S01 E11: Importance of Culture-fitness in an Organization

Rohit Dhody’s eighteen-year-old career has always revolved around adding value to those around him. It’s an everyday and continuous process that he believes adds value to him in turn. Rohit is the Senior Regional Director of Human Resources at Syniverse. He has been working there for the past nine years and has previously worked with companies like Accenture, GE Money, RR Donnelley, NTT Data Corporation, HSBC, and Ma Foi Strategic Consultants.

Driven by the need to add value in everything he does, Rohit is also a champion when it comes to transforming talent and companies. In fact, his dedication to unlearning and relearning is so immense that his bucket list tops with the desire to report to someone who reported to him because he believes that’s the best way to reverse learn.

Episode 11 of CultureClub features Rohit talking about something close to his heart—the role of culture in increasing employee engagement. His conversation with Ketan (Head of People Function, Rentomojo) and Senthil (Founder and CEO, CultureMonkey) is an in-depth discussion on the relevance of cultural alignment of an employee towards the company.

They also discuss how the pandemic has shed light on the importance of culture in companies now more than ever, and forced the HR fraternity to raise their bar for empathy and human connection.

Listen to the full conversation to know more about Rohit's views on company culture and employee engagement.

Transcript

Senthil [00:00:14] Thanks a lot, Rohit and Ketan for joining today. For our audiences, this is the 11th episode that we're doing at Culture Club. Culture Club is a community initiative by CultureMonkey and at CultureMonkey what we're trying to solve is, when you decide to listen to your employees continuously, you have multiple problems where you will have diverse demographics to deal with, you will have multiple sentiments coming from various teams within the organization especially if you have offices across the country.

Senthil [00:00:47] So CultureMonkey is one platform where you're listening to all of these people, top-down, bottom-up and you will be capturing a lot of data, and yet this data is useless if it's not helping you get any meaning out of it. On top of it, if you're there without acting on those data, there is no engagement going on, so if you're looking for one platform that solves all of this, that's CultureMonkey.

Senthil [00:01:11] On top of it, we have this Culture Club where we're interviewing CHROs from leading organizations and this is just purely to surface out problems around culture and employee engagement and then discuss and add value.

Senthil [00:01:32] I am so happy to announce that we are live on Spotify, Google Podcast, and Apple Podcast, so happy to take this forward, and the next 10 episodes are already lined up for the audience. So I think this is getting more amazing. So, thanks a lot to Rohit and Ketan for joining today. Ketan, back to you.

Ketan [00:01:58] Thank you, Senthil. Rohit, welcome again, thank you so much for taking your time for this, it means a lot to me that there are people from the HR room I can request and they can come for a conversation on such interesting topics, so thank you so much again, Rohit for being with us.

Rohit [00:02:19] It's an absolute pleasure, Ketan and you can see the smile on my face. I don't know. The word culture is so important and we can spend hours and hours talking about it, it's a subject very close to my heart and I'm more than happy to be here. I could take time out any day of the week, any week of the month for a subject like this and I also learn every time I speak to someone and someone speaks back to me, while I'm sharing my knowledge, I'm also receiving knowledge and I'm sure to share and receive both today.

Ketan [00:02:57] Thank you and for the audience, we have today a very special guest with us, his name is Rohit, he is the senior regional director for an organization called Syniverse. I met Rohit a few months back, I was fortunate enough to be sharing a panel with him on something around digital HR. It was about digital millennials and there were some of us, the younger generation, who were trying to learn and understand what it takes to do and then we had people like Rohit who were sharing their point of view and since then, I've been exchanging a lot of digital notes with him and then a few days back, I was able to speak to him.

Ketan [00:03:47] Now, before I get into and share more about Rohit, this is something very interesting and one thing that I learned from him, I was amazed to see that somebody carries that point of view. Now, what he does and what kind of challenge that he has taken for himself saying that, people who have worked with Rohit, when he's been a manager or a leader, he wants to report to them at one point in time.

Ketan [00:04:16] This demonstrates the kind of investment he would be doing to help them grow and of course, his ability to learn and appreciate that everybody brings something new and something fresh to the table to learn and we heard that when he said that he's here to learn, his first thing was, I'm here to learn and then share. So I think I can understand a bit what makes Rohit who he is.

