Future Ready HR Practices for MSMEs

Here is an exclusive conversation with Girish Rowjee Co-Founder and CEO of GreytHR in which he emphasised on cutting edge HR practices that can transform a common MSME into a future ready business.

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Here is an exclusive conversation with Mr Girish Rowjee Co-Founder and CEO of GreytHR in which he emphasised on cutting-edge HR practices that can transform a common MSME into a future-ready business.
Here are the edited excerpts:

SMEStreet: What are your thoughts on the HR process followed by small scale entrepreneurs and how do you look at the entire scenario around the usage of HR technology in India today?

Girish Rowjee: Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for nearly 27% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), holding significant importance in terms of employment generation as well with roughly 110 million workers employed in this space. Unfortunately, many of these firms rely on the proprietor and his/her family members to administer typical HR roles and functions, largely due to their personal involvement in the business and lower scale of operations. This trend is more apparent amongst micro enterprises, usually comprising of less than 10 employees, and tends to narrow out as we move to small and medium firms. For entrepreneurs operating in the informal sector, it may still be tenable to manage HR processes like attendance & payroll management with the help of their spouse, but aspects such as planning skilling initiatives and managing career growth can become an arduous task as the team strength grows.

At greytHR, we do a significant amount of work with firms in the SME space and many entrepreneurs have expanded their closely-knit teams to small or medium scale businesses, largely driven by integrating efficient business processes and streamlining operations to achieve greater business volumes. These entrepreneurs recognized the need to migrate to a HR technology suite that can automate salary payments, manage employee records digitally and even planning training initiatives. Additionally, it is important to understand that the younger labour force is getting increasingly tech savvy and prefer working for firms that maintain transparent HR processes by employing some form of a HR software rather than relying on manual methods. As more entrepreneurs embrace essential HR business tools that are required to survive and thrive in this ever-changing labour ecosystem, we believe that the usage of HR technology tools and platforms will increase exponentially and be one of the most crucial ingredients for facilitating sustainable business growth in the future.

Q2: We have seen many different work scenarios coming up post the COVID-19 pandemic and companies trying to focus on skill development through digital mediums. Do you think hybrid working and its related challenges will be relevant in the future?

Girish Rowjee: Traditionally, HR has been long looked at as a function that merely manages the payroll process, rather than an important vertical that encourages employees to grow and contribute to the organization’s success. This view has been gradually changing in the 21st century, although the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant shift in employee behaviour has accelerated change, both in terms of how HR is being viewed and in putting the spotlight on improving key employee-related metrics. One notable example is how the concept of Work from Home (WFH), introduced mainly to ensure social distancing and business continuity, has now become a part of almost every workspace and organizations are having to manage HR processes for both digital and physical working. This has underscored the need for a HR technology software that can manage and streamline multiple HR processes irrespective of where the employee is located, while also providing them access to skilling initiatives that can be accessed through their hand-held computing devices.

At greytHR, we have more than 6,000 users logging in every day using our HR software, with the majority opting to mark their daily attendance through their mobile phones rather than laptops, desktops or other devices. Our mobile app has already recorded more than 1 million downloads and we believe that this trend will only get stronger with time. Eventually, employees will expect that all important HR processes be managed through a mobile phone and will increasingly rely on them to access company, work or skill-specific information whenever required. Organizations too will want to reach out to relevant employees with targeted information, choosing to reduce any latencies that are commonplace today in many large and medium enterprises. It is therefore only fair to suppose that this hybrid work culture and the rapid digitalisation it has facilitated will be here to stay, with businesses needing to automate HR processes and empower employee self-service to remain relevant in the near future.

Q3. What is greytHR doing to enhance employability?

Girish Rowjee: Established in 2019 by the country’s leading cloud-based HRMS provider, Greytip Software, greytHR Academy was set up with an aim of imparting practical HR and payroll knowledge. greytHR Academy recently announced the launch of new courses with an aim to certify over 1,00,000 young professionals and students. greytHR Academy aims to achieve this milestone via its dedicated online LMS platform, Udemy and by leveraging partnerships with academic institutions. The number of learners trained by greytHR academy has reached a milestone of 50,000. Career Education Programme is designed specifically to enhance the skill sets of students in the Commerce and Business streams.

Q4- What is the role of cyber security in an HR tech software and how do you see it developing in the future?

Girish Rowjee: Considering the fact that the HR function in any business deals with a lot of personally identifiable information (PII), be that of its employees or of the company itself, there is always a possibility that some malicious entity or cyber criminals may target the HR software to cause mischief. It therefore is very important to understand how such information is stored and what are the safeguards put in place to avoid any data leakage in case of a cyber-attack. To counter any such purported attacks, we conduct a lot of security tests on our greytHR Platform and check for any areas where hackers could penetrate our systems.

