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Zappychats S1E1 with Sumit Neogi: How HRs Can Become True Partners with Digital Transformation


Welcome to the first season of Zappychats, an exclusive HR video podcast where HR leaders talk about all things recruitment, HRtech and more. Videos are published fortnightly on ,Zappyhire LinkedIn and this blog.

In the first episode Sumit Neogi, HR Director – South Asia and Middle East at The Lubrizol Corporation talks about how HR has transformed over the last few years and how they can convert themselves into a true partner for line managers.

Watch a snippet of the episode below or read the transcript.

Renjith KK: Hi there! Welcome to the first edition of Zappychats, an exclusive HR vodcast. I’m Renjith, your host for the show. I’m excited to introduce our guest for today – Sumit Neogi.

He’s a veteran in the HR field with over 18 years experience in companies like Reliance and Cipla. He worked with multinational corporations, public sector undertakings and consulting firms. He is currently a HR Director, South Asia & Middle East at The Lubrizol Corporation.

An Alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur, a mechanical engineer by graduation, a speaker at various national and international stages and a continuous learner, I am very excited to introduce Sumit Neogi.

Sumit Neogi: Thank you Renjith. It’s great to connect with colleagues with whom I’ve spent brilliant years. Thank you for having me live with you on Zappychats.

Renjith KK: As a veteran who has seen many HR transformations, the way we hire and manage talent changed drastically over the last couple of decades. Do you think the way HR works should also change?

Sumit Neogi: I’m glad to hear that having less than 2 decades of experience can also make you a veteran. I have seen transformation in Indian and multinational organizations both as a consultant and as an individual who has been part of it.

The way we source talent has undergone a significant change. The reasons are many:

1. How can we digitise basic processes – It used to require a lot of paper. I go back to when I was applying for my first job in the year 2000. We were given 50 pages to fill up. Coming to my current role, it is still very tedious but a lot of information was pre-filled from my LinkedIn.

2. Another big shift that has happened is digital hiring – Courtesy covid, a lot of line managers who used to believe that they cannot make a hiring decision without meeting candidates in-person are thrown out of the window. Today, a digital conversation via online platforms like zoom or teams helps people conduct video interviews. We are even onboarding candidates digitally these days. I recently closed 6 key positions in my team and I met most of them 3 months after they joined the organization.

This shows how HR has improved and the shift it has undergone. The shift is going to be completely digital. Whichever process can use data, analytics or digitise their transactional processes should be done and must be done. As we move forward, this will bring in a lot of HR effectiveness.

One thing that will remain a key is – HR would continue to be the punching bag. The question is how do you convert yourself from being a punching bag to a true partner?

Business will require talent, the future of business will require different skills and will continue to require onboarding the right talent or developing talent. This is where HR will play a key role. Rather than being subservient and waiting for an order or input, why can’t HRs be proactive.

They can say we have analyzed our people data, analyzed the market, this is what our business strategy looks like and if these are the aspects, this is how our HR strategy should be. They can outline the initiatives they will take during the year which are going to make an on-ground impact and bounce it off with their line managers. This way the HR function will gain a lot of credibility. Similar to all the other functions, I see things are going to change for HR as well.

Watch the full episode below!

Zappychats is an initiative by Zappyhire!
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