Peppercorn.ai hosted an informative conversation with Kush Saxena, moderated by Lirui Li on February 11, 2022.
Kush has over 15+ years leading various HR roles in large corporations in the technology, banking, and consumer goods industries.
He is currently working on a new challenge: scaling a rapidly growing startup, Astera Labs, where he leads Human Resources, Program, Communication, Management, and the execution of strategic initiatives.
Kush is also an ICF-certified coach who coaches social entrepreneurs and leaders in NGOs and students.
Kush shared his HR leadership journey, what he looks for in candidates, what candidates should think about, and the importance of self-reflection.
What drew you into HR?
As an MBA student, he took all the core classes and thought HR was a very interesting subject.
He also realized (through self-reflection) that he had two strengths that would be useful in HR.
He could influence people
He was comfortable navigating ambiguous situations
What are the different HR functions?
While it varies by company, typically here are the top 4 functions within HR
Recruiting - The team in charge of hiring talent (internal and external)
Compensation and Benefits: The team that is responsible for setting salaries and bringing in the right resources/benefits for the company.
Partnerships / Coaching leaders and employees - The team in charge of aligning the organizations/employees with the company goals (eg. HR business Partner)
Learning and Development: The team that supports upskilling or reskilling your organization with the tools, resources that sustain the business
How do you find the right environment for yourself as you search for What's Next?
2 things that need to be done.
Take time to understand your foundational values: Spend time on self-reflection, what resonates with you, what gives you joy or fulfillment in your role?
Look at your role in smaller buckets versus a 10-year road map. We are continuing to evolve and so is the outside world. Every 2 - 3 years re-evaluate if what you are doing is still fulfilling you and giving you joy.
What are some intangible skill sets you look for when hiring candidates?
Learning agility - Being curious. Wanting to learn more. These are things that are important because things around us are always changing. The role you were hired into may no longer be the role the company needs. Who you are also evolving so learning will keep you in touch with the times.
Ability to work with several stakeholders. Most roles will now work in teams. It's important to find individuals who know how to work collaboratively and productively.
How does a candidate get started on the journey of What's Next!
Internal Attributes - Self Reflection Narrow down what you want to do. Understand what makes you fulfilled, what kind of work you want to do, what gives you meaning etc BEFORE you ever start working on your resume.
External factors: What is practical and can support the lifestyle you want. What do you need financially? What is the outside environment offering in terms of roles?
(PS: Peppercorn Discovery provides you the guidance, tools and community to do all of this)
Do recruiters and HR managers go to Linkedin to check on candidates?
Keep your Linkedin profile updated!!!
Can you give some tips on networking?
Start today to network and build relationships with people even if you see no purpose right now.
In the long run, your network will be able to help you find a role. You can't start networking when you want the job and expect something to come immediately.
Other thoughts as candidate job search? Build a resilient mindset as the world and ourselves continue to evolve. Having a resilient mindset will help us make decisions and choices as we move forward.
Care about the work you are doing. If its not giving you joy or fulfilling self reflect on what you want to do Next.
Take chances and risks in your career journey.
What's Next for Kush?
He loves what he is doing and there is a lot of work to be done so he is continuing on his current journey. When the time is right, he will take a break before he figures out What's Next!
One Last Thought
Self Reflection is key to the journey of What's Next!
www.peppercorn.ai/pdpd - Pepperorn Discovery