How to advance your career in HR

Q. Tips for a budding L&D/HR professional?

Start from the ground up:

Possessing a thorough idea/exposure about the grass roots of the HR and L&D domains certainly help in playing a commendable role for any organization.

My career started as a Management Trainee; I worked on different HR domains like; HR, Operations, Special HR Projects – HR Audit, Compensation and Benefits, Contract Manpower Management and of course the icing on the cake was my stint in Learning and Development – where I was tasked with developing an online learning tool for the Company’s employees – to train them on a real time basis, way back in 2009.

All these experiences have added significant value in fortifying my career in HR and also gave me an idea of my capabilities in different domains of HR, which led me to choose certain domains in HR like; L&D and HR Business Partnering.

2. Never get redundant at work – Seek more experience/exposure.:

One of the biggest disservices I believe that a budding HR professional could do to his/her career is to be redundant or get redundant quite early.

The moment one feels that he/she is getting redundant at work, he/she may speak to the respective manager/HOD to give him/her work or assign a different domain in HR. Idea is to gain maximum exposure in the early stages of one’s career. In today’s highly dynamic and volatile business scenario, an employee undergoes multiple challenges and overcoming them and moving on quickly is the best way to gain valuable exposure and insight.

3. In a hyper VUCA world, job security, stability and loyalty are a myth, being relevant and continuously adding value to business is what matters most:

The world currently is going through a turbulent change than ever before. Be it Geo-political or Socio –economic, all these macro factors are affecting global economies instantly.

If companies hire in a split second today, they also fire at the same pace. A human resource/ capital are a commodity that is dispensable. Hence, the whole concept of job security, stability and loyalty become a myth. The job market has become highly transactional with business factors taking precedence over human emotions. Being relevant by adding value to the business is the bottom line which most companies expect today from their workforce.

This also brings in additional challenge: Employee Retention, i.e., it should not be a surprise to any company that a 21st century employee is opportunistic and will shift base at the drop of a hat.

4. Change is the only constant – Skill development/upgradation:

Companies come and go; business volumes increase or decrease but change is constant and is an undisputable and undeniable fact nowadays. Therefore, we as professionals need to be quick to learn, grasp, adjust and adapt to varied situations. A high Learning Agility is of paramount importance to upskill or else become redundant and get replaced.

5. Budding HR/L&D professionals should be tech savvy:

With the advent of new age technologies like AI, Machine Learning, etc. the HR/L&D professionals must prepare themselves and embrace these technologies.

They should be able to use these technologies to their advantage as and when the need arises to help an organisation’s employees further their career interests and contribute more.

6. HR/L&D professionals must be people oriented first and aligned to Org needs:

Q. Your personal achievement as an HR professional?

Ans. My career graph has been steep in the last 11 odd years in HR, thanks to the varied experience that I have had across multiple industry domains.

From being a HR Operations Specialist to becoming a Learning & Development specialist to Heading HR, Administration, Security and Corporate Social Responsibility, to now being a Senior HR Business Partner, my career is full of enriching experiences.

I have had the opportunity to work for MNCs, Promoter driven organisations to managing HR for new age start-ups. 

Q. How can an HR/L&D professional contribute strategically to the organization?

  1. Being a key Strategic Business Partner to the Organisation
  2. Having absolute clarity about the business, its way forward strategy and aligning all initiatives to this singular goal of furthering business interests.
  3. Always benchmarking its practices with the industry and customising the delivery as per the needs of business and employees.
  4. Moving from being a cost centre to a profit centre by various internal and external initiatives which helps in generating direct and indirect business

Q. Which is the One HR/L&D practice that has always worked for you as an HR? (Share an example)

Ans.  Balancing people centricity with business imperatives always works.

Q. Do you think robots can replace HR/L&D professionals in the coming decade?

Ans. The answer is a Yes and a No, depending upon the work that HR professionals engage in.

  • All the HR base activities will get replicated by Robots.
  • All the creative and human aspiration related areas will not get replaced with Robots as of now, as the Robotics/AI and similar technologies are not as developed as they should have been to meaningfully interact with humans. This will take time.

Q) How do you create a buy-in for trainings at workplace?

  1. Understand the Business Priorities and needs first.
  2. Then, look at the employee’s current as is skill level
  3. Based on the gaps identified, the business requirement along with employee training aspirations; align and customise the training needs, where a signoff from both the Business Head and the employee is taken, so that both the parties are serious about the training undertaken.

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