Abhishek Jha
Current Organization e-Emphasys Systems
Designation Director - Global Human Resources

Previous Organization(s)

Miles Software (now Ebix), WNS, Capgemini, Patni (now Capgemini), SYSTIME Computers (now KPIT), PSS

Belongs to (place from)


MADS Interest

Music, Running, Speaking, Writing

Favorite MADS Personalities

Mark Knopfler, music & artists from the 70’s, rock n roll, marathon runners 

Life Mantra

1. Empathy – Have loads of it 
2. Know who you are, what you would like to be, and consciously work bridging the two  
3. Keep your approach to things simple 
I draw inspirations from: People around me. I am lucky to have an amazing family & great friends. I learn a lot from my son (who is 9) and being with him has made me a lot more patient and simpler in approach to situations.  
Had I not been an HR Professional then: I would have (presumably) been playing music OR teaching 

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

I graduated in Chemistry from Jai Hind College, Mumbai. However, I realized during my final year in college that I wasn’t too keen in pursuing science beyond my Bachelor’s. Around the same time, I was also keen in understanding Business, and that took me to a B-school (SIES College of Management Studies). The College to B-school transition got me analysing my strengths and overall career interest and I eventually took up Human Resources as ‘core’. 
With almost 2 decades of HR experience in hindsight, I do come with the benefit of advising youngsters. There are a few that I could dispense, then those would be – Do not take up a career choice because someone else suggested it for you. You need to figure it out, and sometimes it may take a while. Give yourself time and pick up what you think you could be best at, and not what others feel you could be best at.

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?

Unfortunately, the HR function has become what we have made it to be! I would like to believe that HR is a business function directly impacting the business & performance indicators for an organization.
Coming back to the question – yes, HR by virtue of it being the conscience keeper of the organization & a function that is close close to people, should conduct low hanging engagement fruits such as floor and people-based initiatives. These are baseline level activities that typically keep the engagement hygiene levels up.
However, engagement would mean emotionally tying up a person with the organization. And that would call for a much higher level of ‘total engagement’, addressing the eco system around employees, total rewards, great processes, & the greatest level of empathy in the way we end up doing business and dealing with people. 
I always say – If cutting cakes and having Fun Fridays can reduce attrition & increase satisfaction, I would be happy to do these every day! Unfortunately, that’s not the case!

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

Anything that stirs up passion amongst people/employees can be a great starting point for an initiative. Fitness based initiatives, Sports and Annual Days are great themes that attract quick participation from almost everyone.
I have kept these 3 themes as consistent through the years, for the timeless passion that they bring out amongst employees. 
I also feel that quick and easy ‘engagement wins’ such as Friday Fun and Team Outings are good options for employees to know each other.

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

In today’s time where getting talent has become difficult, let alone retaining one, I do not think of any engagement initiative as a cost BUT an investment. As I said previously, engagement should result in an emotional tie up between employees and the organization. Studies on & around engagement have shown that there are definitive increments around productivity, happiness & satisfaction in organizations that have highly engaged employees. Therefore, I look at engagement and any budget around it as investment. 

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?

Families are as integral to us as employees themselves. We need to remember that a large part of decision-making process in our life is influenced by our family. As corporates, we need to consciously reach out to the families through an organized manner – awards, promotions, etc. Through the years, I have ensured any recognition to an employee should happen in front of their family. Similarly, we make an effort to engage with family members and children during Annual Days, even creating a program for children and giving awards to the little ones too!      
I remember in the past, during the mid-2000, we had a program called ‘Sampark’, that aimed at reaching out to families of employees who were deputed onsite. Remember those days were different from the WhatsApp and the Internet days of today, and we used to call parents and spouses of our employees just to check on their well-being. This created a lot of emotional bonding.    
Even today, we make sure to acknowledge not just an employee for their at-work heroics & efforts, but we call their families on stage to share the accolade along with him/her.

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

I do not believe in work-life balance. Given the global citizens that we all have become (or aspire to), we cannot have a compartmentalized number of hours for work & ‘life’. Work is life and vice versa. Having said that, the flexibility to carry out work should be the discretion of the employee. As corporates, if we make the big paradigm shift of letting people choose their location of work, so long as the work gets done in a way that the organization would like it to be delivered with absolutely no compromises, that would be a big game changer. Unfortunately, most of the decision makers come with a mindset of ‘work will get done if the person is around for you to see’. We need to move from this to ‘You will get measured basis how you get the work done and not where you get it done from’.

It’s foolhardy to think that I would not pick up an important work call simply because I would be on a vacation (unless I am in a place where there is no range!). By the same token, it is foolhardy to think that I would not be productive simply because I am not ‘at work’. It doesn’t matter so long as there is an accountability matrix that measures me.

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

I am a lifelong follower of rock n roll. Through the years, I have tried to introduce myself to work of many several musicians & artists. Given my penchant for music, I also read a lot about artists and their influences. I generally get weekends to turn on my music system and listen to my favourite music.
I like to run and end up participating in several half marathons. I typically end up running thrice every week.

Any other thoughts you may want to share.

I encourage everyone to read the lyrics of this song atleast once everyday:  

Sunscreen – Baz Luhrmann

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday
Do one thing every day that scares you
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts; don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours
Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself
Remember the compliments you receive; forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your Life. 
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t
Get plenty of calcium
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40
Maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance; so are everybody else’s

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them 

Get to know your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good
Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the
People most likely to stick with you in the future
Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft

Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old-- and when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders

Respect your elders
Don’t expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85
Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it
Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth

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