Dr Sujaya Banerjee, CEO – Capstone People Consulting

“These are incredible times for organizations to identify who their Future Leaders really are! “, Dr Sujaya Banerjee, CEO – Capstone People Consulting

Dr. Sujaya, what are the most significant challenges that a Business HR leader experience during Business Cultural transformation? Experts say it’s more about mindset shift than business results.

I will start at the very beginning- when organizations or businesses are trying to drive change, there has to be a business case for Why the Organization needs to drive Culture Change?

The Change Agenda must be backed by business reasons for why they believe certain mind- sets or behaviours can pose challenges or slow down what the organization is trying to achieve. The reasons could vary, but there are behaviors needed to succeed as a business and retain talent, which is largely the focus. Here are some standard Change Agenda questions Organizations are asking-


  1. How can we become less Industrial era and more contemporary, Modern organization?


  1. How can we become a Knowledge Era organization that is nimble, technology-savvy, and attractive to the Millennials?


  1. How can we move away from Command and Control Styles of Leadership and make our Culture more Empowering?


  1. How can we, particularly in the current context, become more Human-centric and Compassionate?


  1. How do we include getting people to contribute ideas to solve new and unprecedented problems?

Business leaders need to understand especially in Covid times, that we can ill afford to have cultures where power is centralized, where decisions get made only by a small group of people. Even where organizations bring in good talent from the market or expensive talent from Technical or B-Schools, if we don’t empower them and don’t bring in their brilliance, we don’t get the value of hiring such talent.

A lot of work that we do with Leaders through Capstone People Consulting, is around building Capabilities for Reflective and Performance Conversations, building Executive Presence for Credibility and Influence as a Leader and Positive Management to build Positive teams who believe in themselves for high performance!

One of the Key challenges for Leaders in these covid-19 times has been to remain connected remotely and still remain productive. There however, appears to be a lot more decentralized decision making, which is great! There seems to be far more distributed power in the face of this crisis and we are hoping to see more.


Dr. Sujaya, with more than three decades of experience, as a founder of Capstone people consulting group, you have been consulting your clients on Leadership Development and Culture Change, what has been the phased approach to identify the real challenge?

One of the things that are proprietary and very distinctive for us at Capstone is our Diagnostics process. Our unique ability to identify the exact pain points, the challenges in the system, our vast experience inside and outside the country, working in Tier 2,3 cities, and many industries- also a set of Consultants who are equally seasoned and bring in their astuteness to this process.

We use a couple of Capstone Proprietary tools that bring in specific data to know exactly what the pain points are, which groups are experiencing the challenges and which kind of learning solutions they need to move forward.

These proprietary approaches enable us to curate relevant learning solutions that can help drive Culture Change through Capability Building. We are very intense with each of our engagements. We want to be able to move the Learning into Business impact -see the needle shift and be able to have people inspired-so they can do things differently- it’s a very organic and a very mutual process. When many human beings work in conjunction, you can create the magic of Positive Change.


What are the most critical challenges you experience in developing future leaders, especially when the company is moving to the next level of growth, including tapping new geographies and new business models?

The current COVID times are great crucibles to build Leaders for the Future.


Overall the challenges with Future Leadership programs involve building Leadership pipelines through early identification and Grooming by enabling the right exposures.


Residency-based promotions have, for a long time, produced under-prepared but tenured Employees to move up the Leadership Pipeline.


In Covid times we are working with Clients to Mentor High Performers through this Crisis through Structured Mentoring programs for Leaders -Who Mentor identified Mentees to build High Performing Leaders of the Future.


To have a steady and reliable pipeline of talented professionals ready to step into vital roles is the most ideal of situations any organization would hope, specially at this extraordinary times, when companies are not considering new hiring, hence Succession planning has now become the most imperative activity for sustainable future of HR, what’s your view on it?


These are incredible times to find your real Leadership Talent! We predict several companies will redefine their Future Talent/ Succession planning and Development programs after the COVID-19 Crisis. The current situation is an excellent time for individuals across the organization to demonstrate their Leadership!


The ability to inspire others through relentless pursuit to perform despite the many impediments, the ability to not fall apart, and demonstrate high Maturity and Resilience- are all very attractive Leadership qualities. There is no better time than a crisis to groom talent, and identify Future Successors for the organization. It’s also an excellent chance to put people to test and allow them to demonstrate their readiness to Lead in a crisis.


Often there is a philosophy within the organization to have Only homegrown Leaders- tenured/ Senior employees the opportunity to take on Leadership positions when people are retiring or leaving the organization. This must be revisited to consider a mix of internal and external talent to have the most suitable talent lead the organization. External talent can often speed up change and bring in fresh perspectives for building the Business as has been proven in many cases.


What is your take on the future of Talent Hiring now that HR technologies such as AI, ML and big data are making inroads how would be the future of Jobs will evolve considering changing business core and transforming traditional jobs? What association would you like to establish between both for better business outcomes?


Technology has caused many positive disruptions in different areas along the Talent Management Value Chain-with many tools and opportunities, especially in the space of Talent Acquisition!


Technology overall has been a big saviour, especially in COVID times. It has helped Managers to remain connected with their employees remotely and productive where possible.


Technology and its many applications have significantly reduced the physical effort and a load of bulk hiring – it also enables pointed astuteness in shortlisting CVs, identifying a smaller Pool of candidates to choose from post preliminary interviews. Using Bots, AI, Video based interviews, Voice – all these technologies are very enabling, if applied, to enhance opportunities to a broader pool to identify the right talent!


We have created this scarcity by hiring from the same pool, being lazy and uncreative about who we consider talent. This is a 1.3 billion people country and a staggering 65% and 70% of the population are Millennial and below the age of 40.

Organization mostly do not use a socio-cognitive diversity approaches to Hiring- exploring new talent pools- asking who else can do this job? We have predefined Educational Backgrounds and Personality traits/ skills/ past experience criteria, which exclude a whole lot of talent from applying.

The focus appears to be to reduce the burden of a Development/ Learning bridge to find ready-made talent that can deliver/become productive immediately.

In fact, Talent Acquisition plays an essential role in starting a Virtuous Talent cycle within organizations and are key custodians of the Employer Brand. Covid times offer a great opportunity for Organizations to re- think their Talent strategies. 



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