Sunday, February 10, 2019

Interview published in internal magazine

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

After graduation in Microbiology, I was into media sales for 1 year and then I joined for Masters in Personnel Management.  My first professional stint embarked at Indian Steel, a heavy engineering Indian company in 1997. I was hired through the campus recruitment. It was a great generalist HR experience. I moved in Semperit Group, a European MNC when they entered in India through acquiring big Indian company in rubber compounding. I started heading the plant HR function with diverse work group and my job was to integrate the organization with MNC processes and culture. I also worked with Indian auto giant, Mahindra & Mahindra & one of the largest Media Group, Sakaal Media Group, on different leadership roles.

Before joining Alfa Laval, I was with DSM India, the subsidiary of Royal DSM, Global MNC, heading the country HR function and HR transformation at Asia Pacific level. I worked in DSM almost 9. 5 years across all functions of HR; extensively worked there on Culture Agenda, HR transformation, Talent Management, salesforce effectiveness & organizational re-design. I also got the opportunity to work at Netherland and Shanghai on short- & long-term assignments.

I like reading books, writing and mentoring young students and groom them for the corporate in my leisure time. I have authored 6 books on self-help, management etc.
My wife is doctor, she has taken a break and pursuing her hobby in art and my son is in 10th grade.

In your opinion, what are the important points that any HR professional needs to take care of while dealing with diverse organisation environment?

I think, HR role over a period of time is evolving. There are lot of expectations from HR from business leaders. 

HR needs to be more proactive and HR professional has to play different roles like, strategic adviser on people issues for people managers and business leader, facilitator for talent discussions and people development, challenger & change agent. They need to be functional expert in functional domain. They have to understand the nuances of business. They are also the gatekeepers for values and code of business conducts. 

At another side, employees expect better employee experience. They need simplicity and freedom of work. They expect HR to intervene if something goes wrong in the team, function or the organization. They also expect that HR should be fair and reasonable and devise simple policies. Another expectation is of transparency and openness. They expect HR to be a role model.    

Few points HR professionals should be clear on,
  • Diversity is important; ensure the diversity but also work on inclusion. We should create the culture of inclusion and make diverse people conformable in the organization.
  • Simplify systems & HR processes so that Managers and Employees feel comfortable to work with such systems. As in a new way of working managers have to pay the important role in all HR processes. 
  • Focus on right talent coming in the organization. Educate managers to identify the right talent as high potential, top potential. 
  • Talent Acquisition, Talent Management & Talent Development is crucial. HR should know how to do it. 
  • Leadership development and succession planning is another area where we need to have dedicated focus.
  • HR analytics is one of the area where HR professional has to support business and managers on people demographics, prediction in attrition etc.  
  • And finally challenging ourselves and asking the question “Are we Future ready?”  with right IT tools, new methods and systems, future capabilities in the world of AI, IOT and Bots.   

Along with above, we also need to have the balance between strategic & other tactical and operations HR issues so that we have harmonious employee relations and employee experience through different IT tools and HR service delivery.     

What are top 3 things from your experience you think are important in People management?

In people management, following are 3 areas which are very important.
  • Regular feedback to team members not only on performance but also on their development. There should be regular feedback sessions with the team. Taking interest in the development of team members and having the right capabilities and competences is vital in the growth of the business;
  • Understanding the future growth drivers and having the right skillset in the team; talent acquisition is very important and people managers should train themselves on hiring skills.
  • Identify the talent in the team, be the coach for the talent and sometimes encourage him to take a larger role within or outside the function. 

What are Alfa Laval India priorities for 2019?

Delivering on the budget with expected business growth is priority for all. India is growing market, market trends are positive, but competition is also high, in such situation staying the course is very important. Keeping employees engaged, skilling and re-skilling is important. We are having some global initiatives like product and application development competency building will continue in 2019 so that our sales team approaches customers with right mindset.    

We have just launched the Peoplepro (Workdday) successfully in India. It was successful because of involvement of managers and stakeholder. There will be few other modules like PDD, Hiring and Talent Management will be go live in 2019 & 2020. Priority is to ensure that managers and employees are comfortable to use the system and resolve their issues.

Another priority is to stabilize the HR service delivery model. HR service delivery model in implemented in India in 2017, there were some hiccups initially, now the team is set up. We have also conducted the effectiveness survey and we will work on the improvement areas like response time, payroll integration etc.  

There will be structured and more focus on Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, and People development. We have already discussed the framework in aligned with global guidelines. We will talk more about talking talent and developing talent. 

What is your message to colleagues?

Alfa Laval has very open and transparent culture. The company is best workplace to work.  My appeal to colleagues is to be courageous to challenge and think differently.  Be curious to know new things in your functional area. Be open to give new ideas and suggestion on how we can improve. We all need to work in a new way. Look for challenging business opportunities and continual improvements. 

While doing this, identify development areas and new skills to learn and take care of yourselves.  


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