In this interview with Naukrigulf.com, Seema Hallon, AVP-HR & Business Excellence – Eros Group, talks about company culture, employment trends and working in the UAE. Here’s what he had to share:
Please tell us a little about your professional and academic background?
I have a Bachelors Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from BITS Pilani and an MBA in Human Resources Management from IMT Ghaziabad. I have a total of 23 years of post qualification experience of which 15 are in the UAE.
In your professional journey, how and when did you reach the Gulf?
Possible opportunity of a varied experience drew us as a family to UAE in the year 2000. I have been in Dubai ever since.
What prompted you to choose a career in HR?
I started my career as a Shopfloor Engineer managing production line for a large organization. Here I got firsthand experience of impact of able leadership and good people practices on motivation and productivity in an organization. I did MBA after working for over 3 years and was clear on HR being my career option.So my choice wasn’t based on “it is a good career for women” or the oft repeated logic “I like people so I chose HR”. Strategic importance of HR for the success of an organization is now well established.
What does a typical work day in your life look like?
There are not many typical days in the life of any manager. There are some routines, some rituals and lots of exigencies. So planning is the starting point for my work day. This ensures that I factor in time for long term priorities, planned reviews, meeting people and yet have time for any sudden requirement that may come up.
How do you balance your work/family life?
There is no perfect recipe that I have got and I am not even sure if I am doing a good job of the balancing. But I have learnt to make time for things that are important to me. These include not only my family and friends but also my own mind, body and spirit.
What is your most favorite way to de-stress after a long day at work?
Going to the movies, spending time with friends, reading something good, watching a good video, going for a long walk…. All make it to the list. There is no one favorite way. Different day, different way…….
What is the best part about working in your company?
The best part of working with Eros is the freedom that the company gives to each employee to take initiative, to try new things and to do make a difference. With this freedom comes a sense of responsibility which makes most of us to try and give our best to the job.
Which aspect of your role do you enjoy most?
That is a tough one to answer. I love most aspects of my job but the one that really gives me a lot of joy is the opportunity to meet so many diverse people continuously. Whether they are candidates or team members or colleagues there is a chance to learn and impact in so many different ways on a daily basis.
What has worked for you to take you further in your career in HR?
I have tried to enrich my role by making conscious effort to understand the big picture of the business: its key drivers, opportunities and challenges. This has helped me try to keep HR relevant to business rather than staying like a welfare only function.
Do you live by any particular motto?
In every situation, happiness is a choice that I make.
Any advice for employers who want to retain their top performing talent?
There are no short cuts to help retaining top performing talent. Employers have to focus on providing right jobs, ensuring genuine long term learning and growth opportunities and of course the right reward and recognition mechanisms.There is always a dearth of high performing talent and every organization has to make investment in cultivating talent in interest of business continuity.
Do you have any predictions for trends in hiring and training in the Gulf region in the next few years?
Gulf economies have shown incredible resilience and with visionary leadership, in past, come out with flying colors from wars, recessions and regional turbulence. I feel that 2016 will be a year of caution and consolidation as far as hiring is concerned. But things will look up by the end of the year and scale up in the next few years as the region prepares for some of the biggest world events. Both hiring and training will then see a surge.
What are the top 3 things you look for in candidates when making a hiring decision?
Attitude Attitude and Attitude. While qualification and experience form the basis for shortlisting resumes, for me the hiring decision is based on the energy, passion and drive that a candidate shows in the interview. A company can train for knowledge and skills but attitudes are difficult to change. There is a direct correlation between employee performance, satisfaction and his / her attitude.
What are the most important skills that you believe job seekers must possess?
Ability to communicate is the single most important skill that every job seeker must possess. Any amount of ivy league qualification and experience with top companies will be rendered irrelevant if the candidate doesn’t listen or express him/herself with clarity.
What advice would you like to give to the Job Seekers who are struggling to find a job?
I will say stay positive and keep trying. Our desperation and frustration often leads to lack of focus in application process and interviews thus feeding into the cycle of struggle.Technology today provides multiple ways of reaching out to potential employers .Use social media wisely to position yourself better.Another one is to do some soul searching to see what other skills I have or I can acquire which will open avenues for employment for me. We often get limited by the qualifications that we acquire.
Can you tell us about your experience with Naukrigulf.com?
We are regular users of Naukrigulf.com and use it as the first port of call for any hiring. The diversity and range of resumes on the portal is a testimony to the credibility of this channel amongst hiring managers.