The Thane HR Seminar Report

The Seminar came to an end and with it our two months of herculean efforts!

It all started as a crazy idea. We at Thane HR Group thought of organising a seminar, emboldened by our success in organising lecture series for one year. The Thane HR Group is a group of a few HR Managers in the city of Thane who got together to organise such events free of cost for HR fraternity. The Group had no money so we had to find sponsors, and HR Chiefs in Voltas, Jupiter Hospital readily appreciated our efforts and offered to host the events. The initial success surprised us. We realised that there are nearly 400 HR professionals staying at Thane!

The initial target for registration was 150, but we had very few registrations. Thanks to some stupendous efforts by Alok Sheopurkar, Head HR of HDFC Mutual Fund, Anil Kshatriya and Vidya Patel of AK Placements, and Sharad Gangal, Head HR of HDFC Standard Life that more enrolments came in. To our surprise, the enrolments in the last three days were so much that we had to revise everything, finally landing with a tally of 275 participants.

The seminar was inaugurated at the hands of Mr. Sandeep Nair, MD, Emersons Ltd. The seminar was addressed by Mr Visty Banaji – Executive Director & President (Group Corporate Affairs) at Godrej Industries Limited. I have always enjoyed Mr. Banaji’s presentations and interactions with him. His subtle humour makes conversations with him very enjoyable and he was at his witty best in making presentation. Mr. Bijay Sahoo President and Chief People Officer- Reliance Retail, spoke of his experience in Wipro and Reliance. He has had a unique advantage of working for three great leaders, Vivek Paul and Azim Premjee of Wipro, and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance. They approach the downturn issues differently, and show how to strike balance between business interests and People concerns. Dr. Krishnamurty, the Director of the Industrial Relations Institute of India, is respected for his just and fair approach to HR and IR issues. He is a unique consultant because he advises both Unions and Managements. Perhaps that gives him a perspective so different from others. His analysis was hard hitting, but clearly thought out. It is always a treat to hear him.

In the second half Captain Girish Kaushik, President National Aviators Guild also spoke on the strife between Management and the Union and explained their side of the story. His analogies were drawn from his daily experience of flying but nevertheless they conveyed his message very clearly. The importance of managing people with respect and dignity cannot be over-stated. When leadership of an organization acts out of fear they lose sight of this important imperative.

Mr Vikas Shirodkar Global Head Corporate HR for VVF Ltd. sharing his thoughts on HR role in these times and how business orientation will bring in a strategic dimension to the function. Vikas is perhaps the biggest crowd puller in HR fraternity. His soft spoken way, his humility coupled with excellent communication skills makes him the most sought after person as well as speaker.

The last session was a panel discussion chaired by Mr. Suresh Ogale, Head HR of Technova. The panelists were Ulhas Deshpande, Founder Director and CEO of IntelleCash, Dr. Aneeta Madhok, Director at Open Spaces Consulting Mumbai and me.

The seminar itself was sponsored by Accenture and co-sponsored by Voltas.

There was a surprise for me. The Thane HR Team [Anil Kshatriya of AK Placements, Sharad Gangal of HDFC Standard Life, Alok Sheopurkar of HDFC Mutual Fund, Sanjay Mandlik of Anchor [Panasonic Group], Suresh Ogale of Technova Imaging, Dr Prashant Karmalkar of Accenture, Dipak Gadekar of Voltas International, Anil Joshi of Dow Chemicals had ‘conspired’ to felicitate me, giving a standing ovation, for my contribution to HR function. It was undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments in my life. Sharad made a short speech befitting the occasion, and I found it difficult to fight back my tears.

Thanks, my friends, for giving me such unforgettable moments.