Dialogue with business leaders – Interview with Rajib Kumar

Kaustuv Bose

Rajib Kumar

HR Head - India Sub-continent

Huntsman Corporation

Rajib Kumar is an HR leader with more than two decades of experience in organisational development and talent management. He has spearheaded human resource initiatives for leading MNCs and is an alumnus of Bhopal University.

What is your business outlook for the financial year?

We at Huntsman Corporation are very positive and committed to see it through. In our chemical business, more than half of our production is consumed in the domestic market. We are working very closely with the customers, suppliers and government to come out of this strongly. We are confident of bouncing back at the earliest.

How is the hiring scenario changing in your business?

Talent acquisition cannot stop for any business, it is competent and well-trained professionals who drives our business forward. We are going ahead as per the workforce planning and business strategy set out, and are hiring for critical positions. We look for candidates who are agile and can be productive in the new role in 15-20 days, unlike earlier.

As an HR leader, what changes you see in organisational performance during the last 3 months of lock-down and in the near future?

The crucial task in performance assessment is to differentiate external factors like lock-down, from internal factors that are in our control. We see people and teams taking initiative, making things happen, in a very innovative manner.

In fact, our HR team has created an entire end-to-end process for virtual on-boarding of the new joinees. The selection process, joining formalities, induction and on-boarding were made completely online using this module. The sales teams have been managing customer requirements online and remotely troubleshooting. We are seeing more such innovations across the company.

These initiatives can re-orient the business, while keeping the systems extremely responsive. It is all about challenging the status quo, thinking out of the box and coming up with smart solutions.

What kind of corporates is Quest Consultants working with?

Organisational expectations and those of teams are changing, with sweeping changes in terms of virtual environments, collaborative technologies and working with global teams. I would be looking out for these capabilities.

  • Capability to work in the virtual organisation – Working in virtual office and distributed teams would be the norm; skills in thriving there is much sought after.
  • Ability to work as per global timelines – As we work closely with globally integrated business units and diverse teams, the usual office timings will become obsolete. Expectations from team-members are changing in terms of productivity, flexible hours and availability.
  • Navigating the matrix structure – Geographical teams and local reporting structure is changing to the matrix organisation, where the versatility quotient will matter.
  • Personal integrity – We need self-motivated personnel with high integrity who are committed, responsible and can deliver, with minimal supervision.