Human Resource professional in leadership role with rich experience in diverse HR functions. She started her career in the insurance industry, working with Tata AIG General Insurance Company, later moved to India Ratings & Research Pvt Ltd, a Fitch Group Company as the Head Human Resource, India. Currently she is heading the HR function of SBICAP Ventures Limited. More than 15 years of experience in talent management, organization development and culture & change management. Extensive experience in working closely with the management team of companies as advisor, vision to take organization to the next level of maturity by transforming systems, processes, and people to make the organization future ready. She has been part of various committees like Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) as the Presiding Officer and Executive Management committee of the company.
Anuja has graduated in B.Com (Hons.) from Jadavpur University and did her PGDBM in Human Resources. She has also specialised in OD & Change Management from ODA & TISS.
Our Exclusive Interview:
What the HR needs to do in order to drive more value in the VUCA world?
More than ever, we are realising that nothing can be constant for long and the window for change is narrowing with every passing moment. Flexibility, agility, adaptability and ability to manage change and see change as an opportunity is the order of the day. It is important that HR professionals should have a capability to sense and pre-empt possible change, ability to analyse and simplify the complex environment and provide solutions. Since human capital is one of the key ingredients to success, the role of HR is very critical. HR is one of the pillars in the organization that will support and solve human elements with strong strategic orientation, empathy, leadership and process improvement.
How have you leveraged technological innovation, particularly with resourcing and recruitment?
I believe technology is a great facilitator and speedy adoption of technology in India supported us immensely in the pandemic times. However human beings being social animals always need human presence. Companies over night moved to video conferencing as the most common tool for communication, everyone including even kids today know about Airmeet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Webex etc. These tools literally saved us in these unprecedented times. The entire hiring happened using online medium right from interviews to onboarding, this was the best replacement for in person interaction.
When needed we should adopt technology in HR however my strong belief is that technology cannot and should not replace human touch. If practical I will still spend time to personally go through every resume, meet every shortlisted candidate and be there to welcome them personally on their first day in the company.
As an HR Leader, what are the key deliverables that can be instrumental for a firm to be successful?
HR function today should focus on health and wellness of employees. Investing and promoting all rounded healthcare support (mental and physical health) like health checkup camps, webinars and programs by specialized doctors, programs and talks that can help de-stress employees and create a structure that can provide work life balance. Another key area is employee engagement. With the recent advent of hybid work models ( work from home and other forms of remote working), staying in touch with employees through various engagement initiatives have gained prominence in current times. Finally, HR should constantly scan the environment and stay updated on new developments globally on people practices and keep reviewing the HR policies to adopt employee friendly policies. HR function should attempt to make the company a happy and peaceful place to work through supportive policies and an approachable style.
We have heard a lot about D&I, what does it mean to you and what are you doing about it?
D&I is a progressive thought process that accepts diverse belief system, diverse personalities, varied ideas and opinions. It happens when the workplace includes in true spirit people of diverse background, culture, gender or physical capabilities. If the workplace is sincerely inclusive then it should accept people as they are, harness their strengths, respect their feelings, give wings to their creativity and break stereotypes.
SBICAP Ventures is an equal opportunities employer, and we truly believe in it and practice it. We have a robust hiring process; resumes from multiple sources are transparently evaluated and the entire interview process is documented. HR policies on talent management is uniform across the board and transparent. Managers, HR and Management are held accountable on people practices and a robust grievance handling mechanism is in place. The entire ecosystem is such that it ensures fair and equitable opportunities are extended across the board.
What are some of the key drivers that you see as an HR that is actually driving the business growth and success?
The true nature and strength of an organization emerges in most adverse or difficult situations. It was so amazing to see that in the pandemic that took us all by surprise and in an unprepared state, many organizations emerged stronger and more sustainable by adding value to the life of employees, customers, and society at large. SBICAP Ventures stood strong with its people and portfolio companies going over and beyond to provide financial, health and family support. A comprehensive plan that covered insurance (increasing the health coverage, additional COVID specific covers and plans that can support employees and family with homecare), work from home policies, extended leaves to employees with health concerns and continuing job security with full remuneration, salary increases and bonus payouts. I believe that Organizations that have proven that they stand by their employees and other stakeholders in difficult times will only see greater success in the long term. The brand value of such organizations will get stronger that in turn will drive business growth in a steep yet sustainable manner.
The role of HR leaders has changed over the years. How do you see the role of HR leaders evolve by 2025?
Let us see what the key changes or consequences of the pandemic are; what is the state of mind and expectations that people are having…
There is definitely a call out for greater flexibility (hybrid working), expectations from employees that their employer should be more understanding, caring and giving, investment on skill development and coaching. Use of technology to communicate and constant transformation of technology like artificial intelligence will be a major shift.
Another considerable shift in the next few years will be on the workforce mix. There will be a demographic shift with an increasing number of Gen Z employees getting added to the workforce. Also, the adoption of contingent workers to create a mix of permanent and contractual staffing will be the trend.
To support diverse workforce, disruptive technology and an extremely dynamic environment, HR leaders will have to prepare themselves with core capabilities such as agility, ability to take collective decisions, create a collaborative and partnership environment, adopt a coaching style of leadership, have a problem solving approach and co-create solutions, develop emotional and social intelligence and have higher self and situational awareness.