Enhanced learning and development opportunities have been a cornerstone of F1Soft’s people management practices

There are not many home-grown Nepali IT companies that can come close to F1Soft International in terms of growth and expansion. Established in 2004, F1Soft, the pioneering company in fintech in Nepal, is the biggest entity in the country working in several verticals including digital financial services, fintech, health tech, big data, and education. Piyush Paudyal, Group Human Resources Head of F1Soft credits efficient people management practices for the company’s achievements and success. In a conversation with the HRM, he talked about the organizational culture in F1Soft, changes in people management over the years, and the focus of the company’s HR department, among other topics. Excerpts: 

F1Soft International is now the biggest name in the digital financial services business in Nepal with various entities under its fold. What role people management has played in this regard?
People management has played a crucial role in the growth and success of F1Soft right from its humble beginnings. It has been instrumental in attracting and retaining top-notch talent, fostering a sense of engagement and motivation among employees, investing in their skills and training, nurturing strong leaders, promoting collaboration, and creating a positive organizational culture. These factors have collectively propelled F1Soft to become a leader in the digital financial services industry in Nepal. We achieved this by meticulously hiring individuals who possess the right skills and align with the company’s values and culture.

Moreover, F1Soft ensures that its employees are well-compensated and offers them ample opportunities for career growth and development. We have successfully cultivated a strong organizational culture that revolves around innovation, agility, and a customer-centric approach since day one. By providing a nurturing work environment, we ensure that our employees are not just content but also inspired to perform at their best.

Q. What major changes have been there in people management in the company in the past 19+ years?
Changes were the only constant for F1Soft, both in terms of technology and people management. F1Soft has witnessed significant changes in its people management practices over the past several years. These changes have been driven by various factors such as market dynamics, employee expectations, and the need for organizational growth and innovation. There has been a significant emphasis on employee-centric practices that prioritize employee empowerment, work-life balance, and career growth. F1Soft’s employee engagement and well-being practices have also undergone substantial transformations, implementing various initiatives to enhance employee engagement.

Enhanced learning and development opportunities have been a cornerstone of F1Soft’s people management practices. The company has invested heavily in training and development programs that encompass both technical and soft skills. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, F1Soft has empowered its employees to adapt to emerging technologies and market trends. Company culture has played a pivotal role in shaping F1Soft’s people management practices, building a culture that promotes trust, respect, collaboration, and innovation. This has been achieved through various means, including the alignment of organizational values, regular communication of the company’s vision and mission, and the establishment of employee-driven initiatives.

The company culture at F1Soft is now seen as a key differentiator and a source of competitive advantage. The adoption of an agile and adaptive workforce has been another significant transformation in F1Soft’s people management practices.

Q. How is F1Soft managing its 1000+ workforce so efficiently?
F1Soft, together with its employees, is united in pursuing a common goal of the digital financial transformation of the country. The organization’s mission and vision serve as the driving force that brings people together and motivates them to work towards a shared goal. This alignment of purpose fosters a sense of unity and cohesion among the employees, enabling them to collaborate effectively and achieve the organization’s objectives. F1Soft has successfully cultivated a collaborative work environment among its employees by leveraging several key factors. These include a clear mission and vision, a well-defined organizational structure, a supportive managerial and leadership team, robust systems and technologies, a unique talent acquisition approach, comprehensive career development and learning opportunities, clear career growth prospects, a distinct organizational culture, and employee engagement initiatives that extend beyond the workplace.

Q. How has people management spurred innovation in F1Soft and its companies? 
We encourage our employees to think outside the box, explore new ideas, and challenge conventional thinking. By fostering an environment where innovative ideas are valued and supported, F1Soft empowers employees to contribute their unique perspectives and explore novel solutions to complex problems. We value the input and ideas of our employees, realizing that innovation can come from anyone, regardless of their position or role.

By actively seeking and considering employee feedback, F1Soft creates an environment where individuals feel empowered to contribute to the innovation process. Effective people management practices within F1Soft and its companies spur innovation by fostering a culture of creativity, promoting collaboration, providing learning and development opportunities, encouraging autonomy, recognizing, and rewarding innovative contributions, and embracing employee feedback.
These practices enable F1Soft to leverage the collective intelligence and creative potential of its employees, driving continuous innovation and positioning the organization at the forefront of the digital financial industry.

Q. What challenges exist to manage people in the organization?
We are acutely aware of the multifaceted challenges that arise in managing people within our organization. Effective people management is crucial for maintaining a motivated, engaged, and productive workforce. In the highly competitive market, we must continually identify, recruit, and retain individuals with the necessary skills, experience, and cultural fit.

Managing a diverse workforce is both a strength and a challenge. To fully leverage the benefits of diversity, we must ensure an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and heard. As our industry evolves, embracing change becomes imperative. Effectively managing change requires transparent communication, stakeholder engagement, and support for employees during periods of transition. By cultivating a change-ready culture, empowering employees through involvement and feedback, and providing adequate resources, we can navigate change successfully.

