As students of Jaipuria, Jaipur, we had a great opportunity to interact with a Senior HR Professional in the session titled “Future-Proofing Gen-y vis-à-vis expectations from India Inc.” The session, held on the 8th of October, was conducted by the renowned professional Mr. Allen Sequeira, HR Council Director for India and Senior Fellow of Human Capital at The Conference Board, Croatia. It was set up under the The National Professor Scheme, which aims to equip students with skills that can help them face the many challenges in management education, especially when it comes to HRD.
The idea behind a session like this is to bridge the gap between industry and academia, while offering future managers insight into what the corporate world expects out of them. Given the context, Mr. Sequeira was the ideal candidate to share his knowledge with the students. His global exposure is valuable to managers in Indian MNCs, as he trains them to foster and maintain International mindsets.
Mr. Sequeira has worked his way up the ‘ladder of success’ from Operational HR to Strategic HR, Business Partner to Head of Leadership Development. He shared his experiences with the students as he began his talk dealing with Future-proofing Challenge #1: VUCA. According to him, “Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous is the world; where we should focus on growth and uplifting citizens across the globe.” And, he added “Society, Technology, Globalization, Innovation, Demographics, Sustainability and the Information Explosion are issues that impact the world today”.
It is his belief that future-proofing is all about preparation and he advised management hopefuls to arm themselves to keep up with the future dynamics of the corporate work culture. He then moved on to “Future-proofing Challenge 2: Social and Cultural Fabric” and highlighted the difference in the work cultures of American and Indian societies. He focused on the idea that in the U.S. people had to either perform or perish, which is why it was a meritocratic society, while in India, he sees the work culture as an “Indian Mediocre Society”.
But Mr. Sequeira remained hopeful for the future and added that there were two factors that could turn an individual into a successful global citizen. “Adaptability and Absorbability are two elements that have to be integral to your personality. You have to be adaptive to the local culture where you are employed and you should be absorbing of the circumstances you face,” he stressed thoughtfully. “Intercultural sensitivity should always be present in every individual as that gives a sense of respect for other religions and cultures”.
The students in the gathering were then shown a video of the 26/11 Terror Attacks on The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. It was an exercise that focused on Leadership by building a sense of being a problem solver and stressing on the idea of human civil responsibility. Finally, Mr. Sequeira dealt with “Future-proofing Challenge 3: Personality Development and Attributes”. He recommended that students learn and develop themselves, have a vision and passion for work, and not get caught in a race for monetary gain. They should instead be driven by competence, contributions and character development – these words seemed like a fitting conclusion to this inspiring session.
Student Contributor: Digya Soni
Student Photographers: Akshat Jhalani, Subham Pareek, Saurabh Kumawat.