Prerna Saha | Senior Manager | Wipro Limited
Prerna is an intelligent and empathetic leader who strives to focus on the bigger picture while not missing out on the smaller details. She looks at herself as an enterprising thinker who is able to form balanced objective views on issues and provide logical solutions. As an HR professional, she enjoys the challenge of understanding the workings of different organizations and has supported her organization in managing the complexities of multiple acquisitions. She also values her ability to easily mingle and collaborate with business stakeholders.
As a teenager, Prerna often heard the adults around her discussing their “good” and “bad” bosses and colleagues. And more often than not, the aspects remembered were related to how they managed their teams or were as leaders. It was never really about their sales numbers or margins and profits. This made her realize that the human aspect of organizations is as important as any other and when she got an opportunity to study HR at XLRI, she was eager to learn more about this field. Today, she has a deep sense of appreciation of what an HR professional can contribute to the success of any organization.
Enhance value proposition of HR
Being a human capital consultant, Prerna is responsible for successful workforce transitions during acquisitions. Looking at business synergies and financial performance is common when analyzing an acquisition, but understanding the impact on the people and supporting their journeys through this massive change is not always a priority. This is the perspective she brings to the table. She partners with leaders to create compliant and sustainable people solutions while addressing the diverse needs of each business.
Bringing roles in sync with individual calling: Key priority
A challenge all organizations are facing today is to be inclusive. We all acknowledge the importance of diversity and are striving towards increasing diversity but to truly become inclusive there is a long way to go. Whether it be providing the right infrastructure, both physical and virtual for differently abled colleagues, providing equal pay for equal work, or fighting our unconscious biases, more efforts are required from organizations and individuals. The very differences which make up this diversity should not become hindrances in the individual’s success because they don’t fit the mould of what we are comfortable with.
The one thing I will change in HR
Prerna believes that in today’s difficult times, the HR function has had the most challenges to deal with. This has really highlighted the need for HR to be more agile and responsive. The one thing she would like to change is the traditional way of working where HR actions are more reactive than proactive.
The one thing I will retain in HR
One thing the HR function is slowly moving away from is the human touch and attention, believes Prerna. She would like to retain the human touch, given how in an era of AI, there is a risk of losing important touchpoints with people at the workplace. Prerna would like HRs to continue engaging directly and deeply with the employees and be active employee advocates.
Leader who can lead through the crisis
A fundamental characteristic of a leader to lead through any crisis would be the ability to remain calm and look at the bigger picture. During a crisis, it is easy to get bogged down by the smaller immediate details, and try to treat the symptoms instead of the cause of the problem. A good leader must also deal with others facing the crisis with empathy and communicate clearly and effectively. It is important to be able to break through the mess to determine the course of action and be able to adapt to the need of the hour. It is also important for leaders to coach their teams to manage crisis situations as these usually require quick and efficient on-the-ground action which may not always be possible with a top-down approach.
In the current COVID crisis, it is commendable how most organizations have adapted in the face of a dramatically different situation. It has required the evolution of leaders in unprecedented ways. As we still move cautiously and explore what will be, Prerna believes leaders need to continue enhancing their skills to support their workforce to deal with the pandemic life. We are likely to continue a hybrid model of working remotely with limited physical interaction. Skewed work life balance, impact on mental health, ability to engage remotely, strong resistance to more changes, are all aspects leaders will need to continue to deal with. In light of all this, it is also important that they take care of themselves. This also highlights the need for leaders to develop their next-in-line to be able to take charge. Leaders need to groom and prepare more leaders to manage these tough and ever changing times.
The leadership journey with People Matters Are You In The List Awards
Platforms such as People Matters provide HR professionals a great access to industry leaders and colleagues across the fraternity.
“Going through this journey of the Are You in the List Awards was personally a learning experience for me. It is an aspirational recognition at a national level and I am honored to be a part of the List in 2021! I look forward to more opportunities to collaborate and learn from the other rising stars in the HR function.”
Vision for HR's future growth
Prerna envisions the future growth for HR as a time where the function itself is not required to separately exist for the purposes of employee engagement and advocacy. A true success of the HR function’s objectives is when each leader is an advocate for the employees and is able to align the organization and the individual. If everyone is working with a common vision towards a common goal, very limited intervention is required from an HR professional. The success of HR would be when the traditional HR business partner function is in fact redundant.