Elango R is the chief human resources officer for Mphasis and the author of ‘You Don't Need a Godfather'. He has been at the helm of integrating the organisation through its many mergers and acquisitions.
Under Elango's leadership, MphasiS has seen an overhaul of its performance management system which now brings about a fair, transparent process, that recognises the contributions of the Vital 70 and while disproportionately rewarding the top 20. The leadership talent and grooming programme was created under his guidance to address high potential employees' career aspirations as well as help them with their areas of development. He is tasked to build a culture that has the "soul and smile of small company while providing opportunities of a large company."
Seen as a mentor and coach to both leaders and new entrants into the corporate world, Elango has always made himself accessible and offered his advice to help people achieve their goals. His deep industry knowledge of Banking, Financial Services, IT and IT enabled Services, Manufacturing, Consulting and Hospitality coupled with his experience in managing a global workforce, enables Elango to provide a perspective that resonates with his coaches. Elango is a regular speaker at various forums like PMI, NHRD and NASSCOM to name a few.
Dhanashri Ashok Boga: I pursued graduation in hotel management and tourism. I have two years of work experience in sales and marketing with a reputed five-star hotel property in Mumbai. While I was working, I had taken up law and currently, I am in its last year. Now, at this stage, I wish to switch over to pursue my career in law. Kindly advice on what could be the possible career prospects for my kind of profile.
Expert Comments: there are three options. You can begin working in the legal department of a leading firm; join a legal firm as an intern/trainee till you understand the nuances; work your way up as a practicing lawyer or join a LPO (Legal Process Outsourcing) firm. The last option is a good bet to start with.
Santhosh Kumar. L: I have completed my BSc.CS and MBA in HR and systems. Currently, I am working as an IT recruiter (US staffing) where I have 1+ years of experience. I want to change my career to the role of a corporate HR generalist. But most employers are not considering my US recruitment experience. So I am finding it difficult to switch over. Should I do any certification in HR?
Expert Comments: Companies will hire only if you have experience in HR. Unless, you are willing to take a pay cut and join as a fresher; are you?
Ajay V Singh: I am a software professional. I have 9+ years of experience in software development. My age is 41. Currently, I am jobless since the last three months. Despite my experience, I get rejected from small and large IT firms for being ‘too experienced'.
Expert Comments: you may want to re-evaluate your skill-sets and see if a certification course will help you return to the workplace. Teaching in a college or an institute will be a good way to be engaged as well as pick up that extra certification. You must also look at online forums where freelance jobs are available; you can work on these from home.
Hari Prasad N: I hold an MBA degree in marketing and HR. I have an offer from an e-commerce website for a position of a warehouse order management executive. I am confused w.r.t taking up the position. Will it do justice to my degree?
Expert Comments: It all depends on the options you have and if you like the company and the work profile, then why not? If you don't have options, the answer is obvious. If you think it through, this will be a great start for a career and not your bank balance. Don't make the mistake of giving up what you have in the hope that something better will come up.
Ketki Kulkarni: I have a Phd in statistics and am working in a reputed educational institute as an assistant professor. I want to change my field from academics to being a research analyst in the financial world.
Expert Comments: a good start would be for you to maybe do some consulting assignments through your college with corporates. This will give you a feel of what the corporate world is about. It will also help you build the necessary skills to make the desired shift. Analytics is a high-demand skill and if you have the right proficiency, you will be able to make the shift. However, be prepared to make the mindset shift from academics to the corporate world too.
Madhavi Deshpande: I always harboured a passion towards HR and wanted to pursue it. I am 35 and my age is also one of the deterrents for not getting a job. I no longer want to work in operations or quit my job for a lesser pay. Can you suggest me ways to attain my goal?
Expert Comments: a good way to move to HR would be to make the shift in your current organisation. If that is not available, you may want to look at doing an HR certification programme. It will provide you with the qualification and network to make the shift. In the meanwhile, take up some extra assignments and projects within your current company that will help build your HR skills and network.
Nesamani: I have eight years of experience in the field of power plant and gas/LPG pipeline system. I did BTech (Mech) in NIT, Trichy. Currently, my job profile is not exciting here. So, I want to change my job and move to the Middle East or USA. What is the scope for a functional consultant profile in my field?
Expert Comments: Checking with your alumni batch is the best bet. However, please define what you are looking for from your next job before you make the move.
Pooja: I am a 30-year-old single mom, and working in a software company. I am always feeling that my household responsibilities are holding me down from promotion prospects. Though my boss says he understands, he doesn't really provide guidance. What should I do?
Expert comments: Raising a child is a full time job in itself. Managing a career on top of that is grounds for a medal of honour. While there is definitely a trade-off that you have to make, there are many women you can draw counsel from who are doing this successfully. The key is to know the golden rules for work and home. Define for yourself what those things are that you are unwilling to compromise on – the evening spent playing with your child, the night time bed story that you tell him/her to put them to sleep, the early morning conference call with on-site, the one-on-one connects with the team etc. Once you draw that out, things tend to fall into place. You know what to trade off and where you need to focus.
