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‘Willingness to learn is most important in an employee,’ says HR professional and corporate trainer

Avika Kapoor, vice president, Kapgrow Corporate Advisory Services, shares how HR practices have adapted to the post-pandemic life



An alumna of Apeejay School, Noida, Avika Kapoor is a management and legal professional, a trainer for soft skills, Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (POSH), company law, and various other legal matters. She has worked as an external member on the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) panel of various companies under POSH. At present, Kapoor is working as the vice president-operations at Kapgrow Corporate Advisory Services Private Limited.

In a candid discussion, she tells us about post-pandemic HR practices, the “right attitude” for employees, and more:

What did you pursue after school? Take us through your journey.

I completed my graduation from Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. Along with that, I also pursued a course in Company Secretary (CS), followed by a post-graduate diploma in HR from the Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad.

I began my professional journey in the legal and secretarial department as a Company Secretary. Then I moved to a consulting role in HR and legal management. At Kapgrow, I am heading all the service verticals in terms of HR, legal and management consulting.

As a corporate trainer, can you tell us about some basic skills that companies look for in an employee?

Willingness to learn is of foremost importance because that is what will guarantee your growth. Even if you come from the best of the institutes, you have to be open to learning things practically. At the same time, basic soft skills — etiquette, and respect, to name a few — are also important but they can be grasped over time. Your attitude is what matters the most while hiring. You cannot expect to see growth in a company in a span of just six months; you have to give some time to the organisation and yourself as well.

Also Read: ‘Consult professors, get your resume reviewed’: HR professional shares job interview tips for freshers

Colleagues have started addressing each other by their first names and their relationships have also evolved. Do you think the hierarchical structure typically seen in an office is getting blurred?

It depends from industry to industry. The culture of addressing people on a first-name basis is more prevalent in core IT, BPO, and service-related industries, where it is an acceptable norm. But this is not seen so often in sectors like manufacturing. That said, the overall culture has definitely changed.

How did the pandemic impact HR practices?

It has changed the way you manage employees and take their expectations into account. In the wake of the pandemic, people adapted to remote work in almost all industries barring a few. After two years of remote work, not everyone is comfortable coming back to office now. Besides, a lot of HR practices related to employee wellness and benefits have changed in industries. The focus has shifted more to well-being and health than it was before.

As a POSH trainer, can you suggest some dos and don’ts for employees?

Follow the protocol and know where to draw the line. No one should take unnecessary liberties. In a corporate setting, unless you are 100 per cent sure of your actions or statements, do not cross the line. Do not pass a random joke that is not in good taste. If you have the slightest doubt that a colleague might get offended by what you say or do, then avoid doing it completely.

Are companies taking this matter very seriously?

While some companies are taking a very serious approach, there are others who are just following a tick-box approach. That is where compliance across industries is lacking. But the situation has definitely improved and there is more awareness, which is a good sign.

What memories do you have of Apeejay School, Noida?

I completed my schooling at Apeejay School, Noida, in 1999. I have very good memories of school — it is the institute that shaped me into the person I am today. The foundation of my learning and subsequent achievements was laid at Apeejay. I am still in touch with my school friends and some of the teachers.

When you look back, do you think you have accomplished what you wanted?

To some extent, yes. But there are many more milestones to achieve in life. The one thing I have learnt is that it is not sheer luck but hard work that takes you ahead. And that is what adds to your experience and skills. You can achieve anything if you work towards it.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.