CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Madhushree Dutta, Head HR, Pure Storage India
- What are the key trends driving the evolving HR landscape in India, and how is Pure Storage adapting to these changes?
In the last three years, the HR industry has undergone significant changes. Here are some of the top trends:
- Digital Transformation and Integration of AI: The widespread adoption of digital technologies is reshaping the HR landscape in India. Companies are leveraging cloud-based HR systems, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate HR processes, enhance efficiency, and improve decision-making. We are exploring and leveraging AI-powered tools for talent acquisition, performance management, learning and development, and employee engagement.
- Hybrid work model: The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changes in our ways of working necessitated new approaches to talent management, employee engagement, and performance evaluation. Many organizations, including ours, have embraced a hybrid work model which has evolved from a survival strategy to a thriving approach, providing employees greater flexibility.
- Holistic employee well-being: Organizations are taking proactive measures to address employee stress, burnout, and work-life balance issues. Pure Storage offers comprehensive medical coverage for employees and their dependents, an employee assistance program to support mental wellbeing, flexible leave policies and telehealth services for remote consultations to support overall wellbeing.
2. How has Pure Storage prioritized work-life balance and flexibility to attract and retain top talent in India? Can you give some specific strategies that have been effective?
In 2022, Pure launched our global hybrid work policy, which serves as a guidepost of our company philosophy of supporting a combination of weekly in-office which best contributes to the operational needs of the business.
With our policy, we provided our executive leaders guardrails with how to address hybrid work across their teams, though with the type of flexibility that matches business needs and critical collaboration across teams and team members. We have crafted definitions on what hybrid work means, built and deployed practices to ensure inclusion of flexible work practices, and published leadership practices that span from emphasizing employee wellness and how to optimally use synchronous & asynchronous communication mediums to how employees & leaders can recognize and self correct on themes such as proximity bias and proximity effect.
At Pure Storage, engineers have a minimum of three office days, while non-engineering functions have two, where employees in discussion with managers get to decide which specific days they work out of office, enabling greater flexibility and better work-life balance.
To further empower our employees, we are developing a policy that avoids scheduling late-night meetings in employees’ local time. This is particularly important as our teams in India collaborate across various geographies and time zones in the U.S and Europe. By discouraging late hour meetings, we ensure employees have dedicated time for self-care, and family obligations, and prevent constant overwhelm by work-related calls and commitments.
3. What is Pure Storage’s approach to inclusive leadership, and how does the company ensure that all employees feel engaged, valued, and supported?
We launched our Inclusive Leadership Index (ILI) in 2022. The ILI is a framework designed to guide individual leaders’ efforts in driving diversity, equity and inclusion at Pure, in service of our company goal of becoming a talent magnet and advancing our ESG agenda. A critical part of Pure’s culture is inclusivity, and employees and leaders welcome diversity as a fuel to our innovation. As we advance our DEI and ESG ambitions, it is important that our senior leaders have clarity on how they can help Pure in these efforts. We started by collaborating with our Vice Presidents and above to paint a vivid picture of what it truly means to be an inclusive leader. We delved into fascinating aspects like fostering teams with diverse backgrounds, and keeping a diverse pool of talented individuals, and even examining our promotion rates through a diversity lens. It’s all part of our commitment to creating a vibrant and inclusive environment where everyone thrives!
We currently have several groups within our organization that drive DEI initiatives, such as Able (for differently abled employees), Coalition (for underrepresented minority employees) , RISE (for Puritans looking to develop themselves and their career), Pride (for our LGBTQIA+ Puritans and allies) and Wome@Pure group which focuses on professional development, engagement, retention, and empowerment of women. As an organization, we support these ERG initiatives and their mission. Each ERG has executive sponsors who are typically VPs or higher in our organization, providing leadership and guidance. The ERG groups play a crucial role in employee engagement, providing valuable feedback and support. We continue to collaborate with these groups to understand their perspectives, needs and identify areas of improvement to further enhance inclusivity within the organization, ensuring all employees feel seen, heard and valued.
4. How does Pure Storage support employees’ well-being through wellness programs, and what impact have these programs had on employees’ productivity?
