we're seeing that a lot more and not to say that they're directly asking this question like in the interview, but what I mean is, in their decision-making process when they when you kind of hear how they're thinking through whether or not to move forward with an opportunity. It's a lot more focused around like, Look, if the comp is like, somewhat similar. Like, of course, yes. Like, people want to make a lot of money, they want to have good benefits, of course, right? But they're focusing a lot more on ” is this position going to really integrate. Well, with my personal life? And my other goals? Outside of the organization?


Mukta Arya  26:29  

Yes, very much, very much. I mean, even I think sometimes, you know, and I'm not in the new generation, I'm Generation X. But I have also started thinking about it, you know, so, yeah, it's happening.


James Mackey  26:42  

It's happening, I think, maybe this is obvious, maybe this really isn't too much of an insight. But I think that the companies that are going to thrive are going to be the ones that just buy in completely to the concepts of flexibility, to the concepts that maybe more people want to be contractors, they might want multiple roles, they want more flexibility, they want to work from home, these types of topics. There's no reason to fight it.


And I think some companies are falling into the trap of just kind of saying, like, “oh, well, right now is a candidate-driven market. And, COVID is not gonna be forever, and it's a candidate-driven market right now, those never last, it's going to flip back, we don't really need to embody and embrace this kind of macro shift that's happening in the marketplace, and with people's preferences and needs. And I think that those companies, a lot of them have been saying it for the past like year, and they're just falling behind.  


The top talent is always going to have the most options right there, they're always gonna have in any market condition. And that's the thing, even when it shifts back, it's like, the top talent is going to help you continue to grow and evolve as an organization. You're always going to have the most options. So I think somewhere, a lot of organizations are somewhat short-sighted, when it comes to embracing change. Like, they're trying to fight it and say, like, No, this is the way it needs to be.

I feel like a company essentially has two jobs, right? You have to create incredible experiences and outcomes for your employees, and incredible experiences and outcomes for your clients. And you can't neglect it. You can't neglect either of those things.


And I think when companies like that, when they're building employment packages, and when they're thinking about the process, they need to be looking at it from the perspective of like, what is going to create an incredible experience and opportunity for our employees. And at the end of the day, it's about what the employees want. It's not really about what executive leadership wants? It's about how we empower our people to get the most out of this opportunity and be happy and want to work here and want to stay here.


Mukta Arya  28:56  

Yes, exactly. And you're right, it is the employee's bowl today, here, and we cannot ignore what they want here. And frankly, people are also becoming much more vocal because they are not scared of losing their job. Maybe in some cases, but in the majority of the cases, I think people are not scared of that. 

And what you said about the great reshuffle or the gate great, you know, rethinking of priorities, etc, has become has taken precedence. And, frankly, I think I like it that our employees are vocal, and they are talking about what they want. 


Because it also makes us think that okay, we have been doing this for a long time. It's time to change, and look at things from this side and that angle or some other angle, which is there. I think it's also very exciting times where we are at things that we like. For example, I completed my MBA in 1997. So what I studied at that time in HR has completely changed. There are still some basics of course which will not go away, but the majority of the Things have completely changed, you know, and it's very exciting, frankly, to actually rewrite history not rewrite, actually. No, create new history.


James Mackey  30:12  

I totally understand what you're saying. And, as one of our final topics, I really do want to dive into people analytics with you. Technology. 

Pretty much every topic we've talked about today, you have started to touch on the idea of analytics data. And obviously, that shouldn't be a driving force within every organization to do things. Well, I think doing things the right way is doing it with data and really understanding the data. 


So people analytics what are the top, from an analytics data perspective as a CHRO,  What are the top-like, kind of metrics? Or analytics? Or what data sets that you're tracking? And how do you kind of leverage data to drive decision-making within your organization?


Mukta Arya  31:01  

We actually had a dedicated resource of people analytics a few years ago. And our first step was, yeah, really the static data that we have, how do we have that data for recruitment, you know, for attrition for diversity. So gender and nationality, as I said, this is what we track. 


