Shradha Mittal Encourages Trust in Aligning Individual Development and Organizational Goals for Greater Good

Jason McRobbie

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A core commitment to aligning career development and growth with organizational objectives can prove an invaluable investment in competitive times. For Shradha Mittal, SVP of People and Culture for Trulioo, it is the keystone of a people-approach that takes a step beyond the talent wars to create strong bonds that surpass geographies and competitive offers alike. Applying that lens of people-first at a time of exponential growth has shone through in the figures and feedback alike.

Key Takeaways:

  • Aligning individual professional development with organizational objectives serves to empower and engage employees while retaining talent for success—and succession;
  • One powerful key to unlocking that development potential lies within self-empowering the journey, laying out to the pathway for a self-owned career;
  • Creating such opportunities helps foster a more open culture grounded in open communications and underlying trust.

The importance of aligning individual development with overarching organizational goals, cannot be overstated for Shradha Mittal, SVP of People and Culture for Trulioo—particularly when trying to retain and grow an organic culture in a competitive, distributed scenario.

Finding the means to self-empower that development has served both immediate organizational goals and the culture challenge of a global company now 430-strong, headquartered in Vancouver with offices in San Diego, Dublin and Copenhagen.

“When I started at Trulioo in October 2021, we numbered about 220 and were about to double in size. I spent a week with all the leadership and made a laundry list of feedback,” said Shradha. “We talk about values. We talk about DEI. We talk about recruiting. My goal was to do it all in a thoughtful and data-driven way with a global approach. When we had our first leadership quarterly review, I made it known my first goal was to lay a strong foundation.”

Adding to the challenge, that foundation would need to apply globally to a growing remote, hybrid and in-person workforce.

“Back then, there were just so many more conversations around salaries and compensation, instead of around career growth. Also, we have a lot less face time with our employees in a hybrid or remote world, so some of those positives that used to keep people at companies for longer became more complicated to achieve in the hybrid environment,” said Shradha. “We knew if we wanted to retain our high performing employees we needed to ensure this is a place where people can build their careers and we’re being inclusive about that.”

A firm commitment to career development and growth for all employees has been fundamental to that foundation—and one which has already allayed attrition by 33%.

“When I think of the why behind aligning individual development and organizational goals, it really comes down to the desired outcome and that is retention and reducing regrettable turnover,” said Shradha. “I also think because we are spread out, we want everyone to feel they belong and are moving in the same direction. That is the ultimate goal.”

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In addressing the how-to of aligning individual and organizational ambitions, Shradha also spoke to the metamorphosis of the managerial role in a culture where employee development is quite literally self-driven.

“Number one, the approach we are taking at Trulioo is one I have always been a proponent of—to let employees own their career growth. What does that mean? At Trulioo, we do a career vision exercise with our employees, which is a part of developing their own growth plans to get an idea of what their vision is, both short term and long term for themselves. Then, as leaders, we marry it together with the overall business objectives and use this information to guide the career development conversations and identify opportunities,” she said.

Shradha looks to their largest employee base, the engineers, as a great example of the development program’s success—being the first group to take 100% advantage of the development approach.

“The same applies to everyone, but let’s use engineers. Some have aspirations to become senior engineers, then architects. Others will aim to become chief technologies officers one day. With that goal in mind, we identify the growth areas required and build that trust by showing them what they need to do to grow to that level,” Shradha said.

As for how employee’s react to this approach—general elation. “For the employee, it is, oh wow, my manager cares about me and is going to help me with my development and my path,” said Shradha. “How powerful is that?

“What we are really doing is empowering employees to own their careers and facilitating it as leaders,” said Shradha, pointing to the added benefits. “What this creates is an environment in which employees are still growing whether that is cross-departmentally or in terms of promotions.”

For Trulioo, this approach is fundamental to a business built on growing networks of trust on a global scale. For Shradha the success has shone through in not only their retention figures, but in witnessing the uptake of a self-propelled culture grounded in the same value of trust that Trulioo enshrines in its business.

“The biggest thing is building trust. ‘You have to show the employees you care,’ is something our CEO Steve Munford has always said,” said Shradha. “It begins with the approach of being employee-driven and the whole philosophy of ‘you own your career.’ What it really provides is permission for employees to open up and be vulnerable. When you are doing that, you are building trust. There is a lot that this rolls over into the everyday and the impact is very powerful.”

In fact, on the basis of employee feedback, Trulioo took much the same values-aligned approach throughout its foundational people programs.

“We took the same approach with our performance management and introduced a values-driven rewards and recognition program, as well. Again, as with our professional development, these are global programs that help our people across different workplaces, as well as cross-departmentally on a global level. In the first three months, over 43% of our employees had received a recognition,” said Shradha. “Employees want connection beyond just the work they do daily. That is a sense of belonging,  meaning, seeing themselves represented at all levels—including leadership—and giving back to the community.”

Without doubt in Shradha’s perspective, the net value versus cost is a basic equation.

“It’s simple. The cost is losing great people. Instead, you can have an engaged workforce where you are retaining your high performers who become your advocates both internally and externally,“ said Shradha. “If you look at our rating, it is 4.5 and that has been consistent.”

Those stellar figures aside, the overall uptake for the self-owned, professional development opportunities within sits at 63%—apart from the all-systems-go engineering team—and that is not a figure Shradha can leave unaddressed.

“One of my pet peeves is creating a program that everyone wants and then not seeing the full adoption to it. So, what we have done to bring that figure to 100% is make a change to our annual performance review to make it employee-driven,” Shradha said. “What that means is that instead of a self-review, it is forward-looking, concise and focused on career growth. The goal is to make it more constructive and tie into self-owned professional development and our feedback culture.”

For Shradha, it is a simple joy with serious intent.

“Our ultimate goal is to create this high-performing culture,” said Shradha. “And, sharing and achieving organizational objectives and goals. It’s not  about just having a list of values, but infusing those values into everything you do in the employee cycle—from interviewing to onboarding to development. It’s our values that drive our decision-making.”

Shradha is clear of the value not only from an organizational perspective, but as core to the employee experience. 

“We have always been very intentional about being inclusive, creating that sense of belonging. We empower employees to self-drive programs to let them know they are being heard. It also takes the guess work out of developing programs when you know what the employees want because you are hearing that feedback.”