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How does Gen Y look at Gen X and vice-a-versa? How important is it for the HR to invest in technology and train themselves with the updated skills? What are those 2 types of errors that budding recruiters or talent acquisitions make? And a lot more similar questions are answered by Dr. Asit Mohapatra (Director-HR (Textiles) – Raymonds) in an interview with CareerBuilder India.

Here’s the complete conversation:

Q: What are the challenges for Big Data?

The challenges for big data is that these days, due to social media there is a lot explosion of data that is coming through its way but however, how do you really sieve it? How do you really ensure that you get the right profile for your requirement? Any time you see or put a profile on the internet or the LinkedIn, you will have hundreds of data that is coming in your way. There should be proper tools, that’s the way it should be used to sieve the data, so that you are able to get the right candidate for your requirement. Then volume makes your job more complicated, because you need to have a proper tool to evaluate that.

Q: What are you currently looking for?

Currently we are looking for preliminary screening.

Q: Does HR’s help in Company Branding?

Yes, very much. In fact it is an understated thing. HR’s are the window to the external world. They are like branding the company. The employer branding is through the HR team. So, we go for hiring, we do talent acquisition not only at senior level, but also in management campuses. So when we present the organization, we need to really showcase the organization without having hype, because there should be genuine projection of what the company is going to offer to the candidate and how he or she is going to make career in the organization. Culture is one aspect, we need to sensitize because sometimes it is the square pit in the right hole. You make it a brilliant candidate but he or she might not be able to survive in that. I can give you an example where we got a very top notch CFO kind of a person, but in a different type of the organization that person was not able to adapt to the company’s requirement. So, in a nutshell, what I am trying to tell you that it is very essential that you have a proper way of projecting & marketing and that should be essential trait for every HR person, who is in a talent acquisition front.

Q: Which sector or domain do you think will flourish currently?

This is a cyclic thing. I remember my previous job was in Reliance retail and at that point of time modern retail was the one, which everybody jumped into the band wagon. I can tell you at this point of time, lot of euphoria because of new government and many sectors are being looked at, which is going to provide more and more opportunities for employment. Pharma is one sector that is a kind of very steady-going sector and now I realized when I interact with various HR fraternities from various box of life the power, infrastructure and energy, beside manufacturing are the sectors, which will grow that’s what the thirst and government is going to really focus on it and pump in lot of money. It is going to be restructured and thus the government’s attention is to ensure that this strengthens this sector. So, I’m pretty sure in time to come that BFSI sector will also get more importance.

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Q: What is the importance of technology?

Technology is a given thing now. If we are not getting savvy with technology as a given tool, we are losing out on lot of things in life. So, it is an understatement to say that are you going to use technology. We have no choice but to use technology, simply because it’s available and it’s a very powerful tool to help and aid decision-making, so that’s why technology is going to be the differentiator and I can tell you for sure we use technology at this point of time to the extent that is required by us but there is enough of the more scope for us to use the technology to the extent that organization like yours would be of immense help to us.

Q: Does HR department justify their presence with expected ROI?

See, it’s very difficult to do that because HR is like a business partner. If you see the earlier ones, mostly HRs are drawing up the resources in the name of people’s development, skill development because that is required and that is going to happen. However, the CEO or the MD of the organization will look forward to what the valuable is retainable, and these days value is more of ROI. And if that’s the case, definitely cost focus has to be there in whatever area, including talent acquisition, how efficient & effectively, you are deploying technology to ensure that you do not spend more than required. So, this is an important aspect, and gradually people are realizing that HR is not a cost-centric process.

Q: How does Budget Allocation take place?

Different verticals are there, but I would say that in Ball Park of almost 5-7 percent of the budget we allocate, and we invest heavily on engaging consultance of repute in various areas and ensure that the people development happens on continues basis. And we believe strongly there is an investment on people for the future, so we do not see as cost to the organization. And luckily our top management believes in this and once they are convinced, then there is no limit on this. Literally!

