Introduction of the Leader
Miss Namuna Dura serves as the Human Resources Manager of Him-Shree Foods Pvt. Ltd., in Pokhara, Nepal. Him-Shree Foods Pvt. Ltd. is one of the leading noodles and snack manufacturing industries in Nepal with its popular brands like Rara and Aaha. Miss Dura is 32 years of age. After graduating from Indian Institute of Management, India, and majoring in Human Resources Management, she returned to her hometown and joined her family-owned business as a Human Resource Manager. Miss Dura has been associated with the company since last five years.
The reason to select Miss Dura for this interview is that she is one of the few HR Professionals in Nepal who really comes with the academic background of her career. She, according to me, is one of the few young leaders in Nepal who really has qualities to be one of the efficient leaders in years to come. I worked for around one year under her as her assistant.
Setup of the Interview
The interview was taken online. Appointment was taken through an email to her organization. She replied with an approval of about half an hour for online interview through a MSN Live Chat. The interview was taken on September 17, 2009 at 11:30 P.M. (EST). Though it was not a real face to face interview, but the conversation gave the same kind of taste to the face to face interview.
Leader’s Style and Behavior
As a subordinate to her, it was so wonderful to have such opportunity to explore her styles and behavior. In my perspective, she possesses a People – Oriented Leadership style. She is totally focused on organizing, supporting, and developing the people in the leader’s team. She participates with the team which tends to lead to good teamwork and creative collaboration.
Instead of showing power as a leader, she tends to be behaving herself as on the same level as other employees are. She does not create any distinct level of hierarchy amongst her subordinates. She is humble and motivational.
She has a clear vision of where she wants to lead her organization in terms of the human resource management. She has plans for that. She is focused and determined. She has the ability to decide promptly. Above all she has the courage to ask feedback and to hear criticisms about her. This makes her so competent in her area.
Miss Namuna Dura is a young HR Professional. In this role, Miss Dura handles her corporate human resource issues for more than 800 employees. She works in staff recruitment and formulates human resource policies for new areas of her operation. Her other roles include formulating strategic HR, industrial relations, and training and development.
“Strategic human resource management is a branch of Human resource management. It is a fairly new field” says Miss Namuna “that links human resources with strategic goals and objectives in order to improve business performance and develop organizational culture that foster innovation, flexibility and competitive advantage.”
She uses all possible advertising tools to recruit. Mainly she has also made an agreement with Rolling Plans Consultancy, which is a private recruitment agency in Nepal. However, she is strictly bound to the organizational budget to spend on such expenses.
She is very much determined in providing benefits to the employees. “Employees are the hands of the organization” she says “so we have to keep them satisfied by our maximum efforts and budget management.” Insurance of the employees is a neglected area in Nepal. She has emphasized most of her resources in that. She says that in coming two years all her employees will have health insurance.
Leader’s Strengths and Weaknesses
As per the analysis her strengths are as follows:
1. She has a good knowledge of what she is doing and what she has to do.
2. She is very much adoptive to the contingent problems and issues.
3. She knows how to react on various situations.
4. She has an ability to create a good relationship amongst the employees.
5. She is persuasive.
She has some weaknesses as well. Being so much people oriented and not task oriented is somewhere her one of the major weaknesses. In most cases, people need to be task oriented as well. Being more lenient and being more people oriented may help her to come up with a good team but not with good team’s goal. It can lead to failure to achieve the team’s goals. So, in practice, she needs to have both people oriented as well as task oriented kind of leadership styles.
Leader’s Current Challenges
Miss Namuna Dura finds it very difficult to change the previous practices which have been ruling the organization for several years. She says it is sometimes very difficult to apply new philosophies all at once. However, she believes that the organization should bring strategies slowly but she is confident that in the long run it will show a tremendous progress.
The role of labor unions and problems of industrial relations, as they are reflected in changing labor laws are the prevailing current issues for Miss Dura as she says. Nepal is also going through a recovery stage and in a process to finalize its new constitution. People are demanding for their rights and everyone has to be satisfied. As a leader, it is so difficult to handle each one of the employees with better care in such situations.
Meeting corporate social responsibility is another issue. As it is one of the largest manufacturing industries in Nepal, it has some responsibilities towards its communities. However, she has sponsored to the “AAHA FOOTBALL” conducted every year. She says it is another way of advertising the product. Moreover, from investment perspective, the budget should be designed focusing in every sector which is also a crucial point.
