There's no doubt that the future of HR will be "Data-Driven Decision Making" henceforth, any HR professionals should be aligned on having data analytical and technical skills.
Mr. Mohan Thapa is a well-reputed Human Resource Management professional who has deployed his more than 10 years of experience in Human Resources & General Management in the Trading, Service and Hospitality Industry. Mr. Thapa is affiliated as Group HR Head at one of the leading enterprises of Nepal- MAW Group.
1. Sir, we would like to start with your introduction covering your personality as a person and professional. Also, we would be interested to know what sparked your interest in Human Resources to continue it as a career.
I would say that I’m a people person. I love interacting with different kinds of people and it satisfies me if I could help them grow both personally and professionally. Furthermore, I enjoy playing the guitar and singing. This not only keeps me positive and helps me focus on what’s important but I think the common love for music also makes people want to open up to me.
Even as growing up, I always wanted to make new friends and enjoyed the company of a diverse group of individuals. During college, I was probably among the very few who knew almost every single individual from different sections. My friends and I were also very active in students’ engagement which helped us stand out among the student community.
When I was doing my BBA at D.A.V, Mr. Sanat Neupane visited our college. I was so inspired by his presentation that without any hesitation I contacted him. 13 years later and I am still thankful that I made that move as that was what led me to HR. Furthermore, my internship experience at CG and the overwhelming appreciation I received as a sociable person pushed me to working in HR.
2. What are the major transformations in the field of Human Resources globally and Nepal you have witnessed in the last 10 years? And what does the future of HR look like to you?
There are a few notable changes in HR over the years. In the modern context, HR has become more strategic wherein they are more aware of their company’s business goals. Data-Driven Decision Making has also become an important part of HR whereby proper metrics and facts are used to identify the HR requirement that will meet the strategic objectives of the company. HR also partners with different stakeholders within the organization and supports them in achieving their company’s business goals. This helps the HR department by making the decisions, evidence-based and the process, swift.
3. We see your association with many HR development organizations based in Nepal, can you share with us a little about them and your role in these organizations?
Our main focus is to empower the HR fraternity in Nepal. We do this by conducting several Knowledge Sharing Sessions (KSS) about issues both locally and internationally. For example, whenever there are changes in terms of the Nepal Labor Act, Social Security Fund, or anything that impacts the broader HR community, we conduct KSS sessions to interpret the changes and analyze how that would affect different corporate houses. Additionally, the knowledge-sharing sessions are also meant to be a platform for participants to share their inputs on global HR trends and learn and grow from one another.
4. What is the vision of MAW Group’s HR Department and how it has helped achieve the Group’s overall vision?
MAW’s business portfolio is diversified into different fields from two-wheeler, four-wheeler, hire purchase, heavy equipment, Lubricants, etc. For the past few years, we have been focusing more on performance-based culture whereby we reward good performances and introduce tailored development programs if/when required.
5. People have always confused the general administration, operations, and HR functions in Nepal. What are the ideal HR Department functions according to you? And how is it different from the administration and operations department?
We may think that general administration, operations, and HR functions are all similar in some way or other but there are some key differences.
The ideal HR Department functions are as follows:
● Recruitment and selection of employees
● Onboarding employees
● Overseeing payroll and benefits
● Focus on strategic decisions
● Performance Appraisal and Management
● Training and Development
● Succession Planning etc.
HR differs from the administration and operations department in terms of focus where the HR department focuses on human capital, Administration Department focuses on accounting, budgeting, auditing, and financial reporting, and the Operations Department focuses on immediate and necessary needs of the workforce.
6. What are your views on the Social Security Act introduced by the government of Nepal? Do you have any suggestions to the government in regards to any particular clause of the act?
I believe that social security is meant to represent the Nepalese community’s answer to the problem of economic insecurity and in being that, I believe that it is a good concept long term. However, having said that, I also think that since we’re relatively new to the concept, we still need to iron out the details of the concept, maybe take examples globally from countries that have successfully established social security, and also learn from both their success stories and initial drawbacks, if there were any.
7. What are the HR technology and tools you have implemented in MAW Group? How have they helped achieve your objectives?
In MAW, we follow an evidence-based HR system to properly manage the cause-and-effect relationship by carefully analyzing hard data. We conduct time to time surveys on various matters pertaining to human capital. By basing we are able to extract the concrete data to address the various issues and resolve them. Through surveys, we are also able to find various hidden issues.
8. “Resistance to Change” from employees is one of the major challenges every HR Department faces. How can one overcome this?
Changes can be both predictable and unpredictable but the ultimate truth is it’s inevitable. For employees, any sort of change can be difficult, which means “Resistance to Change” is one of the biggest challenges that every organization and the HR department in particular faces.
In any organization, changes can be in the form of a new structure, policies, or anything that can directly or indirectly affect the employees. The best thing that the HR department can do is to first sit down with the management committee representing the employee body to analyze whether these changes are necessary. If yes then communicate the changes properly via a good influencer. Furthermore, a word of advice, Communication is the Key. Along with the decisions that are being communicated, the method or process of communication is also equally important.
10. What is the Employee Performance Management process in MAW Group and what Learning & Development Strategies does the group adopt to ensure employees' growth and development?
MAW follows a Performance & Competency based Management System which means employees are evaluated fairly based on their performance. Each employee has their own unique Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) upon which the employees are evaluated and also the behavioral competencies are also equally evaluated to know the core strengths and weaknesses of the employees.
Employees’ growth and development have become an essential part of the overall success of the company. In MAW, we follow proper appraisal methods for the employees to know the top contributors and also push for development programs to the deserving ones. We recommend training and development for the employees according to their needs and potential for their overall 360-degree growth.
11. What are your three pieces of advice to anyone who wants to pursue their career as an HR professional in Nepal?
HR’s role has become even more important these days and the number of people choosing HR as a professional career is also on the rise. The role of HR is very crucial and confidential. My three advice to anyone who wants to pursue their career as an HR professional in Nepal are as follows:
Integrity: An HR person deals with various types of confidential documents and information so someone who wants to pursue HR must have integrity from the bottom of their heart.
People Person: The HR department deals with the overall management of people and therefore an HR person must be a well-liked individual who can properly interact with different kinds of people, understand them and deal accordingly.
Data Analytics Skill: As I mentioned earlier, the future of HR will be “Data-Driven Decision Making” so anyone willing to pursue HR must have data analytical skills and should be able to use their technical skill in order to analyze data and report insight.
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