DISHA 2017: Day 3: Sophos: “Millennial Engagement: Happiness Index in HRM” – Ms Rekha Nair, Senior HRBP, Brillio


On 31st August 2017, Ms. Rekha Nair began a lively discussion by clarifying the meaning of the words ‘engagement’ and ‘millennial’. She said that the term ‘engagement’ has core parameters which are common throughout the generations, while ‘millennial’ is a term which defines the workforce according to the generation they belong to. According to her, these varied age groups in a work place are beneficial to an organization as there is a range of experiences, and every reaction is based on where they are in their life right now.

Ms. Nair, while elaborating on engagement, said that what engages one person may not interest the other at all. Unless we are there, at a point of time, completely into something, as per her we are not engaged.

The biggest competitive advantage for any organization in today’s world is their business workforce, as people are the primary source of competitive advantage, according to her. If people are leveraged correctly and kept in an environment which brings out the best in them, the results will be highly productive. You have to engage people to inspire or challenge them. Whatever work employees do irrespective of the hierarchy, some teams will be engaged and some not and this difference arises because of the leader, Ms. Nair said stressing on the importance of vision.

There are three kinds of work orientations, she insisted- just doing a job, making a career and an inner calling. That is the kind of passion with which employees need to be engaged. The organization, according to her, can win in a market place if they get their talent strategy in place. Talent Strategy, as suggested by her, comprises of Understanding and assessing talent, hiring the right talent, developing the right people, focus on building leaders, creating an awesome culture and people’s engagement.

As per Ms. Nair, if employees love what they do, love their organization, they tend to give everything else a backseat. Happiness and excitement are temporary phases. Every organization should work towards creating a culture that employees love, she urged. Boredom, on the other hand, she said, is the most detrimental to the quality of work and the workplace. It also implies the person is not given enough work.

Ms. Nair brought the discussion to an end by talking about ways to transform events into employee experience. She suggested organizations customize workplace as per employee desires, differentiate the job so as to make it desirable for the employee, provide responsibilities keeping employee capabilities in mind and strive to measure an impact of them on employees.


Disha 2017: Day 3: Sophos: “Human Resources Road Map for a GATI of tomorrow -Integrating HR Strategy with Business Strategy” – Mr. Narayanam Sesha Srikanth, Zonal HR Head, Gati KWE


On 31st August 2017, Mr. Sesha Srikanth addressed the students of Tapmi on how GATI is integrating HR strategy with Business Strategy. In this open and interactive session, he elaborated about the various measures adopted by GATI in order to empower the employees as well as the company.

Mr. Srikanth started off the session by giving a brief history of GATI, which is the first company in India to introduce door-to-door delivery and cash-on-delivery concepts. GATI follows project based structure, with multiple divisions including international freight forwarding, e-commerce and fuel stations as well as numerous subsidiaries around Asia.

Talking about what a business expects from HR people, Mr. Srikanth said that two important aspects are how to reduce the cost and how to increase the profitability of the business. In his opinion, it is extremely important for HR to align with the needs of the industry.

As the session progressed, Mr. Srikanth explained how GATI redesigned the organization and the entire HR team as well as their employee performance reward program. The organizational redesign included creating specialist roles to avoid opportunity overlap, implementing shop floor automation and optimizing available manpower by reducing unwanted roles, to name a few. Mr. Srikanth said that GATI implemented Biometrics and G-Cube as a measure to take the company one step closer to technological advancement. He then elaborated that GATI doesn’t believe in evaluating employees based on the group’s performance since the method lacks predictability. Rather, GATI now follows individual performance review as they believe, in Mr. Srikanth’s words, “People should know how much they can earn”.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Srikanth said that GATI is an open and hierarchy-less organization which believes in free communication between all its employees. Even though he stated that changing the culture of a traditional organization like GATI takes a longer time, they are on the path towards the change.

Disha 2017: Day 3: Onimia: “Challenge of maintaining cohesiveness in contemporary organisations”


On 30th August 2017, the 3rd day of Disha started off with a panel discussion. Dr Vishwanathan Iyer, Professor and Associate Dean Academics of TAPMI moderated the discussion.

