Motherhood is the most precious gift that a woman can be blessed with. The bringing of a new life to the world and seeing it grow is an unparalleled source of joy and beauty. Being a mother also is the most demanding job in the world. Calling it a full-time job is an understatement. As being a mother becomes the job of life, it makes it very difficult for them to come back to a professional career. Many women struggle a lot to get back to their once stable and flourishing careers. Anjali Gulati, a full-time mother of two and an HR professional started People Konnect to be able to do justice to motherhood and fulfill her ambition of being a successful career woman.
From a work-from-home venture to an organization operating out of 5 locations in India, here’s the story of People Konnect in Anjali’s own words. In her exclusive conversation with LifeBeyondNumbers, Anjali Gulati talks about her journey, People Konnect and lots more…
The first time around when I had a baby, I had a full maternity break. In the second month, once I figured out a bit about motherhood, I would call my husband a dozen times. He would tell me that he had a job and had to work, unlike me who had nothing to do! This break turned out to be a blessing in disguise, when I got time to think about my core competence and think about my long-term goals. The second time around I didn’t even get a single day off. My daughter was born on a Friday and I was back to my laptop the Monday! That my mom was aghast is a different story! But when you are passionate about something, and you have put in so much effort to make your endeavor reach a certain level, you do everything in your power to just make it happen.
I have made my work schedule to fit into my kids’ schedules. There are days when there are meetings or conferences, when my husband chips in. He even gives my 14 month old an oil massage, a bath and puts her to sleep just as I would do. We try and work out our schedules such that at least one parent is around, to manage the kids’, to do drop and pickup from tennis lessons, play-time, etc.
I have 12 years of experience in HR. Started my career with GSPL in Gujarat, worked with Reliance Communications, Bhopal. Then moved to Mumbai with Tata Teleservices, and stayed on here. My last job was with ICICI Bank, and I owe a lot to that organization. The sheer size of the organization teaches one the concepts of scale and the ability to manage multiple deliverables at one time. In hindsight, nothing seems difficult and a ‘can do‘ attitude is the key to success. Worked with Pegasus Consulting for a while after my son was born, consulted for an NGO and launched People Konnect in September 2009.
In the age of EMIs and double income being essential, I knew I had to do something; but at the same time did not have the heart to leave my son at home in the hands of unreliable maids. My husband, Pallav Nagar, gave me seed capital of Rs. 10,000 to buy subscription of leading job portal for a month. Fortunately, I did my first closure all on my own that time!
Today I am a mompreneur, mother of 2, and a wife to a very supportive husband. I love the way my life has turned out, with the challenges, my kids and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t have a minute during the day, managing my kids, the house and my work.
We began our journey as a recruitment service provider in September 2009 with an aim to provide best in class search solutions across levels and sectors for our clients. Over time, we have built a capability for headhunting and dedicated searches. We believe in helping people to achieve their long term career goals rather than just getting a ‘job’. The thrill of our first closure is still fresh in our minds and every closure be it a 5 Lakh one or a 1 Crore one helps us grow. The ride so far has been eventful and challenging, with lots of successes along the way. We have been fortunate that most of our clients have stood by us, supported us in every new initiative and helped us reach where we are.
In our endeavor to becoming a complete HR Solutions provider, we launched our Learning & Development vertical: Extra Mile, 6 months ago. We have also successfully started work on assignments in the OD and Coaching space. We are proud and happy that the response and feedback has been overwhelming. We have also initiated Infomatics: HR Advisory & Analytics, to help businesses concentrate on their core job by designing creative, meaningful, and insight-driven solutions with a deep regard for organizations’ realities. Due to our enhanced relationship building skills and an urge to unearth issues, we have been selected to take up a few assignments in HR Analytics.
Since our organization constitutes majority of returning-to-career women, we are passionate about encouraging women to get back. Also the fact that there have been increased demands from our clients to hire for diversity, has made it possible for us to recently launch “Back To The Front”, which will facilitate second careers for women by guiding them to incorporate work back into their lives.
The launch of these new initiatives has made this journey more exciting and enticing. We could not have reached this far without continuous support and appreciation from our clients, candidates and partners.
Rize @ People Konnect Pvt. Ltd. started as a work-from-home setup initially with a small team. We moved to an opened office 2 years ago and we are now a 20 woman strong organization operating from 5 locations. We are proud to be a woman organization with 70% of them being returning-to-career women.
Back to the Front
“Back to the Front” is an initiative by Rize @ People Konnect Pvt. Ltd. to facilitate second careers for women by guiding them to incorporate work back into their lifestyle and reclaim their career.
Here, we take charge of providing meaningful job opportunities by way of full time, part time, project based assignments and contractual assignments for women who have decided to get back to work. We also provide various customized programs to guide and coach through the entire process of on boarding to a fulfilling second career.
Many organisations today are struggling to tackle issues like “Gender Diversity”, “Inclusion of Women at the workplace” and “Talent shortage and attrition”. Back to the Front aims at fulfilling these requirements of the organisation.
Some of the services offered by People Konnect:
- Resume Writing Assistance: Our team of expert counselors from “Master Stroke” apply a methodical approach to showcase one’s talents in the most skilful manner which provides candidates a professional edge after understanding career aspirations.
- MPower: This program will help unleash one’s potential by understanding strengths and working on weaknesses and apply the results in Personal and Professional Life. This will be facilitated through tools & techniques, analysis, personal coaching and Image consulting sessions.
- Skill Enhancement: Will keep one updated with the current skills by providing customised training: learning New Skills and Brushing up old ones.
- “Back to the Front” Program: This program will prepare women for Real life work situations, mock Interview Sessions, and provide support through the first few months on the job.
- “Women Entrepreneur Programme”: To equip wannabe Women entrepreneurs with all the necessary career guidance right from inception stage to, project planning and Business On boarding (Branding & Marketing) support.
In addition to the above personalized programs, we conduct various workshops developed in partnership with leading experts in the fields of training and coaching senior professional women returners to the corporate world.
The Challenges, The Learning And The Future
The biggest challenge this industry faces is irregular payments. The lag between a person joining and the hiring agency being paid is becoming longer. Earlier a lot of our clients credited our dues in 30 days, now it is increasingly becoming 90 days. This puts pressure on the working capital cycle, with expenses and salaries having to be taken care of. Also, with social media being used the way it is today, hiring managers in organizations are as equipped as we are to handle niche searches too. The only differentiator is the time in which we respond and look for the right candidate. Similarly, for all the other verticals that we have now, we are in the process of building our USPs. For example, in our training vertical, we do not want to do even basic programs like communications skills, presentation skills in the PPT centric way. With the help of our trainers we are creating a niche where we add a lot of theatre, exercises which encourages experiential learning, which means repeat business for us! A big change, as part of the entrepreneurial journey is that one is now responsible for other’s salaries. Unlike my own employment days, when I used to wait for that one SMS indicating the fixed amount of salary is in every month, it is completely opposite now! There are days when there is Rs. 200 in the account, and I’m praying to God, please credit the account before salary time!
We plan to open an office in Delhi by April 2014, and increase the team size there. Gradually, look at Bangalore and Pune too. The aim is to offer best-in-class HR services to our clients – the cliché, ‘One Stop Shop’. We should become one of the top 5 HR services firms in the next 5 years, be it organically or inorganically. The journey of a thousand miles, has just begun…