Opportunity is not found, it’s chased - Interview with Bharat Sunam (Rolling Careers)
“Priorities- Organization, People and the Self at last”
Bharat Sunam is an HR Leader with diverse experience in Insurance, Hospitality, Construction & Real Estate Industry. Scaled and scaling newer heights of functional expertise through Innovation, continuous learning and the ability to venture into the unknown, he is an astute and assertive HR Leader. He strongly admires “Believe, Preach, and Practice”.
Brief Overview of Bharat Sunam:
He believes business succeeds with the collaboration of Right People, Right Product, Right Process & Right Pulse and he also believes that “Opportunity is not found, it’s chased”.
Bharat Sunam has over 10 years’ experience in HR, training, and academics. He is very passionate about HR and he feels HR is running through his blood. He has corporate experience with renowned companies like Shapoorji Pallonji-TATA Group-Mumbai, Mirah Group-Mumbai, Richmond Group-Singapore, and academic experience with Whitehouse College and Presidential Business School for MBA & EMBA-HR. In addition to this, he is a professional trainer providing training on interview skills, Soft skills, career planning, team building, corporate etiquette, communication skills, presentation skills, selling skills, and personality development.
He had provided mentorship for training entrepreneurs for pitching their ideas in Wai Wai Seed stars competition, Nepal edition of the Seed stars Global Competition organized by Microsoft Innovation Centre Nepal in partnership with UNDP where Tootle and FoodMario were the winners and also he was mentor to the candidates for HR in Feed the Future Data-Driven Farming Competition- Innovation Marketplace by USAID. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Insurance from Mumbai University and a Postgraduate degree in HR/General Management from Informatics, Singapore.
Currently, he is associated with Premier Insurance as a Chief HR Officer and in the Executive team, for designing strategies for managing and developing people. He also has delivered career planning sessions to more than 30+ colleges like Kathmandu School of Management, Ace Institute of Management, Kathmandu Don Bosco College, Himalayan Whitehouse College, NAMI, CG Institute of Management to name a few.
Interview session with Mr. Bharat Sunam:
1. What according to you has changed in the field of Human Resources from the time you started as a HR professional till date especially in Nepal?
I basically started my career in Nepal in 2016 as I was working in Mumbai and Singapore earlier. Starting my career in Nepal in the field of HR was very challenging as HR was just at the evolving phase and it was more of an operational task. However my past experience was especially in strategic HR, I started formulating an HR road Map and aligning with the company’s mission. I made the HR part as a part of the strategic decision in the boardroom by giving presentations on how HR can add value to the people and the organization.
HR is all about connecting people with organizational goals and developing them in the process. I started with employee engagement programs like Dashain Fest where employees showcased their dancing and singing talents and it also created a positive vibe in the company, HR site connect, and Ramailo Shukravar further. A systematic approach procedure was missing so I started developing competency criteria with KRA & KPI method for the same, then started Coffee with CEO and incorporated some unconventional training like Emotional intelligence, Personal hygiene at the workplace, and “Tips on healthy lifestyle for Women”.
And further, I got my hands in Employer Branding where I started promoting my company’s brand vigorously in different college events during campus recruitment. Also, I developed the Employee online community in social media where updates were shared regarding HR events, employees’ birthday, and company updates.
2. How has Covid-19 impacted the HR ecosystem globally and in Nepal? What can be done to minimize its adverse impact?
First of all, COVID-19 has a huge impact on Humankind and further it impacted Human resources at the workplace. It is more challenging to manage the mental and health well-being of employees than managing their work.
Yes, we have to accept the new normal and design effective training pertaining to the same as communication and motivation during the time of COVID such as Emotional Intelligence and stress management. The role of HR is vast in this crisis and many companies have realized the importance of HR during the time of crisis. HR needs to develop a strong strategy for health and safety measures at the workplace adapting and leveraging technology for better efficiency along with a strong communication tool managing to telecommute and managing their performance.
3. We see a huge gap between the academic world and the real business world. Is it the Nepalese education system that is not producing manpower with the right skill set or the complex business environment? Where do you see the gap?
Yes, I see the gap as I am in the corporate world as Head HR and on the other side I am academician as I teach to MBA-HR students. Nepal's education system is slowly picking up however not at the pace it should be as we are in a dynamic world and every time there are new changes and practices and new challenges so it needs to be catered by education.
As the word qualification is derived from the world 'quality' that means when we say the person is qualified that means he has the required qualities to execute the task with his knowledge and skills and when there is a gap in this knowledge then there are issues. So our education should focus more on real-time issues rather than theoretical and also focus on developing students in a holistic approach which caters to their overall personality which includes communication skills, presentation skills, decision-making skills, leadership skills, and many others. Also, I feel the syllabus needs to be timely reviewed and updated.
4. How has technology helped HR professionals to deliver their duties and responsibilities more efficiently in the last few years especially in Nepal?
Digital revolution has changed the way we used to think as it has become easy to manage things with the help of technology. Leveraging technology is very important and bringing change in the HR with help of technology is equally important. Technology has helped HR to get rid of operational activity and helped to focus on the more strategic part. It also further helped HR data analytics and managing information and most importantly providing information in the span of seconds which has saved a lot of time for HR and helped HR for building a new gateway for managing the overall performance of HR.
5. Are there any HR professionals you look up to and why?
Yes, I always feel blessed to work under some good people like Mr. Pramod –VP HR(Mumbai) who first groomed me and taught me the importance of ethics especially in the HR field, also my other mentor Mr. Amit who taught the importance of HR in an organization and how HR creates and adds value to the organization. They have imbibed the HR seeds in me and guided me throughout my journey.
6. What do you think can be done to attract more young minds in HR? What would you say to encourage them?
As I always share my experience with young minds that HR is very vast but it has great opportunities where you can play a vital role in shaping your career instead of doing something traditional and get bored. As HR always has new challenges and it always teaches something new, you can always add something new to your wings.
7. Finally, where do you see the field of Human Resources five years down the line in Nepal considering all the challenges like Covid-19, globalization, etc.?
As Nepal is a developing country and as mentioned, it has its challenges and it is further topped up with new challenges during COVID however, I feel there are immense opportunities in a very challenging situation keeping mind the HR has a long way to go as HR is playing a crucial role in managing people and their performance which has a direct impact on the organization. As the demand for HR is increasing and organizations have realized the importance so I feel five years down the line HR will be in most of the organizations and will be considered as a strategic business partner.
He strongly believes that HR can shape the organization by its philosophy and process.
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