“I was a zero in HR when I came into this profession—without any academic or professional background in HR.”
We sat down with Mr. Arunanand T A, Head of HR at FullContact, Inc in Kochi and a member of People First Org. With M.Tech in Computer Science from National Institute of Technology, Calicut. He has been working in the corporate sector for the past 9+ years in varied HR roles with MNCs.
An undergraduate in Engineering, Mr. T A worked in the field for three years and subsequently came into the HR Generalist and Strategist role. Shedding some light on his journey, he told Headsup about not having any formal training or experience in HR as such—it was only after working with experts he realized how much there is to learn about this field. After completing MTech and working in an MNC in Bangalore for three years, he still wanted to be in HR.
Soon after, an IT startup in Kochi—Profoundis—was acquired by FullContact, Inc., a US-based IT org. He told us, that FullContact needed a person who did not have a traditional background in HR to lead the India team. By this time, Mr. Arunanand T A was clearly yearning to be in Human Resources, and when the opportunity came to him, he was happy to oblige immediately!
We asked Mr. TA about his two cents and personal experience in managing work with personal life. He said –
“Thanks to the organization that I am part of—FullContact, Inc.—and its amazing benefits and wellness programs designed specifically to make sure that work does not come in the way of life, I never had to worry about this problem.”
Furthermore, he told Headsup that what made it particularly easy for him to connect and detach from work was the organizational perks including a comprehensive set of vacation and paid leave benefits, paid travel perks and time off, time to be with family on paid leave, and other advantages!
As opposed to a “task-driven” organization, Mr. Arunanand said that his was an “accountability-driven” organizational setup – one where all employees felt empowered to set their own goals. The flexibility, which was a natural by-product of this fabric, is what helped him maintain a positive work-life balance.
In fact, this built-in flexibility is also what helped him and his team get through the uncertainties of the pandemic. He said that WFH is a natural part of the work culture and covid was a simple “plug-and-play” given the organizational flexibility.
Talking more about the pandemic, Mr. T A said that the circumstance gave his company the agency to hire from anywhere, thus expanding the talent pool. The only major bottleneck that came with the covid-19 pandemic, according to him was the lack of face time. However, he said that through regular retreats, offsites, and fun events, this bottleneck would be tactfully compensated for.
In his glorious career spanning almost two decades, Mr.Arunanand set up new offices and ingeniously dealt with upcoming challenges.
While there are many challenges posed to HR professionals, the biggest challenge in Mr. Arunanand’s opinion is to connect to the business. He did not have any formal training or experience in HR as such—it was only after working with experts that he realized how much there is to learn about this field. He elaborated on this as he told us –
“One of the mistakes that early career HR professionals make is not to network. One should interact with other professionals in the industry, learn from one another, and connect to the larger depths of our roles. This is very important, like many other functions, in any HR function.”
What we learned from Mr. Arunanand’s incredible journey is that no matter which background you belong to, If you have a calling to HR, there are no hurdles you can’t cross! And yes – networking is everything!