Ketan [00:04:41] This was amazing, Rohit. These are some of the conversations which I will carry throughout my life, but the message is well taken and if you go to Rohit's LinkedIn profile, this is probably the shortest description I have ever seen, it says, "Adding value every day". I was trying to figure out more, understanding more, but I think this made me understand him from start to end, his scope of this mission looks like to be about adding value every day.

Ketan [00:05:27] Rohit has also worked with brands like HSBC and Accenture, to name a few, he is a champion when it comes to transforming talent and organizations, that's something he says he specializes in and, welcome again Rohit to CultureClub’s e-club Masterclass powered by Culture Monkey and thank you so much for your time.

Ketan [00:05:48] The two reasons that I am here is, one, I do get to interact with a lot of HR folks and learn and understand and get a perspective. Second, when Senthil has spoken about that, I take care of people function for a startup called RentoMojo and we partnered with CultureMonkey for understanding our employees and in creating action plans and honestly, I fell in love with the product, but that didn't end there.

Ketan [00:06:21] When I met the people who actually were trying to solve this problem, I was amazed to see that it's a bunch of engineers were trying to solve a real problem because they experienced that as an employer or as a leader or as a manager and they said, why don't we actually use technology to solve for it. So that's where I thought, can I partner with them, can I help them bridge the gap between the product that is required and what the consumers or the future consumers or the leaders are expecting and anticipating, this entire piece in the industry about engagement and culture to move to and if we can bring them together and create something which can create a lot of value for everybody. So that's why I'm here. The audience would definitely want to know more about you and your organization.

Rohit [00:07:16] First of all, thanks. You said welcome, four times, so I now feel super welcomed. It's my pleasure, privilege, and honor to be here, to be very honest. Nothing spectacular, yes, I like to add value to everyone around me and to myself, because the more I add value to myself, the more I can give, is my concept. You're spot on and one of my bucket list things are to report to somebody who's reported to me and to reverse learn, once in my life, it's a mission for me that once before I call it a day, I want to work under the guidance of somebody once in my career has worked for me. So I want to reverse learn, that's a name.

Rohit [00:08:18] About the organization I work for, it Syniverse Technologies, it's a telecom tech product company. It's been around for 30 years, but in India for the last 10 years, essentially enables interconnection and interoperability between mobile operators. We have around 800 mobile operators who are our customers, it's a very niche kind of business.

Rohit [00:08:34] I worked in large and mid-sized organizations and somewhere I think I've spent almost a decade here, sometimes I wonder, is it too long. But, yeah, as long as you're enjoying what you're doing, time is inconsequential and that brings me to the very subject, culture. What makes employees stick? What makes employees happy? you're figuring out how to engage and motivate people. So engagement, motivation, all of this for me, the underlying fabric is culture and basically, in the underlying fabric of culture, it's about being human.

Rohit [00:09:15] It's about human interactions and relations. I was talking to a friend the other day. I remember a movie in which Aamir Khan has acted, it's about a dyslexic kid over a decade or so old. In that there's a scene where the boys are sent to the hospital and the father comes to visit and he tells the teacher, I bought him lots of stuff and goodies and all that. So I still remember that dialog very clearly. Just by giving gifts and providing money that is not Kayal Rakhna(taking care of), it should come from the heart.

Rohit [00:09:58] That's what I always tell managers, people leaders, colleagues, that is, people will see through the bullshit, people will see through those fake things that you want to do. Be genuine, be honest, be real, and be in the moment, spend time understanding people and it just struck me, that's something that stayed with me and I tell that to every leader, do you know your people? Do you know what makes them tick?

Rohit [00:10:38] I go to restaurants, I don't give tips. But I call the person who served me, I ask him his name, I shake his hand and I say, thank you for your service, I truly appreciate you, Mr. so-and-so and then when I handover a tip, they say, no, you're one of the few customers who called us, asked us our name, where we're from, and thanked us with a handshake and that is what I talked about, that's what I mean when I say, be human, be relevant.

Rohit [00:11:12] As a human resource function, it's all the more important because many times, we need to coach and guide people managers whose focus is business. I don't fault sometimes people managers and other colleagues because their focus is business, they're driving certain outcomes and in that whole journey, sometimes they can lose sight of this particular human interaction and that's where we come in as coaches, as consultants, as mentors, as buddies at different levels, at different situations to come in and be that reminder.

