Seema Bangia, Chief People Officer, Mahindra Defence on Changing Paradigm of Talent Acquisition

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In an exclusive conversation with SightsIn Plus, Seema Bangia, Chief People Officer at Mahindra Defence Systems Limited (Mahindra & Mahindra). She has been working with Mahindra Defence for the last 7 years.

Seema is a senior HR leader with over 3 decades of experience in Human Resources, prior to joining Mahindra Defence she has worked with Carlsberg India, ZTE Telecom, Canon India, Keane Inc. (Formally Metamor Inc.), Lucent Technologies, Motorola Information Systems, Arthur Andersen, and Nestle India.

Seema Bangia graduated from Delhi University in Economics and Business Studies and holds a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from First Business School, Chicago, USA.

Q- You are an influential HR leader with 3 decades of rich experience in Human Resources working with prominent companies like Mahindra Defence, Carlsberg and Sony, etc. How has been this career journey?

My career journey like any other journey had many peaks and valleys. It has been great learning over the years.  I have seen a complete evolution of Human Resource as a profession.  It gives a supreme satisfaction that whatever the journey may be the result is what matters. This stage, I would call it at the peak of my career I see good research work getting done.  Many out of the box, innovative ideas, keeping a pace with fast-changing digital world where this profession is been able to match that pace)

Q- Advances in technology are increasing demand for new kinds of jobs, engineering industries are facing talent shortage and finding it difficult to fill job positions, skilled jobs are becoming more difficult to fill on time. How do you mitigate these challenges?

I have experienced that every era or decade brings some challenges along with rapid developments too. That was the era of Y2K in the late 90s early 20s where we saw a shortage of software engineers, especially in mainframe, java skill sets. Another era where we felt we were short of e-commerce retail domain experts, then system engineering in the auto industry then same in the Telecom industry.  Still, we are facing a challenge of finding the right mix of talent and competencies for Defence.  I am trying to say that whenever any new industry or technology emerges the same challenge is to find trained professionals. We keep finding ways of overcoming this shortage of talent in some way or the others. Forums like CII, FICCI, and others support and hand-hold organizations in some way or other and then we find an abundance of such skill sets.

Mitigation depends on how much preparation one has done.  If your preparation is timely with advance foreseeing capabilities, one can overcome such a phase.

Q- What are the key skills of the future workforces and how to prepare them future-ready?

There is no second opinion that the key skills of the future workforce will be highly technology-oriented with so much overdose of technology in every sphere of human touch.  Competencies such as augmented realities, artificial intelligence will be a common-place. Workforce needs to be aligned and attuned mentally and behaviorally to adapt and apply those changes.  I think that is the preparation we need to carry out.

Q- Talent Acquisition has transformed in recent years. What do you observe the major paradigm shifts in Talent Acquisition?

There are many changes even talent acquisition domain has faced over various decades. Finding the right skill set with the desired emotional framework is a major one. Those days are over where face value, current skill sets and experience were the determining factors for the right hire. 

Now organizations give more preference to potential over past performance, industry-specific to diverse industry experience and more competencies driven than instinct. Talent Acquisition has evolved from mere “recruitment” function.  It has started creating experiences for potential employees at each touchpoint.

Q- Talent Acquisition has become more global, structured, and centralized with technology-enabled processes. How do you see the future of Talent Acquisition?

It will further continue to evolve. Forensics, emotional quotient and potential will continue to play a major role. Technical competency will be given less preference over behavioral competencies.

Q- Any concluding remarks?

With a bright and innovative future ahead, competencies will the game-changer. Keep renewing yourself with the latest and futuristic updates otherwise becoming irrelevant will be the most real fear.

Thank you, Seema!

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