INTERVIEW : We spoke to Nishigandha S, Manager – Talent at Fynd, India’s Largest Omnichannel Retail Tech Platform (Shopsense Retail Technologies Pvt. Ltd.) to understand about the various aspects of managing talent in a tech startup. Here is an excerpt from our interaction.
Tell us about Fynd?
Fynd is India’s largest omnichannel platform helping retail businesses accelerate growth. Our technological solutions combine integrated stock visibility and tailored logistics across demand channels for a consistent and seamless experience. Our solutions bring the focus back on customers and drive interactions within the brand’s omnichannel ecosystem—ultimately, unlocking sales and engagement.
Initially incepted as Shopsense Retail Technology Pvt. Ltd. In 2012, we pivoted to Fynd in November 2015. We have about 300 employees and are currently based out of Mumbai. Our core purpose is – To Power Delightful Shopping Experiences For Everyone, Everywhere.
What role does the human resource management team play in your company? What are the key challenges that you faced during Covid? Do you think that there is a need for retail tech companies to rethink their HR function?
In recent years, the strategic importance of HR in Fynd has grown ten folds. Our HR team manages the most important responsibility of hiring well to meet the growing needs of our team, overlooks the transition to remote working, plans initiatives to build our culture remotely and supports the well-being of the team members. The HR team at Fynd has faced all of these challenges and is tirelessly working towards doing a commendable job and earning strategic importance in the company.
Retail tech companies definitely need to rethink their HR function. At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw the entire Fynd team scatter across the country as the lockdown kept extending. The teams, who relied on sales and business process went through enormous changes in their way of working. The company leaders turned to the HR team to help the workforce stay motivated and engaged while focussing on upskilling and learning. Our in-house learning team Flex – managed a two month extensive upskilling program for all our people. The learning has not stopped ever since.
Along with various learning and engagement activities, we also carved out a well-being team to help our employees through the pandemic. This team plans activities to spread COVID awareness, assists for hospitalisation and insurance needs for those affected with COVID and is also now managing the Covid Vaccination Drive.
As a retail tech (ominchannel) company , how does your HR team use tech for talent management. What are some of the innovative tech based HR strategies you have invested in?
As India’s largest omnichannel platform, Fynd has a huge team of Account Managers and Territory Managers working across the country who interact with our clients and partners on a daily basis. So while evaluating candidates for these roles, we look for candidates with a human touch.
Apart from this, the HR team has always come up with new and innovative ways to simplify processes through automation tools like Zapier and Workbench (our database-intelligence platform). To keep a track of the team well-being, we conduct Happiness and Well-being surveys every six months. The rating is analysed for each employee, based on which the leadership plans strategies to ensure continued well-being of our people.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in managing teams at Fynd? How have you overcome these challenges?
Within team, it is easier to bond and make friends, but for cross-team building, the same kind of bond is difficult develop. Usually in most companies, individuals attend their work meetings and understand their responsibilities. But at Fynd we believe that we are one big family and hence building team bonding across the whole organisation is very important for us.
Before the pandemic when we worked in office, we did not face this challenge. But with remote working, this definitely is something we had to work on. After several events and initiatives like Flex University, engagement activities and Workcations, we believe were able to solve this problem.
How do you communicate with your teams to ensure enhanced engagement and productivity?
At Fynd, every team sets the OKRs (Objective Key Results) at the beginning of every trimester. Each and every individual is educated about their contribution to the team OKR, and its impact on the company OKR in our team wide and company wide OKR meetings. Post that weekly huddles are a ritual where responsibilities are discussed and assigned.
We have extensive dashboards to help keep track of our OKR’s so that we understand how we are doing.
Apart from this we have the CFR (Conversations, Feedback and Recognition), which is a 1 on 1 between the manager and the team member to discuss their happiness quotient, workplace engagement and productivity in the past month.
How do you lead your team? What according to you are the personality traits that make a good leader?
I believe the best kind of leaders is someone who hires the right person for the right job, and maintains a balance between the individual’s and the company’s expectations.
I always work towards this goal and like to lead by example with complete honesty and humility. I strongly believe in aligning individual goals with company goals, while ensuring employee well-being. Its also important to keep the team motivated and strong.
The traits that make me a good leader would be integrity, humility and determination.
What advice would you want to share with millennials and Gen Z venturing into the omnichannel retail business?
For businesses venturing into omnichannel retail, the key is to never lose sight of the human touch in your processes. It does not matter how many advanced technological platforms are added to ease everyday tasks, remember that its the people who run your business. Ensure that you have the right people for each job and continue to give them greater responsibilities to keep them motivated and on a growing path.