Rohit [00:11:48] My call out to everyone in the human resource fraternity is, first introspect yourself, check if you're doing the right thing, are you there? If someone were to take a survey among employees saying, what do you think of your HR partner? What are people going to say? What are the few words that they will say? Will they say policies, procedures, authoritarian or will they say someone who understands, someone who cares.

Rohit [00:12:13] I ask people to take a survey of people, take an anonymous survey. Let people tell you what they think of you. I can keep rambling on, but Ketan back to you I'll be happy if you'd like to throw specific questions at me. I'd be happy to kind of point those answers to your specific questions. As I said, this topic is very close to my heart and I can go on and on.

Ketan [00:12:44] Thank you, Rohit, for somebody like you. I'm sure I can have a list of five questions and I have them. But I'm going to pick the top five, which we believe right now people are looking at answers for. I'm sure this coming from somebody like you is going to help build perspective and together help us take the HR function and the organizations in a direction that we desire.

Ketan [00:13:18] The first one that comes to me Rohit is, what challenges do you think, the CXOs and this is more to understand from the business folks, they're dealing with, especially with the onset of COVID where the world has completely gone remote, what impact, what are the things that you're seeing on the matters of culture and engagement, something like this has created? What challenges do you think they're facing in the newer, digitally connected, and remote world?

Rohit [00:13:56] First of all, I want to categorize the leaders globally that there are people who are leaders because of their age demographic, they're old school in the thought process. I know leaders, I worked with leaders who feel that this whole concept of work from home is rubbish. Collaboration can only happen when you're physically present in the office and I've also worked with leaders who feel there needs to be a mix and I worked with leaders who think that 'I wonder why we even have one'. So, I worked with three categories of people.

Rohit [00:14:29] So this answer has to be specific, each category. Those who were challenged the most are the first category, who feel that collaboration can happen only in person and of course, this whole what COVID did to us, has kind of made a paradigm shift. Even those people, naysayers have actually moved the needle. They've understood that you can be collaborative.

Rohit [00:14:54] But that said, I think for me, the largest challenges, whatever's said and done, I love the fact that we're talking to each other like this, but any given day I'd prefer you sitting across the table at any given day. I want to hold your hand, shake it, feel you there, this is the best alternative. But given the opportunity, I'd say, hey, you know what? Why don't we meet at the table and discuss this? that's one. Second is, I think the world was not ready for this, many corporations were not mentally prepared, they had the infrastructure in place which is why thankfully the collaborative tools like MS Teams, Zoom, Skype saw a revival happening, but I think the mental preparedness was not there.

Rohit [00:15:45]  That is definitely coming as a challenge. Well, another thing which leaders in my organization are saying that the lines have got blurred. Employees and leaders, both are feeling the pain of, are we working from home or are we living in the office? We don't know. Sometimes we have to question that.

Rohit [00:16:06] At times, I feel like I'm living in the office, not working from home and, of course, there are family and emotional challenges. I think leaders themselves are also human beings, you have to understand that just because you're a leader, yes, you have to take care of people, you have to understand, but you're also a human and most leaders, probably because given an assumption that many of them may have, be in an age bracket of 40 to 50, I'm sure their young startups where even 25-year-olds and 30-year-olds are our business leaders, not withstanding.

Rohit [00:16:41] But for the most part, there's an age demographic which comes with certain family pressure, there are so many other factors that come, for me, it's about the missed opportunity of personal connections between people, the world not being ready for this hit that happened globally. Leaders first two, three months, they were kind of grappling with that. Of course, now it's become the new normal, as we call it and the blurred lines between family time, personal time, work time, those lines have got very blurred for everybody and even leaders are impacted by that.

Rohit [00:17:20] So that would be my response, but it depends on what kind of leadership, thought process leaders have and those who had a more flexible thought process adapted quicker, those who did not, took some time and that whole change management journey that happens typically. In my mind, that's been the largest challenge that this environment has brought.  But I'm sure you would also have some thoughts about that. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts.

