The most successful companies consider their HR teams to be partners in the business. As workplaces become increasingly diverse today, the focus of HR is shifting from traditional Employee Engagement models to the more holistic model of Employee Experience (EX) and thus driving companies to new heights. As per an HBR article, it was found that the organizations that invested most heavily in EX benefitted most with more than 4 times the average profit and more than 2 times the average revenue. Meet Bengaluru based Payal Nambiar, General Manager, HR, at Arvind Lifestyle Brands Limited, who has been a pioneer in ushering innovation and creativity in delivering transformational EX to keep her organization ahead of the competition. She was recently honoured with 100 HR Super Achievers Award during the 26th edition of WHRD held in Mumbai.
Both my parents graduated from XLRI (Batch of ’77), so in a way HR runs in my blood. I’ve grown up hearing wonderful stories of what the Human Resources function comprises of and the potential it has which eventually led me to pursue a career in the HR field.
An achievement oriented professional, Payal has worked across a wide range of industries like ITES, Consulting, Consumer Electronics (Sales), Telecom and Retail. She did her masters with specialization in HR from IMT Ghaziabad in 2005. She started her professional career with a brief stint with Times Internet Ltd, the digital arm of the Times Group. Later, she moved to Genpact where she got challenging opportunities to prove her mettle as she navigated her career in Leadership hiring, L&D and Business HR in a span of five and half years.
The tenure at Genpact was highly rewarding and learning-enriched. Through the various roles transitions and interactions with my managers, I navigated my career to gain maximum exposure across the HR sub-functions. This led me to understand which aspects best resonates with my interests and personality and where I can see myself exceling.
Having proved herself a valuable asset at Genpact in a service delivery engagement model, Payal now aspired to experience the dynamics of working at a client organization itself. Opportunity came knocking by and she was now heading HR at the newly setup India office of Everest Group, which was into Management Consulting and Research. Reporting directly to the MD of the company based out of Dallas, US, it gave her a unique opportunity to step up and partner closely with the business leaders. She pulled in all her experience gathered so far and led the setting up of the entire HR practice at the company from scratch.
Having attained a rich and wide exposure to some of the best HR practices and initiatives, it gave me the leverage to not only comprehend but also successfully navigate organizational dynamics and people agenda from a strategic point of view.
Her experience in developing initiatives to streamline processes and solutions to implement talent & business transformation earned her opportunities to work in Samsung (2013) and later, Vodafone (2014). At Samsung, she got the experience of working in a matrix organization across different cultures. At Vodafone, she donned the role of Dy General Manager, HR, for its largest circle in India handling HR operations, Employee performance, Talent management and Talent Acquisition. With new threats looming in the telecom domain for Vodafone in the form of rise of Jio and e-com startups, she had to lead the development and execution of a robust HR strategy on talent retention and acquisition within fast paced, time sensitive environments. It was well executed and some of the best practice strategies were adopted within other circles.
Success in change management is in how you understand it, what you do about it and what value you want to seek out of it. It is the ability to align business strategy and change faster than the competition.
Her decision to switch from Vodafone to join Arvind Lifestyle Brands was aligned with her husband’s relocation to Bengaluru for a better career opportunity. In her role here, she heads the Talent Acquisition, Performance and Talent management and Employee Experience Centres of Excellence for the company in addition to a recent role enlargement to lead Business HR for 3 new businesses. Her versatile and high-impact leadership are at play here as well. She has spearheaded HR’s evolution to a central component of overall business strategy focussing on changing the core workplace practices of the organization creating more positive EX.
The Employee Value proposition at Arvind (Fashioning Possibilities) encapsulates the key elements in the Employee Experience journey and is designed to provide a distinctive experience to earn employee loyalty. Payal has helmed multiple initiatives which are offering superior employee experiences, contributing in building a great work culture at the organization and giving it a competitive advantage over others in the industry.
She led the roll out of an innovative pre-onboarding gamification app for new hires to engage with them during their notice period, which has significantly improved their offer-to-joining ratio. It was her brainchild to launch effective maternity transition programs for female employees through awareness workshops and sensitization programs for them and their supervisors creating a rich, memorable experience during the pivotal time in their personal lives.
Informal meet-ups regularly organized with the top leadership at Arvind is giving its employees a chance to interact and understand their leaders and their vision and strategy. Programs like Employee Value Proposition that complement their branding strategy have helped them grow their social media outreach considerably – their linkedin followers have grown by almost 40% in just last 6 months. Payal has been setting new benchmarks to build positive and unique employee experiences and thereby building and growing trust and loyalty.
Payal brings a focused and innovative approach to HR and Management, with a genuine passion and keen interest in the industry. These professional experiences have given her a well-rounded perspective on human resources and its role within the business. Thinking strategically, working hard and using the technology available has allowed her to become a prominent thought leader in the HR space. No wonder then, the human resource department having such a leader is bound to become the backbone of a successful organization.