Parul Chatterjee - I Feel Social Media Is Exploited and Not Utilised Professionally (Chief Manager - Apollo 247)

The time has come, where management trainees should not be picked from the business schools but the local states. You need your products to reach the nth locality – local talent will come into This is how we as a country will develop. You have resources, just put art in finding the heart for the job in them.

Tell us about your background, journey, and upbringing.

I hail from the capital city with my schooling and college all completed in Delhi. I have the strong values of any middle-class family. My mother was associated with the hospital industry and had started her career with AIIMS, LNJP, Maulana Azad Medical College, and with a deputation assignment in the Ministry of Welfare. My Dad served UPSC and the Ministry of Finance with a brief stint in BIFR under deputation assignment.

Ours was a nuclear family and being the only child there was a lot of expectations and responsibility from early stages. It is assumed that the only child is a pampered one – it is not true in my case at least.

My upbringing was just like a son to my parents and they had never raised a voice on not getting in the top 10 of my school or college. They supported me in every decision I took, be it narrowing it down to sports, subjects, or even a boy of my choice to get married.

What made you interested in this field and how did you narrow it down?

While working in an MNC, I was ramping up the transitioned process from the UK, which opened the doors to technical pieces of training. Gradually, I moved into soft skills training. By the time I entered into domestic health insurance, I knew that this is it. I was handling employee engagement and thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with them.

Though my seniors always pushed me to do a course in HR, somehow or the other it wasn’t realizing. In 2019, while searching for a job when the recession started, I finally decided to enroll for an HRM certification with XLRI, Jamshedpur.


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What does your typical workday look like?

These days, post-COVID outbreak, household work is finished before I start my office. A lot of time is spent on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google meets, and what's app groups. Working with the current organization, which is a healthcare start-up with a leading hospital brand in India, is more of streamlining the process, drafting policies, and making experiences better for our employees. It is fun yet a challenge when nothing is set up / formulated.

With the surge in cases, and being a part of a healthcare startup, it gives a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day in making a difference in someone’s life (employees) and saving a life (customers).

Several global companies have come out and thrown their support behind not needing a formal education. What is your opinion about this for your field?

That is true. We need to get that out. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a degree from Top B schools, yet they can be very effective employees/leaders. While I was reading this question – the example of Mumbai Dabbawalas came into my mind. 

Who taught strategic business models, who taught them 6 sigmas? The answer is – no one. For them, it's like no misses with on-time delivery + hot food. I am sure if they are given a chance in another industry, they will shine too there. It is sad to learn that with a pandemic, the entire team was without work.

The time has come, where management trainees should not be picked from the business schools but the local states. You need your products to reach the nth locality – local talent will come into This is how we as a country will develop. You have resources, just put art in finding the heart for the job in them.

Google, Adobe, and most MNCs have a strict policy around sharing ex-employee data. How can one approach background checks in this situation?

I am totally against it. A person will not part unless his professional objectives are not met with the current set-up. This will either happen when either of the parties will not be in sync. It could be money, role, job satisfaction, and these days self-respect. 

The HR department may take the data, but depending fully on their reviews is not desirable. I am sorry to say that many companies or to an extent MNCs in India handle the separation process unprofessionally. You are expected to serve the notice yet the parting employee will be never be treated the same.

Either you deal with it maturely or just release the parting employee, do not sit on the policies just for the sake of it. Just like joining is an experience, the parting should be a memorable one as well. The parting employee should be proud and carry the experience to the next one.

Background checks are important. Get the third party involved that will be specific and not form biased opinions. Make it a culture where the parting employees are cool about sharing the reference of their previous managers proudly. That will make a company – dream workplace, where people will not visit but will stay!

Social media is another channel that can be explored. I feel it is exploited and not utilized (professionally).

How has your field evolved over the years and what future changes do you predict?

Engagement is not restricted to the HR department or on special occasions. Engagement is a sort of marriage that needs constant work, effort, and communication to keep the relationship lively. If you look at each step, engagement is required. Be it making an offer, onboarding, training, retaining, evaluating, celebrating, and finally parting.

Post-COVID, engagement should be a different function altogether in all the companies. Progressive companies have already chalked out the roles of chief happiness officer/chief of staff / chief fun officer /any other fancy title. The sooner a dedicated team takes care of employees, your customers will be taken care of! 

Now is the time for putting employees first! It is like an employee success department that has nothing to do with the BAU activities. I am sure such companies will have an HR operations team well placed as well. After all employee experience drives customer experience.


What advice do you have for those eyeing this career?

Have an open mind. Be ready for failures. Don’t lose patience if you are not able to create magic – even Rome was not built in a single day.

The child in you always stays. When you step into a role of an employee engagement professional, just be that kid. Be creative, don’t perform under boundaries, and above all trust and respect your decisions. Regretting later in life about the past is not believing in yourself. 

Chalking out programs that work in tandem with your leadership team / corporate values is important. At the end of the day – it is the only thing that matters. Create a legacy so that people want to work with you & you continue to inspire others!

Which is your favorite book and why?

Of late, I haven’t read any book. But the last one I cherished was my XLRI professor – Dr. Baghchi on Performance Management. The book is written so passionately that I have read that thrice already. 

His approach to performing better as an HR professional is when your processes/departments perform better and work for common success factors. I would recommend every professional (being HR or not in HR) to read/attend his class. You will never regret it.

I incline to start reading our Vedas and Puranas soon.

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