Ketan [00:17:47] Well, I have a collection of thoughts now that have met a lot of people, but my individual view from the HR side is that one, you're right, the world was not ready for it. Having said that, there are organizations and if you look back, especially because I've worked a lot with retail and sales led the organization, remote working existed, sales team, they were not supposed to come in, clock in, clock out and do that, end of the day, it was very result-oriented. So, you get the result, now you're doing it in two hours, 20 hours, I don't care, I think sales existed a large part of technology offshore, the people working offshore or in different countries and all of it remotely.

Ketan [00:18:33] I think it existed, just that yeah, very important, it suddenly took the world by surprise, what I realized is that the younger organization found it easier and you rightly said because when I look at myself, I'm midway. I was like, will it work/ not work. My personal preference is that of human connection. But with time, I started to realize that it is going to be a very hybrid based model.

Ketan [00:18:58] Now, after understanding the benefits of what is happening and personally, I'm able to reduce the time of travel, I am still able to structure few things, manage things well, and a lot of time with family. I do realize that there is a value that it brings in. So I put a huge evangelist of a hybrid model as we go ahead where based on that human connection which is extremely important. So if you ask me, there's one thing that should be non-negotiable, is the power of human connection.

Ketan [00:19:31] We are biologically conditioned to meet people, exchange that pleasantry, and feel good about that. So for me, it is working because I have five people in my home. But that's not the reality with a lot of younger generation millennials. So if you have people at your home, I found that to be relatively easier provided your infrastructure supports. But younger generations there's been staying alone in PG and guesthouses or a single house.

Ketan [00:20:01] They're finding it very difficult, the external social structure is impacted and the organization. But the most important thing and the one thing that I will always cherish is, suddenly people realize why and how officers are important. From a lot of people saying, hey, why do I need to go to the office? but we now realize that at times the absence of something creates a value of that particular thing. I think that is what our new office is. We all know that human connect health has been helping us, energizing us in going through it. That's my individual view, that the future is going to be of a hybrid model.

Ketan [00:20:41] Some have adopted, some are still learning too, some may still want to come back to their old ways and I think overall if the world becomes better, that's a progressive movement, I would say.

Rohit [00:20:58] Spot on, I think, the hybrid is the way forward, there will be a good mix of both worlds and that's how it is, what is the prudent thing to do in life, always pick the best of all worlds and here's an opportunity to pick the best of both worlds, merge it, make it fungible and benefit from it. I think, yes, this has also brought so much appreciation, we can obviously talk about the positives of this, these are the challenges, there are a lot of positives that have emerged.

Rohit [00:21:29] Like you said, people have started appreciating family. We actually forced families to sit and come back to the table together, literally. I will talk about myself, my schedule was different, my daughter's schedule is different, she's a 10th grader. The missus had her own schedule because I was stuck in traffic, not able to make it on time. Being in Bangalore, you would empathize with me, the traffic is the biggest Ohhh, that we've all been happy to live without.

Rohit [00:21:59] But today, there's an opportunity, there's breakfast happening together, there's lunch, there's dinner happening together. We all have our Zoom calls and we all have a network, but I strongly believe and I even make that in the workplace. At work, I always eat with my team. I say, the family that eats together, stays together.

Rohit [00:22:19] Small, little things have really been positive, for me, the largest positive is the avoidance of traffic situations, there are people who have to travel one or one and a half hour to work, one way, so that's happy, this family time, as you said, there's an appreciation for that family time and I started understanding my daughter better in the last six months then I was in the last 3 years. I started understanding that teenager because it's given me the opportunity to invest time with her, which otherwise would have been invested in traffic, so there are some positives.

Ketan [00:23:02] I'm glad you spoke about that, Rohit, you did speak about a lot of introspection and personal time and re-looking at what we were doing as the daily schedule keeps changing, and I like it when you said that your connect to family, has moved to a level two. I was having an open house and I was co-hosting the session and I had no idea that these two, actually sneak into the room, they were literally dancing at the back and what happens in Zoom is, if there are too many people, then your screen is a miniature screen on the right.

Ketan [00:23:37] So I was never paying attention to that and then somebody patted me on the and I looked back and I get my share of chocolates, the older one went to the fridge, got a bunch of chocolate without telling mumma, I understood in that two seconds that it's like, I'm being bribed to say, shut up, eat and leave and suddenly I realized that because a lot of people started commenting, hey, we want chocolate. I said, what? This is a serious meeting.

