A Good Leader Is One Who Has The Ability To Work With A Diverse Set Of People

Ashu Malhotra, HR Director- Indian Sub Continent, Cargill India in conversation with The Human Factor says being a ‘peoples manager’ is the key to leading your team towards success.

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Q. What has been your journey like as an HR professional?
A.   Over the last 24 years I have gained exposure and expertise in the areas of Business Transformation, Organisation Development, T&D and Corp Governance. I have also specialized in aligning HR strategy into the business. Being on the Board of Directors and also handling various other leadership roles I got a vast exposure of handling operations. I could say my journey has been interesting and filled with a lot of learning.

Q. What were the biggest challenges you faced?
A.   The biggest challenge was to learn to understand the other person’s point of view, empathize with it and relate to it. To be a good people manager one needs to have the ability to work with different kinds of people.

Q. What are the challenges HR faces in the new era of the ‘digital age’?
A.    In today’s fast changing world the biggest challenge HR faces is retaining good talent. We need to create an environment within the organization where employees feel cared for and their expectations are met. We also need to create a sustainable culture. To overcome this challenge the key is to create more people managers instead of just managers.

Q. Any advice you would like to give on how to manage people/teams as the workforce becomes more diverse, and as the ways of working change?
A.   We should find ways and means to get connected with the teams and make sure that the personal touch is not missing at team levels. As a leader you should be fair and transparent by providing equal opportunities to all .Your team should respect you for the expertise you bring.

Q. How effective and how important are rewards an recognitions in strengthening employee engagement and retention?
A.   Awards are meant to foster right behaviors and help in inducing right performance levels in the organization. Hence proper design and implementation of R&R is very important.

Q. How can a company attract the best people?
A.    Try to become an Employer of choice. To become that you need to be fair in your dealings with people and you need to treat them with respect and dignity. Work hard to create an environment devoid of fears and threats. Encourage an inclusive work culture and always appreciate and reward good performance. This will get people to talk good things about you and spread a positive word of mouth which in turn will help in attracting good talent.

Q. What is the secret to hiring the right candidate?
A.    First we as HR heads need to understand the job role, the expectations and the specifications in detail to be able to hire the right candidate. Psychometric tests can help in assessing a candidate and finding out if he has the right attitude and behavior required for the specific job.
Once you are clear what or who you are looking for finding the candidate with the right fit becomes easy.

Q. What advice would you give young candidates if they want to stand out and get noticed during an interview?
A.    There are a few things all candidates should keep in mind. It’s most important to be honest .Be your natural self and portray who you actually are. Articulate well and be confident. Before you apply for the job do your research well and make sure you have a good understanding of the job profile and the Industry you are applying for. Last but not the least be humble and be a good listener.