Hiring Local Talent Brings Teams Together: HR, Lakshya Digital
Our approach always has been to hire local candidates with high potential and to train and develop them into experts: Pooja Mehta, Lakshya Digital
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Lakshya has been a pioneer in the Game Art outsourcing business since its inception in 2004. With a team size of almost 450 people Lakshya has grown into India’s number one provider of game art and animation services to the global games industry.
Pooja Mehta, HR Director, Lakshya Digital talks about the HR activities, employee management while holding on to them.
How do you integrate employees from different backgrounds and align them with your vision?
Lakshya Digital is part of the Keywords Studios which has presence in 20 countries. A key aspect of diversity is the localization of talent which means that the group lays great emphasis in building teams using local talent. This localization brings together employees with different backgrounds to deliver value to clients. At Lakshya, there is a deep organizational culture of respect towards diversity – be it backgrounds or opinions. Another key factor which helps us integrate employees from diverse backgrounds is the structure in which we deliver projects and drive capability development within the organization. There is a commonality of goals across teams to drive synergy along with established and formal communication platforms for knowledge management and sharing of best practice.
What is the strategic approach to the effective management of people in Lakshya Digital?
We believe in developing leaders from within. Our approach always has been to hire local candidates with high potential and to train and develop them into experts. Therefore, there is a lot of impetus on training– for entry-level artists or through the various leadership and personality development programs that we run for our mid-level managers. This approach has helped us tap the massive artistic talent pool available across the country, including in the tier 2 locations. Another focus area has been to develop professional artists – artists who are not just great at creating art but who are also fantastic team players, have good communication. We encourage artists to be multi-skilled to not only increase their professional value but to also help improve productivity and utilization. Up-skilling is another key area of focus for our artists, which enables them to learn new techniques, styles, and tools to remain relevant and productive.
Our approach to career management is driven by the employees themselves. They are made aware of the career choices and given the opportunity to develop skills to prepare themselves for the role. So they develop and drive their own careers. Being part of a global organization also helps us leverage the talent and expertise available in the multiple studios across locations to provide international exposure to our artists as well as project managers.
How does your organization adapt to meet the requirements of a changing workforce?
Lakshya has a young workforce of which the largest pie is of artists. We feel communication is at the core which helps us understand our workforce and their changing requirements. So our annual surveys, monthly dipsticks, townhalls, internal newsletter help us connect and understand our employees’ expectations better. There is a focus on constant improvement of tools and processes to keep them contemporary and relevant. Our production team regularly reviews, assesses and adopts tools that would make the life of an artist easy and help manage projects better. From an employee management standpoint, we have seen that setting up effective and multiple short-term feedback and review sessions help maintain and drive focus on the outcomes expected.
What skills do you look for when hiring a candidate?
We hire primarily across three career streams – art, project management, and quality. The primary consideration is the expertise and experience within the career stream. Each career stream has its own approach; for example, for art, we look at the portfolio of artists and for project management, we look at strong experience in handling projects across locations with strong stakeholder management. Besides the review of the current skills, there is also a test based assessment where we look at the application of the skills in real situations. So, a prospective project manager may need to develop a project plan along with risk assessment, contingency planning, on a simulated client project. For mid-level managers, we also use a psychometric tool, more from an understanding perspective rather than qualification. On the softer skills, we look for a collaborative attitude – the ability to work with diverse teams, conflict resolution style as well as communication.
Employees constantly tend to look for better opportunities outside. How do you keep them engaged and keep the attrition rate down?
The key drivers of engagement for our employees are opportunity to work on exciting projects/ titles, new skill development opportunity to work at international studios and career enhancement. The fact that we grow leadership from within also increases the engagement. We have a strong rewards and recognition system within, and identifies and rewards achievement of key milestones.
Besides the above, we drive strong engagement by developing connects across multiple levels where anyone can access the leadership and ask questions ranging from company performance to project delivery. There are connects to seek suggestions which can be developed into company-wide initiatives. Our culture is to hand hold, guide and provide a lot of support to our employees to help them succeed and grow within the organization.