digital culture with swatee sarangi

Building Digital Fluency: In Conversation with Dr. Swatee Sarangi

Building Digital Fluency: In Conversation with Dr. Swatee Sarangi

digital culture with swatee sarangi

The part-2 of the series“ Building Digital Fluency in Organizations” features Dr. Swatee Sarangi, Global Head – Learning, Leadership & OD at Dr.Reddy’s Lab who spoke about the digital awareness and mindset shift within Dr. Reddy’s and how the organization keeps up with the digital age

Meet Dr. Swatee Sarangi:

Dr. Swatee Sarangi is the Global Head for Learning, Leadership, and OD at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.

A C-suite level practitioner in strategic workforce design & capability development, Dr. Swatee also possesses deep expertise in talent modeling, strategic visioning, learning, people development, work practice innovations & leadership development. 

An academician for 17 years and a gold medalist, with over 20 papers in distinguished publications, Dr. Swatee has been an eminent speaker and an HR influencer on various global platforms. 

RajivHow do you define digital fluency in your organization? 

Dr. Swatee SarangiI perceive digital fluency as a way of life. It manifests in the way businesses run and people perform their daily activities at work. Digital fluency is deeply ingrained in culture and strategy. It is everywhere. So it becomes a part of the narrative of the organization and people’s life.

Rajiv: What impact does digital fluency have on your business? How would you articulate it in terms of business metrics?

Dr. Swatee SarangiAt Dr. Reddy’s, we believe that good health can’t wait, and empathy and dynamism. These are our guiding values that come alive through digital impact, because, whatever we are trying to innovate is all about making things and medicines affordable for people which are accessible faster and better. So, that faster part comes in. 

So, if I had to look at the impact, it would be a combination of lead and lag indicators. The core business at Dr. Reddy’s is getting digitized. There are movements into adjacencies. Some are getting disrupted. So, we are doing a whole range of new things in the area of digital as well. It has been a plus for us beyond the pill. 

And then our organization design- the way we work becomes more fluid and collaborative. Even the processes are getting automated, where we are saving time!

We’re also focusing on digital skill-building- A lot of upskilling, multi-skilling. Also, the way we engage with stakeholders has also changed. So, the connect part, which is also making it more inclusive. The speed and the power of digital is making it pervasive in all these formats.

Rajiv: How do you cascade digital strategy across levels within the organization?

Dr. Swatee Sarangi: It’s a lot about trying to harmonize the entire digital momentum in all the talent processes. From performance management to skill development to hiring employees with digital quotients, everything is digital. 

We try to attack this in a three-pronged way- First, we build a layer of hyperawareness, where everybody in the organization is hyper aware about our 3d agenda. Dr. Reddy has a 3d agenda around digital, data, and design thinking. So, our employees need to have a certain amount of fluency around these areas. 

Secondly, adding a layer of digital translators. Now, the digital and data translators are the ones who act as a conduit between the business as well as the digital team. So that was also really helpful because they have deeper skills, and they can speak the language and make a case for it and act like champions. 

And last but not the least, also getting the leaders to be very actively involved as they’re the ones who are the change agents. So a lot of focus on how they will evangelize the culture and get the platforms in place and the entire experience of making digital very seamlessly woven with all the work and the business processes. 

We have found this kind of approach to work well for us, where all parts of the organization see digital as simply a way to exist.

Rajiv: What sort of methodologies are you embracing to move towards digital fluency? Can you shed some light on how you are actually going about building those methodologies and embedding that within the organization?

Dr. Swatee Sarangi: We have our cultural credo that everyone at Dr. Reddy’s practices. It’s called ASPIRE- the I part of it stands for Innovation, i.e. having a digital Mindset. When it is embedded in your daily work, it is very noticeable. And that’s where the conviction comes in. Therefore, the way you communicate is very important. Everyone has to do that, all the time. 

Also, we are celebrating these moments where people have come out and practice digital in the desired ways. We have Digital Ninjas. When people gather some credits by taking courses and learning new skills, we celebrate them as Digital Ninjas. And trust me, it works really well because everybody likes to be flashed like a Digital Ninja. And today we have ninjas going and doing more accelerated kinds of courses, projects, etc. We also have these ideas, sort of like shark tanks, coming from people, real people.

So we are encouraging a digital mindset, celebrating innovation, and being digital. 

Also sharing success stories, and sometimes even learning from failures. Sometimes you want people to experiment, be creative, and there’s a safety net provided for all. That helps!

I would say knowledge management is also very critical when you’re trying to build this digital foundation. 

And these are some of the ways in which digital can become a part of a company’s culture so that people can flow with it. For us, it has worked very well, and there are still a lot of miles to go.

Rajiv: What are some of the lessons we can learn from Dr.Reddy’s Digital transformation process?

Dr. Swatee Sarangi: We have the Manufacturing part, the R&D, the Commercial, and the Sales. In the manufacturing, we’ve adopted an agenda called Ops Next, where we are trying to look at Industry 4.0 in action- And taking it to the operators down the line, and getting everybody to change (not only automate the way they were working, but the whole mindset part of it ) has not been easy. But there is momentum for it. So we are approaching it by virtue of giving them the skills and capabilities, the resources, and an entire ecosystem where this can be sustained. 

Even in R&D, right from the selection to the launch of new products. In the COVID also we came out with a whole range of new things that we did. So that entire range has been digitalized in a great way.

We also have scientists and the people who are researching also talking about digital. 

Now, if you look at the commercial and sales folks at Dr. Reddy’s, they have been connecting with doctors in the past, especially during the pandemic through digital mediums. 

So the Doc Connect kind of digital platforms were launched by us. So we have the right platforms in place, people being up-skilled, to be able to use such platforms and not look at digital as a thrust upon agenda. A pull has to be created. 

Digital has to be a part of the ecosystem.

And whether the journey and the adoption has been easy.? No, it’s not so easy. You won’t have everyone immediately jump on board, but you will have some early adopters, some fence-sitters, some critics, naysayers, and all that. 

Change management is easier when you think about your employees’ experience the same way you do about your customers. So, focusing on change has helped us tremendously. 

Rajiv: What are some change management principles that you can share with the audience?

Dr. Swatee Sarangi: We have created a Change Management Playbook. It has been a very interesting experience because what we have realized is when people are at different stages in the continent, and when they’re grappling with challenges, they sometimes don’t have answers. But when you have things evolving and templates being created- what worked, what did not work?

So this Change Management Playbook is more like a dynamic iterated playbook. It is for people to refer to when in doubt, share things. So, this has been a great help to us.

Rajiv: How do you sharpen your learning quotient? 

Dr. Swatee Sarangi: I always try to listen more. And from listening comes reflecting and new insights. I learned a lot from the experiences of others, and some from my own. 

The third part of this interview series, “Building Digital Fluency in Organizations” will feature Amit Sharma, CHRO, Volvo weighing in on Knowing, Doing, Becoming, and Being Digital, what does digital fluency mean in the context of Volvo.

You can also watch the live webinar recording here

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