Reshmi Stephen | Manager – HR | QuEST Global
While I was working as a fresh engineer in MindTree, Bangalore, I got the opportunity to work closely with the HR team on some of their employee engagement initiatives. I realized the positive impact that a successful HR initiative had on employee engagement and morale. This triggered my interest to pursue a career in HR. However, I couldn't afford a career break at that point in time to pursue management studies and hence enrolled myself for the PGDHRM course from Symbiosis Center for Distance Learning. While I was doing the two year part time program from SCDL, I continued to support MindTree RDS HR team in their initiatives. I got the opportunity to do the final project of my course also at MindTree. After successful completion of PGDHRM course, I was fortunate to get a job rotation to the HR function. Once I joined the team, I could apply the concepts that I learned and realized the importance of being a true HR Business Partner who can design and implement initiatives to meet the business objectives.
In 2012-13, I attended the PGCHRM course from XLRI to strengthen my HR foundation and was also able to build a network with strong HR professionals. In all the organizations I've worked in - MindTree, UST and QuEST, I have received a good exposure to the entire gamut of HR and had the opportunity to work with excellent managers with tremendous focus on HR Business Partnering, which helped me to mold my career in HR.
Points of differentiation
My core differentiators are: Ability to understand business challenges to design the right solution, metrics driven approach and a maximizer.
- Ability to understand business challenges to design the right solution: My stint as an engineer has helped to set the foundation for my understanding of the business realities and challenges. This has helped me to put myself in the shoes of a business manager. By combining business expectations with HR insights, I'm able to develop data driven, people focused, and effective solutions to business problems.
- Metrics driven approach: I strongly believe that for any HR initiative, we should be able to define Key Performance Indicators and we should track the KPIs to evaluate the success of the initiative or to do course corrections. I have practiced this approach in all the initiatives that I have designed or executed in my career. I was able to translate the KPIs in financial terms to showcase the value addition of HR.
- Maximizer: I focus on strengths of myself and my team members to stimulate personal and group excellence. I seek to transform something strong into something superb. I push myself and my team to not be complacent with the past accomplishments, break silos and always try ways and means to be better. I inspire others by finding out what motivates them. I strive to honor everyone’s uniqueness and preferences.
Biggest Talent Priority to solve
With disruptive technologies changing the business landscape every day, managing the workforce of the future will be the biggest talent priority to solve. With gig economy booming and Gen Z entering the workforce, employees are looking for more flexibility in the way they work. HR will have to rethink the way to manage those preferring new and alternate modes of employment. Collaboration Platforms will have a key role to play to help workers collaborate and managers to lead their virtual teams. Quick learning and knowledge management will become even more important since workers will be a moving crowd rather than permanent employees.
Data protection will be an important factor to consider with employees working on collaboration platforms and in bring-your-own-device mode. I would like to play an active role in change management within my organization and HR fraternity to prepare ourselves to manage the expectations of this multifaceted workforce. To be able to do this, HR has to be equipped with the required subject matter expertise by trying and testing out the best-in-class technologies.
The one thing I will retain in HR
The ability of HR function to be able to provide inputs on ground level realities to the business leaders through their connect and network within and outside the organization is what I would like to retain in HR. HR function has the power to show a different and human perspective to the business leaders in this changing technology world, through our time tested skills of active listening and emotional intelligence. Even when Artificial Intelligence takes over the world, HR's ability to put ourselves in other's shoe and empathize and being able to relay this employee engagement aspects to the business leaders to take the right decisions or to correct the wrongs should sustain.
The one thing I will change in HR
HR function has evolved from personnel management to strategic human resource management over the last century. However, the evolution of HR function has been at a much slower pace when compared to the growth in technology that we have seen. As the business landscape is changing dramatically in the blink of an eye, it becomes imperative that we as HR Business Partners are equipped and focused to handle the volatile talent and workforce models. There is a growing need for HR to be able to provide real time insights by adopting digital technologies. We should be prepared to learn and unlearn. This change in perspective is what I would like to bring in HR.
Vision for HR's future growth
With the changing demographics of the workforce, HR should become agile and flexible and should be able to challenge the status quo. We should become change champions who pioneer the latest in HR technology and guide the business leaders to embrace this change, while managing a dynamic and ever changing workforce. We should be able to design and implement initiatives in line with the demands of Gen Z by breaking the mold of one-size-fits-all approach. Our aim should be to engage, empower and create experiences for the workforce of the future so that we can unlock and maximize the human potential for organization success.