Meet Sanjay Singh, - The Road from Gurgaon to Amsterdam

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Sanjay Singh
Vice President, Human Resources
Whirlpool India
Linkedin Profile
Whirlpool of India, Limited
Plot No. 40, Sector 44
Gurgaon-122 002, Haryana, India
India Tel: +(91) 124-4591-420
Mob: ++(91) 98-118-74309

Meet my friend, Sanjay Singh, Vice President of Human Resources at Whirlpool Asia, an alumnus of XLRI Jamshedpur. His 15 years experience spans pedigreed companies like ITC, GE, Coca-Cola & Gillette with high quality HR practices in place. Sanjay is an innovative team builder and who is implementing an environment of change and challenging the status quo.

I first had the pleasure of meeting Sanjay at ERE Global in Amsterdam last November. He provided in-depth, subject matter expertise on India's Talent Landscape as a presenter, outlining current trends in the job market and economy, competencies in the Indian workforce, forecasts into 2020 and the overall risks and benefits of the talent lanscape in India. You can download his exceptionally informative powerpoint "Talent Landscape in India," in pdf, ... HERE.

At Whirlpool, Sanjay in responsible for Human Resources operations of Asia Pacific: including India, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia & South East Asia. Sanjay is located at the Corporate Office, in Gurgaon, and reports to the Managing Director and is a member of the senior leadership team. Whirlpool's workforce numbers 971 permanent employees, with approximately 800 contractors spread across three manufacturing facilities, two technology centers and 18 sales and services branches, Sanjay is responsible for setting direction and achieving the strategic HR objectives of Whirlpool across India. Before joining Whirlpool, Sanjay worked in HR at Gillette, General Electric, and ITC (A British Amercian Tobacco Subsidiary)

Under Sanjay's leadership, Gillette getting ranked in the Hewett – CNBC Best Employer Awards for the Top 25 Employers in India. AT GE India he earned the President’s award for “Outstanding contributions to Leadership Development thru Personal Initiatives” in 2001. In 2000, Sanjay also earned the President’s award for ELFUN – Community service in 2000.

Q& A with Sanjay Sing

Six Degrees: Tell us about your home world Sanjay

Sanjay: I got married in 1993, one year after I started my career as an HR professional. I have two kids, a 12 year old son named Sudarsh and a 6 year old daughter named Riya. My wife Renu is a homemaker.

I live and work in Gurgaon; this is a suburb of New Delhi, the capital of India. What used to be primarily an agricultural state and a mid level player in manufacturing is turning into a hub for knowledge workers. With multinationals setting shop here, Gurgaon has truly contributed in getting India on the global job map.

Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter

Sanjay: Having completed my masters in personnel management and industrial relations in 1992, I landed a job with ITC Ltd. (earlier Indian Tobacco Company Ltd.). I mainly handled the industrial relations profile and that is when I would say that I started with recruitments. I was in-charge of both the blue collars and white collars at that time and recruiting for the production facility was one of the areas I handled. Since then I have worked with General Electric (GE), Coca Cola, Gillette and now Whirlpool.

In all the roles I have recruited for various roles and positions depending on the position I was an incumbent to. GE was an enriching stint, where I got a chance to work as the Head HR for GE industrial systems India initially and then later in 2002 as the VP-HR of GE Finance Centre of Excellence. In 2003 moving onto Coca Cola as the GM and as a business unit partner in Gillette India, I got a taste of a dual career. I am currently with Whirlpool as the VP-HR of Asia region.

Positions hired

Factory head, maintenance supervisor, technician, production manager, product development manager, product development executives, Product development manager, procurement manager, administrative in-charge, marketing managers – sales, branding, HR managers – talent acquisition, talent development, compensation and benefits, CFO – for medium and large sized organizations, CEO – for medium sized organizations, CIO, CXO, Head of strategic marketing.

Six Degrees: What languages are you fluent in?

Sanjay: Hindi and English

Six Degrees: What country and/or region(s) are you accountable for?

Sanjay: The whole of Asia Region – which includes - India, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia and SEA ( Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand)

Six Degrees: How is culture a factor in the hiring practice different from other countries you recruit from?

Sanjay: I think people, irrespective of the region they belong to look for factors like job security and job satisfaction depending on the career stage they are in. as a recruiter, one needs to effectively communicate and match the benefits of the position with the aspirations of the candidate, and this is pretty much uniform for the whole of Asia region.

Six Degrees: Where is Asia ahead of the USA in certain recruitment tactics?

Sanjay: Hmm, as far as recruitment tactics are concerned, well the job market in India is in a boost phase and job creation is happening in large numbers. What needs to be pointed out here though is that a large number of new jobs being created are executionary in nature and not managerial. Mass recruitment is taking place in BPOs of all sorts. But yes, there’s still a tussle for the managerial positions.

I wouldn’t say that one region is ahead of the other in recruitment practices, but yes they are different in many ways. The biggest difference being that in Asia we hire not as much for the experience, but more for their capabilities and potential. This is a consequence of the phased emergence of industry in Asia for which candidates with relevant experience are often not available. In such a scenario experience and capability needs to be developed rapidly.

Six Degrees: What networking groups are available and influential within Asia as a whole and within your country in particular?

Sanjay: A lot of networking groups having a national footprint exist in India, especially those started by HR professionals.

Groups like the National HRD network even have city specific chapters and are very active and strong when it comes to knowledge sharing and exploring new management practices. NHRD derives its influence from its large and fast growing member base.

All India management association (AIMA), which also works as an accreditation body for institutes imparting business education is another influential network of professional

Delhi management association (DMA) is another body of professionals based in the capital which can boast of a member base comprising of some of the most influential professionals from every field. The management body consists of 50% of HR professionals in senior and top positions.

Collectives, the last one I mention, but definitely not the least is a small body of innovative and sharp minded HR professionals. Memorable seminars conducted by some of the most respected and renowned HR gurus like Dave Ulrich is what makes them stand apart.

Some of the popular networking groups in China are HR Route, HRPC and China STAFF.

Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?

Sanjay: Experience, I believe is the greatest teacher. Nothing beats the learning which happens on the job. In my experience of 16 years, I have learnt lessons which can be taught in no textbooks or classrooms. Identifying people and managing them is an art which is learnt through practice.

Some of the trainings related to recruitment that I have undergone are: targeted selection and Leadership assessment.

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career? What inspires You as a Recruiter?

Sanjay: The ERE conference in Amsterdam. What inspired me as a recruiter when I first began with my career was the satisfaction and sense of achievement in getting someone a job. The empathic thanks, the smile on the face of the candidate and an occasional letter of appreciation was what kept me going. As I grew, organizational goals and the ability to achieve them through strategically significant practices became the driving force.

Views: 484

Comment by Ryan Leary on June 16, 2008 at 9:08am
Great perspectives! I couldn't agree more that hiring for potential is what makes a good team great. Feel free to reach out to network.
Comment by lalitmawkin on June 16, 2008 at 1:48pm
Great reading your post--we are not very far in Gurgaon--sector55--and shall get in touch--lalit mawkin


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