Ketan [00:24:08] I have evolved, for me, my space and that like when you are working, perfect, be there has been a very important piece that I've developed for myself and I'm changing and I'm glad I'm changing it, my usual response would have been, 'hey, wait, I'm on a call'. But I'm trying to learn and I have a long journey to go, thank you, Rohit and probably we talk about the office, this is also about culture.

Senthil [00:24:47] I had a point for engineers and it's like you were saying, Ketan, I've been an engineer or a developer for a large part of my life and worked in majorly modern startups, so for us, this has actually been there, even I wrote a blog like six months ago about all your employees in their zone at work, with millennials and developers, they actually take a day off to work at home because, in office, there are meetings, there are a lot of other things happening under the name of collaboration, the engineers are not able to sit, focus on the goal.

Senthil [00:25:28] So I clearly remember, in a lot of jobs that I used to work, whenever there was a lot of backlogs in the board, I just target a Wednesday, on Wednesday, I take a day off and at home is when I'm in the zone and in one day, the productivity is short-term. But then that was good, that was better as long as it was just one day per 15 days. Every day is like that now, like you guys talking about the lines of the blur, rightly you said, it's living in the office, not working from home.

Ketan [00:26:31] So my question and I'll come to my response and share my view, but Rohit, my question was, so you spoke about a few silver linings that you saw for yourself at a personal level. Now, from an organization perspective, do you see that same thing as change that you have always been wanting as an HR professional for the organizations to imbibe and move ahead with and somewhere this change, this transition, this something that came from outside and impacted us, created that silver lining, is there something that you want to share on that?  

Rohit [00:27:07] I'll talk about my organization and I know there are many others, one is, it is of course a mindset change. The good thing is, had this not happen, I think of many organizations that are still stuck in that thought process of this kind of work, not on a long term basis, one day, two days a month, but not on a continuum, but it worked. Productivity went up, we've never had this kind of productivity ever in the existence of the organization through the roof.

Rohit [00:27:44] We could control costs, we've given up some space, we can have higher productivity. There's been a cultural mindset change that people can work remotely. I was talking to a relative who does online classes, he even had a company and the essential business model was, have classroom training for the student who aspires GRE, GMAT preparation for that today. Today, his business has doubled because it says earlier my mindset was limited to one office and that was it.

Rohit [00:28:34] But today, I have students from South Africa. I have students from Dubai, I have students from Singapore, Indian origin students who definitely would have wanted to be in this class but couldn't. So it also reimagined possibilities for so many people at so many levels and for me, it's about how this has made people think differently, which they otherwise wouldn't have thought. I've taken two examples here already. So I think it has forced us to reimagine possibilities, which is a good thing.

Ketan [00:29:12] How is this going to redefine? How is it redefining HR already? What does this mean for the HR fraternity? and you've seen, you've been there, you've led from the front, you've understood a large part of what it takes and how it takes, but what does this entire piece would mean to the HR fraternity?

Rohit [00:29:40] For me, I think HR as a partner, this has forced us to raise our bar on empathy, this has forced us, for some it happened naturally, for some it had to happen, to be effective. You have to have increased your empathy level, the connect levels have improved, We have never connected this well with employees while we were in the office, the way we're connected now. It was what used to be a chore too, but now, I see my team, my colleagues, my fraternity actually proactively reaching out to people and saying, we understand this is emotionally difficult.

Rohit [00:30:27] People have gone through, you mentioned about youngsters living alone. I personally know about a few cases where people have gone through depression because of this and I know that they needed help and they got help, and I'm so glad they got it. In one of the cases, the help came from an HR professional, when the HR professional spoke to this individual two, three days in a row, he realized that this person is very different today than what this person used to be back in the office and then we boiled down to that loneliness.

Rohit [00:30:57] As HR, we took a collective call that we will call this person every day for half an hour and talk, what have you done? What did you cook today? Can I send you something? Can I Swiggy something across to you? Have you seen this movie? Come, let's do a movie marathon together, let's do a Netflix party together. HR has to go into the human of human resources, this has to come to the core and has come to the core today. I've never had these kinds of conversations in the past.

Ketan [00:31:28] I see you, I see other friends of ours, look at the content of what you're talking today, was it the way, one year ago, see the pattern shift, see what's happening, look at LinkedIn, the content is shifting, the pattern is shifting because people are now more aware. There is more connection, there is more understanding, there is more empathy and there is more human interaction. It is not transactional anymore.

