HR – The Way Forward

GREAT LAKES GUEST LECTURE SERIES – Mr SANJEEV SHARAN

DIRECTOR (HR – GLOBALIZATION) – ZTE TELECOM LTD.

Thursday, 13 September 2018: An enthusiastic crowd, comprised of 100 plus Jaguars (PGDM 2018-20 batch), gathered in the auditorium dressed in business formals looking as sharp as Obsidian Blades, to learn about the significance of HR in companies from one of the best the field has to offer. Mr. Sanjeev Sharan, Director (HR – Globalization), ZTE Telecom Ltd., was in the campus to provide us with in-depth knowledge of the role of HR in the 21st Century and covered various topics like, expectations of businesses from HR, ways in which HR can be the core of a business and clarified if the time is ripe for HR to change to avoid going extinct; in an insightful interaction.

ZTE Telecom Ltd.

ZTE Corporation is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. It is one of China’s leading telecom equipment manufacturers. ZTE operates in three business segments – Carrier Networks (~54%)-Terminals (~29%)-Telecommunication (~17%). Being a Chinese company, its workplace policies and culture are quite different from those followed by Indian organizations. This was an interesting insight into work cultures followed by companies outside India for the attending crowd.

Mr Sanjeev Sharan – ZTE Telecom Ltd.

Mr Sanjeev Sharan is currently working as the Director (HR-Globalization) for ZTE Telecom Ltd. and is an accomplished HR Professional with over 24 years of experience in renowned organizations. Mr Sanjeev has been working as Director (HR-Globalization) with ZTE for 4 years and has also worked with MTS Sistema Shyam Teleservices and Reliance in the past. During his professional career, Mr Sanjeev has over 18 years of work experience in the Telecom industry in the HR Department. He is a strategic HR professional with Global experience and has a strong exposure to Culture Building, Performance Management and Business HR. He also headed the Globalization Project based in China with a focus on setting up HR led processes and policies aligned to Global Best Practices.

Role of HR in companies today

Expectations of businesses from HR

Mr Sanjeev started off the lecture by introducing the Great Lakers to the relevance of HR. He explained why people would want to join HR and also stated that HR is about finding the “Right people for the Right role”. According to him, HR is no longer a support function but has matured to be an advisory function. Everything that can be measured, should be measured and HR has the responsibility to find ways to accurately measure the data related to the employees and advice the top management accordingly. Another requirement that businesses have from the HR function is to get into the mindset of the person whom they are investing money in, so as to understand the value that he may provide to the company. He also put forth the fact that technologies are changing at a rapid pace, companies are struggling to keep up with these advances and are now seeking the help of HR to fill the gap between the emerging technologies and the manpower required to utilize these technologies profitably.

HR as the core of businesses

Mr Sanjeev stated that the core functions of the HR department are its “ FLEXIBILITY” in processes. He further explained that Business focus should be “married” to HR focus to achieve higher goals. He then dived into the key areas where currently HR spends maximum time (Recruitment, engagement, payroll and incentive calculation, etc.), brushing up on the tasks that are undertaken in each area. His belief is that “Power of HR is how you align it”, HR practices that are the result of an extensive study of data gathered from various processes within the company will provide more fruition than generic HR practices. Mr Sanjeev then linked business challenges to HR, explaining HR’s role as an advisory figure to business, helping them in building right leadership mindset, measuring productivity, fair evaluation culture, maintaining right talent pool and right people identification.

The Way Forward

The final topic tackled was if the time is ripe for HR to change to avoid becoming obsolete. Mr Sanjeev having two decades’ worth of experience was the perfect person to address this topic as he gave significant insights into the change that already is taking place in the HR departments across the companies around the world. He said, “The age-old HR practices have to be discarded due to the changing work environment. Knowledge is power and this is what HR has to conform to in all its functions. Deep industry and competition knowledge, networking, automation to reduce man-days, focus on culture fitment are few standouts in the recruitment function of HR.” In regard to careers, he stated that “data-based decisions, promotion linked to organization need, capability and performance-based promotion are the factors which build careers.” He then moved to Analytics in HR, as the world today is based on data and the analytics of this data. He explained that there is no place anymore in HR for “I think….& It Should”, as every action and every decision has to be based on appropriate facts and data.

To conclude, it was an exciting and interactive session for the Jaguars which helped the young B-School students understand the nuances of HR and how the theories they learn in classes get applied to the corporate world.

Author: Indrajeet Vadgama

PGDM, Class of 2020, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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