The delicate balancing act of career, family, and societal expectations often presents an intricate dilemma for women in the IT sector. In this interview, Juhi Kulshreshtha, a trailblazer in HR tech, unveils her perspectives on addressing these multifaceted challenges. As Co-founder and Head of Sales and Customer Success of the HR tech firm REVIEWIA, she offers a unique vantage point on nurturing resilient support systems. Explore her insights into the confluence of work and life, as she shares these and more with Mahima Sharma, Founder, The Think Pot. Take a read…
Though the IT sector has reached the 36% landmark achievement of having women workforce, yet it is unable to control the scaling attrition rate of women (which is above 40%) in the sector. As an HR tech firm what would you advise your collaborators in the field to achieve an all inclusive and happy work force in this sector which is a key player in the Indian economy?
While I haven’t analyzed the data but my hunch is that most of these women who form part of this attrition data would be either in their early years of marriage or a parent to kids ranging from infants to teenagers. This is a phase of life for women where they are torn between multiple responsibilities- Marriage, Family, Children & Career. Given our societal construct one needs to understand the it is just not a function of the workload becoming challenging. There are expectations that the society has from such women. As a spouse, as a parent, as a daughter in law. Interestingly, these women also have certain expectations from themselves when it comes to all these areas. Several times, it is not just the work related challenges or the time required to be in a full time job, it is also this feeling of constant guilt and not being able to do enough for people who matter to you. Most companies are thinking about solving for this with solutions around flexible work. But there is a big missing piece of creating a robust support system which women can fall back on for right kind of counselling and emotional support. Offering a structure which makes the employee believe that it is not an either or solution and things can be worked out simultaneously, is the need of the hour.
How do you envision artificial intelligence and machine learning transforming HR practices in the next decade?
These are interesting times, technology is cutting into HR like never before. I think opportunities to solve existing HR related problems using AI/ML is a very powerful one. But as we have seen in the past, people related needs keep changing. Once we solve for the current set of people specific challenges with technology, surely new kind of challenges and problems will emanate. New kind of needs with germinate, as an HR leader one needs to budget for that while embracing smart technology wherever relevant.
How do you foresee HR tech addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges in the workplace in the one decade? And why is this a must do?
The power of tech is in it’s democratic nature. It is creating equal opportunities for people and alleviating traditional challenges. Now you don’t need to be in a metropolitan city, pay hefty rent, face the ordeal of office commute to work for a fortune 500 company. Thanks to technology, you can get such an opportunity sitting in the living room of your home in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 city.
This is a brilliant opportunity for employers, it has suddenly expanded the relevant talent pool manifold for a lot of roles. Companies need to break the mind block of having people in office all the time. Instead, invest a fraction of your real estate costs to build and implement solutions to drive effective people practices which are relevant for a remote/ hybrid workforce.
The youth is moving towards a life changing scenario where lack of financial education puts them under unnecessary burden and job loss moves many towards attempting or committing suicide. What innovative approaches can HR tech offer to improve employee mental health and well-being, especially during a job loss?
There are some real smart and relevant products now which address essential parts of mental well being. Given the VUCA environment, layoffs and job losses are going to be a reality that we all need to come to terms with. Employees need to proactively plan for a rainy day. Engage a financial advisor or leverage one of these tech platforms like Smallcase to ensure that you actively invest.
Health insurance is a must have, irrespective of one’s age. Today’s youth needs to bake in time for emotional health like one bakes in time for gym or sport. Empathetic employers are already building benefits and policies to offer employees access to experts in mental/emotional health and also tying up with financial advisors to offer relevant solutions to their employees. This is a highly effective strategy to improve employer brand as well as employee retention.
How can employees leverage HR tech to ensure fair compensation and benefits aligned with industry standards?
Employees and candidates need to actively leverage data available on platforms like Glassdoor, Ambitionbox, Payscale, Reviewia etc. Not only access and view the data but also contribute with data points.The only way to effectively address this issue is to create enough transparency about salaries being offered. Most times employees end up getting a raw deal unless they go prepared with data points to negotiate for what they truly deserve. More so, for women folk.
What advice do you have for women individuals seeking to use HR tech to enhance their job satisfaction and overall career fulfillment?
Women are naturally equipped better than men to leverage the power of community. Just check out the action on groups like Leap , Aspireforher etc. You will see topics from career to tampons being discussed openly. Now, if you do get to see conversations in a men’s group, you don’t see any vulnerability. Men find it difficult to cut through their “tough guy” image to seek support. Women don’t suffer from such hang ups. My message to women professionals is to join like minded communities, you will find your flock as an entrepreneur , a career woman , a single woman , a parent , someone part of the LGBTQIA community etc. You will know that there are more like you and there are people who can empathise with you. Tech can bring us closer ! So, leverage the power of HR Tech by joining communities and find your tribe.
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