Managing and Recruiting Talent in A Pandemic Ridden Economy

Publish: 8:19 PM, April 12, 2021 | Update: 8:19:PM, April 12, 2021

M M A Yeasin is the Head of Human Resources at ISHO, a smart and innovative furniture brand which is a concern of Dekko ISHO Group. Yeasin is a dynamic and passionate human resource professional with years of experience in the field of Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding, HR Operations, HR Transformation and Stakeholder Management. After joining ISHO he has been working on talent development, propagating gender equality, diversity, and inclusive work environments and culture.

M M A Yeasin speaks with us on managing the workforce of one of the most renowned furniture brands in Bangladesh; what he is looking for in potential candidates and how to keep the work environment functioning smoothly and efficiently.

How crucial has been the role of HR, at ISHO as well as other brands, in terms of responding to the pandemic?

 The recent coronavirus pandemic has caused tremendous disruption in businesses worldwide, and during these unprecedented times, human resources (HR) played a key role in supporting companies and catalyzing changes in the workplace. However, even during these uncertain times, organizations must rethink and reconsider how they foster talent, deliver services and strengthen their organizations through a forward-thinking strategy which enables the organization to stick to their goals and objectives.

 During the pandemic, the aspect of “remote working” has significantly contributed to the growth in demand for automation, collaboration tools and a stronger need for cloud computing. Additionally, it is imperative to keep employees motivated and inspired to achieve the business goals and objectives in such unpredictable circumstances. Keeping this in mind, we are continuously trying to focus on ensuring adequate enablement and engagement of teams while also preparing for some hard decisions. ISHO was one of the very few organizations to declare working from home (WFH) before the official declaration of lockdown in Dhaka. At that particular moment, our top priority was to ensure safety for our people and I am grateful for the cooperation and support from our IT infrastructure team who has made rehabilitating possible during the pandemic.

 As an HR Professional, what do you look for in a prospective candidate? 

At ISHO we always look forward to recruiting talent who are in line with the company’s core values and are keen to maintain the respective standards. The selection processes and criteria are standardized. 

In terms of talent acquisition, we always look for individuals with the right functional or technical skills and most importantly, the right set of leadership skills. I believe leadership is a multidimensional skill. It is not only limited to how one interacts with people or how they lead a team. Rather, it also covers how one manages himself or herself, clarity of thinking and consequent action. It also includes ideas and creativity as well as understanding and having the right attitude required to perform the role. 

Communication skill also plays a vital role in the entire process. In case of ISHO, individuals have to regularly interact with colleagues working from different parts of the world. So, it is crucial to have good communication skills to ensure smooth operations among the people in the whole business ecosystem.

In your view, what makes a candidate stand out? 

I believe, for the entry level position, having a positive attitude is a must. We want to see sharp, resilient individuals, who can take failure and respond to it and that is where having the right attitude is important. If you have the right approach towards your deliverables, you will be able to achieve success. Also, our learning and development initiatives along with “on the job training process” will help new recruits to acquire right set of technical skills required for the role. 

What should candidates avoid doing during an interview?

Candidates should always present their true selves during any interview. If a candidate tries to fabricate a different personality or try to hide his/her own self during an interview, it is easily visible to the board of interviewers. As an interviewer myself, I would say that we are looking for individuals who bring a difference and demonstrate confidence, rather than faking his/her own true nature. As a candidate it is actually very important to be yourself in an interview.

How do you direct and drive a positive work environment?

To me, fostering a positive work environment is the main instigator for organizational success. We at ISHO always try to inspire each other at work; treating people with respect, trust, gratitude and integrity. We pride ourselves for diligently working together as a team and are always keen to help each other. At the same time we encourage collaboration and healthy communication which helps empower employees. 

What steps did you take to ensure diversity and inclusion in the organization?

At ISHO we ensure equal opportunities for all of our employees. On top of that our employee engagement initiatives are designed in a way which represents different cultures and caters to them respectively as we have employees hailing from different parts of the world with different cultural values and norms. We believe diversity is a strength and respect towards every individual and their points of view help us to collaborate on different ideas and thoughts which accelerate our success.