Podcast Audio Transcript
Mimi: Hello listeners, this is Mimi; thank you for tuning in to yet another exciting and informative podcast from us at Infosys BPM. Today, we are discussing about redefining career and growth. And to talk about this, we have here with us, Uma Sankar, VP & Head of Organization Development. Welcome Uma. How are you?
Uma: I’m doing well, Mimi. Nice to be back on this podcast.
Mimi: It’s a pleasure to have you with us again. We have such an important topic today. When it comes to career, most people have their own expectations. With a rewarding corporate career behind you, how would you define career growth?
Uma: That’s a very relevant question, Mimi. The topic of career growth is very close to my heart. For most people, they naturally think about where their career stands at certain times: such as at the start of a new year, during appraisal periods, or when they see role changes in the organization. In uncertain times like these, there is the tendency to reflect more about our future and careers.
My definition of growth has changed a lot over the last few years. In the first 10-12 years of my professional career, it was all about promotions coupled with increase in salary. It was a moment of pride for me and my family whenever I got a promotion or salary increase. So career growth and success was all about promotions and salaries.
However, 15 years into the corporate world, as I moved into senior managerial roles, I realized that “up the ladder” is not the only way. Those frequent promotions were not coming easily. It took longer. That is when I realized that career growth does not come just by being a functional expert or completing a project on time. Slowly, the focus shifted to having a positive influence on others, developing the ability to challenge the status quo and building my professional network. It was no more about what I know , but more about who knows you. I realized that I must shift my focus from outcomes to the actual process and my behavior. Career growth and success meant is now about “competence + branding + network”.
Mimi: That’s a superb definition, Uma, and it’s from your own experience. I feel that this way of thinking about one’s career and growth is lost on many employees, especially in the initial years of their careers.
So, in your opinion what should one do differently to rethink their career growth?
Uma: Yes, it can be challenging for young folks to rethink their careers. You should make some changes in the way you think, act, and speak. It is time to ask questions like:
Increase your visibility with leadership, by becoming an expert in an area that is important for your organization, solving your blind spots, and understanding what you are evaluated on. All these can help employees position themselves as valued contributors.
- Am I contributing or asking something insightful in meetings?
- Do I take responsibility for things beyond my goals?
- Do I take time to network and share ideas?
- Do I speak when it matters?
Mimi: Yes, I agree Uma. Rethinking your career growth could also influence your skill development and personal fulfilment. It can improve resilience and adaptability as well.
As a globally recognizable brand, Infosys also does a lot to support career growth and development. Could you touch upon that?
Uma: Definitely, Mimi.
There are several avenues to enable career growth:
With these, individuals can actively shape their career paths, adapt to changing circumstances, and explore new opportunities for growth and advancement.
- Bridge Programs: Bridge programs can be valuable tools for transitioning from one career stream to another. For example, if you're transitioning from operations to a digital or tech career stream, these programs can provide the necessary training and support to bridge the knowledge gap and make a successful transition.
- Upskilling/cross-skilling programs: Upskilling and cross-skilling programs across domain and industries are designed to help individuals acquire additional skills that are relevant and complementary to their existing expertise.
- Skill tags: Skill tags provide individuals with a unique identity and allow for deep specialization in specific domains. Skill tags can enhance visibility, attract relevant opportunities, and differentiate professionals in a competitive job market.
- Soft skills development: While technical skills are crucial, it's essential not to overlook the importance of soft skills. Online and offline classes focused on communication, executive presence, conflict management, customer centricity, strategy, and other areas can greatly enhance your professional effectiveness and make you a well-rounded candidate for career growth.
Mimi: It’s wonderful to see so many programs oriented towards career growth in the organization. I also feel that managers can do a lot to enable career growth for their teams. Could you touch upon what specific aspects managers can address to influence this?
Uma: That’s quite true, Mimi. Career growth works best when you can align an employee’s professional goals with the company’s current and future needs.
We encourage managers to hold regular career conversations with teams and talk about their goals and development opportunities.
Encourage team members to pick up new domain and new skills and explore the internal talent market place. That will enable talent mobility and retention. Professional growth is accorded as a top employee need at Infosys with 51% of our employees ranking it as their primary aspiration.
Mimi: I agree, Uma. This was a wholesome discussion on career growth. I would like to thank you for your time and insights in this important area.
Uma: It’s always a pleasure, Mimi.
Mimi: Dear listeners, if you enjoyed our podcast today, please don’t forget to share and like it on social media. Our social handles are mentioned in the podcast page. The podcast will be available on various platforms like Google Podcasts and Spotify, in addition to our website.
Also, if you have any queries, do reach out to us through the email address on the podcast description. Watch this space for more exciting podcasts coming up. Once again, thank you for tuning in, stay safe and stay sharp. Have a nice day!