Susmita Banerjee: Having A Humane Approach To HR Problems | CEOInsights Vendor
Susmita Banerjee: Having A Humane Approach To HR Problems

Susmita Banerjee: Having A Humane Approach To HR Problems

Susmita Banerjee,   Chief HR Officer

Susmita Banerjee

Chief HR Officer

An accomplished leader in the HR domain, Susmita Banerjee, Chief Human Resource Officer, Baazar Style Retail Ltd (BSRL or Style Baazar) has extensive experience of working in the manufacturing and service sector for 20+ illustrious years. She began her career in 1996 with a manufacturing organization as a fresher and soon reached its managerial level. The first 10 years of her professional journey were involved in managing, controlling, and building the entire gamut of the HR function of the organization. From there she moved to organized sectors gaining experience in different aspects of HR and lifecycle management.

Susmita is walking the retail sector for the last seven years she began this journey with Bazaar Kolkata and is now leading Baazar Style Retail Ltd as the CHRO of the organization. Apart from being an HR professional, she has been a part-time lecturer at colleges which she later gave up to take forward her role as an HR leader. She loves meeting people and that has been her primary reason behind joining the HR industry. Susmita is an organized individual who aims to help organizations achieve their goals and employees reach their potential. Let’s hear it from her.

How would you define Style Baazar as an organization and its position in the market?
Style Bazaar is not a production unit; we are retailers who are involved in buying products from various vendors and markets making them available to customers through our different outlets. We are present in the different parts of the country in 8 states namely West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, UttarPradesh, and further expansion plans in other parts of India. We are available with 127 retail stores and will be closing this financial year with 142 stores with a turnover of Rs. 900 crores approx. BSRL unite a diverse and zealous community of Indian buyers, sellers, and businesses creating fresh employment, impacting livelihoods, empowering local communities, and fostering mutual growth and providing innovative offerings at affordable prices that are tailored to the needs of every Indian household.

Style Baazar caters to every need of your family and is not just another hyper market in your neighborhood. Our USP remains the value for
money proposition for the Indian customers. We guarantee the best products at the best prices amidst the ever increasing array of private labels. We have opened doors in the world of fashion and general merchandise, including home furnishings, utensils, crockery, cutlery, sports goods, and much more at prices that will surprise you. As an organization, it is very culturally well developed and the employees are skilled. Style Bazaar has made itself a renowned brand in the past nine years and gives tough competition to other almost two decade old players in the market.

An HR’s role is to articulate the daily operations to make the business a profit centre wherein the employees can grow with the organization” and to achieve the same we should always focus on “Hire Character. Train Skill

As the CHRO, what are the skills that you look for in fresh candidates? What ethics are most important in the fashion industry?
I indulge myself in hiring candidates who possess a positive mindset and are ready to bring in new ideas to do new things along with a concept of culture add rather than being culture fit they must be able to bring a turnaround in the system. If they are choosing to work in the retail industry, they must be prepared to work hard both at the back and the front end. Fresh candidates need to be opened to multiple challenges daily. They must also have a keen interest in fashion and can cope with its changing trends.

Emphasize the importance of HR’s operations being in sync with an organization’s strategy
Emphasize the importance of HR’s operations being in sync with an organization’s strategy Initially, HR was not considered as an instrinsic part of any business, but nowadays, in the framing of any business plan, HR plays a vital role. The role has evolved from earlier supporting role of managing payrolls and manpower to a strategic partner in the growth of the business. It’s now an integral part of the corporate and now innovative HR practices have also been USP of many companies with focus on Investing in Talent, Bracing for Diversity, Greater Emphasis on Employee Development, HR Technology, Competency Development, Work Life Balance etc.

In today’s competitive strategic environment, HR wears multiple hats of Chief Negotiator, People Advocate, Well Being Evangelist, Career Planner, Business Partner, Vibe Manager, Resilience Builder, Leader of Change, Enthusiastic Teacher, Budget Analyst etc.
Especially in the retail industry, humans are a very important part and so HR contributes to the major cost here. The HR cost can be compromised on the higher side, but whenever there is a crisis that needs attention, it becomes the HR’s call to decide how to minimize the cost so that we can have a profit bearing organization. An HR’s role is to articulate the daily operations to make the business a profit center where in the employees can grow with the organization. Hence, HR is no more only a welfare officer but is a business partner for every organization.

Reflect on some of the toughest challenges you have encountered in your journey so far. How did you overcome them?
In the retail sector, we handle people with different skill sets and mindsets. So, the biggest challenge for any HR leader is to handle the entire team and drive them toward a common vision. What I have come across in my 24 years of HR journey is that we need to have great communication skills to be able to convey the mission, vision, and objective of the organization to the team. Secondly, in the Eastern region, it is a big challenge to find the right candidate to fit in the organization.

Because most organizations here are home grown from day one and after a certain period, they move to become process-driven organizations. In many cases, when this transformation happens, old employees, instead of preparing themselves for the growth, become unsecured with new candidates coming in.This is where an HR’s communication skills come to play. Once people start to accept the change, it becomes easy for the organization to implement new ideas and go ahead with the new objectives.

What are the changes in market behaviour that you anticipate and what are the opportunities that you foresee?
After two years of shutdown, markets are now opening up after the pandemic and bringing in a lot more opportunities for businesses to grow, especially in the retail industry. The behavior and the trends of the market have evolved post covid as people have become more environmentally conscious. There is abundant opportunity for innovation in this sector as customers have become more inclined towards environment-friendly apparel & designs and support sustainable, packaging. We at Style Bazaar look forward to hiring candidates who can bring innovation to the organization while maintaining the safety of the environment.

Susmita Banerjee, Chief Human Resource Officer, Style Baazar
Having an MBA in HR Management from Sikkim Manipal University and 20+ years of HR experience, Susmita is spearheading the operations of Style Baazar by efficiently leading its HR department.

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