Thank God It’s Monday!!
“Congratulations Rupali, you will complete 7 years in this month with Thermax, in your second innings”, my HR mentioned this to me (yes, HR also needs HR and has HR). “Thank you so much, time just flies…” was my instant response. But as I reflect on my professional journey, my heart pours with lot of memories, learnings and reflections that kept me motivated to look forward to Mondays to get back to work (rather than Monday blues) and contribute in a better way. It is my pleasure to share some insights through this blog.
Say Hi to Surprises. Post completing my MBA, I got placed as a Management Trainee in one of the consumer durables company through Campus. This being my first job, I was excited but equally anxious. Thanks to robust assimilation process, I could get settled in new atmosphere quickly. The organization was going through transformation and that brought in lot of surprises (yes, I prefer to call it surprise over challenge as it brings in excitement around ambiguity); and as young enthusiast I decided to adapt to the organizational need and moved across functions like market research, L&D and HR business partnering and locations like Aurangabad, Mumbai and Gurgaon. When I reflect, these transitions at the initial phase of my career became the building blocks for my next move and engraved a deep belief that agility in thought process is equally important.
Learn, Unlearn and Relearn. Continuous learning is vital to keep yourself abreast on new happenings in and around; but I realized unlearning and re-learning are also equally important as I moved to new city (Pune) and new organization (Thermax). My first innings at Thermax began as HR Associate for C&H Services business. Coming from different industry, different organization culture, I had to unlearn not only policies and processes but also operating styles. Guidance by Manager, support from business & HR colleagues helped me immensely to navigate through this change. Apart from supporting the growth agenda of business, I was given opportunity to launch campus hiring for one stream, which helped me to build the perspective around end to end campus management.
Explore the Unexplored. While I was enjoying my job, I was on a crossroad where I had to choose between family priorities and career. I decided to give preference to family and accompanied my husband who was moving to USA for long term assignment. The curious traveller in me encouraged to explore different parts of country and I could also complete couple of courses in HR domain. But after a while I could not suppress my inner voice which was calling out for getting back into action in the corporate world. When I decided to move back to India, Thermax was an obvious preference, the culture of organization and its contemporary people practice never ceased to amaze me.
I joined as Talent Management anchor. This role helped me to widen my thinking horizon from one division to entire organization. The necessity of having holistic yet agile approach to achieve desired outcome was my key learning in this exploratory journey.
Go Extra Mile. I truly believe in the concept of Organizational Citizenship Behaviour i.e. going over and beyond goal plan/ key deliverables of your role. Applying this concept has helped me a lot to enhance my skill set as well as learning agility. While Talent Management was my core responsibility, I was given various other short term stretch assignments to gain experience and exposure on different HR areas. HR Associate Power -LPP (Large Power Plant) role gave me understanding of projects business. I was nominated as HR representative for Project Modernize – a strategic project involving 14 young colleagues across businesses and functions to modernize, digitize and simplify some of the key processes @ Thermax. This project not only helped me to develop overall appreciation of functional nuances but also enhanced my thinking and execution skills. ASPIRE – Learning intervention for senior leaders, T-Quiz organization wide quiz contest driving engagement beyond divisional and functional boundaries, leading Change Management for new HR system implementation, Campus Management and many more such assignments helped to enrich my knowledge and build the skills.
Adapt, Align and Augment. And the day came where my Manager who has always been my mentor got into conversation discussing with me an opportunity to work with Chemical Business as a Group HR head. I was overwhelmed by the trust placed by my mentor and seniors. I was nervous about the transition but kudos to the nurturing ecosystem co-created by functional and administrative manager along with colleagues from HR and business who made this transition seamless. This role is not only helping me to leverage on my learnings from the previous experience but also honing my skills in new arena.
In nutshell, role change happens in couple of hours technically, interaction with your Manager followed by changes in the system; but the changes associated with role (both behavioural and functional) take time. We get involved in various assignments, few may be from our area of interest and few may not be; some could be planned and some could be unplanned but everything that we learn, make us ready to take the leap of faith. And the learning curve continues as we get into newer role.
Diverse exposure has always brought in freshness to my professional journey making it more meaningful, exciting and I truly look forward to every Monday!
– Rupali Bagul
Group Head – HR, Chemical