Prem Vas has more than three decades of professional experience behind him. He was with the HR Centre of Excellence of US-based Bally Tech and Scientific Games and was Head HR at MobME. He has worked as the Chief Operations Officer(PMSPL) and as the Head of Administration and Security(Harrisons Malayalam Ltd.). He has served in Special Action Group of NSG and in an Artillery Regiment as the Commanding Officer. Let’s get to know more about him:
Q: What are the changes witnessed in Data Analytics from the time you entered the HR profession?
A: Data Analytics (DA) has evolved fully only in the last decade and a half as a visible entity in the Economic World. Businesses are outdated if they do not use DA to arrive at business and resource decisions. Every aspect of the business, be it production, warehousing, transportation, customer service, HR management; DA has its presence in obvious or subtle forms.
As a business leader, you are expected to collate and present data analytically if you need to be recognised for your competence. It is slowly moving away from a specialised skill of a Business Analyst to a ‘Must-Know’ skill at all levels of business and organisational leadership. Added to this competence is the presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) with Machine Learning as the basis for Predictive and Diagnostic analysis. I firmly believe that cleaning up data before analysis to align it to reality is as important, if not more than the analysis of the data itself.
Q: What is the future of Employee engagement programmes?
A: Employee Engagement (EE) used to be identified with the ‘fun’ part of work with annual outings, ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ events, ‘fun at work’ events, etc. This was just momentary adrenalin and dopamine shots of the organisation for employees to associate with happiness.
Today we have to appoint “Happiness Officers’ as one of the means to keep the employee engaged. I would rather say that an ‘engaged’ employee is one who identifies with the work he or she does for the company and how committed or happy are they doing it. When Work is seen separated from Life, the work-life balance is tipped negatively. ‘Work’ and ‘Life’ are not to be seen as two different aspects. If there is no life in your work, you will be a walking disappointment!
Similarly, when you get back home you will concentrate on the home because you know the importance of home. There will no longer be a conflict, it will be a fine merger of attitude that brings out the best in you and consequently an ‘engaged’ employee.
This cannot be achieved by monetary incentives alone. It is not about achieving targets or being a hypo employee. It’s being a ‘motivated employee’ because the company does things that shows ‘they care for the employee’.
Q: A few days back there was a petition against the controversial EIA draft 2020. How important you think it is for an HR leader to enforce Environmental Protection Guidelines (EPG)?
A: Today, the HR Leader is no more a support function. The HR leader has assumed the role of driving the business for the company by contributing to ensuring the right resources are available for smooth conduct of business. The role expands to ensure the company is adopting the right processes to ensure business continuity.
Adhering to the Environmental Protection Guidelines, as part of the company’s environmental policy and compliance, is largely the responsibility of the company ownership. The HR leader assumes greater responsibility in ensuring the employees are educated and made aware of their EPG. The right to exercise EPG for employee safety and creating an environment-friendly culture is best driven by the HR team.
Initiatives like, discarding the use of paper cups in the canteen and replacing with ‘bring-your-own-cup’, reducing print by using only electronic storage of data, rewarding employee environmental initiatives, creating environmental awareness for the company’s neighbourhood. Effective waste disposal practices including recycling process, non – pollution of rivers, emissions, etc.
Companies need to ‘walk the talk’ on environmental issues and HR plays a leadership role in driving that.
Q: How do you think the strong Army traits have helped the HR leader in you?
A: A lot of people may not be aware of an Army Unit, a Battalion or a Regiment which is similar to a company. Generally, it has around 15 to 20 officers, 40 to 60 mid-level leaders and 100 to 200 Junior leaders and the rest being the troops.
Every leader in the Army is expected to be an HR expert for the management of troops. An Army leader has to motivate his troops to give up their life for the cause of defending the nation. That is possible only by leading from the front and not from the comfort of an office. The Army is designed to fight a war, but we are also the nation’s last resort for help during crises because we have the agility to take on any challenge a leadership trait not found in any other profession so easily and widely practised as a way of life!
Q: You have launched a book recently named “How to Sharpen Your Interview Skills“. What features make your book stand unique?
A: In the new world order of job opportunities, you are likely to be interviewed a number of times in your career from an intern to a CEO. Thus, interviews are a part of life. It’s only natural that you develop an attitude to win at it, come what may. In a crisp, easy-to-read conversational style, this book will help you with essentials that will make you ‘Stand Out of the crowd’ when you appear for interviews. The book is not the usual run-of-the-mill interview books but has refreshingly new content on:
Perceptions of the experience of interviewer & interviewee.
The ‘secret’ that is responsible for excelling in an interview.
Mastering the art of preparing for an interview.
Nuances that ensures you have an ‘edge’ over others during the interview.
The essential follow-ups that create your ‘visibility’ in the mind of the interviewer.
Check-lists for an interview and on preparing a Resume’/CVs and with QR Code to capture it on tabs/mobile devices.
Some frequently and not so usual trending FAQs with techniques of answering them smartly.
A dedicated chapter on handling finer aspects of ‘virtual interviews’ the new normal.
A chapter on pearls of wisdom from CEOs & CHROs of ‘what they look for’ in interviews and ‘what put them off’.
Keeping in view the current scenario of the world-wide pandemic, the content is modified suitably to adapt to the changing world order.
Lieutenant Colonel Prem Vas continues to inspire people as a successful HR head. He puts in great writings penned by his own in light of his personal and professional experiences.