Q. What are the key focuses of the HR Department of F1Soft in people management for raising employee productivity?
The HR department of F1Soft focuses on several key areas in people management to raise employee productivity. We focus on hiring individuals with the right and required skills, experience, and cultural fit, by implementing effective recruitment strategies, sourcing channels, assessment processes, and a well-structured onboarding program we help new employees integrate smoothly into the organization, understand their roles and responsibilities, and align with the company’s mission, vision, and core values.

We have established performance management systems and processes that enable our employees to understand their goals and performance expectations. Also, by aligning individual goals with organizational objectives, we help our employees stay focused, motivated, and accountable for their work. Our HR department identifies training needs, designs, and implements training programs, and promotes a culture of learning within the organization. We provide access to resources, organize workshops, seminars, and online learning platforms, and encourage employees to take ownership of their professional development. By investing in employee growth, the HR department boosts productivity and keeps employees engaged. We have designed and administered a comprehensive compensation and benefits policy as well as a rewards and recognition program that acknowledges and appreciates employees’ efforts and achievements. The continued growth of the employees in terms of knowledge and skills is our key focus area.

Q. Staff retention is said to be one of the major issues in the Nepali tech sector. How are F1Soft and its companies working to retain talents?
We recognize the importance of staff retention in the Nepali tech sector and have implemented various strategies to address this issue. We offer competitive compensation packages to attract and retain top talent in the industry. We regularly benchmark our salary structure against market rates to ensure that our employees are fairly compensated for their skills and expertise.

F1Soft places a strong emphasis on employee career development and growth. We also promote a culture of internal mobility, encouraging employees to take on new challenges and advance their careers within the organization. F1Soft has cultivated a unique organizational culture that fosters employee engagement and loyalty. We prioritize teamwork, collaboration, and a supportive work environment. We encourage an entrepreneurial mindset, allowing employees to innovate and take ownership of their work.

F1Soft also promotes a culture of continuous learning and growth, which contributes to employee satisfaction and retention. We also promote a supportive work culture that values work-life balance and encourages employees to prioritize their well-being. We understand the importance of employee engagement and recognition in retaining talent. We organize regular employee engagement activities to foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie among employees.

Q. Similarly, it has become challenging for tech companies to find qualified talents in recent years as many IT graduates opt for abroad jobs/studies. How F1Soft manages to recruit talent?
The allure of better opportunities and the desire for international exposure has led many IT graduates to opt for jobs or pursue further studies abroad. This trend has created a shortage of skilled professionals in the local job market, making it more difficult for companies like ours to find the right talent to meet their needs. As a result, organizations have had to adapt their recruitment strategies and explore innovative ways to attract and retain qualified individuals to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving technology landscape.

To address the challenge of finding qualified talent in IT and tech, we have employed various strategies in place. We have established partnerships with educational institutions to create a talent pipeline through internships, co-op programs, and industry projects. Also, focused on employer branding which highlights the organization’s culture, projects, and growth opportunities. Implemented talent acquisition strategies which include targeted job postings, proactive sourcing, and technical assessments. We offer competitive compensation and benefits to attract and retain top talent. We emphasize on fostering a positive work culture and stimulating environment which values innovation and collaboration. Through these approaches, we aim to overcome talent shortages and attract the skilled individuals we need to thrive.

Q. How do F1Soft and its companies prioritize learning and development activities? 
We prioritize learning and development activities as a key component of our organizational culture and employee growth. We offer comprehensive training programs to enhance employees’ skills and knowledge. These programs cover various areas such as technical skills, leadership development, project management, and soft skills.

We also promote a culture of continuous learning and encourage employees to take ownership of their professional development. We provide employees with access to a wide range of learning resources, including online courses, webinars, e-learning platforms, and educational materials. Employees are encouraged to stay updated with industry trends and technologies through self-paced learning.

We foster an environment of knowledge sharing among employees. We encourage our employees to share their expertise, experiences, and best practices with their colleagues through internal communication channels, such as knowledge-sharing sessions, internal meetups, and collaborative platforms. This enables employees to learn from each other, gain new insights, and develop their skills collectively. We recognize the value of mentorship and coaching in employee development. We have mentoring programs where experienced employees guide and support junior colleagues in their career growth.

Additionally, managers and leaders at F1Soft provide regular coaching and feedback to employees to help them identify their strengths, address development areas, and achieve their professional goals. F1Soft places a strong emphasis on developing effective leaders within the organization. We offer leadership development programs that equip employees with the necessary skills to take on leadership roles. These programs include leadership training workshops, executive coaching, executive education, and mentoring from senior leaders. By investing in leadership development, we ensure a strong leadership pipeline and promote a culture of leadership excellence.

We also recognize the importance of professional certifications in enhancing employees’ expertise and credibility. We support employees in obtaining relevant certifications by providing financial assistance, study materials, and time off for exam preparation. This support not only benefits employees in their professional growth but also contributes to the overall expertise of the organization.

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