03 May 2018

NHRD Bangalore caught up with 2 HR Leaders on what they thought women & organisations can do to chart out a differentiating career

Seema NairSVP and Executive Director – Human Resources and Facilities at Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages

  1. Hang in there, careers are made over decades, and any reasonably competent professional would have reached a different level of leadership over 10 vs 20 vs 30 years
  2. If you need a couple of ‘light’ months or years for specific reasons, talk to your manager for support but also let them know when you are ready for the grind
  3. Try not to take advantage of your gender, genuinely try to be the best on the team and you’ll be picked for advancement for the right reasons, besides gaining respect from your peers 
  4. A job pays the monthly bills, a career feeds your soul – Choose what you want to have and nurture it accordingly 
  5. Make the best of the opportunities you have vs complaining that you don’t have enough opportunities

Mahalakshmi R, Head HR India at Mondelez International 

  1.  Rethink Success :  How we define success is so personal.  Gone are the days where success could be measured by where you are on the corporate ladder.  The advent of technology has enabled all of us to not only work from anywhere but also design and our careers – aligned to our passion and purpose.  I am inspired to see so many women (and men) around me embrace joy and meaning in their work – with their own holistic definition of what a successful life means to them– whether it is through entrepreneurship, part timing, plural careers, full time parenting or a pure corporate career.   And my invitation to all of you is to really get in touch with your true calling and articulate your own definition of success.
  2.  Weave your Support Network : When I look back at my career so far – perhaps the one significant factor that has shaped who I am today is my social support system.  Over the years there is a small network of people who I have around me – who I can trust and look to for guidance and energy. These are a mix of friends, family, old colleagues and mentors.  While I don’t have a wide network , I do believe I have a deep network – that understands me, my motivations and passions, my derailers – and is willing on invest their time energy in providing me with a honest point of view , guidance or at times an empathetic shoulder, or a bout of positive energy as one goes through the ups and downs on life.  So, my second invitation is for each of you to look around and invest in these deep bonds that are lifelines as we navigate our careers and our life.

SV Nathan, Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte India

  1. Men as Champions – Have men sponsor women and have them take the agenda forward in the businesses. This drives ownership.
  2. Metrics- Have this discussed at the highest level in the organisation – The Exec and the Board. It must be a Board agenda and therefore, something that the firm takes up. At Deloitte, we also quietly mandate things like a certain % of women hires at the entry level.
  3. Women drop off at the mid-level when it is a child bearing time or child rearing time- that is when we need to step up our game even further by having women friendly policies. We have a DMom program for mothers coming back to work (They need a lot of support, training and building the confidence to fight the post-partum issues they face).
  4. Have support groups to help them as well. Networking of women and creating support groups helps to iron out issues.
  5. Have a strong Women Leader lead charge of Women’s initiatives and have her reporting to the Board. That way it is an independent view and carries clout. Demonstrates commitment.

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