Runa Maitra, Founder and Director – People Talent International

“The Job description available on job portals have lost its relevance” – Runa Maitra, Founder & Director – People Talent International

In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Runa Maitra shares her thoughts on what will be the top priorities for HR in the coming 12 to 24 months, when startups need intervention of the HR consultants HR Business Partners more. Read her full interview article.


What would be the top priorities for HR in the coming 12 to 24 months?

HR function and its priorities had undergone radical change during 2020, which was not by design perhaps more to respond with agility to cope with the new unplanned scenario of business.


A few functions took the driver seat:

One is predictably Technology and yes, HR who had to fly with a mission to take the rein of people management to combat emerging needs such as curve hiring need, onboarding to honoring the commitment in some cases and keeping new hires on hold due to lack of relevant role and dishonour some new roles as business faced slump.

HR in years to come would be owner of technology as their main arm to operate and significantly shift its gears to look up numbers each time they ideate or strategize initiatives as facilitator of people management function and to align with changing need of business.


What are other talent challenges you are grappling within this time of crisis?

The biggest challenge is the ability of our talent pool to understand the new roles emerging now. The resume still promotes the past experience; the certifications which depict skills which may have lost its relevance to the new assignment will move the employees either laterally or by changing jobs.

The curators of fresh talent from Academia are yet to respond to the changing needs since they are bound by government regulations and similar requirements of institutions to operate, which is almost pre-historic now.

Academia is putting its best foot forward by including e-learning, introduced elective courses over and above while refining the course curriculum for 2020 and 2021, which is an overload for both students and faculty.


This is because of a couple of reasons such as most of them are not updated with new set of descriptions, some roles are obsolete since many organizations had adopted “Hiring Freeze” policy perhaps the recruiter who are rewriting the job description are still collaborating with business to understand the “New Demand of Talent”. It will take a while to match the demand, available skill, and updates on both corporate publication of JD and candidate profile, responding to the same need both on the ground and using AI models promoted by many start-ups in HR Technology space.


As Founder Director of PTI, Runa you partner with your clients to provide solutions for continuous performance improvement, to scale up their businesses, and connect with their people effectively, due to changing scenario how the performance will be evaluated considering in next 24 months, 50% workforce will be Working From Home

Performance Evaluation had been the toughest in current scenario due to multiple reasons, which includes lack of readiness of team managers to coordinate with team in a “WFH” quick-turn of workplace. Employees went through the experimental ground to cope with the demand of tasks, coordination with team and delivery.

The structure of the workplace and guidelines by the company had undergone rapid changes since there was “no one size fit all” considering uniqueness of the business house. The time spent by people both, at the leadership level and execution level had no benchmark; hence, the productivity suffered compared to hours of work put forth by individuals through “laptop + phone + internet model”.

Many organizations went through challenges to integrate their ERP and, or software with individual delivery points at home, which caused a lack of production for the service industry. Additional challenges were faced by manufacturing set ups, due to their dependability on on-ground delivery to produce products physical stuff.

Our role as business consultant had been to enable our clients to respond to such changing scenarios by restructure their model and work with the client to redesign the performance management program in this hybrid model of functioning by team members and their execution team. Many clients moved to adopt a new technology platform and they needed a quick and robust solution with low cost to match their business needs.

Interestingly, many new organizations emerged with such online solutions besides existing technology solution providers introduced a new line of services to enable the users. The role of consultant, which we continue to play, is to ensure we get the right product for our clients by providing our knowledge is up to the mark match both internal and external needs.


According to you, where do you think Startups need the intervention of the HR consultants Business Partners?

Start-up always needed contribution from HR expert for simple reason People make process and/or technology happen. My journey in business had been largely with Start-up. I could embark upon this fantastic journey of learning contribute to innovation since, in my corporate journey, I largely worked with New-Age industries such as NBFC, Technology (ISP), BPO, LPO besides transformation of organization post-MA intervention.

The founders of those start-ups, I worked, and some of them are serial entrepreneurs and also investors had been extremely people-focused. They ensured the integration of people management skills and formulate the right strategy with our support as HR SME. The focus is on creating adequate policies with the help of HR consultants and nurturing the group of co-founders, project team and employees, and enabled the entrepreneurial voyage. I find this journey as a combination to my own growth and contributor to such start-up businesses alongwith my consortium partners who are part of my organization People Talent International, very significantly.

The “mental well being” due to the ambiguity and multiple challenges it brings is very important, and HR SME ensures inclusion of such a journey from “Pain to Gain” scenario applying “design-thinking model”. The motivation of people and commitment they bring in to an organization are maker or breaker; hence needs to be handled with empathy and care.


What are the approach to set up various functional teams and internal processes for start-up companies?

For start-up, Idea may emerge to fill the gap of any function by the founder, its important to note that the Technology is the first domain as enabler since we recognize the scale of operation is much supported by it besides its key role in an organization. Next function is the domain in which a start-up business ideates to solve the gap/issue viz. for supply-chain model- its an obvious choice to bring on board a SME with SCM background rather with an authority in this field.

A significant role is played by Finance to ensure the company is formed with no time loss following compliance and majorly to allow the new business to solidify the Business plan and financial roadmap to build the foundation to inroad funding and implement overall business operation and furnish traction to head-start the business, outline one year, three year, five year plan dovetailing with vision of the founder/s.

The composition of next functional expertise would be HR, Sales and Marketing, and legal, in which a major role is played by SM to lay down marketing plan and align the traction with business and financial plan of the company.

All these functions are led by “People” hence the role of HR is to close these roles with founders well on time. HR’s ability to understand the business, relate to competition, search people for full time, part time, project-based role etc. are very important. Many start-ups offer the compensation to its initial team to optimize fund and sustainability of business with massive consideration of engaging its human resources for a specified period. 



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