According to her another critical issue prevailing now is the problem of electricity cut off. Nepal faces electricity cut off for 6 to 7 hours per day. This has pressurized and minimized the output of the organization which is further decreasing the profit margin. In this scenario, there is a tremendous pressure to lay off its employees. “Lay off is not an easy task now because we may need the same employee in future if the conditions get better” she says “it will be difficult to find the local human resource in future if we sack off them now.” However, for the current scenario there is no other alternative as well.
Favoritism and nepotism is still an incurable-like disease while recruitment. “A lot of phone calls come from reputed people to inject their people when we announce the vacancies” she interprets “the company recently faced a one and half month strike from the labor union blaming the company for unethical and biased hiring practices.” She further adds that sometime it is the board members who pressurize her to hire an employee and in such case they act as the HR Manager and not her. “I wish I could change all the board members having traditional vision.” She angered.
Hence, critical problems that are prevailing now are just related to the traditional way of thinking from the upper level corporate people. The forcing new labor laws to include every caste, religion, and creed are very difficult. Moreover, finding best candidates from pool of applicants is also a critical issue. The government’s transition period is also another critical problem now.
However, she likes challenges and accepts that though the path is difficult but destiny is not so far. She says that she is enjoying facing challenges and she is confident that slowly and steadily she will manage to have a good human resource practices in her organization.
Leader’s Challenges Ahead
“The major challenge ahead is eradicating all the false practices from its root” Miss Dura says “I am in fifth year in this organization; I think I could change only 10 percent. Once, the system is set, it is really so difficult to change convincing so many old philosophies and compelling them to change.”
She is concerned for succession planning. Her main challenge for next decade is to prepare a pool of well qualified and fully skilled human resources for her organization who will take the company to a new height. She is also unhappy to see the increasing flow of abroad going young and dynamic human resources and settling themselves in abroad only. Her mission is to create some valuable strategies for the organization which will be a sample interpretation of fair human resources practices. She wants to eradicate gender inequality, create strong relations with labor unions, and keep its human resources satisfied and efficient.
With the determination, vision, and strategies she possess she is proving to be the best leader. With the passage of time she has been able to change many things in the organizations in favor of the good practices inside it. She has been able to find root problems and with her abilities she will be able to conquer each of them and as she said she will be able to create a good human resource practices in her organization. She has been acknowledged by the board members and she is quite a respected leader amongst her employees.
Human Resources Management is a burning issue in the context of Nepal. Due to lack of knowledge in this field, so many organizations are found to be closing. Human resources are treated as the purchased commodity in the Nepalese business society and paying against the law. Businesses try to dominate their employees in terms of proper pay, gender biased, and efficiency. There is huge unemployment problem in Nepal so there is a very less bargaining power with the human resources. Businesses are found to be taking benefit from that condition.
Moreover, the concept of a good leadership is also in the increasing trend now as not yet developed. Leaders think themselves associated with extra power to control others. They try to rule on people.
Also, there are still the false practices ruling in the organization in Nepal. The traditional concepts are overtaking modern values. The scientific and ethical practices are ignored. Moreover, favoritism and nepotism are still ruling. There is a great challenge for the young HR professional and a good leader like Miss Dura to overcome the false practices and lead the company towards the modern path.
There are so many factors which prevail in current scenario to affect in hiring practices. There are challenges related to employee lay off due to various problems inside the country. However, there is a lot to be done to improve the HR practices in Nepal. The consistent effort from young HR professionals like Miss Dura can, in future, help in creating the best HR practices in Nepal. A visionary leader with strong command on her determination and with the style to influence her employees is what needed for the organization for its tremendous enhancement and success.
List of questions asked:
1. How would you like to introduce yourself?
2. Would you please tell me something about your organization?
3. Would you please tell me the background of your academic qualifications?
4. How many years have you been involved in Human Resources?
5. What are the typical duties of the profession?
6. What do you mean by Strategic HR?
7. How do you recruit your employees?
8. What are the critical issues that you currently face? Please tell me point wise with its description.
9. How do you feel when you cannot do what you want from your position?
10. What issues do you believe will be critical in the next decade or so?
11. Are you still happy with your choice for your profession?
1. UHWO Writing Center (1998). Writing an interview paper. Retrieved September 17, 2009, from http://homepages.uhwo.hawaii.edu/~writing/interview.htm