Trained HR Six Sigma business process owner with proven track record in implementing successful HR initiatives across multiple locations in various industries – within India and abroad. Managed diverse cultures. Played a pivotal & lead role in being shortlisted for the HR Excellence Award 2015 by Business World; HR Integrator & Innovator’ Global Advisory Team Award recipient at the Invensys Global HR Summit for 2012 and TOP GEAR- for 0708 – the Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Performance at RPG Spencer’s. 

Here’s what we found about Umasree Parvathy in a close encounter with her!

The 1st Job always holds a special place for an individual, where did you start your career?

Back in 1988 the concept of campus recruitment was almost non existent other than in some select colleges. I studied in Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in Kerala- a small but well known college modeled along the lines of TISS offering the same courses taught by some eminent professors. The day of my last Viva , Unicef approached our college to select research administrators for the research department that was to be set up in the college to work on one of the projects they were sponsoring. This was our campus recruitment!! I got the job and started work the very next day. That was my first job and I earned a fat sum of Rs 1500/- a good sum those days.

Could you share your learning of your 1st job

This job gave me most of the skills that are needed by an HR person. Interpersonal skills, communication skills written & oral, managing numbers, data analytics to understand what€™s beyond the obvious. I worked there for 4 years and I am sure the success I enjoy today is due to the experience I received then; as they laid the foundation. They honed my skills and developed in me the ability to adapt, use lateral thinking and process management to effectively meet challenges in the rapidly changing times.

The other aspect that I learnt of immense value is that no job is too small no matter where you sit in the hierarchy. This has held me in good stead till today.

As an individual gains experience, they are given people management responsibility.

Can you recollect who was your 1st reportee & the experience of handling your 1st team?

I moved on and joined Hindustan Motors in Chennai. I was given charge of the training center for the factory. My first reportee was one Shiva. Since management trainees were to be managed by me I was given a group of 10 young engineers to mentor for one year as well.

Both were very much like any younger generation curiosity to know more, pushing the envelope, challenging norms. I learnt patience, the fact that one can also learn from those reporting to you, that the team success is more important than individual successes and there is pride in one’s team winning. Most importantly I learnt the meaning of credibility in HR and its importance to the entire organisation.

What are your suggestions for effectively managing teams?

Keep an open mind- everyone has knowledge of some sort and skills that can be leveraged if we take time to explore. Give independence with accountability- that will make anyone feel motivated to perform. Give the team the recognition they need and appreciate openly often.

Acquiring talent for organization is an art, how do you go about doing it so well?

The first aspect to understand is the way the organisation functions, the cultural framework it operates in and the value systems the organisation follows. If this is clear recruiting becomes easy. I believe that knowledge and skills can be developed however if the attitude is not aligned to what the organisation needs or believes in , navigating a win-win is difficult.

Today the avenues to acquire talent are many social media, job sites, head hunters and through references. I find that references and head hunters work best for some crucial/niche profiles as understanding their stability quotient is easier. Social media is gaining ground and is a very useful platform.

In all these years of service, can you share with us, one of the toughest situations you have had to face at your workplace?

One of the toughest situations was managing cultural diversity in China. A simple gesture by a senior level foreign leader was misinterpreted and considered rude  and a group of employees wrote a complaint to me that needed quick management for damage control. Managing that keeping dignity of all involved with sensitivity to the fact that they all needed to work together long term was a challenge. We did the investigation proposed the recommendation and closed the case with handsome results with the action plans in place.

In today’s world social media plays a large part in acquiring and engaging the talent can you please give us some inputs on the same?

As we move towards a global work culture social media is gaining ground as a sound platform for people to connect. Sourcing is an easier process using this channel as a holistic view of the individual is available to understand thinking and behavioral styles that will augment the hiring process. It’s a great way to engage talent and keep them connected which also ensures lower attrition.

What do you look for in the new age recruiter?

The hiring team are the ones to build the organisation and the recruiter must understand the crucial nature of his role. A new age recruiter must understand that his/her knowledge of the business is the most important factor to his/her success. A recruiter must be data savvy and good at analytics to understand shifts and be proactive for the future. Lateral thinking, communication skills, influencing kills , eye for detail and the ability to connect are must have attributes.