Proper Appraisal Must for Productivity

Publication: Financial Chronicle

Date: 17th July, 2016

Spokeperson: Ms.Sofia Joseph; HR Head, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals


Cloundnine Group of Hospitals has celebrated over 85,000 births across the country, with a 3,000-strong team. It has expanded its reach to multiple facilities across India, while continuing to maintain global standards of care, and plans to reach out to as many women and children as possible. Funded by Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital and IVFA, it has come a long way from being a single hospital in south Bangalore to running 10 faclities across Bangalo­re, Chennai, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune. Sofia Joseph, HR head, Cloudnine Group, shares their HR strategies, which remains the backbone of their success story. Excerpts:

Healthcare is a vertical that directly deals with human life. How different does HR policies/strategies need to be for this segment?

Our strategy is not the typical two-dimensional process of exchanging products or services in return for money. While the fundamental idea is to serve a client, the organisation and employees together believe in co-creating an environment that ensures good memories, builds hope and brings happiness that is not to be confused for instant gratification. This needs a highly engaged wor­k­force that is totally in sync with the organisation. Ergo, our engagement interventions should be continuous and consistent so as to give confidence to our employees that their presence is valued and the processes need to revolve around elements of creativity, fairness, transparency and empowerment.

Some people think hiring the right talent is the most important thing, while others believe grooming is more important. Then there are those who consider both equally important. What is the approach you take at Cloudnine?

The millennial effect sees fresh talent straight out of universities brimming with ideas, verve and enthusiasm. Campus placements are the most ideal way of absorbing them into our system, with the option of grooming in-house talent a serious second. Shadowing is the ideal way of exposing new talent to non-simulated scenarios. This real-time problem-solving approach helps produce solution-oriented individuals. Handing out quality improvement processes to specific individuals allows them to understand the process flow well enough, by identifying gaps through various methods.

What is your current headcount and what are your hiring plans for the next one year?

We have a 2,800-strong workforce operating in 12 centres across India. We are looking at adding 10 more centres in the next two years, which includes three projects coming up before the turn of the current year.

What are the growth opportunities that an employee gets in Cloudnine?

Immense! The key to success is in understanding the business. At Cloudnine, this would mean employees from human resources changing trajectory and heading business units as centre heads or relationship officers moving up to become operation heads. The transition from clinical to administrative positions is also seen as a natural phenomenon. Nurses move from bedside care to administration or even audit, while doctors don the garb of process leads or medical directors! The opportunities to migrate into a portfolio of interest, should there be calibre to match, are massive.

At the end of the day, everybody wants rewards and recognition for the hard work they put in. All employees, therefore, look forward to a proper appraisal system or mechanism and that impacts their productivity in the next period.

Our appraisal system involves employees having a clear understanding of what is required of them and how to achieve it. A route map by way of job descriptions and key result areas are drafted and expectations set. In order to have a semblance of fairness towards not just results, but also the efforts gone into a job/task, enablers and cross-dependency contributions are charted out and evaluated. This allows the employee to be rewarded for the contribution of self and team, keeping in mind internal and external controls. Nothing can be more de-motivating than to short change an employee for specific gaps in achievement that could be out of the employee’s realm of control.

What are the most significant HR changes you have introduced and how have they benefited the company?

Adoption and utilisation of new-age applications to manage the workforce has been a positive step that we have introduced in recent times. Tools like Zing HR are widely used by our employees to make their work more effective and manageable. Similarly, using biometric tools via mobile apps has proved to be effective. Geo-fencing is an important tool that helps and facilitates disaster call alerts for women, 24/7 online help desk, amongst others.

How do you go about building your future leadership team?

Everything largely depends on the principle of not just measuring core competencies but identifying lateral skill sets, thereby creating opportunities to grow within the organisation and take on bigger roles and challenges. Once the identification and assessment process of the Hi-Pot (high potential) list is complete, competency mapping is defined which is an alignment of a specific leadership role, its success factors and individual characteristics/skills. An elaborate mentoring process commences honing the skills of the employee as regular feedback streams in to assess levels of preparedness. The identified group is also put through extensive in-house and external leadership programmes and the new role is mapped out to the employee.

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