Scouting for talent is no easy task. However, successful people breed success, and Pallavi Anand is excellent at hiring and developing the best talent for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX). Katherine has caught up with the insightful team builder and leader to find out her thoughts on career, female leadership, gender equality, and her view on work-life balance.
KF: Katherine Fan (Managing Director, Hughes-Castell)
PA: Pallavi Anand (Head of Talent Acquisition, HKEX)
KF: We are really excited to have Pallavi Anand, Head of Talent Acquisition at HKEX to join us for a conversation.
What were your goals throughout your career path?
PA: I have always felt that I was born a people’s person. I aimed to get into a career that involves people – so aimed to be a Human Resources professional. One goal that has been a consistent focus in my career is “How can I be a catalyst for people to unleash their potentials” be it with a new job that I can help find or with a new role or promotion.
“I have always believed in people and made people feel valued, no matter what the position, they all know they have a chance to contribute and make a difference.”
KF: Were there any critical moments and challenges in your career that you can share with us?
PA: One of the critical moments was I decided to take a new route to my end-goal and try the world of Learning and Development. I felt this was a critical moment and a massive challenge as I was walking into a skill set that I have had no formal qualification or training. I was therefore dissuaded and forewarned by peers, senior managers and family of all the sacrifices this new change would ask of me at this stage of my career, but I was determined!
For the first couple of years, I had grievances and did sacrifice a lot as I had to take a step back in my position and definitely, my cash flow too.
But at the end of it, I am glad I did it – I can connect the entire loop in talent management – starting from talent acquisition to unleashing their potential through designing effective training modules. I definitely feel like I did the right thing.
KF: Throughout your career journey, did you have any mentors, or were there any female leaders who inspired you along the way or guided you?
PA: Two decades ago, I had a chance to work with two ladies who I looked up to. They ran their own HR consultancy business. I watched them grow their business with passion, commercialism and professionalism, integrity, and empathy that definitely inspired me through my journey.
“And worldwide, Indira Nooyi and Sheryl Sandberg are the two women leaders that I always look upon. They inspire me a lot in the sense that they advocate women’s empowerment in the workplace.”
KF: Pallavi, how do you promote gender equality in the workplace?
PA: With HKEX, we are extremely committed to promoting gender equality.
“HKEX Group has 43% female employees, which we are really proud of.”
The number one aspect of promoting gender equality is understanding the unconscious bias and how it affects the equity in the workplace, proactively welcoming women into the talent pool and not limiting it, ensuring that it was an equal representation and being mindful of it.
I also believe that employees should be observant about any form of harassments in the workplace. Identify it and then raise it to senior management who should enhance to stop it.
Globally today, we are addressing a pay gap. We should encourage there to be transparency in order to remove this gap. This would definitely be one of the ways to help this issue.
KF: Pallavi, as a leader, you must be incredibly busy, how do you balance your work and your personal life and family? Any advice for other people achieving work-life balance?
PA: I feel the trick is to adjust as you go. Not get locked into patterns that feel impossible to change and that would make you unhappy or stressed. With present day circumstances where one is digitally connected to work longer, one has to take control. The happiest people or families are those that are planned and thoughtful about their hours. The key is when you engage with work and when you don’t! For example, shutting down over meal times, certain point in the evening or morning, etc.
KF: Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It is incredibly inspiring for all of us to know that we can do well in our career and still have a balanced lifestyle at home.
PA: Thank you very much.