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Home / Education / The people factor

The people factor

Businesses now consider their HR departments as strategic partners, reports Razvin Namdarian.

education Updated: May 23, 2012, 11:37 IST
Razvin Namdarian
Razvin Namdarian
Hindustan Times

Businesses are oriented towards cutting costs and maximising profits; often employees have to bear the brunt of the company’s cost-cutting measures... This brings the role of a human resources manager to the fore.

He or she not only plays mediator between management and employees but also ensures that company objectives are met, by channelling the employees’ work in a positive direction.
Seema Arora Nambiar, Director - People Resources, McDonald’s India (South & West), does all this and much more. As HR director, she also works on internal communication in partnership with the organisation’s public relations team; is a custodian of administration of internal operations – communication and process audits across restaurants.

A psychology graduate from Mumbai University, Arora went on to study hotel management at a Dadar college. Her first job was as a trainee chef at the Oberoi Hotel, Mumbai. From there on, the 10 years at McDonald’s have meant three different profiles. She got functional exposure by working in the operations team, followed by working on the overall strategy and planning for the organisation which helped her gain international perspective and financial knowledge of the business.

HR offers various opportunities. “As businesses evolve and we become a global economy, my belief is that the only differentiator to emerge will be the intellectual capital/ people you have. The role of the HR director then will continue to scale and grow,” says Nambiar.

Points out N S Rajan, President, National HRD Network, and Partner and National Head - Human Capital, Ernst & Young, “From the earlier days of industrial relations, it (HR) has evolved into being a strategic partner of the business. The HR function today has the opportunity to touch and shape careers and lives of individuals.” At some b-schools, the pay packages for fresh MBAs are at par with those for sales and marketing and finance, especially in leading conglomerates, MNCs and consulting majors, he adds.

An HR manager has to handle all aspects pertaining to human resources in the company. These include recruiting, training, team building, performance updates, employee policy, salary, benefits and increments, employee health and safety as well as staff amenities. The manager is also responsible for mobilising the workforce towards the company’s accomplishment plans and objectives, by creating a work environment in which people will be motivated,

contributing, and happy. His/her role varies as per the organisation. In a small company, s/he is required to handle all human resources issues, while in a large organisation with an HR department, the manager is allocated only certain responsibilities


9am-10am: Plan the daily calendar with special focus on priority tasks
10am-11am: Attend to priority tasks / crisis if any
11am-12 noon: Focus on process setting/ systems
12pm-1pm: Meeting with consultants, vendors and agencies
2pm-4pm: Progress meeting with the team
4pm-6.30pm: Closing on executional / operational plans
6.30pm-7pm: Closing on updates and daily task list
8 pm: Head for home

Starting salary for a management trainee in HR with a PG diploma: Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.3 lakh a year

With three years' experience as HR manager: Rs 9 lakh a year At the director level, the salary can be in the range of Rs. 1 lakh and above. With around 10 years’ experience at the director level: As high as Rs 27 lakh, managing a team of 6 - 10 people.

- Ability to understand human relations
- Leadership skills
- Negotiation skills
- Ability to mould your style of operation as per staff needs
- Strategic planning through people development
- Understanding of different cultures
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to take a hard call, to create a win-win situation for the organisation and staff

How do I get there?
One can obtain a Bachelor’s degree in human resources administration and management. You could opt for other disciplines as well, such as psychology. Follow this up with a Masters or MBA programme in human resources. A summer internship in a company’s HR department will stand you in good stead. Education and experience both count equally in succeeding in this profession

Institutes & urls

- XLRI School of Business and Human Resources, Jamshedpur
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
- Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
- Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Pune
- International Management Institute, Delhi
- Loyola Institute of Business Admistration, Chennai

Pros & Cons
Being part of recruitment, it gives great satisfaction providing employment to the right candidate
Nurturing and watching people develop in the organisation
Playing the mediator between the management and employees can be stressful
Sometimes one needs to put personal feelings aside and make hard decisions based on facts

Interview of a top human resource exec at Ernst & Young

HR can shape careers and lives

A top human resource exec at Ernst & Young talks about the evolution of the function once limited to IR

Why should an MBA/ PGDM student opt for a career in HR over marketing and finance?
Career choices must ideally be a function of an individual's competencies and interests. Decisions on careers must be taken thoughtfully and should reflect the prospective potential of what we call one's 'flow', a field where our capabilities and the challenges available lend fulfilment. The choice of a career should involve a combination of introspection, backed by interaction with experienced professionals on the likely road ahead.

How has the profile of an HR professional in India evolved over the years?
HR is a noble profession committed to enhancing the capability of an organisation to deliver superior performance. From its earlier days of industrial relations, it has evolved into being a strategic partner of the business. The HR function today has the opportunity to touch and shape careers and lives of individuals. HR is the real custodian of human capital, and the role is that of an alchemist.

How does the pay package for fresh recruits in HR compare with those in sales and marketing, and finance?
[For fresh grads] In some business schools, they are at par, especially in leading conglomerates, MNCs and consulting majors.

Interviewed by Rahat Bano

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