Sanjukta Sarkar
Current Organization Collins Aerospace
Designation Senior Director - Human Resources

Previous Organization(s)

SAP Labs, Accenture, Goldman Sachs, GE, Aditya Birla Group

Belongs to (place from)

Kolkata & Mumbai

MADS Interest

Traveling, Music, Zumba, Swimming

Life Mantra

Be optimistic – Everything happens for a reason

I draw inspirations from

Various personalities – Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Michelle Obama

Had I not been an HR Professional then

I would have been a food & Travel blogger

At what point in your life did you decide to take up HR as your career? What were the guiding / motivating factors?

Soon after graduating in Chemistry, even though I had topped my Mumbai College, I realised the topic was not for me. I looked around and talked to various people including my own parents and HR professionals in a couple of organizations. It seemed to me that the subject would be of great interest and I will be able to add value.

HR is one practice that touches human lives directly. Do you think employers and specially HR Professional can play role in reducing stress levels of employees through various employee engagement initiatives?

Today’s environment is full of stress. Both from professional and personal lives. We, as HR professionals, need to understand that life is more and more blended nowadays and we cannot strictly care about employee’s work life while keeping personal lives separate. In that endeavour, more companies are providing professional counsellors to employees for both professional and personal issues. That also does not mean the manager and HR does not have any responsibility. HR plays a key role in coaching managers to understand, communicate and coach their team members and run various other engagement activities which give employees a purpose in life. We put a lot of emphasis on CSR activities as well which enables employees to go out of their comfort zone and feel privileged about what they have.

What are some of the most important employee engagement initiatives related to Music, Art, Dance or Sports that you have taken in your career?

Being from a Bengali family, music and dance were an integral part of our lives. I grew up learning various dance forms which I continue to pursue from time to time. I also learnt Rabindra Sangeet. I have recently begun Yoga as well.

I started swimming very early in my life and I love all things water.

Do you think time and cost for employee engagements are an investment for the organisation and can help in multi-fold returns?

Absolutely. I don’t think there is any debate any more about the returns of strong and meaningful engagement activities. However, many companies cut that the first when there is a cost focus.

Do you feel there is a need even to reach out to the family of employees so that they get better connected to the company? Have you undertaken any such initiative in your past or current organization?

Yes, families are an important part of an employee’s eco system. I have personally driven a lot of engagement activities including “Bring your kids to work”, “Engaging with families for allowing women to work on shop floor”, sending recognition of employees to their homes thanking their family.

What is the one change that you would like to bring in HR practice that has potential to boost employees work-life balance?

I think work life balance is passé. It is now work life blending – you are digitally connected all the time even if you are on vacation. Organizations have to respect time off of employees and not expect or pull them into discussions/emails. Flexible working goes a long way to engage and motivate employees as well.

Any other thoughts you may want to share.

I want to send a message to the young people who are entering the workforce today –

1.    Don’t be in a hurry to move across roles. Build depth and consciously build breadth.

2.    Chasing money or titles is never a good idea. In the long career we have, organizations will look for expertise rather than frivolousness. As everyone knows, there is always a better offer out there…how long will you keep moving?

3.    Companies value perspectives, challenge status quo as much as possible and have conviction in your beliefs.

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