“Companies are increasingly looking for Capacity of mind, Application and Relationships; Knowledge is today taken for granted,” says Dr. Aquil Busrai, CEO, Aquil Busrai Consulting at IMT Ghaziabad’s Foundation Module 2012
The incoming batch of IMT Ghaziabad had the opportunity to hear one of the most renowned professionals of the HR domain, Dr. Aquil Busrai, on the 24th of June 2012. With 39 years of HR experience covering all aspects of HR from Recruitment, Training, Remuneration, Policy, Operations, Divestment, cross-cultural workforce, to HR Shared Services, Dr. Busrai was addressing the 2012-14 batch of IMT Ghaziabad as a part of its comprehensive Foundation Course for newcomers.
Dr. Busrai started his address by observing that 80% of the newcomers to IMT Ghaziabad seemed to be from the Engineering background. He was pleasantly surprised when numerous hands shot up in his audience, when he asked who all would like to consider HR as a specialisation. With practiced ease, Dr. Busrai started his speech by establishing the problems of today’s HR, with an interesting anecdote that involved a chat between a lost HR practitioner late for a meeting, and an Engineer trying to give him his directions. Ultimately, the Engineer concludes that the gentleman seeking directions must be an HR man.
“For one, you do not know where you are. Two, you do not know where you are going. Three, you make promises to people you can’t keep and fourthly, somehow you make it sound as if I am responsible for this mess; true HR indeed!”
Having thus started his lecture on a lighter note, Dr. Busrai did a clinical break-down of how he has seen HR evolve for the young managers from IMT Ghaziabad. “HR as a field started with the welfare objective. Post-independence, the HR community was involved in welfare activities for workers of an industry, mostly. Then came the evolution of demand-supply, which was followed by unionisation; that’s where equal industrial relations became the focus of the HR profession. I have gone through that phase as part of my learning days. The grass-roots level, the strong middle trade union was a different world altogether. Industry Relations was a major skill that HR professionals required back then. The HR domain again evolved in the ‘80s, where HR professionals were expected to become the change agents of organisations. Then came the ‘90s and with them, the realisation that HR professionals could not just be agents of change, but would have to become part of the business. I feel that HR professionals have a lot of opportunity in influencing business.”
Dr. Busrai, who has had varied experience in upgrading companies to 15 times their original size, as well as downsizing, acquisitions and mergers, has headed HR for blue chip organisations like Unilever in India and Kenya;
Motorola in Asia Pacific; Shell in Malaysia and IBM. Currently heading his own firm, Dr. Busrai feels that in the field of HR, more than experience, it is the passion for people management that will ensure that you bring something new to the table.
“HR is not a complaining department. HR has to keep upgrading itself. Each one of you has to understand that managing people is your business whether you are in operations, marketing, production or finance.”
He reminded the young guns that very few make it to B-schools like IMT Ghaziabad, and that they must make the most of their time there. “Having made it to a top-notch B-school like IMT Ghaziabad, you may feel that the battle is over; that you may now focus on the highest pay package that comes your way. The truth is that the world outside is huge and crazy; and without friends, without mentors on whom you can rely in your time of need, you’re not likely to get very far. Many of us hesitate to ask for help, but you should always know that the sign of a good professional depends on his/ her ability to ask for help, and to help his network grow. Generate a relationship of mutual give and take. Do not compete with each other in the IMT Ghaziabad campus; prepare for the real competition outside. Start building a healthy network right now. Make the most of your professors; they are the main source of information, knowledge and insights which you will get nowhere else once you leave IMT Ghaziabad.”
Dr. Busrai, who contributes 15% of his firm’s profits to social causes, directed the new students of IMT Ghaziabad towards the importance of extra-curricular activities as well.
“They teach you how to experiment; how to deal with situations, people, ambiguity, and how to organise things. Do not miss out on these wonderful opportunities your IMT Ghaziabad campus provides.”
Dr. Busrai concluded his talk with the interesting anecdote about the first ‘perfect 10’ Olympian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci, who attributed her success to her coach’s ability to make her visualise her success. He went on from there to ask the students to visualise how they would suit a particular profession or job.
“There was a time when ‘Brand’ mattered; not any more. It’s a brave new world where ‘Growth’ matters. Learning is more in smaller organisations. They allow people to take independent decisions on projects. You make mistakes, you learn. Your heads are not chopped off. Start your research now on who gives you that opportunity to learn. Then decide.”
Dr. Aquil Busrai signed off with the insight that companies are increasingly looking for Capacity of mind, Application and Relationships; Knowledge is today taken for granted. He hoped that the young entrants to IMT Ghaziabad would remember this during their journey ahead.