Q. What has been your journey like as an HR professional?
A. Its been a long and interesting journey from a trainee in DCM group to the Director of Indorama. Along the way I have worked with many varied industries right from hardware and software companies, to manufacturing units, from textiles to petrochemicals. Q. What were the biggest challenges you faced? A. The challenges have been different with each industry. For example when I was with the software companies the biggest challenge was controlling the attrition rate. At Indorama a big challenge was finding manpower for our industry in Nigeria. However the two biggest challenges faced by me have been – keeping every employee of my team motivated and retaining the best talent in my organization.
Q. What are the challenges HR faces in the new era of the ‘digital age’?
A. In my opinion digitization has really not created challenges rather it has helped businesses in accomplishing many of the traditional responsibilities in a more efficient, cost-effective and better manner than was possible before. So it has been more of a boon than a bane!
Q. Any advice you would like to give on how to manage people/teams ?
A. It is all about the right leadership. Organizations that give their people the freedom to perform, trust them with responsibility, make them feel accountable for their actions and teach them how to respect authority are able to successfully manage their workforce. A leader who ensures that each and every member in the team feels like a winner and helps him achieve his goals will seldom face many problems. So trust your people, guide them well and make them feel like winners.
Q. How effective and how important are rewards and recognitions in strengthening employee engagement and retention? A. Rewards are definitely important, but throughout my career there is one thing I have realized that nothing is more important than the power of the human touch. This also I have learnt from my Group Chairman Mr. S P Lohia. Always make your people feel cared for and never lose an opportunity to appreciate them. That is the best reward you can give them.
Q. How can a company attract the best people?
A. I would like to list down four factors which I feel are important if one wants to attract the best people
1. A strong brand image of your company
2. An environment of growth and development within your company
3. Flexibility in ways of working
4. An open leadership where employees can speak and express their thoughts and ideas without fear.
Q. What is the secret to hiring the right candidate?
A. Again I would like to list down a few important points
5. Maintain a good reputation as a potential employer.
6. Be proactive during the recruitment process.
7. Search for an employee who is a good ‘cultural fit’ than just a good ‘job fit’.
8. A candidate with a positive attitude and one who is self motivated is always more valuable and useful to any company. Attitude is more important than qualifications.
Q. What advice would you give young candidates if they want to stand out and get noticed during an interview?
A. Your attitude is the most important thing. So keep a positive attitude , work on your communication skills and speak with power and conviction. Prepare well as subject knowledge does matter but more importantly show that you are willing to learn and have the ability to think out of the box.
These are a few factors that will help you stand out and be noticed.