Sometimes, it happens by chance while other times, you choose to embark on a new journey to test yourself. In 2016, Shreyas Haridas, an emerging HR business partner at Star India Pvt Ltd went on one such self-discovery journey when he enrolled for the People Matters Are You In The List Awards. As he looks back after almost eight years, he believes that the timing couldn’t have been better. It is through the multiple evaluation process that he understood his skills better, built analytical abilities and business acumen and was able to map and align people processes to business outcomes.
This is the story of the rising star, who highlights how the coveted award, where you get a chance to interact and get coached by CHROs, became a force multiplier for his career. As we perceive and prepare for the unconventional times ahead, Shreyas shares stark insights on what differentiates leaders of today from yesteryears and how tech can be leveraged for better business and HR. Excerpts from the interview:
You were the HR Business Partner at Star India Pvt Ltd when you applied for the People Matters Are You In The List Awards. Today, you lead HR for South Asia, Middle East and Africa at Spotify. How did the evaluation process of People Matters Are You In The List transform your career trajectory?
My ‘Are You In The List’ journey happened at a very important juncture in my HR career when I was just getting into a more strategic role working closely with senior leaders. The evaluation process, while a great self-discovery journey, also helped me understand and fine-tune my skill set to be able to be a better business partner which supercharged my career. The multiple rounds of evaluations, business cases and finally interviews with senior industry leaders gave me great insights into what goes into making a good HR professional.
What was the motivating factor for you to apply to People Matters Are You In The List Awards? What were the skills and capabilities you acquired during the rigorous evaluation process?
I knew people who had been through the journey earlier and had heard great things about it from them. It is obviously one of the most prestigious HR awards in the country and I wanted to test myself and see how I fare. The evaluation process was very helpful in not just understanding my own skills better, but also helped me develop my analytical abilities and helped me focus more on my business acumen. This resulted in me being able to better align and map HR and people processes to business goals and outcomes.
As we look at HR today, what do you believe are the essential characteristics an HR leader needs to imbibe to lead through unconventional times?
Given how the world (including the corporate world) has changed over the last few years, I feel that HR leaders need to imbibe and internalise the following traits:
- Embrace Technology: Tech is changing faster than ever and the HR function cannot lag behind.
- Be Business Savvy: HR needs to demonstrate deep business acumen and be able to speak to business leaders in their own language.
- Develop Empathy & Mutual Trust: The world is a very different place post-pandemic and in the current economic climate, even tough decisions need to be led by empathy.
- Innovate: Traditional ways of looking at performance, learning, career paths, etc., should not be sacrosanct and HR leaders should be bold in proposing changes or sometimes even overhauling archaic processes.
It’s been almost eight years since you won the coveted award. What advice do you have for emerging HR leaders looking to use People Matters Are You In The List as a platform to become future-forward leaders?
Irrespective of whether you win the award or not, the evaluation process is a great discovery journey and will help you immensely in your career ahead. Winners of this award have access to one of the best HR networks in the country where great knowledge sharing happens. Today, corporate awards are plentiful, but there are only a few that have a consistently robust and well-designed evaluation process and ‘People Matters Are You In The List’ is probably the best of them all!
As you look to 2024 and beyond, what are the trends that will influence the HR function with the integration of Gen AI and other technological advances?
As is the case with any other function, we in HR can benefit greatly from technological advances, especially Generative AI. The key trends and focus areas I see in this regard are:
- Staying Human in the Age of AI: While we need to embrace this change, we need to understand it first, ensure transparency and then look for ways to integrate AI in people’s jobs, HR processes and other areas in a way that builds trust rather than fear of jobs going away.
- Staying Ahead of the Curve: They say 2024 is going to be the breakthrough year for AI. The HR function needs to adapt, learn and create processes that leverage it rather than a reactive approach later. Things like recruitment, performance management, and HR operations can see an immediate and tangible benefit with AI & tech if done the right way.
- Development in the Times of Exponential Tech Changes: One of the most important things HR leaders will need to focus on will be upskilling and development of the workforce to be one with this change. Proactive skill development will aid in faster uptake and efficient results when adopting new-generation technologies.
- Employee Experience: Tech in HR is at a very fascinating stage right now. There are great tools, technologies and resources available today to significantly improve employee experience across all HR touchpoints. This can lead to higher engagement, skill development and overall productivity!
If you are eager to test yourself just like our past winners, register now for the People Matters Are You In The List Awards. The stage 2 assessments powered by Aon have begun with limited seats in each of the assessment batches. So, the sooner you apply, the quicker you will get your detailed personality, behavioural and cognitive assessment report. Follow the #AreYouInTheList to know the stories of past winners, their initial years in HR and where they are today.