20 May, 2024

Thank you, HR

It was a surprise to see Zoho Corp, take up front pages of leading newspapers today (20 May) to celebrate International HR Day. Seemingly, they have created quite a buzz. 

People from all quarters have been wishing their HR Heads and HR Managers and teams through social media and offline. 

Of all the days kept aside for such celebration, I think this one takes the cake (quite literally) since every employee, no matter how senior or junior the person is, always rests back on someone in the HR Team.

From getting travel bills cleared quickly or getting leaves approved, employees always ensure they build a strong camaraderie with the key persons in the HR Team. 

Mentoring (by those in the HR Team) to the others on the Organisation is not a privilege for most of us. 

There are some incredible managers and heads in the HR Team who offer a lot of advisory, guidance and remain a cushion for many in the office. 

And then there are those in HR, especially in the leadership team, who profess something to the employees at large but behave quite the opposite to their own team members! Apathy, I say.

Very few HR leaders whom I have interacted with all through my career have been a guiding light to me. I take this opportunity to celebrate some of them for their affection on me in this post.

Circa 2001, I was almost in tears when I rushed to the Head Office of RPG Retail at the Spencers Plaza in Chennai. 

I was the only Management Trainee who was posted 2,500 kms away from my home – to Kolkata, after I completed my 3-week orientation program. 

I confessed to Ms. Latha Nambisan, GM – HR at the time, that the farthest I had travelled in my life until then was to Madurai or Kumbakonam for family events and to Mumbai just 4 times since I was born, as my maternal grandparents resided there. 

And, that why was I being given this “Punishment posting”? 

She smiled at me, made me relax and asserted that it was in my best interest for me to go that far and I was the most suitable among the 40+ trainees who had joined after our MBA. 

I took her word and left home for the first time alone with 2 suitcases and 2 carton boxes – one had my Sony Music system and the other had two speakers! I was part of the progress at the then largest music store of Asia - Music World, Park Street, spread over 6,000 sq ft. 

We sold plastic cassettes and CDs worth Rs. 60 lakhs a month. That December, the store touched its all time high of Rs. 92 lakhs in revenues. Back then, over 70% of revenues came from cassettes priced Rs. 28/-. 

The next 365 days were the most memorable in my entire career till date. 

Not a single day went without me learning a thing or two, with no family members or relatives around me. A couple of years ago, I happened to meet Latha at an event where we both were guests and I thanked her on the stage for shaping my career. 

The next HR Leader who transformed my career was Tuhin Biswas, who saw potential in me to create and lead the retail transformation at Bangalore International Airport, the country’s first greenfield, private airport which was inaugurated in 2008. 

His continued encouragement to me was an added bonus. 

My first international travel had a Swiss Visa stamped on my passport and it was because of this gentleman, who pushed my case to the Management for a Knowledge tour that I would undertake to 3 countries – Switzerland, Germany and the UAE. 

During my tenure at BIAL, I would then travel to 10 countries (airports) worldwide to speak about Indian Aviation and Travel Retail, as well as to learn best practices. 

Every other HR Head or a member of the HR Team that I have interacted all through my 2.5 decades of professional life have indeed left some positive impact or the other on me. 

Thanks to Zoho, today many decided to celebrate International HR Day! 

Last but not the least, I have also had the privilege of interacting with several HR consultants from small boutique firms all the way up to top ones. 

One name I should mention here is Ganesh Kumar, Founder of Intigra HR, who pushed my boundaries to deliver what was beyond me when I was leading “Levista Coffee” during the most turbulent Covid-19 period. 

As I would say, we must celebrate the undaunting efforts of the HR Team every day, rather and not just restrict to one day! Thank you, HR.  

Thank you, HR

It was a surprise to see Zoho Corp, take up front pages of leading newspapers today (20 May) to celebrate International HR Day. Seemingly, t...