HR Stories: Hemang Desai in conversation with Pexitics

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Hemang Desai

HR Professional, Trainer

HEMANG DESAI, 42, is an astute HR Professional, Trainer and Management Thinker. With his sound interpersonal skills and strong background in human dynamics, he has been widely acclaimed as a Human Engineer as well as a successful Business Consultant. A Post Graduate in Social Work, he has a PG Diploma each in Training & Development and Psychotherapy & Counselling

1.What motivated you to enter the field of Human Resources?

I was (and I am !!!) a curious student of Human Dynamics, human behaviour and the complexity of interpersonal relationship dynamics. I realised the HR is the only aspect of Business Value Chain that is continuous throughout and yet so complex. I got into the ocean of HR with this basic curiosity of understanding a mechanism called human resources management and the phenomenon called human being. I am amazed and overwhelmed with the fact that despite my rigorous pursuit of last 20 years, I have not been able to get to the last drop of this vast ocean.

2.If asked to describe your job in a few lines, what would you say?

Job in HR is not just another “job”, It is a passion. HR is the only profession where you enable and equip people to do uncommon things. It is a great experience of creating vibrant and integrated organisations from mere structures / skeletons, generating life long bonds & comradeship among team members, developing leaders who take the helms of the industries in their hands, transforming cultures, which harnesses business growth and success.

3.What according to you is the biggest HR Challenge today?

There are two major HR challenges:
1. How to keep three generations, working under the same roof, motivated and yet productive?
2. How to manage the aspirations of gen-X & gen-Y, within the given organisational parameters and frameworks.

4.What does Human Resource Management mean to you?

As I said, HRM is not just another profession. For me HRM has been an integral part of my life. It has been attached to me like my skin is. I am quite passionate, optimistic and enthusiastic about the future and the significance of HRM for the Business.

5.What drives you personally, to excel at your job? Is it an event, an experience, a person you admire or something else?

My professional and moral commitment to the HR team I work with, to the superiors who entrust me with responsibilities and my colleagues who inspires me, each time I bring about change through positive intervention.

6.Does the way we hire need to change?

Yes, the “procurement” mind-set of hiring people like a commodity must change drastically. We need to keep in mind that we are not just hiring a set of skills, but also an emotional being. We need to stop expecting miracles immediately, from the incumbent, just because we have met all his/her expectations of compensation. The focus of HR should be on culture fit aspect apart from the skill-fit aspect. We sometimes get so engrossed in the numbers and positions to fill in, we conveniently neglect the culture-fit, which then becomes a pain, sometimes even hurdle for organisational growth journey.

7.If given a chance, how would you want to use your position within the Human Resources Fraternity to bring about this change?

I would request my colleagues in HR Fraternity to handle recruitments more strategically than administratively. We need to spend more time in developing robust HR plan, hiring schedule in line with the Business expansion / execution plans, continuously analyse and develop skill gap inventory, sound and methodical induction processes for various levels and disciplines. Impetus to be laid on internally upgrading of skills and creating a wide database of industry professionals, are some of the other critical steps HR professionals need to take in order to make recruitment a scientific, integrated and a value-adding function.

8.What defines you as a person apart from your profession?

I would like to be seen as an approachable, warm and helpful person. It is very difficult to separate your profession from your personality after soaking the two together for more than twenty years. However, I still feel I am not at all as diplomatic and shrewd personally, as much as my profession would demand.

9.Do you pursue any hobbies or believe in living life a certain way?

I have a strong belief in the lessons of Shree Bhagawad Geeta. I have started believing in karma, without having any control on its outcomes and carrying out our karma, to the best of our capabilities is as good as Yog (meeting the divinity!!).

10.What message would you have for young HR Aspirants?

I have two messages for HR Aspirants:
Do not get into HR, just as another career option. It is far more than that. It will exhaust you soon if you are coming without passion for people.
HR and Business are fast converging. In order to be a successful HR professional, know your business and its nuances well.

More about Hemang Desai:

HEMANG DESAI, 42, is an astute HR Professional, Trainer and Management Thinker. With his sound
interpersonal skills and strong background in human dynamics, he has been widely acclaimed as a
Human Engineer as well as a successful Business Consultant. A Post Graduate in Social Work, he has a PG Diploma each in Training & Development and Psychotherapy & Counselling.

With core focus being dissemination of learning, currently, he is operating as a freelance Organisational Transformation Consultant, Trainer, Success Coach and Management Advisor. His clients include reputed names into Engineering, Hospital, Agro & dairy products, Development sector (NGO), etc.

Having more than two decades of experience in managing Strategic HR interventions with some of the most esteemed organizations like Reliance Industries Ltd, GSPC Group, ESSAR Group, Hindustan Oil Exploration Company Ltd, and Torrent Pharmaceuticals’ Research Centre, he has created a niche with his stellar success in blending Strategy into execution for highly intellectual workforce. His last
assignment was as the Global Head – Corporate HR with the multinational Bankai Group.

He was recently been featured in Asia’s Who’s Who by HRM Asia Journal, Singapore. He has been
invited as a member to the esteemed Human Resources Advisory Board of International Institute of
Management & Technology. He is a Life Member of National HRD Network & NIPM, Associate Member of All India Management Association, Indian Academy of Applied Psychology (IAAP) and Indian Society of Applied Behavioural Science (ISABS).

With a keen interest in teaching and his strong academic orientation, he has been associated as a
visiting faculty with various universities and institutes of national / international repute. He has to his credit several papers and articles published in some of the renowned HR journals as well
as popular newspapers.

He is pragmatic and believes firmly that ‘nothing except change is consistent’.
You can reach Hemang Desai at hemang.desai@consultant.com

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