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‘Learnability is the key to finding meaningful employment’

Star Health and Allied Insurance CHRO Sriharsha A Achar (left) in conversation with Kamal Karanth, co-founder, Xpheno, at the virtual recruitment drive organised by Star Health and Allied Insurance in association with The Hindu Opportunities. Photo: Special Arrangement  

On the sidelines of the virtual recruitment drive organised recently by Star Health and Allied Insurance in association with The Hindu Opportunities, a one-hour webinar explored the dynamics of hiring, both during fair weather and the pandemic.

While fielding questions from Kamal Karanth, co-founder of specialist staffing company Xpheno, Star Health’s chief human resource officer Sriharsha A Achar provided pointers on getting employed and staying meaningfully employed, with illustrations drawn from his own career.

The webinar took this course as a majority of those who attended the virtual recruitment drive were millennials taking baby-steps in their career.

Learnability is vital to finding fulfilment in work, Sriharsha pointed out, adding that it did not come with a sell-by date. One stayed a learner through one’s career, an attitude easy to maintain in this day and age due to information explosion.

The Star Health CHRO emphasised that one should build on one’s qualifications and that an engineering degree was just a stepping-stone in today’s context to a variety of careers, including those in healthcare and insurance.

While Kamal introduced Sriharsha as a post-graduate engineer with an MBA and two honorary doctorates in HR and people management to his credit, the latter explained how the early years of his career were marked by exploration of his abilities and professional inclinations, which included stints as a lecturer and a training officer.

Both Sriharsha and Kamal agreed that youngsters should utilise the first five to six years of their career to find out where their passions lay.

Sriharsha elaborated: “You can get into healthcare if you are an engineer. Star Health boasts of a number of employees who have an engineering qualification. But they have done something else wanting to be in insurance. People do their MBA finance. I have seen an engineer MBA sitting in the finance department. There are people (with an engineering qualification) in underwriting. There are people with an engineering background who process claims. You can do whatever you are passionate about. Engineering is just a degree, medicine is just a degree. CA is just a degree. We recently hired a chartered account who is an ace at payrolls. Running a payroll with 50,000 people is not an easy job. So, that is where her passion lies.”

On the question of job search, Kamal underlined how students from top institutes were snapped up, while those without the benefit of big names behind them languished in uncertainty.

While stating that “in today’s context, the ability to complete what has been given to you is most important”, Sriharsha conceded that getting that first opportunity was crucial and a huge challenge, more so during the pandemic.

He said young job seekers should keep networking, and those who keep building relationships would be in a better position when companies start hiring. It was essential to “get comfortable networking online” and retrace one’s steps to where one had been interviewed in the past and keep upskilling. “Finally, keep applying for jobs.”

Sriharsha listed saleability and mobility as other winning attributes. “Communication skills and dressing sense should be polished,” he said, adding that demeanour mattered and that unfortunately, there was little emphasis on finishing training in India. “Those who have taken up finishing training do better than those who have not.”

Mobility or the willingness to relocate anywhere for work helped considerably, he added.

To a question, the Star Health CHRO pointed out that his company hired 2,000 people at the height of the pandemic, across specialisations, and not just sales.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:58:13 PM |

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