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BW Businessworld

'Keeping Core DNA Intact While Expanding Has Been Tough'

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A believer in keeping things simple, Bajaj Finserv Lending's Deepak Reddy took to Human Resources after 17 years working in the business side of operations and strongly believes that HR professionals ought to understand business before prescribing any framework.

In our series on HR practitioners, Reddy is the second honcho to share with us what makes HR leaders tick

What made you choose HR as a profession?
In my last 17 years on the business side of things, I realised that people are the critical differentiator and sustainable advantage in a business. Given my penchant for the subject, it was natural for me to lap up the opportunity that came my way at Bajaj Finserv Lending. The organisation was looking for a 'Business HR' person and I was looking for an opportunity to build the human capital.

What has been the biggest achievement of your career?
Clearly being part of the core team  at Bajaj Finserv Lending that has been instrumental in the meteoric growth of the company over the last five years gives me the greatest joy in my career so far.

What have been the primary traits/qualities that have helped you attain your present position?
  • Management by objectives
  • Belief in the K.I.S.S principle – keep it simple stupid
  • Ability to manage people
  • Commitment to the long term

What are the challenges you are facing in your organisation?

Keeping the core DNA intact while we expand at a scorching pace

What are the steps a company should take to develop and motivate future talent?
Creating an environment that challenges employees to high performance, continuously raising the bar and creating platforms that seed & build on ideas is key. This needs to be done with strong frameworks of R&R, building transparency and channels of frank dialogue

What is your rate of attrition? How do you prevent it?
We have been very lucky on this account and have managed to maintain a very low attrition rate as compared to our peers in the industry. However, we must not dismiss the effect of a benign environment during the last 4 – 5 years within the category. We are cognizant that this may change soon and are preparing internally to ensure we continue to score well on this account. I believe the best way to manage attrition is by continuing to be a high performance organization that facilitates growth, development , reward and a strong sense of achievement. Having said that, some attrition is healthy during the lifecycle of an organisation.

How do you retain talent in your company?
Continuing to strengthen the core - high performance culture, facilitating growth and development, reward achievement

What sets your company apart from other companies as far as work culture goes?
Passion for delivery, continuously raising the bar, questioning status quo

What is the biggest challenge you face when selecting people?
Evaluating cultural fitment and managing the impulse of the hiring manager to hire "ready talent"  rather that taking "top talent" and developing them

How do you track employees' satisfaction or dissatisfaction in your company?
Formally, we have a robust employee engagement measurement mechanism. More importantly, a culture of having an ongoing open dialogue.

How important is HR to the bottom line of a company?
I would say we consider it critical

How has the downturn affected HR?
Again we have been lucky on this account to have be unscathed with the adverse affects of downturn

How should HR be integrated with the core line of business?
The biggest issue I noticed as I moved in the HR world was the  implementing of models and frameworks with very little understanding of businesses.  As a result i don't think employees in most organisations relate to what HR is trying to do and this builds cynicism, lack trust and also huge wastage of resources.

A recent survey has questioned HR's actual contribution in an organisation. Would you like to comment on it with particular reference to your organisation?
HR teams that works on their own frameworks and removed from business realities contribute poorly to organisations. However the positive impact and absolute importance of robust HR teams is absolutely immense and organisations would never be able to sustain for long without strong Human Capital frameworks.

If you could change three things about HR practices, what would they be?

1. Knowing the business and what makes it tick before prescribing frameworks

 2. Being more transparent and clear in what the culture you want to build is.

 3. Keep things simple, not everything needs a complex implementation model
(As told to Poonam Kumar)