Journey of the Human Resource Maven — Kamal Artwani
“Every addition to true knowledge is an addition to human power.”- Horace Mann. Indeed, there is knowledge to be gained from the actions of each and every individual. Kamal Artwani, as a Senior HR Professional in the Industry strongly agrees to it. “For me learning lies from the job of an office boy to a security guard to the CEO of the company. I love to learn from everybody’s job. Even the dedication level of a security guard might be more than many of us”- says the jovial HR leader who has been experiencing the ins and outs of the HR industry since the last 14 years. In a candid conversation with Aircto, Kamal talks about the importance of “Market Knowledge” in recruitment, his own professional journey and sheds some light on the probable trends that will dominate the HR domain in 2017.
A HR & a Friend
Being the pillar of the human factor of an organization comes with its own set of challenges, the most important one being addressing the issues and grievances of the employees & leaders. Other important tasks include conversing the leadership team and educating them with the necessary perspectives. Kamal focuses on sharing of peer to peer knowledge which he believes are pivotal points to good relationships and a smooth ride within the organization. Besides team meetings and goal-setting sessions for the week, he and his team work cohesively towards solving issues and pitches in for each other whenever needed.
Journey from Audit to Human Resource
The professional journey of this present industry leader had actually started 20 years back with working for a CA firm. “My father wanted me to be a CA, so I had started working with a CA firm when I was in my 11th standard. As a part of the job, I was visiting few companies for accounting audits. It was during then that I saw the kind of roles and responsibility that an HR has to play. The intriguing part was the abundance of “human factor” which was associated with this job. It amazed me, I gave it a lot of thought, and despite having completed my CA intermediate, I decided to join HR.”
> “Sometimes you will find people sharing their personal problems with you, as it affects their professional life. An HR touches human life in every aspect and every day. This was what attracted me towards this domain.”
Kamal believes that the initial companies act as pillars in one’s career. Being mentored by a leader is one of the best experiences one can have in the early stage of one’s career. On his experience with Juniper network and IMS health Kamal says, “Juniper was in the starting phase in India with about 250 employees and I was the youngest one in the entire team. We had a very closely knit family type of culture and I received a lot of learning from anyone I interacted with. I was lucky to have great seniors who were open to give feedback in a positive and constructive way which made me learn and grow. IMS was an organization where even the MD would actively mentor and guide us. That is kind of culture that I have seen and experienced and would like to develop a similar culture wherever I go.”
“Even in my present company, I sit between the team. I am not the manager or the boss, but a very part of the team itself. Whenever there is any problem, they come up to me and ask and when I am in doubt, I go and consult them. This is how we work.”
Chitbits on Tech Recruiting
When it comes to tech recruiting, one major problem could be that the hiring manager and the recruiter might not see eye to eye. Kamal agrees to this, “The challenging part in technical recruitment is that the business do not understand what the market is. Since you are the only liaison between the business and the market, you need to give that education to them. If you as a recruiter are unable to convey that message back, then you have failed as a recruiter.”
> “The secret lies in having a proper communication with someone from the technical hiring team who understands the market and who can be your brand ambassador to propagate your message to the business.”
“Besides this, other typical challenges are delivering proper feedback to the candidate from the hiring team, making sure there is no gap in this process so that the candidate does not lose interest and also ensuring a smooth closure.”
The Ideal Hiring Funnel
Kamal shares few hacks from his experience to optimize and execute a successful hiring funnel. He explains them step by step:
- When the hiring manager opens the position, after it is approved and updated on the portal , we start working on it. This process begins with the first round of discussion which is done on the same day so as to understand what exactly his requirements are. This is required for creating a perfect job description. This step is typically completed within 24–48 hours.
- Sourcing the resumes takes further 2–3 days.
- Here the resumes are thoroughly checked and shortlisted. If there is a gap between the skills needed, then a calibration meeting takes place. In short, the first week decides if one is on the right track.
- With all the initial processes sorted out, from the second week onwards, the recruitment process is on track. A hypothetical situation would be about giving 5 resumes out of which 4 are fit, they go through interviews and has an offer out of it.
Speaking of problems in this funnel, Kamal feels that onboarding is the biggest problem in Indian Scenario with a hefty rejection ratio of 25:1. He says,
> “The Market is dynamic in India. Candidates often have more than one offer and you will not be aware of the other offer. The time between joining and onboarding is the most crucial time as that in itself decides if the candidate is interested in you and how long will he stay with your company.”
Metrics to Recruit One
Kamal believes the attitude and cultural fit of a candidate matters a lot. Qualities like willingness to learn, the want to be a part of the team are very important. “If one has these, he would be able to pick up any job and run along with it. His honesty also matters. I have hired an IT recruiter for doing sales hiring and I have hired a Logistical services recruiter who took a portfolio for financial hiring. The person should be open to taking up new challenges, as in the end, it is all about the attitude.”
Kamal firmly believes one needs to move with technology. “I have always been propagating technology, one should use social media platforms to ensure that HR runs smoothly.”
Work Life Balance
Being a Senior HR Professional is no easy task. On his hacks to maintain a work-life balance Kamal says,
“It is difficult to take out time. I have to dedicate some time for my family. My 20 month old son is my passion and hobby nowadays. Besides that, I am an adventurous person and I like to travel a lot. I have explored most of India, still there are few places left which I would like to cover. I generally take off a vacation and visit a new place every year.”
HR in 2017
2017 is clearly going to be a year of innovations and development and the HR department will also be affected by this. Kamal shares his thoughts on probable trends that will dominate the industry in this year, “A lot of focus will be on retention of employees. For that companies will do predictive analytics, compare themselves with the market in terms of attrition, and benchmark them against the market to see how they can improve employee satisfaction.”
> “A lot of satisfaction survey results say that people leave companies because they do not see any kind of growth. There will be adoption of new tools and methodologies one of them being HR analytics. There will be a lot of investment that will go into learning and development.”
Message to an HR Aspirant?
“Be responsive to the employees, it is the first thing that one should do as an HR manager. If a person wants to be an HR, he needs to analyze his own personality and realize if he is cut out for a desk job. One should be a people person, should love to converse and who is able to tackle with difficult situations.”
Kamal portrays himself not only as a Senior HR Professional but a leader, mentor and guide as well. His positive vibe filled with compassion will be able to encourage and drive anyone. Team Aircto wishes him all the very best in all his future endeavors.