Upskilling and Versatility are critical factors for employee growth and motivation: Fidelity Investment India’s Maria Nirmala

In today’s VUCA world, with the complete upheaval of traditional business models, it is more important than ever for employees to stay on their toes and garner the necessary skills to ensure career longevity and stability. However, it is also essential for employers to ensure that their employees are equipped with the right resources to tackle occupational challenges. Empowering employees to advance their skill set also benefits the company in maintaining a diverse and skilled workforce. However, the fear and uncertainty in employment is still rampant and we have Fidelity Investment India who is working relentlessly towards keeping its employees (the heart of its organization) motivated and focused on career growth and stability. During our conversation with Maria Nirmala who is the Head of Talent Management and Workforce Planning at Fidelity Investments India, talks about the importance of upskilling and reskilling to retain talent in today’s dynamic world.


  • What is the importance of career mobility in today’s volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) world and how it’s helping employees at Fidelity Investments India, move up the career ladder? 

Today, organizations are becoming much leaner, flatter, and more agile, to be able to dynamically adapt to our VUCA world. Opportunities to, therefore, move ‘up’ the corporate ladder need to be redefined from just moving up the hierarchy to moving up the value chain with regard to the nature of work one does. It is imperative that employees understand the big picture, get exposure to various roles, develop diverse skills, work with a variety of stakeholders, and acquire broad experience so that they can enhance their value and contributions to the organization. Career mobility programs are structured ways that enable employees to relook at their current career journeys and equip themselves to move into new roles if they feel the need to. While they are able to carry their learnings and perspectives to a new body of work, the fact that they are still a part of the same ecosystem helps them settle more easily into the new role and accelerates their learning curve, thereby enhancing their ability to create value.


  • In today’s volatile job environment, how is Fidelity keeping its employees motivated and positive?

The opportunity to do meaningful work and make a visible impact helps employees give their best at work. This becomes all the more critical during volatile times. The larger purpose and how the work they do from day to day connects and contributes to it not only provides them the drive to pursue excellence continuously but also enhances the feeling of stability. Additionally, the opportunity to upskill and move across the organization also adds to their versatility. Both these factors are critical to motivation and positivity. Fidelity has several programs that seek to enable these at various levels. These include building a growth mindset that nudge employees to explore new paths and get out of their comfort zones, enabling managers to help employees connect their work to a larger purpose by being effective coaches, and changes in policy that allow employees to apply for new roles after a year in their current roles, among others.


  • Can you share some insights from the recently organized Career Fair 2023: what was the idea behind it and for how many years has Fidelity been doing this?

Fidelity constantly invests in its employees’ career growth, notwithstanding the currents in the market around us. Our Career Fairs are opportunities for employees to have conversations with leaders of business units with open roles, ask them questions, and apply for those roles. . While this initiative openly nudges employees to explore opportunities that they could pursue in their careers, it is also an occasion for business groups to enhance their own brands within the organization and showcase how the work they do creates meaningful impact. Additionally, we have workshops to help employees enhance their interviewing skills and strengthen their networks before applying for new roles, with access to career coaches and mentors who guide them in their career journeys.

This year’s three-day event was the third edition of our Career Fair. The concept was introduced in 2020 just before the pandemic began. In 2022, we organized a virtual career fair, which was well received.


  • Can you throw some light on employees who have moved up the career ladder, by means of this career fair?

The process of interviews and selections is still under way. However, in the past, our career fairs have helped business leaders get an increasing visibility of candidates across the organization. Employees have made use of the opportunity to apply for positions at the next level of their career journeys. Therefore, the career fair has been a great opportunity for employees to not just more across domains but also ‘up’ in their own domains in the traditional sense.


  • What are other initiatives undertaken by Fidelity India for employee growth?

Fidelity focuses on a holistic approach towards employee growth.  I would like to segment this into three parts and talk about initiatives in each segment:

  • The head – assessing self, understanding developmental areas, and building required capabilities. Towards this, the organization invests heavily in making premium learning resources available for our employees, along with dedicated time for learning.
  • The heart – wanting to move out of comfort zones and consciously developing a growth mindset. Managers and career coaches provide the space for employees to discuss and carve their own career paths.
  • The hands – tools and resources that enable employees to actually explore opportunities. These include recruiter office hours, hiring manager sessions, and open roles being published in our organizational newsletters.


  • What are the tech skills required for a professional to sustain in the market? 

From T- to pi-shaped professionals, organizations are today talking about comb-shaped professionals, where breadth and depth of expertise is developed across multiple areas from a technology stack. However, beyond technology skills, the secret for sustainability in the market is to embrace more learnability and fungibility. Employees need to build muscle by which they are able to seamlessly fit into diverse roles, and this can be acquired only through practice. It may not be that we land the right roles every time, and some could even seem to be bad moves. However, what one can learn from each experience and carry forward is the key to a successful career.

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