Agency News

Leadership Insights: Nurturing a People-Centric Culture and Embracing HR Dynamics

From creating vibrant organizational cultures to promoting corporate responsibility, Ms. Parul Gopal, CAO, Burns & McDonnell India, unveils a holistic approach to leadership that shapes workplace dynamics and employee satisfaction.


By Ms. Parul Gopal, CAO (Chief Administrative Officer), Burns & McDonnell India | 30th Jan, 2024


1. Could you provide some insights into your leadership philosophy and the values that guide your approach to managing and nurturing talent?  


My leadership philosophy centers around creating a people-centric culture. I believe that open and transparent communication, incorporating employee feedback into decision-making and providing the right opportunities for their development are crucial aspects. With the evolving technologies and fast-paced industry changes, it’s vital to provide the right training to nurture and upskill employees so that they feel equipped to handle the challenges of the business today and tomorrow. Being a leader also comes with the responsibility of identifying future leaders who can flourish themselves, lead teams effectively and contribute to the organization. We want our employees to exhibit their technical strength, so we actively promote thought leadership and knowledge-sharing through different platforms. Balancing this with colorful celebrations makes our organizational culture vibrant and engaging. 


2. What do you think HR brings to the leadership table, and why is it important for business leaders to integrate the same in decision-making? 


Our role is not just operational but strategic. The HR team is often the first interaction a candidate has with the organization. So, I see everyone on the HR team as ambassadors that represent the values and culture of the organization. As it is true for any business leader to have a strong command of the business, growth and the work, the same goes for HR representatives, who need to understand the area of work very well to hire the most talented individuals and then give them the right opportunities to grow. The HR team is critical to the growth and expansion of the firm and plays an important role in driving many initiatives that make our people our greatest asset. In our endeavors to contribute toward cultural alignment and employee engagement, we organize events like our Annual Day and Zest Sports Festival, which allow our employees a chance to showcase different dimensions of their personalities.  


Business leaders today need to be extremely cognizant of the changing workforce and the expectations of their teams. The present generation and the new workforce entering organizations are looking for dynamic experiences that can help them evolve and stay competitive — hence, providing the right work experience, culture and opportunities makes a big difference. Business leaders also need to see that the company culture reflects their own actions, decisions and the way they lead their teams, which directly influences the workplace. 


3. What is the role of HR in promoting corporate responsibility across the organization?  


HR plays a pivotal role in shaping the organization’s values and communicating with employees. As the human element of the organization, they are positioned to understand and provoke the right attitude among employees, aligning them with the organization’s purpose. HR can play a key role in promoting a culture of giving back by facilitating opportunities for employees to volunteer for community outreach programs. By involving employees in such initiatives, HR can foster a sense of purpose and pride within employees. At Burns & McDonnell India, we are committed to giving back to our communities and organizing many corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities driven by a dedicated CSR team within the HR function. Our employees can also suggest new projects from their references, which are then evaluated and pursued, providing them the opportunity to lead their respective projects. 


4. How do you envision the integration of generative AI into HR processes impacts the overall company culture and employee satisfaction? 


I believe the integration of generative AI will help streamline routine tasks, freeing up HR to focus on strategic initiatives. It will also ease processes involving talent assessment. Initiatives like employee feedback, leadership programs and recognition programs can be enhanced through AI to contribute to a more efficient, data-driven decision-making process that positively impacts the overall company culture and employee satisfaction.

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