We are tracking when we are hiring people, what is the cycle time, from open position to this, how many people that we convert from trainees into permanent, whether we are sourcing through direct channels, through internal reference, through headhunters, etc. So, we do actually now capture a lot of these things, on our training and development, the kinds of programs that people are attending the usage of our learning platforms, how many of them are mandatory, non-mandatory, then, you know, on talent, whether we have diversity in talent, do we have enough successes, etc, those kinds of things. 


So, we do have a lot of data, which we are now analyzing. And I think now we are more comfortable with the data that we already have. And we can have this static data. What we are going to do is predictive analytics, and this is what we want to do, we have not done it yet. But this is something which we really want to work on where Predictive analytics can help us to make decisions in an informed manner.

So I'm not saying that they will be 100%, you know, right? And they will, we will take decisions based only on that, but it will really help us in taking informed decisions. And this is where we need to go further. But right now, I know that a lot of organizations struggle with data quality, and sometimes, I mean, that's a very important point, though. And, and I can tell you, even now, a lot of organizations do not have that. So it has to be set that right,  and then you get into predictive.


James Mackey  33:05  

Right, I think you need a dedicated person or dedicated team to oversee data integrity. Because if you leave it up to function leaders and managers that are already busy, creating opportunities, solving problems, it's just ultimately, like, things are going to be recorded, and then accurate ways are not recorded at all. I think that it's like anything else, right? It's like you need the executive buy-in, and then you need the budget to actually invest, right? 


And I was curious to dive a little bit into D&I metrics, what technology are you using to track? And could you talk about some really kind of clear tactical steps of like, okay, let's say you want to set this up for D&I, what tech are you using it? What metrics do you start with?

 What kind of parameters or how do you go about, you know, putting in place parameters of like, this is our goal, like, how do you do that goal setting motion.


Mukta Arya  34:05  

So, the data that we get is, you know, from our HRIS system, so we do have an HRIS system from APEC, which, frankly, is the 1O1 bedrock, every organization needs to have that. And if you're a small organization, of course, people still use Excel sheets, which for me is not the best way. 


However, I think, first, you need to have the data on for example, on gender and nationality. So I'm taking the example of that. So on gender, of course, we are looking at you know, in different departments in different corporate levels. So we have five levels from analyst Associate VP, Director, Managing Director, and we track at each level, gender and international profiles that we have. We look at over the years whether we have made progress, and then we do have targets frankly, because at SR level when we go to the senior management, it dropped drastically like in all investment banking. 


So, for us, we do that department-wise, country-wise, corporate-level-wise and then we try to see where the issues are okay, where we have fewer women and fewer males because you know, in some countries you have more females than males. So, we are looking at gender balance, you know where it is. So, this simple matrix where you have the symbol data, it can really say a number of things, you really have to identify where the issue is if there is an imbalance, why is it there, you know, so, you have to see because in different markets in Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the reasons can be very different, you know, for for the things. So, then you have to see that, is it a systemic problem where you do not have the talent pool, for example, in the market? Or is it a problem, which is our companies issue, you know, so we have to then look at that, we have to see whether it's a managerial problem, whether it is something which can be fixed or not fixed, etc, are more women leaving, you know, so even in attrition data, we check, whether it's, it's more women leaving or it's the males leaving, so, succession planning Do we have enough you know, balance for example, when we are promoting people are we making sure that the balance is there or not. 


So, again, for me, we measure it at each and every stage, you know, from attraction, when we are actually going to campuses when we are getting the CV’s when we are hiring people when we are promoting people when we are putting them in a succession plan, every single step, you have to measure and see whether issues. The other major thing which is there is the gender pay gap. And this is something which is quite important, which organizations have to really look at, and we do it at the time of our compensation review, where we look at the gender pay gap, we need to see whether we need to do something about it, whether it is justifiable, whether it's not justifiable, you know, equal pay for equal jobs, etc. It's quite important. 


And for me, this is a process that is continuous. You cannot do it one time and stop it, you have to monitor it on a regular basis. And it is it was a very interesting fact, you know, when you look at the data, even the static data, even without predictive analytics, you can actually have a whole narrative and a whole story, you know, which you can really work on find the issues and really work on so yeah, it's, it's a continuous journey. 