Mr Rajesh Sahay, Sr. VP and HR Head, WIPRO Consumer Care

Mr Rajesh Sahay initiated the discussion by recalling his experiences from his organisation. In this context, growth in the organisation came from geographical expansion and inorganic growth. He said, “Every time, you acquire a company, you increase complexity, and hence struggle to maintain cohesiveness.” During this process, the value systems and corporate governance remain the same. But there exists another dimension composed of environmental changes and struggles unique to the company. In the face of such diverse challenges, the question is how do we integrate these acquired companies, maintain the value system and face environmental changes? According to him, the biggest environmental change is the technological change which is taking over the business world. The only solution to this is to continuously metamorphose and adapt according to the changing scenario. In his opinion, not all companies and countries run at the same speed; the need of the hour is to adapt to the same speed.

 Sunil Naik- Director HR, DHL Global Forwarding India

Mr Sunil Naik started the discussion by highlighting the challenges his company faces. DHL deals in logistics, the challenges are the environment, port congestion, technology, politics and price disruption. Therefore, “the ability of an organization to adapt to challenges is very important” and that is what makes all the difference. Mr Naik went on to say that the value system should be standard so that no challenge can tamper with it. According to him a leader should keep three principles in mind – 1.) Provider of choice 2.) Employer of choice 3.) Investment of choice. A leader should be one who is focussed, resilient and optimistic. He supported his statement by stating if a shipment has to be shipped from India to Syria which is war prone country with almost no infrastructure. The onus lies on the leader how he overcomes the challenge. Thus, challenges are there and one has to face them.

Mr Kosal Ram, General Manager-HR, Manipal Hospitals

Mr Kosal Ram joined the discussion by stating the importance of vision and mission for organisational cohesiveness. He cited examples from his previous and current organisations and stressed on the fact that organisational level complexities are a major challenge for cohesiveness. Issues such as performance variations among different functional areas, not many platforms to share best practices among teams, the inability of teams to adapt to other practices from a different team, cross functional team work, unwillingness among employees to be mobile across regions and functions etc. The goals throughout the organisation should be well aligned with the vision and mission of an organisation. He stated that “Senior leadership plays a pivotal role in bringing in cohesiveness to an organisation”.

He concluded by asking the millennial crowd in the audience to “Learn an organisation before joining it.” Stability within an organisation is very important, considering the rate at which the millennials are leaving an organisation (approximately only 2 out of 5 millennial employees continue working in an organisation for more than 2 years).

Mr Ishwar Haritas – Assistant Professor, Finance and Strategy –  T A Pai Management Institute

Mr Ishwar Haritas joined the discussion by stating that we are fortunate to have a panel with a cumulative experience of a hundred years. He elaborated his views on the topic by making use of the framework by Bosch Consultant Group. A three-dimensional framework consisting of unpredictability, malleability and harshness, each of which can have a negative impact on cohesiveness. These three factors can give rise to four different situations. The classical situation is one in which predictability is reasonably high and the future is forecastable. An adaptive situation is one in which your ability to be agile and flexible is a competitive advantage.  Shaping is another situation where your ability to orchestrate a network regardless of predictability or unpredictability to deliver results. The last one is harshness, in which it is almost impossible to predict the future as the disruption is very high. There are a few strategies we can apply to counter these situations. Firstly, we can just try to survive for the short term then continuously assess the situation over the long term. Another is the visionary strategy. We create a future in which we have a major role to play. In conclusion, Mr Haritas stressed that companies that have a well-built set of values are the ones that survive in the world.

Disha 2017: Day 2- Sophos: “Consumerization of employees” – Ms. Sonali Dutta, Lead HR, Swarovski, India


On 30th August, Ms. Sonali Dutta addressed a group of students with her views on Consumerization of HR. With a video on the new policy of Culture Machine, ‘First day of period off!’ she began her discussion and managed to engage all the students’ attention. She emphasized on the need for understanding your organization’s employees, knowing their needs, and creating an environment where each one is comfortable and content.

‘Employee Engagement’ being the crux of the talk, Ms. Dutta expressed the need for building brand advocates and having an effective two-way feedback mechanism. She added that knowing our employees today would facilitate the designing and devising of policies in the future to maximize efficiency. With the example of Gallup, one of the world’s leading consultancy firm and pioneers in employee engagement, who have adopted innovative models to understand their employees, she iterated the importance of the behavioral aspect at the workplace rather than the technical aspect.

