Earlier this year, when Ruhanshi Mathur found herself interviewing candidates during the campus placement season at her alma mater, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) in Mumbai, she had a sense of déjà vu. Less than a year ago, the 26-year-old MBA graduate had been on the other side of the table, being interviewed by recruiters from DHL Express India where she is currently employed as a human resources (HR) executive. Mathur, who will be completing a year at DHL Express in May, says she has “come full circle”.
Finding her focus
From the time she was an undergraduate, Mathur knew she wanted to work in HR. That’s why the Ahmedabad native chose to move to Mumbai to do the two-year MBA programme in HR at NMIMS. She interned at three companies—Deloitte USI, Eris Lifesciences Ltd and Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd—and it strengthened her resolve to stick to her chosen field.
Mathur picked DHL Express because she wanted to explore an industry she hadn’t worked in before. “Plus, when DHL came to campus, they briefed us about the company and role really well. That’s when I realized that logistics is the backbone of any industry and I wanted to understand their HR practices,” she explains.
Learning on the job
Mathur says that she never had first-day jitters. The fact that she had interned with large firms before taking on a full-time job helped assuage any apprehensions she might have had. “While I was anxious to understand the expectations my senior managers had, I didn’t have any inhibitions,” she says.
Orientation exercises such as the company’s week-long Certified International Specialist programme helped her break the ice with colleagues. “Apart from the fact that the training helped me understand more about the business and the kind of network it has, I also got to interact with management trainees from various functions such as operations, customer service and commercial,” she explains.
Mathur was particularly excited when she was chosen to be a part of a two-day training programme for HR personnel on employee relations held in Malaysia last year. “There were people from HR departments of DHL offices in different countries. We also visited the Malaysia office and got to understand what they do differently. From hearing about something as basic as seating arrangements to the kind of HRD programme or rewards they have, it was a great learning experience,” she says.
Mathur, who is part of the talent acquisition vertical in the HR department, often has to connect with tier I and tier II colleges to see where DHL could fit in. “I have identified six or seven colleges that could cater to our needs,” she adds.
Whether she’s dealing with people older or younger than her, the young executive says she’s never felt ruffled. “Our company works on two principles: respect and results, which go hand in hand. As a recruiter, you have to be free of bias whether it’s age or gender,” she says.
Some work, some play
An open-plan office has helped newbies like Mathur interact more freely with colleagues from different departments. “On my floor, for instance, I am surrounded by colleagues from finance, IT and commercial. So, I don’t need to block calendars or wait for a date or time to approach them. We have a flat hierarchy and this open-door policy extends to senior managers as well,” she says.
An in-house networking app, As One, which she describes as a “compressed version of Facebook”, encourages employees like Mathur to share updates and keep abreast of new initiatives. “Anyone from a delivery person to a senior leader can upload a photograph or update, and get likes from employees across the country. Sitting in the Mumbai office, it’s not possible to know what’s happening in the other service centres. Through this app, I feel a sense of connect even if I don’t get to meet the people,” she adds.
To get to know her colleagues better, she volunteers for various activities. “Last year, during DHL appreciation week, the theme was fitness and I volunteered to conduct games in the cafeteria,” says Mathur, who recommends that new joinees take up opportunities like this. “It’s about pushing oneself and interacting with people from other verticals…the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll settle into your role,” she adds.
Fresh at Work explores what excites new graduates about their workplaces and how they’re learning on the job.