Prodigy Education is a global leader in game-based learning. Our mission is to help every student in the world love learning, motivating millions worldwide via fun, secure and accessible curriculum-aligned gameplay experiences.
This March, on account of Women’s day, we decided that we will specifically talk to women leaders in the HR space. We reached out to Prodigy, and they were more than willing to do a thought leadership piece on Talent Acquisition with us. Meet Mahalakshmi Satish, Senior Director of India Business, Prodigy.
Prodigy is a new company in India. Although we have talent acquisition strategies and processes set in Canada, we almost had to do this from scratch to tailor it to the Indian market. So here’s our learnings on some important facets of talent acquisition.
Challenges in Talent Acquisition
For every company, the biggest challenge is when candidates decline our offer. Sometimes, they take part in interviews just to increase their value and package to negotiate better with other companies. It is very common for candidates to chase multiple offers and we had to employ multiple strategies to avoid this to a possible extent.
We had to communicate why a candidate should reject other offers for us. Two things we saw that can make an impact on their decision to take an offer are money and culture. So we offer competitive packages and joining bonuses to acquire the best talent. When it comes to culture, we make sure the candidates who get selected don’t have to wait till the date of joining to get a taste of it. Even before they get onboarded, we provide them with a welcome kit and keep in touch with them. The team they will be in, the leadership team and other teams get in touch with the candidates. And all of these are casual conversations to make them feel acquainted and belonged. We also get them included in all the events and give them updates. We try to have many touchpoints pre-onboarding and during onboarding and we ensure it is a frequent affair.
We did face a lot of challenges in making our hiring process better, especially in technical hiring. Enterprise companies can easily do this with a batch hiring process. For us, with multiple rounds, it would take more than a month and it impacted our performance. We experimented and we had to remove some rounds, club some and use better tools to reduce the time taken while we also don’t compromise on the quality.
Paid marketing helps, yes. But we felt it lacks credibility and focused on organic ways to do this. The biggest brand ambassador for us is the leadership team. The leadership team’s hands-on involvement worked out for us. We actively shared benefits planning, policymaking, engagement with employees, what’s working, what’s not and our learning as a part of our employer branding. We share what’s happening in the backend and how our employees react to it and it has helped us gain a positive image. We are employee-centric and we keep getting feedback from employees and then act on it.
We encourage our employees to share their wins and success stories both on social and internally. Our employees are so happy to work here and we can see that in the number of referrals we get. We didn't have to spend on employer branding as such because our employees brought in amazing referrals and we didn’t have to go over that to attract talent using different channels. We all know how expensive talent acquisition is. Referrals are very cost-effective and reduce the time taken too. And this is just a reflection of the employee experience. One of the biggest contributors to the employee experience is good benefits and compensation which meets industry standards. Offering healthcare benefits for employees, allowance for fitness, work from home set up, growth opportunities, and rewards and recognition help in retaining and attracting talent.
Keeping culture intact
When you are hiring rapidly it is very important to keep the culture intact. The only way to do that is by having a strong foundation you can stick to. And our foundation is our values - URGE which stands for User obsessed, Radical candour, Growth mindset, Extreme ownership, and overall as the acronym signifies, urgency. These are the parameters we look for in hiring and these keep us directed. We do have a specific culture round to check the culture-fitness of the candidate. However, we lookout for these parameters from screening résumés till the last round. These are embedded in every round. There are specific questions we ask to understand the same. Sometimes, we ask them follow up questions about their experience to gauge their growth mindset, ownership, and process-oriented attitude. Our core values are the foundation for our recruitment process and we look for those characteristics every step of the way.
In our company, we try to reiterate the core values in multiple ways. For example, we do monthly recognitions in our all-hands meeting. Any peer can recognise any peer however small it can be. But when they do it, they have to tie it to one of our core values. This way it is always at the back of our minds. We often involve ourselves in activities that will help us identify these core values. We want these core values to be as relatable as possible or it will just be action words that they are forced to follow. Apart from this, we always empathize with our employees and ensure they have a good work-life balance. We provide extra-long weekends, no-meeting days every month, unlimited sick leave and more.
Employee value proposition (EVP)
We communicate with our candidates about what their career paths and culture will look like for them. Talent acquisition is a two-way street. Candidates are also looking for companies with very specific requirements. From the job descriptions we put out to our career page, we have it all transparently mentioned. Additionally, our Glassdoor reviews mirror the growth, opportunities and culture. Talent acquisition is online now, and all candidates do check out reviews before they join in. Here, we don’t communicate our EVP, our employees do it for us.
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