Transitioning to a leadership role within the organisation can be an exciting opportunity for an employee. At the same time, new responsibilities come with new challenges, and overcoming them needs thoughtful planning in place.
Chandra Ganjoo, Group Chief Executive Officer, Trivitron Healthcare who was chief people officer before stepping into the CEO role, in an interaction with People Matters sheds light on challenges, qualities needed for the transition from HR to CEO, and how her skills in HR helped her grow as a leader of the company.
Can you share your journey from CPO to CEO? What challenges did you face during your transition from HR to the CEO position, and how did you overcome them?
My journey from Group CPO to Group CEO has been a transformative and rewarding experience. I started my career at Trivitron in 1999, and throughout my 24 years with Trivitron, I have held various roles, including sales, marketing, branding & corporate communication, cost controller, and human resources management. This diverse experience has provided me with a deep understanding of different aspects of the organisation and the healthcare industry.
Throughout my journey, my focus has been on the importance of the four Ps: people, process, product, and project. These pillars played a critical role in driving organisational success, and I continuously worked to optimise them to achieve organisational objectives. I believe that valuing and prioritising the well-being and development of employees, creating a positive work-life balance, and fostering a culture where individuals thrive are key factors in organisational success. As CEO, I continue to maintain a people-centric approach, which has been instrumental in my journey to success.
I always maintain a growth mindset and invest time and effort into building a supportive network of peers. These experiences have helped me overcome obstacles and gain valuable insights, resulting in remarkable results.
Overall, my journey from CPO to CEO has been a continuous learning experience, marked by personal and professional growth. By embracing challenges, seeking knowledge, and staying committed to the organisation's goals, I have been able to successfully navigate the transition and drive Trivitron's growth in the healthcare sector.
In your opinion, what are the key skills and experiences an HR professional should develop to successfully transition into a CEO role?
To successfully transition from an HR professional to a CEO, it is essential to cultivate a diverse set of skills and experiences. While HR expertise is a valuable foundation, there are several key areas to focus on. A deep understanding of the business and its operations is paramount, as it provides the necessary context for making informed strategic decisions. Building relationships with key stakeholders across various functions and levels of the organisation foster collaboration and drive alignment toward common goals. Acquiring financial acumen allows HR professionals to analyse data and make data-driven decisions that directly impact the organisation's bottom line. Lastly, developing a strategic mindset enables HR professionals to think holistically about the business and anticipate future challenges and opportunities.
How has your background in HR influenced your approach to leadership and decision-making as a CEO?
My background in HR has profoundly influenced my approach to leadership and decision-making as a CEO. Coming from HR, I have always strongly emphasised people and their well-being. I believe that a company's success hinges on its employees' engagement, growth, and satisfaction. Therefore, I strive to create a supportive and inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to give their best. Additionally, my experience in HR has honed my ability to navigate complex interpersonal dynamics, resolve conflicts, and foster effective communication throughout the organisation. This people-centric approach allows me to lead with empathy and make decisions that consider both the business's strategic objectives and the well-being of our employees.
What unique insights or perspectives do you believe you bring to the CEO role as a former HR professional?
As a former HR professional, I bring unique insights and perspectives to the CEO role. I have a deep understanding of the needs and concerns of our employees, enabling me to make decisions that prioritise their growth, development, and overall satisfaction. I strongly believe that engaged and fulfilled employees are the foundation of a successful organisation. Moreover, my experience in HR has provided me with a keen understanding of the importance of company culture and the role it plays in attracting and retaining top talent. By leveraging these insights, I can shape our organisational culture, create an environment where innovation thrives, and build a high-performing team that drives our company's success.
How do you balance the strategic demands of being a CEO with the people-focused responsibilities that are often associated with HR?
Balancing the strategic demands of being a CEO with the people-focused responsibilities of HR is a complex challenge that requires careful navigation. As a CEO, I believe that the organisation's success is deeply intertwined with the well-being and engagement of our employees. To strike the right balance, I prioritise creating a clear strategic vision for the company and effectively communicate it to the entire organisation. This ensures that everyone understands the direction we are heading and how their contributions align with the overall strategy.
Simultaneously, I recognise the importance of fostering a people-centric culture that values employee development, empowerment, and work-life balance. I actively engage with employees, seeking their feedback, addressing their concerns, and providing opportunities for growth and recognition. By nurturing a supportive environment, we can inspire our employees to perform at their best and align their individual goals with the strategic objectives of the company.
Furthermore, I promote collaboration between HR and other departments, enabling HR to play a strategic role in talent management, succession planning, and organisational development. This integration ensures that HR policies and initiatives align with the broader strategic goals of the company while supporting the well-being and growth of our employees.
Balancing the strategic demands and people-focused responsibilities requires ongoing evaluation, adaptation, and a commitment to fostering a harmonious synergy between the two. It's a continuous effort to optimise organisational performance while prioritising the needs and aspirations of our valued employees.
As a CEO, how do you leverage your HR background to attract and retain top talent?
As a CEO with an HR background, I leverage my knowledge and experience to create a strong employer brand that attracts and retains top talent. I understand the importance of building a positive and engaging workplace culture that fosters employee satisfaction and growth. I prioritise investing in employee development and providing opportunities for advancement within the organisation. By understanding employees' needs and preferences, I can tailor our talent acquisition and retention strategies to attract the best individuals who align with our values and vision. Additionally, I believe in creating a work environment that promotes work-life balance, employee well-being and recognizes and rewards exceptional performance.
How do you ensure that HR policies and practices align with the overall strategic goals and vision of the company?
Ensuring that HR policies and practices align with the company's overall strategic goals and vision is crucial for success. As a CEO, I work closely with the HR team to establish clear communication channels and collaborate on designing policies and practices that support our strategic objectives.
Regular feedback loops with employees and management help us identify areas of improvement and make necessary adjustments to align our HR initiatives with the organisation's broader goals. By fostering a culture of transparency and open dialogue, we can ensure that HR policies and practices contribute to the growth and success of the company while upholding our values and vision.