Meet Radhika Bhatnagar, Are You In The List 2021 winner
Radhika Bhatnagar | Deputy General Manager - HR | Tata Communications
Radhika follows a simple approach to make the mantra “Effort is the path to Mastery” work, starting with having a purpose driven life, demonstrating perseverance in the projects she takes up and continuous learning to compete with self and lastly being change ready.
An alumnus of Lady Shri Ram College, and a Delhi University topper (2006), she has also received various accolades throughout her professional experience by Business heads & CXOs, for qualities like customer centricity, collaboration and people development. As an HR leader, she could build credibility with her stakeholders very quickly through active listening, proactive solutions and critical thinking.
Coming from the army background, she got to experience living with diverse people, and it instilled in her the interest and curiosity to know people better and value diversity. She blends in easily with people, and gets them to share insights. So, she wanted to use this strength as she took a career decision.
Her passion for HR has just grown over the years, and she believes that HR has a vantage point, being closer to the enterprise, the leaders and the people which can be used to enable and impact the business.
Talent is at the core of any business strategy
Radhika believes that talent is at the core of any business strategy, and over the years she has always guided her team to think through talent solutions that will enable the business better. She has a combination of skills including business acumen, analytics and critical thinking - ability to understand business and align the talent strategy to business, along with compassion and empathy that she demonstrates in her interactions. This combination of skills and attitude has helped her build credibility and demonstrate a visible impact on the business.
Establishing a compelling employer brand to attract the desired skill set: Key priority
According to Radhika, digital technology, artificial intelligence and robotics, have been impacting consumer behaviour, business processes and outcomes and talent needs drastically. The competencies and the skills needed in the talent have been changing drastically. Constantly keeping up with this changing pace is a very critical and immediate business priority.
Long term talent strategy plays an important role here- planning for talent challenges for today and tomorrow. Radhika states that establishing a compelling employer brand to attract the desired skill set, envisage skills needed for the future & enabling a fast-paced talent development, retaining key talent, and developing leaders for tomorrow, are some of the key areas that need to be linked to the business strategy.
The one thing I will change in HRAs the role evolves, the HR team needs to have a long term orientation, about how to solve challenges after 3-5 years from now. What will be important here, is the ability to bring different perspectives to the table. A cross functional exposure and bringing a multi-functional, multi-industry perspective will be of value. This is a change we should drive in the HR industry.
The one thing I will retain in HR
Over the years HR has moved from being an administration/operations-driven function to a business enabler that takes informed decisions based on people analytics. ‘Empathy’ represented by the function and focus on employee experience remains constant. This should be retained, as we further evolve as a function.
Leader who can lead through the crisis
The agility of decision making and execution with the propensity to lead from the front and drive the change can enable a leader to be successful in changing times. But the most important asset a leader can have is the ability to demonstrate empathy especially during a period of crisis.
A lot of enterprises have undergone digital transformation, as a result of Covid. The other permanent shifts we have seen is the movement towards flexibility, and dependence on e-commerce and virtual interactions which have contributed to changing consumer behaviour.
Leaders will need to accept this change, and the demand from the leaders will be to continue to remain relevant and impactful while navigating through any further external or internal changes. They not only have to be change-ready but also the torch-bearers of the change and drive it proactively. Leaders would be expected to think holistically, have a diverse – multi-functional perspective besides bringing in outside-in views. Being able to develop a diverse team, inspire, motivate and empathize with them will also be very crucial.
The leadership journey with People Matters Are You In The List Awards
“‘Are You In The List’, has given me an opportunity to create a broader brand for myself. The entire journey has been thrilling and challenging for me. Clearing each stage and coming closer to the finals, and competing with equally competent peers in the industry have immensely contributed to my learning journey as an HR leader,” she shared.
Vision for HR's future growth
As we move into the future, two things will be very critical for HR.
- Continuing to focus on understanding the business, long-term & short-term priorities and changing the talent landscape; thereby using this to positively impact and promote the business.
- As the companies are moving towards digitization, there is an urgent need for HR to adopt and embrace digital technology and leverage it to manage the employees and connect with the leaders. Some of the questions such as how can we adopt technologies like AI, big data to enable skill-building at a faster pace, innovative manpower planning, talent management in the global market; need to be answered. As an example, to promote intuitive learning, we need to leverage technology to identify real-time skill gaps, have easily accessible learning platforms and devise adaptive course models using AI, depending on the proficiency levels of the individuals.