Future of Work: Verizon India is shifting to conscious inclusion, from unconscious biases: Gopinath Pullaihgari

At YourStory's Future of Work 2021, Gopinath Pullaihgari, Director of Human Resources at Verizon India speaks about becoming an employer of choice for tech talent in India.
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Even before the pandemic, a new paradigm in tech talent management had begun to emerge. In the era of COVID-19 and its remote blended working environments, it is distressing to see job postings that are misaligned with the current times. There is a need for companies to address how they engage with fresh talent and employees.

On the second day of YourStory’s Future of Work event, in a fireside chat with Senior Editor of YourStory, Ramarko Sengupta, Gopinath Pullaihgari, Director - Human Resources, Verizon India, spills the beans on becoming an employer of choice for tech talent in India.

He shared insights on how Verizon India is planning for the future of work for their employees, and amplifying its position as an employer of choice. 

Creative courtesy: YS Design

Gopinath comes with over 20 years of experience in managing human capital across HR roles and geographies. Before joining Verizon in 2012, Gopinath played integral roles in the HR departments of JP Morgan Chase & Co., Optimus Global Services and Xansa. He has successfully led pioneering initiatives in talent transformation and is known for innovative HR practices. 

Speaking on blended and remote work environments, and increasing employee engagement in the present scenario, he said, “The pandemic was an eye opener. It broke a lot of glass ceilings that we earlier never thought we could break.”

At the fireside chat, Gopinath spoke about Verizon India’s sustained growth. “The tech talent here (in India) gives us an edge in terms of everything that we do - that is how I would summarise India's sustained growth over the last 20 years. Our focus is to move to become a strategic centre, and a centre for innovation, just not for our tech arm but for the organisation as a whole. And that is the journey we are currently on,” Gopinath said at the fourth edition of Future of Work. 

Gopinath Pullaihgari (Director - HR, Verizon India), in conversation with Ramarko Sengupta (Senior Editor, YourStory) at the Future of Work, 2021

Further, he talked about how tech talent is now increasingly led by millennials and GenZ workforces, and how tech companies are gearing up for the expectations, taking on the dynamically changing roles. “A few years back...we clearly laid down the facts that we wanted to be an innovation centre and a strategic arm that drives businesses and business goals,” he added. 

When Verizon India first started working remotely, it lacked the ‘collaboration’ piece in the larger puzzle. In line with this challenge, Verizon acquired video conferencing company BlueJeans for around $500 million in April, last year. “It was an important strategy,” Gopinath said.  

Since 2014, Verizon India has been on a mission to build an inclusive and empowering culture. “Like every other company in India, we started the narrative with gender,” he said. A large part of the women employees were in junior roles, and that was the first challenge that Verizon went on to solve. “We went about addressing that in a strategic way. The first step was sensitising our leaders and workforce,” he added.

“The narrative is now shifting from unconscious biases to conscious inclusion,” he said. 

Over the last few years, there has been greater emphasis on gender-pay parity at Verizon India. Moving forward, as the company looks to build on its empowering culture, its narrative is ‘supply of diversity.’ Verizon India will be focusing on inclusion of people from the backward and BPL communities. Last year, it was recognised as one of the leading companies to work with people with disabilities, from an infrastructure perspective.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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