Ketan [00:32:01] Very insightful. I gather that human connection, the human and the human resources, and empathy coming back or actually shooting up are the things that I could resume it back to.  

Rohit [00:32:22]  The reason it's there is because we're also going through it. So even the human resources are humans, they are also having the same issues, same depression, same stuck at home, same cabin fever is hitting everybody and when you understand it, you kind of want to help and when you help somebody, it makes you feel nice.

Rohit [00:32:45] The human resource function today has the opportunity to garner that feeling, when you give there's a niceness about giving, there's a dopamine hit that happens to you as a human being. Simon Sinek talks about all the time, if you can help somebody, you can engage with somebody meaningfully. Now, I've got comments from my teams, from my organization employees saying thank you for that call. It was so awesome. It is so real and I've not heard that said to me in the nine years when I was in the office, but I had it said to me for the first time in my career now.

Senthil [00:33:28] Sounds very therapeutic and psychological, the Human Resources.

Rohit [00:33:33] It is therapeutic. I tell people, I invite people to treat it as therapy because it helps you as well, it makes you a happy person.

Ketan [00:33:43] I'm silent because I was needing more, I think, it was very insightful to us, probably Senthil makes a session, we could do three, four hours one on this one. Thank you, I'm just kind of right now introspecting, looking back, and resonating with what you said, Rohit, while there are a lot of conversations about processes, digital HR, technology, but this is a far deeper level. Thank you for calling that.

Ketan [00:34:31] Now, what is that one message, in this transitioning, changing time, you would want to take and tell to them for them to become better, use this time better and come out of this with becoming a better version of themselves, what would be that message you would want to give to people as individuals?

Rohit [00:34:51] I tell people, use this opportunity to reflect and introspect, and understand what has happened to us in the last six months. How has it been different for you as an individual, for you as a professional, for you as a father of the house, or whatever you are? and what kind of behaviors made you a better person and what made you worse? So this is also bought out through us.

Rohit [00:35:23] There are times when the number of arguments I've had, believe me, today, after the lockdown was over, my wife was very, very, very keen that I take a break. Go to your cousin's house, go stay a week, take that break, please, imagine your wife is telling you to go, it's a dream for a guy.

Rohit [00:35:47] I think this is the opportunity for us to introspect, my message to everyone would be reflecting on what worked, what didn't work, because one day in the near future, the world will slowly come back to the old normal. The styles of working may change, there may still be a lot more work from one home than before, there'll be a lot more remote collaboration than before, agreed, but slowly, the world will inch back towards what we call the old normal which was there.

Rohit [00:36:21] It may be in a different format going forward, but it will come back, as we go there, I think here's an opportunity to look at what worked, what didn't work, what are the behaviors that I exhibited that made other people around me happy, what are the behaviors that were exhibited that made them not so happy? The mad, sad flag approach. Look at those three things and you can apply this to personal space, professional space, or anything and this is an opportunity to look at that in a very introspective fashion. That would be my message.

Ketan [00:37:16] I'm right now incomplete, I don't know if this is getting recorded or I honestly, I don't care because I think, there's a lot of insights that I'm picking up right now and it's insightful, having said that, we have borrowed your time to get some specific powerful points taken to people.

Ketan [00:37:44] Now, when I and Senthil were talking about, we said, is culture moving towards e-culture? and whenever we add 'e' to something, there is a digital element, there is a remote element, there is a virtual element that gets added. Do you think it is there or it is going to happen, what's your view on the matter of culture now, in the context of remote working, is e-culture already there?

Rohit [00:38:09] It's already there, culture is the way you do things, every organization has a culture and it is about the alignment of your values, systems, thought process to an organization's culture statement. Today, I think the strongest alignment is seen in terrorist organizations. I mean, a human being is ready to give up his life for the sake of just one culture, which is called alignment. So, I would say organizations have to find that cultural alignment or employees have to find the cultural alignment with an organization.

Rohit [00:39:10] Every human being, if we look at large corporations like GE and Accenture, they have lakhs and lakhs of employees, can five lakh employees align to one culture?

Rohit [00:39:19] No, but can each one of them find something in that culture statement which they can align with?

