HR is all about handling the ‘grey areas’. It will take long for AI or Robots to attempt it.
A graduate from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Neetu Singh, is a HR Practitioner with an experience of over a decade. In her career, she has played an instrumental role in transforming HR functions of several organizations. Currently, she is working as a HR Director with Winshuttle, a Business Process Automation organization, headquartered in the USA.
Thank you, Neetu for agreeing to this interview. We value your time. We are looking forward to your candid and honest response as you always are.
1. We would be pleased to learn about your journey from the beginning. So, please share with us about your first job interview.
My first job was with a start-up organisation. I got to know about the opening though my network. Before appearing for Interview, I ensured that I am thorough on my subject knowledge and latest trends in the industry. As I am from management background and had done my summer internship in BHEL, most of the questions posed to me during interview were based on the same which I could answer aptly. It was a great experience.
2. Which, according to you was the most intriguing interview? Can you share your experience in detail?
During the initial stages of my career, I remember my interview with R-Systems. It was very organised and insightful. I got a call for face to face meeting with Head HR and CTO. In both the rounds the questions were based on real challenges and I enjoyed responding to these questions where I could apply my knowledge and experience. Before appearing for the interview, I thoroughly reviewed the Job description, Organisation, products, people and culture. This preparation helped me stayed confident during interactions.
3. First job is a major milestone for many people. Let’s discuss about your first year at job. How was your experience? What were your expectations from your job and your role? Were they all fulfilled? What didn’t coincide with your expectation?
Throughout my career I have stayed as an open learner, this trait helped me in getting assignment of varied nature. The second most important aspect that helped me is to work collaboratively as a team player. To grow further in my profile, I moved to explore new challenges in a growing organisation.
4. According to you, do you think workplace mentors and coaches play an important role in settling fresh graduates in their first job? How was your experience?
Mentors and coaches play vital role in one’s learning. My mentors always encouraged me to take new challenges and exuded trust in my capabilities. Beyond that we should keep investing on our exposure, education and experience to prepare ourselves for unknown tomorrow in VUCA times.
5. You are an HR Practitioner for so many years. Could you please tell us why did you choose this profession? If not in HR, what other profession you would have chosen for yourself?
HR is my first career choice as I deal with huge spectrum of challenges and guide the organisation forward on all people aspects. I never thought of any other career choice apart from HR. I may opt for HR consultant and run my own firm after few years.
“Keep the communication straight with employees and involve people managers at each level to cascade communication to avoid knee jerk reactions”.
6. Having worked in a leadership role, what do you think are the expectations of a CEO or the Management Team from its HR Function in general and HR Head in particular?
In depth knowledge of business, advisor to Sr. management and CEO on people aspects, preparing the organisation for business directions on culture, people’s growth and ever-changing talent need.
7. In the same breath, can you also highlight about expectations of employees from the HR Function of an Organization?
- Mechanism in place for openness/ feedback,
- Growth opportunities,
- Challenging assignments,
- Competitive compensations and benefits
“HR is all about handling the ‘grey areas’. It will take long for AI or Robots to attempt it”.
8. According to you, what are the key challenges of being a representative of employees as well as a representative of company management? What kind of conflicts you have faced and how did you manage to overcome them.
Business expects employees to deliver desired outcome like customer satisfaction, at the same time employees expect ‘EVP’ which leads to likewise business results.
At times, organisations struggle in striking a balance between the two. My advice is to keep the communication straight with employees and involve people managers at each level to cascade communication to avoid knee jerk reactions. Organizations must train and coach managers at each level. Share the ‘purpose’ of change so that they can play their role of people management effectively. Few examples: withdrawing any benefit or restructuring business or scrapping any process.
9. HR is at the crossroads, yet again. According to you, what will be the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots, etc. on the future of HR Function? Please also highlight how social media has changed the world of HR practitioners?
HR is all about handling the ‘grey areas’. It will take long for AI or Robots to attempt it. However, the reality is process driven jobs can be easily supported by AI in the coming time.
I have learnt, HR is all about interactions, communications and applying human to business opportunities in a given context.
Social media has made this world even smaller, connected and networked. It is easier these days to share information and get quick response on various people aspects like- hiring, development, branding and sharing information.
“Key competencies for HR are - Partner with business, master communication, versatility & problem-solving approach and proactive thinker”
10. Last question, what is your message for young and aspiring HR practitioners? What kind of growth opportunities should they look forward to? Why anyone should join this profession? And, what are key competencies one must have to be successful in this profession?
Persistence, Patience & Perseverance is the key. Stay open for new opportunities and keep asking for a variety of work to learn more, worst could a ‘no’. Be a student always who is ready to learn always. Key competencies for HR are Partner with business, master communication, versatility & problem-solving approach and proactive thinker.
Thank you very much, yet again, for sharing wonderful insight. We appreciate it.
*This interview was originally published on www.sanjeevhimachali.org. [Date: 20th March 2018]