Another aspect she discussed was the need for effective listening skills in HR managers and development of simple, strategic policies so that the employees could implement them. They must be integrated into the organization from the very beginning and allowed to get accustomed to their working environment. They must experience it continuously so that their individual goals can be united with the overall organizational goal.

Clarity, transparency, empowerment, connectivity, belongingness; these are sought by employees and optimizes their satisfaction and in turn their productivity.

Ms. Sonali Dutta sought solutions from students on different cases and ended her session with the emphasis on mutual learning and stating that the need of the hour in the industry was not just how our consumers are important but how our employees equally are.

Disha 2017: Day 2: Sophos: “Millennial engagement- Happiness Index in HRM” – Mr. Sumit Mukherjee, Associate VP, HR at Apollo Munich Health Insurance

Disha 2017, Day 2, Sophos

On 30th August 2017, Mr. Sumit Mukherjee started off by stating that every generation has its own challenges but today’s generation is under huge pressure to obtain success. It is scary to be in our shoes as everybody expects this generation to achieve more. The question is, how do we cope with this? He then moved on to divide the students into two groups and finding out how one can engage millennials in the context of work. Through this simple exercise, he advised the students, “Everyone wants to have fun at work. You know what is better? To make your work fun.” He then shared his experience of working in different sectors and different companies but he added that there hasn’t been a single day when he has worked and he hasn’t enjoyed it.

A major focus area of the discussion was using appreciation as a tool of engagement. In his opinion, “Appreciation is hard to come by, but it is required.” Today’s managers are being coached, trained by management experts to understand the art of appreciation. He believes that true engagement lies in self and that employees decide the outcomes of the organisations they join. The organisation can organise team building and recreational activities from time to time, but on a daily basis, only the individual can engage themselves. It is very important for employees to adapt their thoughts, even when they do not like a certain task.

Engagement strategy is all about getting people involved in decision making of the organisation. The most important aspect is retention of employees in the organisation and they can only stay in the organisation as long as they love their work. He concluded this interactive session by saying, “Employee engagement is not about the gimmicks that you run, it is about getting them involved in the organisation.”

DISHA 2017, Onimia, Day 1- “Man machine collaboration in HR technology adoption”

Disha2017, Day 1, Onimia

On August 29, 2017, the first panel discussion for DISHA 2017-Onimia, started with Professor Kartikeya Bolar moderating an engaging discussion among the panelist.

Manoj K Prasad-Vice President-Talent Management-Reliance Industries

Mr. Manoj Prasad started the panel discussion by insisting that human beings are not suitable for all atmospheres and thus machines would inevitably have to be used for such work. He mentioned that a major challenge faced by HR is whether robots will eventually take up their role in an organization. However, he said that humans would still be needed as machines are unable to resolve all employee grievances. He mentioned that machines can only work on repetitive tasks and we had to rely on the acumen and logic of human beings for competency programs. Additionally, while addressing the barriers in embracing technology, he maintained that awareness, understanding, participation, and commitment helped garner acceptance for technology among employees.

Mr. Prasad urged everyone to utilize their potential and be proactive. He warned the students to be watchful so as to spot the makings of a problem and nip it in the bud. “Be agile, be a change champion, be a change catalyst and grab every opportunity you get”, he asserted before signing off.

Suehlan Yu-Vice President HR Accenture Service Pvt. Ltd

Ms. Suehlan Yu, an alumnus of TAPMI, started by mentioning that the face of HR had changed in the last few years. She mentioned that previously HR worked in a silo, however, the lines between the different departments were getting blurred. She elaborated that HR professionals have been doing design thinking, leading to creative ideas and out of the box concepts. She outlined the important points of an employee’s journey and how it could be improved with the use of technology. She also explained that use of technology could make the process of Talent Acquisition unbiased and make it extremely easy to get information on a candidate through social media. She concluded by saying that by using technology development, management, as well as employee exit, would become far easier to handle.

