Sushil Choudhary, Officer - HR, AFCONS, on how revelations in Human Resource Management
Life is often about second choices. Sometimes circumstances dictate these choices, but more often than not, you discover something better. Sushil Choudhary started out with the ambition of being a cardiologist, but owing to circumstances, he settled for the second best option: an MBA from SCMS Cochin, one of the top Indian B-Schools. A Bachelor’s in Zoology from Gossner College, Ranchi, Sushil first learned about SCMS-Cochin when it was mentioned as a top B-Schools in Southern India by a professor in his MBA preparatory (coaching) programme.
"On paper, SCMS-Cochin looked like a good college to be a part of. I opted for it and made it to the interview stage. I went to Cochin, consulted a few seniors there, received good feedback, and took up the admissions when I was offered."
At the beginning of his PGDM at SCMS-Cochin, Sushil chose to major in Marketing. This was despite the fact that he had worked in Daltonganj as an HR Assistant in Kamyab Engineering and Constructions Pvt. Ltd. In fact, he didn’t even pick up HR as a second specialization until later on in his time at the institute. Since SCMS-Cochin offers a dual specialization, his initial inclination was toward Finance as a second specialization. Yet again, life was to offer him a second choice – this time by discovery.
"During my first year at SCMS, I discovered my keen interest in Human Resource Management. Yes, I had spent a year as an HR assistant, but the role was restricted to maintaining attendance, leave records, and office administration. Automatically, it gave me a headstart in the classroom when it came to HRM. But what probably was a revelation to me was the entire gamut of HRM. By the time I finished my 1st year, I was quite hooked. I decided to take up HRM for my specialization."
As is often the case, Sushil Choudhary’s passion and understanding for Human Resource Management shone through when it came to landing a job. The 2.5 billion USD Continental Engineering Corporation, or CEC, is amongst the largest Engineering companies in Asia. The company, which has its headquarters in Taiwan, had started operations in India in 2005-06. SCMS-Cochin was one of the preferred recruitment grounds for the Engineering giant.
"I went through the CEC interview even before I wrote my final semester exams at SCMS-Cochin. Mr. Simon Yu - a senior HR functionary at CEC from Taiwan - and Mr. N. K. Dubey from their India office conducted my Interview. Their main focus was on statutory compliance laws, i.e. labour laws and Provident Fund, with a little bit of PMS & recruitment thrown in. I remember Mr. Simon Yu particularly saying during the interview - ‘Sushil you were very specific in your answers and explained them with good examples’. I think the case studies at SCMS-Cochin helped me a lot in answering their questions."
Sushil Choudhary was placed in Bangalore as a HR Generalist. Since performance speaks louder than words, Sushil was promoted after his very first year at CEC, although the company norm for promotion is at least three years. He worked for more than 2 years at CEC before shifting to AFCONS in New Delhi.
"My current role is mainly to do with policy implementation, Manpower planning and day-to-day HR operations. Strict timelines and accuracy are both very important. It also requires lot of persuasion and interaction within and outside of the organization. Only when all assigned work is finished on time without any conflict with others, does my work count as a success."
Pretty high standards, one may say, considering the high rate of attrition and growing demand of manpower in the Engineering and Construction space. Sushil Choudhary, however, has built a reputation for being an “Improviser”. Six years into his career, Sushil has consistently landed a rating of “very good” in his work. Ever since passing out of SCMS-Cochin in 2010, Sushil has been an integral part of a wide range of HR initiatives in Recruitment, Orientation & On-boarding, Payroll, PMS, F&F settlement, Exit formalities and Statutory Compliance. In one particular instance, Sushil was able to recruit more than 500 workers for a DMRC project without the help of any external agency. That’s quite something given the domain.
"Recruiting skilled workmen is very difficult in our industry. Workmen are not available on job portals. Advertisements in newspapers are not very effective. So, I decided to take two references from every workman we interviewed. I also insisted on recording the permanent residence contact number, since the mobile number changes frequently, especially with changes in work locations. In this way, we created a large pool of workmen."
It's a far cry from his pre-SCMS Cochin days. It is for this reason that Sushil thanks SCMS-Cochin "every single day", for giving him the opportunity of graduating into an HR Generalist.
"SCMS has played a very vital role in what I am today. Every top B-school in the country has a pedigree and a strong network. But SCMS-Cochin gives you more than that: a strong focus on the core values Punctuality, dedication and hard work. Being an HR Generalist provides me the opportunity to work for each and every aspect of HRM (i.e. T&D, PMS, Recruitment, Statutory compliance, Employee engagement & Administration). It provides me the opportunity to help employees in various ways. The smiles, blessings, and respect I receive from them in return are rather precious."
Sushil's batch from SCMS-Cochin is very tight even today. They are fondly remembered at SCMS-Cochin as an "all-rounder batch" since they excelled in academics, sports, and extra-curricular activities.
"I always remembered the last day of annual sports. It was a last-ball 'Six' by Anirban that got our batch the winning runs. What a moment that was! I liked Prof. Verma’s (Marketing) style of teaching. I believe Prof. Shalini Nandwani’s classes on Statutory Compliance were particularly effective because her method of teaching worked around besides just taking tests. It helped me greatly in my interview process. For all of us from North India, finding good North Indian food was a constant endeavour. On holidays, we would visit QSAT campuses and scout around MG Road just to indulge our taste buds."
Sushil Choudhary speaks energetically about the increasing use of technology in HRM and HR analytics. Organizations are moving from annual performance appraisal to real-time feedback. Recruiting, retaining and managing a workforce is a round-the-clock challenge. He advises the budding HR managers at SCMS-Cochin to work on their persuasion, hard work and patience quotient, since in fast changing organisations, it is the HR department that is often tasked to implement important changes.