How Can Chros Strike A Chord With The Right ESG Strategy In The Digital Age?

Minakshi Samant joined Ingram Micro in May’2020 as Executive Director – Human Resources. Minakshi is a transformational HR leader with 20 + years of experience and believes in creating meaningful impact to the Business and to People's Life. She comes with diverse industry experience such as Health Care, Specialty Chemicals, Manufacturing, Retail, Market Research and Media. She has sound management experience and delivers as a business partner at all levels with successful track record in building Organizational Culture, improving Leadership Capability and Optimizing Business Performance.

How do we attract, develop, and retain the leadership talent and skills needed to drive ESG and sustainability strategy and outcomes? Why do you think ESG and sustainability is central to long-term success?
It’s a globally acknowledged fact that you need a value-driven approach to achieve continuous improvement in every aspect of Environment, Social, and Governance. In my opinion, it is highly reliant on how you attract, nourish, and retain the leadership talent for the same. That’s why we embrace a strategic and multi-faceted approach, which includes developing a clear ESG and sustainability strategy, fostering a culture of continuous learning, nurturing talent on time, offering competitive compensation and benefits, and engaging stakeholders in the process. All these strategies help us successfully attract, develop, and retain the talent needed to drive long-term sustainability and create value for all stakeholders.

CHROs are always supposed to develop a deeper understanding of business strategy & align HR initiatives with the overall vision, mission, & goals of the company

I believe ESG and sustainability are central to long-term success because they enable you to accomplish your long term goals while ensuring strict adherence to your guiding principles and values.For us, ESG is more than just a promise it’s about demonstrating that we have been achieving our ambitious goals and are operating in line with the tenets of our success.

What sorts of initiatives is HR doing in the shifting environment of digital transformation?
We are committed to executing an ESG strategy that achieves lasting value through data collection, deliberate actions, and transparency, which becomes way more critical in the age of digital transformation. The HR team has undertaken several initiatives to contribute towards the ESG quest, and some of them are mentioned here.

Moving from paper to paperless processes:This includes talent acquisition, onboarding, rewards & recognition, absence management, payroll automation, and offboarding. This has helped us save a significant number of hours while attaining a high level of efficiency and accuracy in each process.

Digital employee lifecycle:We leverage multiple tools, technologies, and processes to enhance and streamline the overall employee experience, engagement, communication, and productivity. The digital hire-to-retire lifecycle enables us to save on average 2.5 trees and 48,393 gallons of water per year.

HR professionals are in charge of identifying areas where digital technology may be used to improve HR operations. In that way, it contributes to a better employee experience and overall organizational success. What are your thoughts on this? It would be beneficial to you as well. If so, please explain how.
We have embraced digitalization whole heartedly. And with HR going digital, we have now been able to continuously improve and optimize the overall employee experience and achieve excellence in HR operations. Besides, it has allowed us to focus more on value-added activities, which include identifying new business initiatives and addressing complex business challenges such as talent shortages, productivity enhancement, etc.

What are highly effective CHROs today who do more than only head the HR department, and how to develop an HR strategy and adjust it when the company and operational environment change?
The role of an effective CHRO has never been confined to the boundary of heading the HR department. CHROs are always supposed to develop a deeper understanding of business strategy and align HR initiatives with the overall vision, mission, and goals of the company. That’s where the significance of getting your fundamentals right becomes prominent. CHROs must have a deeper understanding of business aspirations, and they should collaborate with the leadership team more often. This helps exponentially in figuring out an effective way to achieve long-term business objectives.

To make the collaboration more effective, CHROs should use analytical insights to help decision-makers undertake data-driven initiatives. The analytical insights would further help CHROs evaluate the effectiveness of HR initiatives as well.

With the advent of digital technologies and a more dynamic business environment, it becomes even more critical for CHROs to be flexible and adaptable in their overall approach. When a company or its operational environment undergoes a major overhaul, the CHROs must conduct ongoing workforce analysis, gather feedback from employees and stakeholders, and be prepared to pivot and scale as per demand within the stipulated time frame.

In essence, effective CHROs are the ones who are agile and able to adjust HR strategies in accordance with changing market conditions, business needs, or workforce dynamics. They just ensure that these strategies are relevant and backed with real time intelligence.

Take us through the formative years of your life. What were some early influences that contributed towards shaping the trajectory of your life?
Well, I extend my gratitude to everyone who has helped me become who I am today. I am fortunate to be the 3rd daughter of my parents, who told me to be myself and create my own identity, despite standard societal norms towards girls during those days. They encouraged me to fight my own battle and embrace the career I was interested in. Hailing from a middle class family with a slight traditionalist approach did come as an early life challenge, and I am sure many girls still go through that in our society. However, my upbringing helped me to be confident and successful in this highly demanding world. And here I am!