Sudeep Mitra – Investor and Advisor at

Mr. Sudeep Mitra joined the discussion by sharing his experience in talent searching, from his time in Reliance Industries. He explained in four points as to why machines could increase the efficiency of an organization, namely – they are always on and work without breaks, they are unbiased, they are unprejudiced and they hold no grudges. According to Mr. Mitra, a person suitable for a job today might be found unsuitable for the same tomorrow and vice-versa unlike the case with machines. On being asked whether organization size affects embracement of technology in the workplace, he said that compared to larger companies, newer ones find it easier to do so. He stated that newer companies possess large innovation capabilities and so automation is not a threat. In his opinion, the companies still require a lot of human intervention for smooth functioning. Mr. Mitra concluded by sharing the thought that as a form of radical Darwinism, embracing technology makes organizations more competitive.

Ramesh Shankar-Executive Vice President and Head of HR, Siemens

Mr. Ramesh Shankar joined the discussion by agreeing with his fellow panelists and confessed that in today’s world, there is no choice but to accept technology. On the question, “If HR today is technology ready?”, Mr. Shankar said that there needs to be a balance between efficiency and effectiveness. He elaborated that despite machines providing efficiency, a human mind would always be needed to provide effectiveness. Mr. Shankar pointed out, that with the introduction of technology unconscious bias will go down. On the “barriers to accepting technology,” Mr. Shankar mentioned that it was the mindset that made all the difference. He elaborated that there was a change of business model in the market place and with little help from the organization, there would always be ways to innovate. He concluded that in today’s market, technology was being adopted without investing a lot of capital towards it getting accepted.

DISHA 2017- Metamorphosis: Redesign, Recreate, Transform – Inauguration Ceremony

Disha 2017, Day 1, Inauguration Ceremony.jpg

On 29th August 2017, Disha 2017, the 3-day annual HR conclave of T. A. Pai Management Institute, Manipal started off with the theme ‘Metamorphosis: Redesign, Recreate, Transform’. Ms. Indu Thomas, Master of Ceremony of the event welcomed the guests and the audience. This was followed by the invocation ceremony and lighting of the lamp. The Chief Guest for the event was Mr. Ramesh Shankar, Executive VP and Head HR, Siemens South Asia, and the keynote speaker was Mr. Manoj Prasad, Vice President- Organization Change, Talent Management, OD & Learning of Reliance Industries Limited. Professor Madhu Veeraraghavan, Director, TAPMI and Colonel James, Area Chair for HR, TAPMI were among the dignitaries present.

Professor Madhu Veeraraghavan gave his overview on the theme and said that an event such as Disha provides a platform for the students to interact with industry professionals to gain insights. The theme highlighted positivity and growth; he deliberated and discussed what the focus of HR should be, in the face of a dynamic environment. According to him, “When teams work together, there’s a lot more innovation than a lone inventor”, and that should be the focus of HR in the coming years. Ms. Niharika Kaur, the convenor of Disha and HR Forum, explained the theme of the event and the various sub-events that will be taking place over the course of these 3 days. Disha has transformed in the last five years, with over 175 organizations attending the event.

Mr. Ramesh Shankar provided his views on the theme by saying, “If we have to change the world, the first step is to change ourselves.” He spoke about the global trends in HR, and how companies need to have the ability to adapt and thrive to make the environment livable. He then moved on to explain the impact of digitalization on HR. Digitalization is the use of digital technology to change a business model and provide new revenue and value producing opportunities. Digitalization affects the process of recruitment and skill development by breaking silos and having an experimental mindset. He summed it up by saying, “You will be hired for your mindset, not your skills. You can develop your skills at any age, but the right attitude is very important. You’ll have to think life is full of possibilities”. He concluded his address by providing the students with three mantras – ‘Mindset, Flexibility and Learning.’ In his opinion, one should start their career at a place where they’re least comfortable.

Mr. Manoj Prasad began his address by saying that the workplace, workforce and the entire business world is undergoing a huge metamorphosis. In his opinion, “For any transformation, you need to understand the culture and the DNA of the company.” The objective of the company should be to empower the organization and redefine the processes according to the ever-changing environment. He also mentioned that training is undergoing a paradigm shift, we are moving from classroom learning to e-learning. The main challenge isn’t obtaining the information but understanding how to consume this information. The need of the hour is to make ourselves agile and flexible. He concluded by saying, “Now is the time where we need to decide for ourselves; some people change when they see the light, some people change when they feel the heat.”

The inauguration came to an end after these insightful addresses by the dignitaries but marked the beginning of the 9th edition of Disha. With so many exciting events lined up for the next 3 days, Disha will surely be a fulfilling and enriching experience.