Ankita Sen, the HR Manager of Playment, believes that passion of the individual is the most important metric to consider while recruiting. Presently, she is catering to recruitment, employee onboarding formalities, strategic planning, employee relations and policy formation for Playment. She has worked with big players like TaxiForSure and has steadily driven employee engagement activities for such organizations. In a chat with Aircto, she talks about her journey as an HR, her thoughts on the recruitment process and her passion for startups.
Her early life
Ankita learned the true meaning of freedom and independence in her school days itself.
Since childhood, she had an urge to do something different where she would grow dynamically. That urge drove her to Bangalore, where she joined as a Sr. HR Executive at G7CR Technologies India Pvt. Ltd. After that, she completed her MBA from Jodhpur National University and worked for companies like TaxiForSure and Parcelled before joining Playment.
On start-up recruitment she says,
“Recruitment in the startup is different from that of other companies, we look for the people who would be the pillars of the company and form the real foundation.”
She believes that employees determine the future of any startup and that’s what makes the entire process so crucial.
Hiring at Playment
According to Ankita finding the “right” person is the most crucial part of the entire recruitment process. Playment believes in the fine tuning of recruits; in the interview process, the candidate is thoroughly tested on each part of the job requirements while complying with the company culture. The sole purpose of this filtering process is to make sure the best of the candidates onboard the team.
“The people product is the main product, irrespective of the technology you develop, it would be sustained only if your people are right.”
Challenges while recruiting
On this context, Ankita is of the opinion that reviewing the profile of the candidate gives just a glimpse of the candidature, as an HR one has to study the profile very minutely to get a precise idea. Her hacks for determining if the candidate is a cultural fit starts with a telephonic conversation. Here, the candidate gets some information on the working culture of the company and is asked whether he/she is okay with it. Ankita believes that the personal life pattern of a candidate also matters as various factors come to the forefront while complying to a demanding role at a startup. Here, the vision of the candidate should run in parallel to that of the company.
On the recruitment process, she says, “We need to check if our stakeholders are available and then decide who is the right panel for that particular interview, we also have to check if the panels are available or not. Sometimes the description on the resume and the reality do not match. So it is essential to leave no loose ends.” She believes proper follow-up is very much essential for closing a position and also making sure that the best is selected.
Best HR Practices award from TaxiForSure
Ankita had to manage a huge chunk of people for TaxiForSure. Every month, there would be an HR connect on con-call and an in-house competition would be organized. The main motto behind it was to determine how much value one can add in the organization as an HR. The HR Head of TaxiForSure would conduct it to encourage HRs to implement best practices at his/her branch. Lots of initiatives were taken in reducing the costs, in terms of manpower, vendors meeting, value addition towards Business, as well as taking initiatives towards improving Business Partner role.
Ankita’s main passion is employee engagement. She says, “I feel happy to see smiles on the faces of the people. Halloween celebration, scavenger hunt, paper dress competition, passing the bucket, are not only games but a way to build a connection with the employees in such a way that they would be missing it when the HR won’t do it.” At her branch, the percentage of HR support was much higher due to her through participation in guiding active employee engagement and therefore she was awarded with this prestigious title.
“ As an HR you need to get out of the shell.”
Must have metrics while recruiting
The qualities which Ankita would primarily look for are; passion for working at a Startup, flexibility, and openness to learning new things. She strictly advises against stubbornness, which she believes hampers company culture. She further says, “If the person is not transparent that is very problematic. That is opposed to my concept of cultural fit since we are not machines, but people. Another metric would be, if I find a person who has worked for a long time at a startup vs someone from an MNC I would prefer the startup guy more since the startup ecosystem works very differently .”
Ankita’s funda is to get up early in the morning and prepare herself for the entire day. She says,
“Balancing life is very important but it’s not difficult, I do practice yoga and meditation in the morning. I feel everyone should give some time towards self-development, even an hour is sufficient.”
Message to the future HRs
“HR is all about people connect and if you really like people, just come and join us. This community needs the ones who are more people-centric. You can be an analyst, a developer or a designer, but if you are a person who wants to work for people, then we want you to join. Management hardly gets time to interact with each individual. HRs are the bridge which connects the employees to the management. If you have these qualities, yes you can be an HR.”
Ankita's love and passion for making employees happy is what keeps her going. Though her job is hectic, she really enjoys it a lot and continues to take up all the daily challenges with a smile.