HR Stories: Sahana Shankar in conversation with Pexitics


Sahana Shankar


Every challenge is an opportunity for Sahana Shankar, AVP & Head of HR at Paladion. As she talks to Pexitics about her work, it’s clear to see, how seriously passionate she is about working as a transformative agent, within Human Resource Management.

1. What motivated you to enter the field of Human Resources?
Human Beings are the most interesting species and I always believed that it is the human capital which is the unique selling proposition for any organization. It’s like this, you can take away brand, money, name & fame from an organization and just leave behind its people the same people will build the brand again. It’s not the numbers which excited me but it was always people who bring those numbers that amazed me hence I wanted to work in the area of maximizing the human capital and help organization and people unleash their fullest potential. Strategy can be great but we need people who can execute those strategies. Vision/plan can be a gamechanger but we need great minds who will execute that.

2. If asked to describe your job in a few lines, what would you say?
I am a transformational leader focusing on organizational needs by optimizing human capital in achieving business objectives. I help organization and individuals unleash their full potential and contribute back to society by serving on the board of academic institutions.

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

  • Getting the right talent for right job
  • Helping HR Team to think Digital
  • Building lean teams with design thinking mindsets
  • Engaging and motivating millennials
  • Driving Data Driven HR & Data driven decision making
  • Culture Formation and Culture Sustenance

4. How does your company strategize to overcome this?

Getting the right talent for right job- we do Culture Fit, Behavioural Test, Technical Assessments, Employer Branding on social media, use digital tools for sourcing, target passive candidate, look at outbound hiring
Helping HR Team to think Digital – We are showcasing how Digital HR will value add, simplify, fasten the process and deliver a great employee experience. We are encouraging HR Team to think digital by portrayal of how much of additional time they will have for doing more strategic work as mundane work Digital tool can do. Building lean teams with design thinking mindsets
Engaging and motivating millennials– We are looking at outbound hiring tools, chatbot for employee engagement, mobile apps for learning, pride videos, recognition on app, encouraging Millennials to follow their passion, career paths, challenging work.
Driving Data Driven HR & Data driven decision making– It’s a decision that every decision needs to be supported by data, trend, patterns.
Culture Formation and Culture Sustenance– We are making it top down and bottom up by making it part of our culture fit assessment, All Hands Meet founders talking, employees being recognized for culture pillars of the organization
Cross Skilling Talent– We have an initiative called Competency Belt where in entire organization is mapped under different competency belt and based on the belt cross skilling is encouraged.

5. What does Human Resource Management mean to you?
It is Human Capital Management. Human Capital is an intellectual capital which is the most critical capital for any organization. If this capital can be managed, rest all will fall in place.

6. What drives you personally, to excel at your job? Is it an event, an experience, a person you admire or something else?
Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and make a difference. The biggest driving force is the ability to make a difference based on your knowledge and competence/capability to the organization and teams. The motivation as a leader is to create more leaders. I always see the bigger picture and believe it is better to be a big fish in a small pond than being a small fish in a big pond.

7. Does the way we hire need to change?
Yes, I do see a big change in the way we hire. Traditional hiring is not giving us results and hence we are currently looking at Technical Hackathons, Culture fit, behavioural assessments, video based JD’s, Coding rounds, case study approach to hiring.

8. If given a chance, how would you want to use your position within the Human Resources Fraternity to bring about this change?
I would like to mentor more students who are graduating in HR and mentor start-ups in HR Space. I would like to give more guest lectures in colleges and share knowledge though various platforms more.

9. What defines you as a person apart from your profession? Do you pursue any hobbies or believe in living life a certain way?
Being passionate about Academics, I closely work with academic institutions for revamping the syllabus to ensure an industry relevant and application oriented syllabus is offered to the student community. On a periodic basis, I review syllabus for subjects like Human Resource Management, Organisational Development & International Human Resource Management.
->I write articles on LinkedIn/blog and I am co-authoring a book
->I spend time on following my passion for singing and travelling to places
->Next I want to learn photography

10. What message would you have for young HR Aspirants?
HR is a profession where you can transform lives, to transform lives be passionate, work hard, have analytical thinking, right attitude, willingness to constantly keep learning and have a customer centric mindset. The most important aspect Just be yourself (Play with your Strengths) and you can conquer the world.

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