Also, one thing that I don't see enough women doing is ASK FOR ASSISTANCE! We are sometimes too proud to ask for help because we think it is a sign of weakness. I am not saying to have others take on your responsibility, but if you ask a friend or relative to pick your child up from school one day instead of you going, or if you ask for an extension on a deadline of one day, the earth will not crack. Even with your boss, he may understand (more likely, just empathise) but you need him to be involved. You need to help him with how he and the organisation needs to be more supportive of working women in general. Take the lead to define what your expectations are and how your boss can aide your success.
Rahul Prakash: Does telecommuting provide a hindrance to career progression as compared to a usual office routine?
Expert comments: Honestly, this depends on the culture of the organisation. If the trend in a company is that of punching in a time clock and checking on who is at their desk or not, then yes – you are taking a risk by telecommuting. But, if the company is results driven, focused on action and not attendance, then telecommuting is not a hindrance. In fact, I find it a much more efficient and productive way of working and in turn, a faster way to progress to the next level.
Kumar S: I just landed myself a high profile job in a management corporation. What are the best ways to prepare oneself for a new job?
Expert comments: For starters, admit to yourself, that while you knew enough to get the new job, you don't know enough to succeed at it. You will have to get back to basics, learn the job and get used to not being the person in the room who has all the answers. Next, "get curious"- ask questions, dig deeper and don't assume things. Just as you did when you got your first job, try and get involved as much as you can. The rest is history.
Keval: What is the best way of disengaging oneself from office politics without seeming rude to colleagues and managers?
Expert comments:Focus on work, build your reputation as one who is objective and result-oriented and keep busy. When you are too busy working, there is no time to get into politics.
Rohit: Do you think that working overtime is a desirable trait for moving ahead in the career ladder?
Expert comments: This depends on where you are in your career. If you are just starting out, absolutely! Volunteer for as much work as possible and learn as much as you can. You should be a sponge and if you have time for a weekend getaway, you should be grateful to your boss! This is because, this is the time to learn, build your foundation and your reputation. But if you are still slogging and doing 80-hour weeks when you reach management level, that means something is wrong. You have not leveraged your network, or built a strong team who can support you or are not strong enough as a leader to prioritise. Just working overtime may make you the doormat to whom all the work gets passed on leaving you bitter in the end. However, if couple that with networking, communicating and building a brand is the ideal recipe for moving up and being happy about where you are going.
Palak B: I am a 30-year-old MBA. After starting off as an associate in a bank, I am currently a manager. During the last two years, I have changed my job twice because of the inducements of either greater pay or a promotion. Is this healthy for my career, or should I stick to one company for a certain minimum time?
Expert Comments: Stability is as important as being rewarded and recognised for great work done through great pay or a promotion. As you get senior, you will find it difficult to find a stable job that balances all of the above. Hence, my suggestion is it is never too late, think through, make the right move for the right reasons and stay there. You don't have to retire in the same company, but should look at staying there for atleast five years. Good luck and while you are at your new job, pick up new skills, build networks and build a brand that will help you stand in good stead till you retire.
Kruti Sharma: It is often seen in our office that senior-level positions are handed out to employees who get involved in office politics and become a favourite of their immediate bosses. What should one do if one gets stuck in such a situation for a promotion?
Expert Comments: Kruti, it is a fact. Managers' favourites are those team members who support them and make them successful. They are the ones that they turn to when they want something done. So, focus on figuring out of ways to become the favorite by results and dependability, not politics. As you do this, remember never to compromise on your integrity or self respect in becoming a favorite. If that is the case, quit and run before it is too late!
Pallavi: I have completed engineering in 2008 (EEE). Due to recession, I was not able to find a job. I am still looking for a job, but I do not have any prior experience. My friends suggest me to mention fake experience in my resume but I don't want to do that. Could you suggest how I can get a job in such a case?
Expert Comments: NEVER ever do this. It will catch up with you. Instead, be patient and constantly look for opportunities that will help build your resume. Don't worry; it may seem impossible because all good opportunities go to experienced people. Think through what skills are required in the market and make your moves in that area. Talk to a mentor, read up, build contacts and stay focused; you will succeed.
Arun Ramesh: I completed engineering in ISE 2009. I have worked as a PHP developer in one of the media companies for seven months. I am currently pursuing a software testing course. How can I progress my career further?
Expert Comments: This is tough question as it involves a lot of personal choices. So, let me throw some more questions at you:
1. Doing what, makes you happy?
2. Doing what, do you lose track of time?
3. What opportunities does your current job offer?
I do hope the answers to the above questions will help give you derive clarity of thought and get you decided which your future course is. If you pen down the answers and still need a sounding board to discuss, I would be glad to help with suggestions.
Waris: I am thinking about switching to the private sector, as I want more exposure and better pay. I would want to know whether switching to an established company will be better than working for one that is at its growing stage.
Expert Comments: Before making any switch, you must be clear of the risk versus reward equation. Greater the risk, greater the reward. Private sector jobs demand a lot; you will work long weeks and sometimes weekends in the beginning, but if you find the right job, it will pay very well. You got to be clear of the tradeoffs. It doesn't matter which company you choose to work for as long as it is financially sound and offers you a job that excites you. Good luck.
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