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All About Empathy

Anuradha Razdan's brand of HR practices is about ensuring growth and impact
twitter-logoAjita Shashidhar | Print Edition: October 4, 2020
All About Empathy
Anuradha Razdan, Executive Director, HR, HUL - Photograph by Rachit Goswami

It's been just over a year since Anuradha Razdan, Executive Director (Human Resources), Hindustan Unilever, took over her 'dream role' at the country's leading FMCG company. There has seldom been a dull moment for her. Within months of her taking over, Unilever announced the acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer, its biggest ever (Unilever paid Rs 31,700 crore), with Razdan given the colossal task of seamlessly integrating 4,000-odd GSK employees into the workforce. "We had to make sure that there was no loss of key talent and that the coming together of HUL and GSK makes us a better team. It was important to preserve the strengths and make people feel welcome," says Razdan.

Razdan had joined the company in 1999 as a management trainee and has held positions not only in India but also globally. The role she cherishes the most is head of leadership development and talent for HUL South Asia in 2011. "HUL is known for leadership building and talent and this role meant I could leave a legacy." It was during Razdan's tenure that HUL again became the most preferred brand on business school campuses. She was instrumental in accelerating the company's diversity agenda when it hired 200-300 women managers. She also played a key role in institutionalising diversity-friendly programmes such as 'Career By Choice' and 'Return To Work'. "That's where I feel I left a deep impact on the organisation," she says.

Razdan's role as head of leadership development also helped her formulate her own brand of HR which she calls 'Business in HR and HR in business'. "Everything that we do in HR must bring growth for the business, everything that we do in HR must be owned by business leaders," she says.

Razdan has deepened her commitment to empathy during the pandemic. "The pandemic has taught me to understand that everyone's experience is not the same as yours, so, as a leader, you don't have to dilute your performance expectations, but you need to be more empathetic."

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