It has been a tumultuous year for Indian non-banking financial companies or NBFCs owing to COVID-19. Jaidip Chatterjee, chief human resource officer, SREI, shares that the biggest challenge has been liquidity squeeze, externally, and the fact that the collections are slower than expected. However, thanks to the Company’s robust structure, SREI has been able to keep jobs and even incentivize employees who perform well in these precarious times.
The Company is going through a phase of digital transformation — both in sales and collection — and the main focus is to connect with customers, OEMs, and dealers through their fin-tech marketplace initiative, I-Quippo. “We have invested heavily in the technology platform. It will be India’s first equipment-solution marketplace, where all OEMs, dealers, customers will be on one single platform and will avail financing, valuation, auctioning, and other value-added services. The second main focus is on the collection and recovery engine, both physical and digital. Thus, our core focus for business will be the distribution and collection/ recovery,” Chatterjee explains. And that’s where SREI will invest in talent.
There are certain skillsets desired in a candidate, to clinch these job titles at SREI. Chatterjee lists them out saying, “For the recovery, collection and financial solutions for large accounts, we will need analysts with strong credit-assessment skills, balance-sheet understanding, and knowledge of financial ratios. For the pure retail collection and recovery side, we will look for people with enough retail recovery and solution experience. On the distribution side, people with digital sales experience and mindset, who have worked in fintech companies or similar BFSI space will be preferred.” Therefore, SREI is quite clear about the roles it wants to work on with this digital switch.
The digital platform will be completely managed by a separate team, which will be on I-Quippo’s payroll. It will have a manpower-outsourcing arrangement if required.
The attrition rate at SREI has reduced from 20 – 25 percent to 15 percent this year and Chatterjee explains how that happened. The Company may not have grown exponentially, but according to him, remained solid to maintain momentum. “We, as an organization, do not believe in the hire-fire culture. In a month, we do some 40-45 talent moves and engage with staff heavily during tough times. Managers put in extra efforts, led by senior leaders, to ensure that every voice is heard and every query answered. Human resource managers rallied with business leaders on the open house, town halls, e-mail communication, and even the chairman, vice-chairman, and MD were on the same communication address, ‘Reset, Reimagine, Reboot.’” This enabled staff to appreciate the organization culture and ethos of “united we stand”. Attrition was quite slow and staff remained loyal. There were no salary or job cuts. “Even in these tough times, people who performed received incentives. Therefore, they understood that their jobs are secure and that we are there for the long haul,” says Chatterjee with pride.
Given the pandemic, like many other companies, SREI too upgraded its performance-management system and geared up to go completely digital. Managers key in the data on the basis of self-appraisal ratings, without any elaborate form filling or face-to-face meeting. The Company is contemplating a new compensation and benefits strategy, based on performance. It will be more on the variable side and less on the fixed side. This will not just be for the frontline staff, but for the back office as well.
Along with plans to add several people on the sales and distribution side, SREI is working on spreading its product suite too. More feet on the streets, in terms of sales, and less on supervisory management, is the goal here. The objective is also to create the right pyramid in terms of the organization structure. Chatterjee predicts an addition of at least 50 to 100 lateral recruits by March 2021, over and above those being picked from B schools.