Our holistic wellness initiatives prioritize employee well-being, providing support and care for our employees and their loved ones. We provide comprehensive medical, dental and vision benefits, where we cover the majority of the costs for the employee and their dependents. We offer other diverse health and wellbeing programs that support each of our employees’ unique life situations, including but not limited to virtual healthcare, behavioral/mental health resources, financial planning benefits, fitness benefits, and family building and parent support resources. We also have a flexible paid time off policy and a family leave policy that allows employees to take the time that they need to take care of themselves and their new loved ones.
As a result, Puritans feel supported, motivated and cared for at and beyond the workplace as expressed in our regular feedback surveys. All this has translated into increased engagement, productivity and greater job satisfaction.
5. What is Pure Storage’s approach to the future of work, including the hybrid model? How does it benefit both employees and the company?
At Pure, we believe that our employees go above and beyond to deliver the outcomes for our business and customers and to progress in their careers, regardless of where they are physically working from at any given time.
We believe that the future of work is hybrid. We support a combination of weekly in-office and remote work, which will best contribute to the operational needs of the business. Senior leaders and managers plan how their teams are most productive and innovative within these guardrails, and these senior leaders will determine and periodically review an appropriate in-office schedule.
Inclusion is also an important value at Pure. Given the agile nature of the work we perform, oftentimes teams producing synchronous work will join from different locations and widely differing time zones in Pure offices around the world. Employees are expected to adopt inclusive meeting protocols and display inclusive behaviors that reduce exclusions between teams working together in person and joining work sessions remotely. Our well-defined Global Hybrid Work Policy is a set of practices and guidelines, intended to provide clarity into how we will embrace a Hybrid Work approach while ensuring that we continue to fulfill customer and business needs.
This flexibility benefits both our employees and the company. The hybrid work model empowers them to balance personal and professional priorities, leading to enhanced well-being and increased productivity. By seamlessly integrating work and life, our employees find profound fulfillment. From our perspective, we have successfully implemented the hybrid work model during the pandemic, surpassing goals and strategies. This success highlights the compatibility and effectiveness of the hybrid model, building on our earlier experiences with remote work. By embracing this approach, we amplify flexibility and well-being, resulting in successful organizational outcomes.
6. How does Pure Storage leverage technology, such as AI and analytics, to enhance its HR initiatives and drive data-driven decision-making?
While we are yet to leverage AI in HR, at Pure Storage, we are using data and analytics to inform and guide HR strategies, policies, and processes. This helps us evaluate HR programs, allocate resources effectively, and understand their impact. One area where we have been able to apply this successfully is in optimizing our recruitment efforts. By analyzing historical hiring data, HR professionals can identify the most effective sources for attracting top talent, assess the success of different recruitment channels, and make data-backed decisions on where to allocate recruitment resources. Additionally, data analysis can be used to identify key predictors of successful hires and develop more accurate candidate screening and selection processes.
Through data-driven analysis, we assess initiatives, determine headcount across locations, and make informed decisions about future expansions. We collaborate closely with the leadership to share deep insights based on employee surveys, data and on-ground feedback that aid in effective decision-making while also ensuring that our people initiatives align with Pure Storage’s goals and values.
7. What steps has Pure Storage taken to attract and retain women in technology roles, and how have these efforts impacted the company’s diversity and inclusion goals?
Pure Storage is committed to increasing the representation of global women and underrepresented groups, ensuring equity in our policies, processes and practices, and building an inclusive culture that is representative of our employees, suppliers, customers and partners to drive a sustainable global competitive advantage.
At Pure Storage, we prioritize gender diversity and the growth of women employees. Our inclusive policies and processes attract women and provide equal opportunities for advancement.
Through ongoing conversations, we align career goals with development opportunities, fostering a fulfilling work experience. We analyze attrition and diversity data proactively to retain our talent. We explore repositioning options and collaborate with our women’s resource group and talent acquisition team to attract and hire more women. We organize events with inspiring guest speakers to foster a strong sense of community. These events encourage connections, learning, and support among women at Pure Storage. By prioritizing these areas, we cultivate a culture that values women’s growth, enhancing gender diversity and inclusivity.