Sanjay Chandel
Current Organization
Designation SVP & Head Human Resources

Previous Organization(s)

Taj Hotels, Siemens, AXA, Capita

Belongs to (place from)

Himachal Pradesh

MADS Interest

Music and Sports

Life Mantra

I would rather be hated for who I am than being loved for who I am not

I draw inspirations from

I draw inspiration from even smallest of things. There is lot of goodness around. You just need to look for it. 

Had I not been an HR Professional then

A Mixologist or a Writer, I guess

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

I transitioned to HR after spending 20 years in doing different roles like customer service, Operations, Business Process re-engineering, Quality, Training and solutioning. I always felt that whatever you do, people are always at the core. You can’t achieve much without impacting people in a positive way. In today’s world, people have become critical to a company’s success. This motivated me to transition to HR role.

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?

Certainly. The role of HR professional has undergone a huge change in last 4-5 years. The advent of new technologies is playing a big role in accelerating this change. Managing multi-generational workforce is an interesting challenge. Millennials and Gen Z are changing the rules of engagement. The focus of employee engagement has shifted from once-or-twice-a year HR initiatives to focussing on delivering excellent micro-experiences that employees encounter each working day. We are seeing a rapid shift from employee engagement to employee experiences. Employee experience is seeing the same transformation that customer service went through few years ago.

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

We focus on everything that energise employees. It’s about providing a holistic experience. We draw our employee engagement calendar in the beginning of the year and then follow it like a clockwork. Music, Art Dance and Sports all get equal importance in our engagement activities. Our Annual Day celebration witness culmination of all these activities at a grand scale.

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

Absolutely. There are studies which have proven a direct link between employee engagement and its impact of productivity and profitability of an organization. It might seem counterintuitive to many but spending time and money on engaging employees is not a cost but an investment. You can’t expect innovation and excellence, if employees are not motivated. Money is important but it has its limitations. Creating great culture where employees feel engaged, respected and motivated is the key to sustain an organization’s competitiveness in the long-term.

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?

I think there is, but there is lot that we need to get right before reaching out to the family of employees. Doing family days or getting your child to work etc is a good way to start but it needs to be supported well with right engagement models and infrastructure. There are however areas like creating vibrant work culture along with incredible employee experience which works very well synergistically. Great culture sets the tone for lot of other things like building a great brand and great customer service.

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

The biggest one is to take in to consideration employees’ point of view and design up experiences for the employees taking their views in to consideration rather than using top down approach. Lack of appreciation, role stress, conflicts, mistrust, decreased sense of belonging and ambiguity lead to burnout and impacts work-life balance negatively. How you design a role, how leaders interact, do you have learning opportunities, is fairness embedded in the processes have huge impact on creating a vibrant work culture and boost employees work-life balance.

What are your personal interests in Music, Art, Dance or Sports and how do you continue to pursue them?

I love to listen to music. I make it point to play tennis or squash a few times a week. It keeps me physically fit as well as helps to switch off from work related topics and gain new perspectives. I would like to learn dance and may be a music instrument in future whenever I get time.

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