What has been your journey like as an HR professional?
A. My journey as an HR Professional has spanned over 19 years. I have worked with both large international companies and domestic start-up to set up/expand their operations. As a result, I am completely skilled-up to help companies develop their vision and take it through successful implementation across all levels and all departments of the company.
The expertise accumulated over the years has helped me to set up and execute all HR related strategies required by an organization to succeed. From setting up HR functions from the scratch, framing policies and procedures, starting career and talent development initiatives, planning the compensation structure, finding ways to attract the best talent and laying down measures to retain them.
Over these years, I have developed into a strong people’s person which has helped me groom people for larger responsibilities, develop frameworks and processes, and create the highest standards of integrity and ethical values within the organization. I am ambitious with a strong intellect & business acumen, with great problem solving & negotiation skills. Recently honored with “Employee of Decade” award for shaping the company growth.
Q. What were the biggest challenges you faced?
• Maintain Low Attrition: In our vibrant economy, it’s always a challenge to retain employees. Retention with right compensation, vibrant culture, challenging work, rewarding policies etc has always been a great challenge.
• Balance Between Management and Employees: The human resource manager has a responsibility to balance the interest of management and employees. Profits, commitment, cooperation, loyalty are the factors expected by management, whereas better compensation, safety and security, healthy working conditions, career development, and participative working are the factors expected by employees from management.
• Hiring right & best candidates for open jobs: An HR professional needs to be adept in finding and securing the best hires, even when the job market is in the candidates favor.
Q. What are the challenges HR faces in the new era of the ‘digital age’?
A. This digital age is very intricate yet the reality or fact is that it presents real challenges which HR professionals like me would love to deal with. On one side the digital arena offers complete transparency and there is literally nothing at all that can be hidden from anyone within and outside the company. Company policies, environment issues, promotions, key people etc are aspects which are now openly known to the world. On the other side, because of this openness there is so much data floating on the web, that all HR managers have a fair understanding of how other companies deal with situations. And the best part is that all this information can now be accessed by any employee too.
So unlike in past when data was limited, the solutions thought by oneself were sufficient. Today the internet is filled with information , unlimited data and ideas making the role of HR more challenging. HR personnel can now learn, debate, discuss what other HR managers have to offer on the digital map. In my current company, we also encourage employees to explore the web and come out with innovative solutions. This makes problem solving easier as the ownership of the solution increases.
Q. Any advice you would like to give on how to manage people/teams as the workforce becomes more diverse, as the ways of working change?
A. As the workforce becomes diverse, the biggest challenge would be to balance the needs and expectations of all these people. If you are dealing with an international team, the biggest and the most basic challenge is figuring out a time that is suitable for all. If you are dealing with project specific teams, you have to manage different functional people like testers, developers, managers etc. Here the biggest challenge would be to match all the varied expectations.
I would say in general that whenever any diverse work force is made, the HR manager should, whenever possible call them together very openly discuss the challenges and try and workout solutions then and there in the meeting. This will reduce ambiguity, and ensure expectations are set timely with the right connect and clear communication.
Q. How effective and how important are rewards and recognitions in strengthening employee engagement and retention?
A. Rewards were and will always be a great tool to motivate employees. Right from childhood up to old age, we always appreciate a pat on our back for the good work done. However, what is critical is that this entire process of framing the reward policy and its execution should be done in the most logical and rational manner. At FASTBOOKING India, we have implemented a completely un-biased and nepotism free reward policy which can justify each reward logically based on the performance of an employee.
Q. How can a company attract the best people?
A. The best, brightest, and most talented people are looking for growth and challenges. If you want to attract them you need to show them the real purpose of your business, its impact, and the growth of the company.
Most professionals understand that it is not the “company” that a person turns down or leave. It is the management or the lack of leadership that they leave behind. Ensure that most of the ex-employees leave in the most amicable manner because potential recruits normally take reference of the departed employees. Also, have Glass door and other social media postings reviewed regularly. Apart from this the best way to attract talent is by offering them a learning opportunity and also challenging them with tasks that excite them.
Q. What is the secret to hiring the right candidate?
A. The success of your business depends on the quality of your employees. Small businesses, especially, know that one bad hire can ruin their entire team’s productivity. The most important criteria for hiring are competency and fitting the company’s culture. At FASTBOOKING India, we treat recruitment like a project where our stakeholders are invited at the beginning and all issues related to the above points are brain-stormed and implemented.
Q. What advice would you give young candidates if they want to stand out and get noticed during an interview?
A. First impression is the last impression. Hence your attire is very important. It is also important to prepare responses to expected interview questions. Before applying one must do a good research on the company, the hiring manager and the job being offered. While facing the interviewer be authentic, upbeat, focused, confident, candid and concise.
Also remember the importance of a good body language. Last but not the least know how to sell yourself and close the deal !
Most professionals understand that it is not the “company” that a person turns down or leave. It is the management or the lack of leadership that they leave behind