Additionally, we ensure professional implementation driven by expert implementation engineers, ensuring complete end-to-end account setup as well as on-boarding support for every greytHR client. Our customer care team is also equipped to provide a first response time that is lesser than 2 hours, with more than 85% of all customer queries or requests for support handled within the first six hours of the incident being reported. We take cyber security very seriously and the same reflects in our customer experience standards, that has been ranked very highly by over 20,000+ companies and 2million+ employees in 250+ cities across the globe.

Q5- How does greytHR educate about HR best practices and drive more SMEs towards ensuring compliance? Does greytHR provide any employee engagement related certifications to its clients?

Girish Rowjee: We have always believed in the importance of creating a knowledge ecosystem, be it for SME entrepreneurs or for their employees who would like to understand HR Payroll and compliance requirements that are applicable in our country today. During our interactions with SMEs and their founders, we realized their hesitation towards adopting HR tech solutions arising out of the lack of the trained manpower needed to administer them. Towards this end, we started the greytHR Academy that has recently crossed the milestone of having 25,000+ certified learners, with participation open to both budding HR students and seasoned professionals who want to upgrade their knowledge. With a total of 14 free courses available on the greytHR Academy online Learning Management System (LMS) platform, we continue to provide learners information on a wide range of topics that are necessary for anyone managing a business, be it from a HR & payroll perspective or on how to ensure compliance with our country’s labour laws.

Our newly introduced HR Tech course for B.Com students and dedicated placement drives for certified participants is part of our ongoing effort to establish greytHR Academy as the leading knowledge provider in the HR & Payroll domain. In that sense, we at greytHR are pioneering a body of knowledge that can be used to educate the masses, with specific webinars and institutional collaborations also being pursued to create a larger positive impact on young students who are aspiring to join the HR space. It is our aim to introduce new HR technology tools that can bring simplicity, speed and efficiency to HRMS functions and explore new modes of delivering training content to our customers, their employees as well as the general public.

Q6- With employee onboarding processes going digital in the post-COVID era, is there a need for a specialised set of technologies? Do you see these kinds of offerings as being value-added or are they a service in itself?

Girish Rowjee: There have been many elements in the traditional recruitment and onboarding process that has seen rapid disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing video conferencing solutions to conduct candidate interviews remotely, uploading and verifying candidate details as well as exploring international aspirants for job applications has now become a reality due to the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other important technologies. Our own recruitment drives are now done completely online, with even our HR personnel working away from our physical office spaces when conducting interviews or analyzing applicants. Although this requires utilizing a host of different software solutions currently, we believe that these functions will soon be integrated and bundled as a service as more firms adopt a completely digital onboarding process.

At greytHR, we have integrated Aadhar authentication into our technology platform, offering our customers the ability to keep track of all regulatory and compliance requirements, without having to resort to laborious and manual efforts to achieve the same results. We remain committed to integrating more such HR tech solutions and tools, moving all recruitment and onboarding related processes to the digital realm. While these changes were always in the offing, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of digitalisation and has unlocked new opportunities for HR Tech focused companies like us.

Q7 How do you see greytHR navigating through 2023 and beyond? What are your priorities and targets for the foreseeable future, especially in terms of the number of SMEs that greytHR aims to onboard as customers?

Girish Rowjee: Currently, we have over 20,000+ companies that rely on our automation and self-service solutions through the greytHR platform, with 2.3million employees being served on a daily basis. About 90% of these employees are based in India and we see about 7 lakh employees logging in daily to perform HR-related duties. These numbers should serve as an indication of the huge opportunity available, both in India as well as on a global scale, and we intend to organically expand greytHR’s presence across developing markets that are similar to India in terms of maturity and technological adoption.

That said, we believe that SMEs in India are still hugely underserved and unlike many of our competitors, our focus continues to remain on onboarding a bulk of our new customers from this segment. We have already acquired 500 new customers in April this year and don’t see any reason why we should not be able to maintain or even exceed this figure going forward. A large part of this confidence is driven by the fact that there are probably a million such micro and small enterprises in our country with 10-15 employees, of which many will grow exponentially as the Indian economy moves up the ranks on a global stage. As technology continues to proliferate through every industry, we will find more businesses like hospitals, automobile dealerships and educational institutions amongst many others shifting towards HR tech tools in a bid to better manage their employees and extract more operational efficiencies. Our goal and aspiration is to grow our customer base by 100% in 2023, working towards this milestone by capitalizing on the vast opportunities presented by Indian SMEs in particular.


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