As a Head of HR, Sonan Malik is in charge of drafting employee contracts, researching new employment law, and how it works in different countries as well as internationally. He also participates in all HR operations, including hiring and onboarding. Malik has almost 20 years of experience and has held various positions, including store manager, retail buyer, and currently head of HR.

What are the challenges that are prevailing in the HR industry after the pandemic? 

The pandemic has hit people in various ways, especially mental health. As an HR, we are focusing a lot of issues in recruiting and onboarding as well as managing the talents and how to work with them.

Another challenge is it's been very extensive, especially after covid. We have a lot of international talents who are applying, and we also hire them. So, we have a team of four people in HR and one payroll specialist to look after that. I'm like a big support for them as well, so they can get better, but their processes are actually aligned.

What steps is your organization taking to benefit the employees and their mental health?

We are adopting easy methods for employee surveys to find out how they are doing, which is one of the important things I have noticed since Covid-19. Of course, it's nothing new, but it's desperately needed right now. Additionally, the pandemic harmed our mental health, which has caused workers to seek more flexibility because it affects not just them but also their families.

That is why it's important to make your workplace more adaptable so that employees can quickly change if they want to visit the office or WFH. We began a project called Employee Experience. HRs design brief workshops with teams for two to three hours daily to understand their overall organizational experience and how they feel about the company. Therefore, although we may believe you are doing a lot of wonderful things, your staff can identify our areas of weakness. These courses also give HR a better understanding of employee pressure so they can figure out how to handle it.

"We are adopting easy methods for employee surveys to find out how they are doing, which is one of the important things I have noticed since Covid-19."

What kind of technology are you employing to speed up the onboarding process?

We are collaborating with a company named Talent Tech to use technology for recruiting and onboarding programs. They give us a module that enables us to complete pre-onboarding that contains details on the company's stuff. It enables staff to understand and learn in advance about the business, which is highly important to them. In reality, it's our responsibility to explain what each new hire agrees to. To do that, you need a reliable IT tool that can upload files securely so that we may share some important information over a secure network. It's more about closing the gap between the employee and the company to establish a solid and trustworthy connection. I believe just introducing them to the system is not enough; you need to make an effort to support and understand them, no matter whether they are working in the office or remotely. 

What would be the best piece of advice you could give a budding expert in your field?

I would advise the leaders to show greater empathy and acknowledge the employees' efforts while keeping in mind their personal lives. I think it's imperative to strike a balance between personal and professional lives, particularly for the younger generation that has just graduated and entered the workforce. Being understanding and on the same level as your employee can help HR better understand them and their demands. The better personnel and commitment you receive as an organization will increase as you become more receptive to these ideas. Another important thing is to focus on how we can keep the retention rate low and make them stay longer.