Season 2, Episode 13: Wipro’s AI-Led HR Transformation

Business Excelleration Podcast

The Hackett Group Principal Paul Morrison talks with Wipro’s VP of HR and Global Head of HR Shared Services Putul Mathur and VP and Global Head of AI Solutions Practice Mukund Kalmanker about Wipro’s AI-led digital transformation in human resources, which won the company a 2021 Digital Award in the Hire-to-Retire category from The Hackett Group.

Show Notes:

Welcome to the Hackett Group’s Business Excelleration Podcast, where – week after week – we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours, and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance.  This episode of the podcast gets into changing ways of conceptualizing world-class performance, and it is hosted by Paul Morrison, Global Lead of RPA and Smart Automation at The Hackett Group for the Hackett Group.  Paul provides listeners with guidance and context as he interviews the guests for the episode, Putul Mathur and Mukund Kalmanker of Wipro, an information technology company. Putul is the Vice President of Human Resources and the Global Head of HR and Mukund is the Global Head of AI Solutions.

Their conversation begins with Putul explaining the obstacles that were involved in Wipro’s onboarding overhaul. While they were trying to implement many platforms and technology around the hire to retire process but given the scale and size (200,000 people) they struggled to get them integrated together. It was important for them to have automated systems around it and decided to go with AI solutions.

Before the process overhaul hiring and onboarding was an extremely lengthy process with three phases that worked on different platforms. Their first step was to integrate these platforms. Their experience score used to be in the 60’s and because of these integrated solutions, it has risen up to the 90’s. Mukund explains that Putul’s reimagining of the processes was disruptive and required innovative thinking. One of the important elements was mapping the employee journey and getting their digital habits right. Next was the domain, HR itself means you’re talking about humans with different backgrounds and quirks – Mukund says this is automatically a complicated space. Lastly, the technology aspect was critical. Aligning to Putul’s vision helped make the changes run smoothly.

The value and outcomes of this journey made it worth it for Putul. Firstly, they could gain through efficiency twenty-five million plus. Then they were able to reduce their onboarding timeline from 7-10 days to 2-3 days. Background verification speed also increased by a factor of ten. Their platform creation is one of a kind in the industry which Putul says has the long-term gain of attracting quality candidates and hiring the best employees. Mukund adds that the platforms and software used for HR was able to be applied to many other departments and helped them as well. He cites document analysis technology as a tool now used by legal.

Wipro has invested in and utilized AI technologies for years before this HR initiative. One of Wipro’s tools in enacting this change was Wipro Holmes, an Artificial Intelligence Platform which helps enterprises hyper-automate processes, redefine operations and reimagine their customer journeys. It helps customers offload specific cognitive tasks to the AI software to gain cost efficiencies and agility, thereby adopting hybrid modes of working. It is an industry recognized tool that Mukund says was instrumental in embarking on the journey to overhaul onboarding at Wipro. He also explains the importance of keeping humans involved as you introduce AI technologies to help people stay on board with your plans.

As the episode ends, Putul and Mukund share their key takeaways from this engagement with listeners. Mukund says that any engagements led with AI first should be strategic in nature and most importantly there should be an ongoing commitment and long-term vision for the technology usage. Secondly, he says you should have a clear understanding of what outcomes you’re expecting. Putul says you should look at the processes from a design thinking principal perspective. It’s important that we review the process properly as well with your end result in mind.

Timestamps:

  • 0:52 – Welcome to this episode, hosted by Paul and featuring Putul and Mukund!
  • 1:39 – What were the key challenges that were obstacles to Wipro’s onboarding changes?
  • 3:54 – Onboarding at Wipro prior to the process overhaul.
  • 6:52 – Mukund explains the critical elements of the project.
  • 10:25 – Paul asks about the value and outcomes that have been generated by this journey.
  • 13:55 – Mukund discusses the effects of this journey outside of the HR department.
  • 20:34 – Mukund shares the importance of Wipro Holmes.
  • 25:22 – Mukund and Putul share their takeaways from this experience.