Fostering Employee-first Culture: In Conversation With Dheeraj Kumar Pandey of Keka HRMS

9 Apr, 2022 14:22 IST|Reshmi AR

India’s leading HRMS service provider Keka is helping the organisations in keeping their workforce engaged, retaining the top talent and transforming the work culture. Reshmi AR of Sakshi Post caught up with Dheeraj Kumar Pandey, Chief Advisor of HR Systems and Processes Keka Technologies to learn more about how their systems and processes are helping the companies in shaping the work environment to promote an employee-first culture.

1) How Keka's HRMS helps HR management in reformulating work culture?

A solid company culture is the key to determining how engaged your employees are and ultimately how long your business is going to remain in the race. HR leaders are no longer flying blind. With Keka, they have the necessary insights to make key people decisions, keep their workforce engaged, retain top talent and transform the work culture. By providing work transparency, improved internal communication, data-driven rewards & recognition possibilities, facilitation of work flexibility and increased autonomy, Keka is supporting HRs in reshaping the work environment to foster an employee-first culture. Our HRMS focuses on helping to create a workplace where employees come to work inspired, feel safe, share a common purpose with peers and leaders, do their best work, and go home fulfilled. 

2) How HR tech is evolving with time 

Technology is changing the face of HR. The decade 2000-2010 marked the beginning of the full-fledged adoption of technology in HR functions. This helped Human Resource professionals alleviate their burden and leverage their potential to assist as business partners for the company’s success and to manage people.

Today, the focus has shifted from merely managing employees to enabling them. Workforce analytics derived from HR tech is at the heart of this change as HRs are sharing more than just data with managers and executives. They are giving them business insights & recommendations generated by sophisticated and modern algorithms from HR software. This has tremendously helped HRs across hiring, retention, engagement, upskilling, and D&I sectors.

3) What is your take on the hiring spree in organisations post 3rd wave of Covid-19? 

Hiring has accelerated across every industry and for all the right reasons. As companies are recovering from the pandemic’s clutches, the demand for skilled professionals has witnessed an upward tick. It is great to see talent-starved organisations finally opening doors to welcome applications to vacant positions. Several others are even offering new roles under their expansion plans. Within the next two years, Keka, too, will be doubling its employee strength with 150-200 new hires. Apart from tech-related roles, several non-tech jobs will also be filled up, including across different departments like the product, customer success, sales, marketing and more.

4) Why is structured HR an important thing for startups? 

Some startup CEOs believe HRM to be a namesake, traumatising and expensive arm. They prefer handling the department themselves as startups are often built on trial & error. However, failing to have a structured HR department in place would mean setting yourself up for failure in the future. HRs often come with their bag of experience, knowledge and subject matter expertise gathered from years of hard work that the executives don’t share.

Moreover, it cannot be ignored that HRs are needed at every step of an organisation’s people management- Right from recruitment to compliance management, and from upskilling employees to fostering an inclusive culture. HRs manage the most vital assets of your organisation- the employees. They bridge the gap between employee efforts and the company goals to ensure targets are met and a competitive edge is gained. 

5) How does automation of HR process ease help organisations?

An HR software streamlines and automates human resource practices in the most efficient and evolving ways. By opting for an up-to-date HRMS solution that works well for your business functions, your organisation will better leverage its talent, keep employees motivated, streamline complex processes like payroll and drive productivity. 

HR automation relieves Human Resource professionals from mundane & tedious jobs to let them focus on employees. It makes the management of HR functions much smoother, preventing HRs from relying on pen and paper or spread-sheet-based workflow to enhance organisational performance and productivity. 

Right from recruitment & onboarding, time & attendance management, performance management, payroll calculations, to expense & compensation management and more- Everything can be automated & processed rightly with an able HRMS. This helps in decreasing paperwork, providing a centralised database, providing accountability with Employee Self Service portals, minimising errors, reducing time spent, complying with state & central laws and customising policies and processes. 

6) How have you incorporated AI into the HR platform to increase user experience 

AI has remained the backbone of HRM systems. And Indians are increasingly moving towards making the switch to an automated world; meaning the adoption of HRMS. We use AI to transform raw data into customised standard reports, analyse recruitment performance, filter candidates by looking for key data points like education, experience, and willingness to relocate, monitor individual employee’s performance, identify their potential growth areas, offer tailored L&D programs based on their strengths & weaknesses, offer appraisals more fairly, and much more.

However, in the next leg of digital transformation, AI's role will be changed. We expect it to emerge as the value machine will help take decisions faster and more proactively. 

7) Elaborate on your recent product launched during the pandemic for remote working engagement and performance evaluation platform 

As WFH & work flexibility became the norm, the need for better monitored, well-structured, measurable and easily trackable performance evaluation software increased. Hence, we upped our goal-based OKR system to support managers and employees better and bring a change in the ownership culture. 

8) How was Keka affected by the pandemic? Did the company see a growth or plunge? Elaborate.

When the wrath of the pandemic swamped the livelihood of every single human, Keka shook with its impact too. The uncertain times brought havoc in the world and hampered all streams of life. It pulled down the inflow of new customers for us while the existing clients sacked 30-35% of their employees- directly affecting Keka’s revenue.  

With no new customers, Keka lost 60-70% of its annual revenue. However, what made us jump back in is the conviction we had in the reversal of the market status. Through the leap of faith gathered from years of experience and a strong instinct of landing safely on our feet, Keka took off the flight to invest in core activities even further, still with no sign of the graph charting a rise in the revenue.

Within 3 months, things took a turn for the better and while the months of April, May and June resulted to be the worst times for Keka, July emerged as a blockbuster for us. Though the growth was stagnant in mid-2020, the company showcased a strong belief with a willingness to double down the customer rate through enhancement of the core product and the sales & marketing team to help us get across this difficult path.  All’s well that ends well they say, right?

9) In the era of information and data, what is the future of Keka? Please elaborate.

Keka is aiming for a new goal- global expansion. Our end mission is to take the world by storm and leverage the potential Keka holds by entering the bigger space with our Indian roots. We are aware of the intricacies of the HR arena and identify Keka as the medium to tackle each problem of the field as it comes. 

Whether public, private or voluntary, all organisations need to deliver value, if their end goal is to increase profits and stay ahead of the competition. It requires financial metrics and key performance indicators to monitor and improve operations- All of which Keka provides at the click of a button. This requirement is going to stay. 

As organisations seek to improve performance, the onus is on HR to build value. And HRs best bet to do this and more is an apt HRMS like Keka. We are directing our efforts towards continuing to create an awesome employee experience, optimise the workforce, and offer accurate data analysis for better business decisions to companies for enhanced business outcomes.

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