James Mackey  37:39  

Yeah, it's really super valuable. So thank you for sharing some more detail there. Thank you so much. And I also wanted to talk to you about talent acquisition metrics. Just down the pipe hiring, you know, funnel metrics for talent acquisition. 

What are the top metrics that you're tracking with your within your organization, what goals do you have in place tied to talent acquisition outcomes


Mukta Arya  38:06  

For us, what we want is our talent acquisition, the agenda of not only, of course, getting the best but also the diversity part also. So, what we look at from the beginning is when we are sourcing, whether we have when we are giving the CV shortlisting is it, if there is a balance in terms of diversity international profiles, in the interview panel, do we have again, you know, balance in terms of gender as well as international profile so that we can have different perspectives. So, we measure it, we document it. So, in our employment approval, we do have all these things documented that, for example, how many series did we have a balance on gender international profiles, in the interview panel, did we have the balance, etc. So we monitor it because I think it's quite important for us,


James Mackey  39:07  

And where do you, sorry, I think you mentioned this, but where do you say you tracked tha? Is that within your applicant tracking system or word, how do you track that data?


Mukta Arya  39:17  

This is our internal when we take approval for our hiring,


James Mackey  39:22  

Okay. So, is this part of the HRIS system, basically?


Mukta Arya  39:27  

We do it in our mailers right now. In our tracking system, applicant track tracking system, we do not have right now, but we will look at it in the future by this for the time being we still want to monitor that and at the end of it, you know, we want to look at whether we are really following the policies that we have put in place. So for me, that is quite important. 


Then, of course, we track the sourcing, which is from is it direct sourcing, is it internal reference, is it Headhunters, etc. The cycle time, from the time we post the job to when we give the verbal offer, because I think the other things are there. And we are looking at, you know, reducing it, for example. We look at how many conversions that we have done, you know, from others, like contractors and trainees, and what we call VIs,  the European trainees that we have, do we actually convert them to permanent positions.

So we look at that, then we look at the offers, how many, the acceptance rate, the decline rate that is there.  And then the diversity finally., I think this is what we track right now. We also look at rehires, you know, how many people are we hiring? Because for us, it's, it's a question of, you know, we are attractive enough for our ex-employees to come back. 


James Mackey  41:01  

I like that metric. For the offer acceptance rate does your team primarily look at it just holistically? Or do you look at it on a national level? Or do you look at it on a functional department level? How do you go about all of the above like you segmented a bunch of different ways?


Mukta Arya  41:17  

So back, we will have, of course, anyway, we will have differentiation. If you want to see a particular department for a particular country, we can look at it. And for me, it's quite important, because if you have that detail, then you can figure out if we have an issue in a particular area or not.


James Mackey  41:34  

What offers acceptance rate do you target?


Mukta Arya  41:38  

We would love 100%.


James Mackey  41:42  

That's my target too.


Mukta Arya  41:43  

100%. But, you know, in some countries like Hong Kong last year was really hard for IT talent. So it was not easy. We had some declines, which were there. So it was actually after a long time. So it was not a very nice feeling. But it happens. The candidate market here.


James Mackey  42:01  

Definitely. Well, that is super helpful. We covered a tonne of ground and I know we're coming up on time here. I would love to just share with everybody if you had a moment to share, how can people find you, if they want to follow you online? Or, you know, it's possible some of the content that you're producing or connect with you is there a way that they can engage with you?


Mukta Arya  42:22  

Oh, yeah, I'm on LinkedIn. With my own name, Societe Generale. So yeah, you can connect with me on LinkedIn and or follow me or whatever you want to do.


James Mackey  42:33  

Great. Thank you. I move to thank you so much for joining us today. This was a phenomenal conversation, with so much value for the listeners. So thank you for joining us. And if you're open to it, I would love to do this again with you, hopefully in the next three to six months sometime soon.


Mukta Arya  42:48  

All right. I enjoyed it very much, too. So it will be my pleasure, James. Thank you.


James Mackey  42:53  

All right. Great. And for everybody tuning in. Thanks so much, and we'll talk to you next time. Take care. 

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