Rohit [00:39:25] Yes, So what is culture, and then what is e-culture? e-culture is like you said, you make it digital, then it becomes e-culture. I fundamentally think e-culture, culture are semantics. For me, it's a digital way of doing it or in person, you're doing it, you have to have a cultural alignment. and yes, it's very important for organizations to focus on that.

Rohit [00:39:55] I think somewhere in the whole growth and expansion, I know organizations that have a culture statement, but hey, when you're bringing in talent, are you evaluating that culture? No, you're evaluating C, C++, Java, Hadoop, and the so-called HR round, we did the HR round, what is in it?, how many times have you had an HR round where you've rejected the person based on culture? you have rejected because he has had too many job changes because the CTC expectation is too much because he spoke rudely.

Rohit [00:40:34] But where is that cultural perspective? I think the cultural perspective has got lost and now, it is a great opportunity to bring it back to the table and say, yes, this is the kind of person we want, how many people are even doing soft skill assessments? We had all been tech assessments. I don't know, at the time of hiring how many companies are really investing and saying that we do an assessment of this person, which is not a technical assessment. There are other products, HR tools are there in the market.

Rohit [00:41:08] They are being used during promotions, they are being used in the growth, why not at the point of entry? So for me, yes, e-culture exists, culture also exists, and this will continue. I think, from an opportunity perspective for organizations such as the ones which Senthil runs, I think, there is a great opportunity to go digital, take this to the digital platform, leverage digital, make it e-culture and the world needs it because what's happening today is, the millennials, the next that's coming in.

Rohit [00:41:44] I'm going to quote Simon Sinek on this because it made sense when he said something and I believed it. He said that the millennials that are coming out now are so used to texting, they've forgotten how to talk. They're more comfortable texting, my daughter is more comfortable texting me than talking to me, we're sitting in the same house, she would rather text me, than in person.

Rohit [00:42:12] Here's an opportunity for us to train them on cultural values of collaboration, of talking. I think, ten years from now, organizations will be grappling with a whole different problem, when I started my career, communication was not the problem, collaboration was not the problem, it was technical skills that needed to be taught, partnering skills that needed to be taught.

Rohit [00:42:36] I think the next generation will need a very basic level, like going back to school and getting people to hold your partner's hand, talk to him, look in the eye, and talk, these are things that will happen. So, yes, e-culture exists, culture exists and it'll continue to exist, and here is an opportunity for us to look at nuances of culture that we need to promote for the betterment and focus on those.

Rohit [00:43:00] We can use the digital format because the current generation is totally digital savvy, aware which is a good thing and e-culture, it is a default. There is nothing going to be no e-culture, everything is going to be e-culture.

Ketan [00:43:16] Thank you, in fact, to conclude this question, my point in one of the conversations, somebody beautifully said that earlier the culture was limited to at least the office infrastructure or the physical framework. Now, the home culture and the office culture are sitting in your house. I think that's a new one that people are trying to put together and build a more inclusive culture. So at least for the family, families have started understanding the organizations better, organizations have started understanding families better, and somewhere, the cultural element is extending and spreading.

Ketan [00:43:58] It brings in a larger dimension, brings a new set of challenges, but as Rohit was saying, every challenge is an opportunity. So what can we do and how can we make it better and what can we learn from it is going to be made at least 10 years later when you look back, I think we would have two things to say. What is the great stuff that we build? or we would simply say, hey we had an opportunity and we killed it.

Ketan [00:44:22] I think these are the only two outcomes that we could expect. Rohit, thank you, this was phenomenal. We have a few more minutes to go and have some interesting questions that I wanted to shoot at you, we call it the rapid-fire question. Looks like you're ready, but I hope you're ready.  

Ketan [00:45:03] If not HR as a profession, what would you have been, or what would you have chosen?

Rohit [00:45:12] Hospitality, without a doubt, it's my dream, after I report to somebody who has reported to me, I will quit and I would open a cafe and I would serve people like you. Come sit with me, have a conversation, eat at my cafe. Well, feeding people is a passion. I love to feed people.

Ketan [00:45:41] Cooking, cleaning, or mopping during COVID, which was easier?