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Q: What are your thoughts on Gen Y?

Yes, here we have done a very intense survey to understand aspirations of the Gen Y viz. a viz. Gen X. I would say, clear differences are there but they can coexist and work and levels on each other’s strength. The Gen Y people feel that Gen X are the people who are not very open to change to technology, they want to maintain the statesco, they also have the idea that certain way of things that’s going to work or not going to work in an organization by virtue of having seen those aspects in the past by working at different organization, and they are not very technology savvy. Gen Y people are viewed by Gen X as these people are impatient, they ask what’s in it for me, they want work-life balance, they want fun at work, and they also want a very clear differentiated compensation package, and they want faster career growth in the organization, if they want to retain them in the organization.

Q: How important is the content?

Content is the foundation. If we have a sound base, if the content is developed properly then it becomes easy to standardize if the multi location, multi business organization is there, so it’s important for all the stakeholders to understand. So, I would say that content development is not only the work of HR people but of various people. Remember one thing that we develop a concept called people manager. One handful of HR people cannot manage the whole organization so the line managers are the real HR managers, so we picked up right & successful line managers and we call them as people managers (and there are hundred-fifty of them in the company) and we train them intensely on various aspects of people handling skills. And we took them as a pool of I would say extended arm of HR and through them we help to get their input & content, which is more meaningful and people relate to that content better than some HR person developing that thing. HRs should never ever say that I have done this and that’s very essential, then only if you’ll get the inputs from the various stake holders, it has faster acceptance in the organization.

Q: Is social recruiting a big thing?

Social recruiting is coming in a big way. If you are not into it as a first time engaged person, you are going to miss out. So, jump into the band wagon, train a pool of people in the organization, it is easy my dear friends. It is these days are coming where work hard and don’t just work hard. From that angle it’s important that leverage the best of the technology available while it may come sometimes how much you are going to invest, it may depend upon your organization. But push beyond what you think is possible, take more risks in investing, it is one time cost no doubt initially, but it will repay at many times, the investment that you have made in technology

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Q: Your advice to young recruiters:

My advice to young budding recruiters is many times they tell talent acquisition, recruitment is a very mundane type of function. I would give an example: I was a line manager; I worked in Tata Motors for 14 years before I was spotted by my general manager HR that you relate to people quite well. I reluctantly came to the function of HR, but however, I ensured that we, as HR people should continuously upgrade our skills, if required to be talent acquisition I have gone through in my career at least three models of five days each to ensure that I understand the nuances of competency based recruitment, behavior interview, assessments & the techniques. The more we know, the more we are able to value add. Many times I have seen people simply grow in levels, they start sitting in the interviews and they think they are great at interviews and they make mistakes lot of times. In the recruitment balance, there are type 1 and type 2 both errors are possible. You are losing a good candidate because you are not able to holistically understand various competence of the person or you are hiring a wrong person and really facing a lot of problem. Both sides lot of implications are there in the organization. So, I sincerely appeal to all the recruiters, even my fraternity people that please upgrade your knowledge through applications of talent acquisition. It will help you as a person and also in the growth of the organization.

About Dr. Asit Mohapatra:

Currently designated as Director-HR (Textiles) at Raymonds, Dr. Asit Mohapatra started his career in Tata Motors as an Industrial Engineer & subsequently shifted to Corporate HR. He then moved to ICICI Bank as VP– HR. Subsequently, he joined the Pharma MNC Parke Davis, as Director- HR, then as VP- HR & Quality with Blue Star Ltd , as Sr. VP – HR at Jubilant Organosys & Reliance Retail handling strategic HR roles.

He is a Life Member of the NHRD Network and Indian Institution of Industrial Engineering. He is also a Fellow Member of The Institution of Engineers and Member of All India Management Association. He has been associated with IIM Lucknow & Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies as a visiting faculty and a guest speaker at various national level Conferences

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