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Flexibility and upskilling is crucial for success: VP-HR, Pay U Money Payments

Flexibility and upskilling have become crucial for employees and organisations in today’s time, which is continually developing. The traditional approach to career growth and skill training is no longer sufficient, as evidenced by the rapid evolution of technology, globalisation, and evolving market needs.

For one to remain relevant and thrive in the current world, adopting an attitude of flexibility and consistently improving one’s skill set has become crucial.

To know more about it, we spoke with Sapna Sukumar, VP-HR, PayU Payments to know her views on upskilling, flexibility, and industry insights.

Below are the excerpts from the interview

1. As the VP-HR at PayU Money, you have witnessed the growth and development of many professionals. What key qualities do you believe are essential for individuals looking to build successful careers in the payment and API banking solutions industry?
Firstly, having strong technical abilities is prudent as it sets the foundation to your role. Being a highly technically led industry, it will continue to evolve at a faster pace than ever. Hence, it is crucial to have a good command and hold over the numerous software, programming language, data structures, APIs, and security protocols to keep up with the fast pacing technology.

Secondly, flexibility in learning and the ability to adapt is another skill that helps you to stay relevant and competitive in the fintech sector. Thirdly, for an industry such as ours, having a customer-centric outlook is as essential as having strong business acumen. It is extremely important to understand the needs and requirements of your customers.

And lastly and more importantly, keeping yourself updated with regulatory developments is particularly important because being informed about the constantly changing and evolving regulatory environment is crucial to assure compliance and avoid possible future risks.

2. In a dynamic and ever-evolving industry like fintech, how do you encourage and support continuous learning and upskilling among your employees to keep up with industry trends and advancements?

At PayU Payments, we believe that the performance of each individual is crucial for establishing and sustaining a high-performing organisation. New learning policies are designed and developed to motivate employees to acquire new skills that will enhance their careers and help them professionally.

Our Learning & Development policy is being overhauled to cover a number of courses related to an employee’s role and position and what they wish to learn. We have a 50% co-pay model for courses that PayU (as Pay U Payments’ employees are popularly known) wish to enroll for, if these programmes extend beyond their immediate role.

3. Young professionals often face the dilemma of choosing between specialisation and exploring diverse roles. What advice do you have for them in finding the right balance to shape their career paths?
Young professionals are bound to face this dilemma of picking a specialisation or exploring diverse roles. While multiple factors influence this decision-making process, they should focus on what they want to do further in their lives and how that will help them personally. For some, a specialisation would work better if they wish to hold an expertise in a given area of work. And for others, exploring various career options would feel more fulfilling as they develop new skills from different roles.

What worked for someone might not work for everyone! The first step towards finding the right balance is doing a thorough research about the path one is choosing and understanding what is more suitable. Taking calculated risks about one’s future is a sign of maturity and dedication. Seeking help from a professional or a mentor makes the process smoother and helps with making more informed decisions.

In any domain of work, it is important to be able to learn and adapt to changing environments. If one is able to complete this task, half the battle is won! Being flexible and adaptable is always handy whether choosing to specialise or choosing a varied career path, but most importantly, they need to have a passion for what they choose or do and the desire to get out of their comfort zone.

4. As a leader in the HR domain, how do you create an environment that encourages employee engagement and fosters a sense of purpose among your team members?
A lot of planning and effort goes into engaging a workforce while constantly driving a sense of purpose within teams. Reinforcing company values and drawing parallels between an individual’s ethics and the company’s, plays an impactful role in driving purpose. It establishes a connection between their personal aspirations and professional goals, fostering a strong sense of belonging within the organisation.

Positive reinforcement is one of the major contributors to building a happy and engaged workforce. We do this through open and transparent communication where PayU feel empowered to express their thoughts and opinions without hesitation, and through rewards and recognition programmes. Our lines of communication bridges the gap between the organisation and our employees throughout, making them feel valued and heard. Recognising and rewarding their efforts is equally important than just monetary compensation.

5. With new-gen employees preferring hybrid work setup, what are your views on the future of work?
Embracing the new reality and adapting to it is essential in today’s dynamic world. Work is no more that has its boundaries from 9-5; people are stepping out of their comfort zone, putting in extra hours of work and also managing personal commitments and errands simultaneously. At PayU Payments, we believe that there is an absolute necessity for the work-life balance in an individual’s life. Hence, a hybrid work setup works the best in today’s environment.

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