Rohit [00:45:46] I didn't cook, I can only cook to save myself, basically morning breakfast, cereal, bread, and egg types, so I didn't cook. I mopped, I'm a waterboy and anything to do with it, so I was doing utensils and mopping. Mopping was a little difficult, but it helped me lose weight. So yeah, I mopped, I have a picture, I can share the picture with you where I've got the mop like Harry Potter's broom and trying to take off somewhere. I would love to share that with you guys.  

Ketan [00:46:17] What's your next personal goal?

Rohit [00:46:21] My one goal which I am currently enduring is 4 more kilos to go to reach my ideal weight. I was 114, I'm 86 today, I need to get to 82. Some of my pictures looked like a Snapchat filter, people can't believe that my face was that big. So my personal goal is to lose weight, but it's also to help the community, to help as many people as I can. So I haven't yet pointed my finger on which way I will help, but I want to help the community, whether it's underprivileged children, whether it's girl child education.

Ketan [00:47:05] Which book or the book that had the maximum impact on you?

Rohit [00:47:11] I'm not a massive reader of fiction, I'm not and I admit it, I'd rather watch a movie based on a book than read the book. Of course, there are two schools of thought, everyone else who is a reader including my wife tells me, 'you are mad, you don't know what you're missing out'. But, I am okay, that's my quote, that's it.

Rohit [00:47:34] I'm a humor lover. I think we have enough problems in our lives, even the little that I read is humor, 'The growing pains of Adrian Mole' by Sue Townsend, it's a diary of a 12-year-old kid and every page you flip, you are laughing because it's a twelve-year-old's diary. It's a casual, relaxed reading that would make you happy.

Ketan [00:48:11] One thing that you thank COVID for?

Rohit [00:48:16] Traffic and apart from traffic, it's taught me how to live frugally. Earlier, I could never imagine that with this much money I could manage a month, COVID taught me to do it without a problem, COVID taught me that it's okay not to go to a restaurant, COVID taught me, It's okay not to have your maid coming in.

Senthil [00:50:00] I was just shocked by some of the points that I was like, wow, and did learn a lot. In some of the blogs, all of this will cascade into those content and of course, I am gonna quote you in many places. The point that you brought out when you said, in the hiring process, nobody grills the candidates for the culture element, so it's just technical, I as an engineer, when I was working in Singapore, there were many engineers who applied for jobs in Europe, in the Netherlands, and in Austria especially.

Senthil [00:50:58] I remember this company called Runtastic, they do an app that just tells you how many kilometers, calories, and all that. So in that company, a few of my peers applied, they're like top-notch guys, the two of them were from Vietnam and they're extremely technically talented, they take Javascript, restructure and they have their own version of Javascript, that's how much talent they are, but they got rejected.

Senthil [00:51:25] They have very good communication, so what I did, the reason why we started CultureMonkey having this unique interest in culture, I wrote to that HR who was actually outsourcing, her answer was, they were not culturally talented and when you said these points, I was like wow, that's something that, large companies don't do.

Rohit [00:52:18] I'll give you my personal example and my callout to everybody is always the most powerful example you can share is your own, thank you for sharing your example, Senthil. I was once rejected by a fitness chain, I was rejected for an HR job because I was unfit.

Rohit [00:52:45] They said, how can we have an HR head of a fitness chain who is unfit, that is where the culture comes in.

Senthil [00:53:21] I think culture is not something that we can scientifically take or cut and view or your sensory organs can't really perceive culture very simply. So that's the reason why it's really messy and really complex to measure as well. I think I think we've come to the end of the session. So thanks a lot.

Senthil [00:53:46] It started with your LinkedIn just saying, adding value every day and you're doing justice to what you said. You added a lot of value to the session, to all of the listeners and us as well. So thanks a lot for your time, Rohit, and thanks a lot, Ketan.

Rohit [00:54:03] It's been an absolute pleasure as a parting note to the listeners and to you guys, I'll say only one thing, culture is very important. Just a small example, I sat with a group of youngsters and asked them, tell me your dream company to work for. Someone said Google, Facebook, IBM and I asked them why?

Rohit [00:54:20] Every single response was linked to culture, nobody said because its share value is this much, No one said because it's multi-billion dollars, nobody said because it has a presence in 50 countries, everyone said because of certain practices which they have which are directly linked to culture. So, that is the importance of culture. You're doing a great job, Senthil, my best wishes to you and your organization, someday we'll meet. Thank you, guys.

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