Disha 2013: Guest Lecture by Ms Dola Mukherjee, Head of HR, Syngene International Limited

Ms Dola Muhkerjee Addressing Students On Competency


Disha 2013 is off to a flying start! Post the inauguration, TAPMI played host to a stellar group of HR luminaries from diverse industries, who shared their valuable inputs on various fields, pertinent to Human Resource. One of the standout guest lectures was by Ms. Dola Mukherjee, the Head of HR from Syngene International Limited, a subsidiary of Biocon.

Ms Mukherjee started off by giving a brief account of her journey in the corporate world. She described her initial days, when she started out with Consulting, before moving over to recruiting. She explained how recruiting gave her a tremendous learning experience. She then talked about how she gained experience across diverse sectors, such as Media (Bennett, Coleman, and Co), and Manufacturing (TVS Motors), before finally joining Syngene. In her opinion, one of the best aspects of HR is that it is possible to seamlessly shift across industries having very few, if any commonalities.

Ms. Mukherjee then went on to give the audience a glimpse of Syngene.  Syngene, a subsidiary of Biocon was established in 1994. Today, it is the fastest growing Contract Research Organization in the country, handling various research activities for some of the top companies in various sectors, in particular, Pharmaceuticals. Worldwide, today, Syngene has 90+ clients, and employs over 1800 scientists and over 300 Doctorates (PHDs).

At this point, Ms. Mukherjee posed a direct question to the audience, “What are your competencies?” She then went on to explain what a competency is and why it matters. A competency is a capability that exists in a person that leads to behaviour which meets the demand. She briefly discussed the Iceberg Model, which talks about Behaviour, Skill, Knowledge, Aptitude and Attitude and the importance of these aspects.

“Had Mahatma Gandhi been alive today, would he be a great Corporate Leader? Would he be able to drive an organization’s operations efficiently and effectively?” – This was the next question posed to the TAPMIans, and one that stirred up a vigorous debate during the lecture. The question was left open ended, as the idea was to stimulate and give the students something to ponder about post the lecture.

Ms. Mukherjee now ventured to explain to the audience five broad pillars of competency that she as a recruiter always looks for during the recruitment process: Personal excellence, Operational excellence, Customer Excellence, Leadership excellence and Strategic Excellence.

Firstly, Personal excellence covers self-management i.e. how good one is at managing himself or herself, how does one conduct himself/herself as a person in all kinds of social situations, etc. Personal Excellence also talks about how good a communicator one is.

The second pillar of competency that Ms. Mukherjee talked about was operational excellence. This talks about speed of action in situations, and Quality focus. How fast can one respond and how quality centred is he or she. This pillar talks about how a person works.

Thirdly, she gave an idea about Customer Excellence. This aspect tells us about engaging and retaining customers, building and maintaining relationships and customer focus. She explained how the ultimate goal of any typical business enterprise is profit and profitability, and to achieve this purpose, it is imperative to build and focus your business around the customer.

Now, Ms. Mukherjee explained about Leadership excellence, which includes the ability to lead and motivate people and develop them, and also talks about how good one is at collaborating and influence. She gave insight into why the ability to collaborate and influence, in particular is of key importance, and is a competency to be honed and developed.

Finally, Ms. Mukherjee talked about strategic excellence, which involves strategic focus as well as business acumen. The important trait here is: how well one can lead a business and strategize to fulfil the business objectives.

Ms. Mukherjee concluded the session by highlighting to the TAPMIans that not that all these traits are a must in the eyes of recruiters, this is just a broad spectrum of competencies that are looked for. She advised the group to identify which among these five broad pillars is their forte, and work on strengthening and refining it.

There was a question and answer session at the end of the session, and many among the audience asked pertinent doubts, which were answered in a crisp and lucid manner. The questions ranged from questions about how the broad pillars of competency are measured tangibly while recruiting, to questions about career opportunities in Human Resource.

In conclusion, Ms. Mukherjee delivered to the TAPMIans an informative, educative and thought provoking session, which successfully engaged and connected with the students and gave them tremendous insights and value. A superb way to get Disha underway, indeed!


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