Rajat Sethi | Group Manager - Rewards, Performance and Organization Design, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Having always had an intrinsic desire to help people in both his personal and professional life, Rajat Sethi sees his adaptability to new environments, his ability to connect with people and develop friendships as his biggest strength. However, it wasn't until his engineering days that he decided to build a career in HR.
“I never realized that I was made for HR until I interacted with over fifty talent acquisition managers in my final year of engineering,” he said. Rajat was handling the placement process for his branch. And during those discussions, he learned about the various facets of the HR function. “Many HR managers advised me to opt for a career in HR after seeing my inquisitiveness,” he said.
Today, Rajat is one of the handful of young leaders recognized as a “Are You In The List 2020 Winner”.Here are some of Rajat’s thoughts on HR issues:
On managing hybrid teams and leadership
“While COVID-19 will go away sooner or later, it will leave an everlasting impact on the work, worker and workplace in the new normal. To lead in such an environment, leadership will need to evolve radically and nostalgia of old business models will at best become delusional. Leaders will become much more experimentative and try different unconventional methods of running their business. With remote working becoming a way of life, they will have to get used to managing hybrid teams and still extract the same level of productivity as they could earlier do.”
On the role of technology in the hunt for talent
“One problem that I would like to solve in the future is to have ‘Day Zero’ replacement for every role in my organization. While it pains when someone leaves the company, it hurts even more when you don't have any readily available replacement for the role and the whole knowledge goes along with the incumbent. I wish to create a system some day wherein there is a zero impact on business due to attrition, similar to having a backup generator the moment electricity goes off.”
The one thing I will change in HR
The one thing he will change in HR is to move away from the practice of managing mostly high potential talent while ignoring the rest of the organization. An organization cannot run only on high potentials and their careers. The job of the HR Team should be to continuously reduce the gap between average performers and high-potentials by helping the average performers exceed levels of expectations from them.He strongly believes there is a great joy in helping an employee turnaround on performance.
The one thing I will retain in HR
The one thing that he will retain in HR is to continue to balance the ‘employer value proposition’ and employee dreams while upholding company values. HR needs to fight for the employee while also enforcing rules when needed. The confidence of the system in HR has to be extremely strong and all stakeholders “ leaders and employees should continue to consistently trust their HR.
Vision for HR’s future growth
“The job of HR professionals will continue to change while staying on top of HR trends. There will be a need for the function to reposition themselves as workforce advisors. With the rise of data as the new oil, every HR professional would be expected to have at least an intermediate level of understanding of data analytics and decisions would no longer be perception based. Transactional HR processes will be overtaken by HR Bots who will become an integral part of an employee’s life, however now majority of HR Business Partners' time will go towards actively listening to their employees and being more empathetic towards them,” Rajat said.