#CoffeeWithHR: Garima Singh of POSist on Creating a Culture of Freedom

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“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

– David Ogilvy

Companies that truly conquer the world are built on the shoulders of great employees, because they promote a culture of freedom. From building technologies that help billions in the world to bringing smiles to satisfied customers, you can always find tireless craftsmen behind every worthy enterprise.

So, if you drop down to the fundamental level, you’ll find that an amazing culture is what enables this innovation and excellence. Culture is key to any team’s performance. And who knows the company culture better than the HR and Talent Acquisition teams. They know bringing the best folks aboard the ship requires a little more than an offer email.

One HR team that has beautifully cracked this code are the folks at POSist. While everyone else is busy measuring success by just cost per hire, the POSist team focuses on the quality of hire. Because they know that in the long run, the value a great hire provides highly overshadows the cost.

POSist is a startup providing a cloud-based point of sale (POS) for restaurants. Their vision is to help restaurateurs run their establishment remotely by completely automating it. And just like their customer service, they’ve streamlined hiring to the point that a great candidate experience comes naturally.

In a bid to gain more insight on how the POSist team hires and builds the culture to make work play, we met with their HR manager Garima Singh. A soft-spoken person, Garima told us how she hires fast learners and makes sure risk-takers are well rewarded. Let’s hear it from her.

POSist #CoffeeWithHR nishank with teamGarima and the HR team with their Instahyre account manager Nishank Patel

How do you describe yourself in a few sentences?

Garima: I’m a fun loving, outgoing girl with a knack for learning something new every day. And since I have a way with people, I think the HR was a role made just for me 🙂

Tell us about a typical day at work?

Garima: A huge chunk of my workday revolves around hiring. Basically, I start out with setting goals for the day and then jump directly into work. I interview a lot of candidates. And when I’m not interviewing, you can find me searching the deep corners of the internet to find and reach out to new candidates every day.

At POSist, I also handle employment engagement activities. So, in addition to our regular team activities, I try to constantly dig up anything interesting that I can introduce to keep the team engaged and happy. I also talk to other HRs or my friends at other companies on how they approach their problems, say, improving company policies. This helps me stay on top of everything and I can go back home happy that I learned something today.

You mentioned you take care of a lot of activities in your daily work. What are the challenges you face in your role?

Garima: See, I’ve been an HR for all of 2 years, which is not a lot of time to learn every skill or to be exposed to all spheres of my work. So, as a personal challenge, my main focus is on gaining new insights and trying different things until they work. That’s how I focus on growth because an HR leader’s main job is to bring in change. And if I’m not learning to guide people where they want to go, then I’m just managing and not leading.

Cheers! That looks like a great way to go. Now, what are the challenges you face in recruiting the right people?

Garima: Well, an issue in recruiting is when a shortlisted candidate doesn’t join. Obviously, we can’t close the position and the whole process drags on for another month or so. It’s a big disappointment and wastes a lot of our resources. I think it’s vital that a candidate understands the effort, time, and resources you put into bringing them to the office or to roll out the offer.

Another challenge is reaching the right candidates. I have to literally interview dozens of candidates before I even find the right set of candidates. But I think it’s one of those challenges most of my HR friends must face too.

How do you approach the solutions to these challenges?

Garima: As they say, once hurt, twice shy. That means after experiencing candidates bailing out after getting the offer, I now assess people more closely. I learned that candidates can be assessed on different levels – their behaviour, their skills, or just on the basis of conversation you have with them. So you get an idea if a candidate behaves the same way as the previous one who took off, it’s probably not a good idea to offer them the job.

Also, we look for a great fit in the company. So, I try to judge if a candidate is only on his best behaviour for the interview or if he/she is genuinely the person they project. Usually, I can figure it out pretty well now.

Additionally, I also keep up with the industry trends, best practices and think pieces from influential HRs. As they’ve faced such challenges before, you can learn a lot about solving your own problem or maybe just viewing it under a different lens.

So, what kind of company culture do you cultivate at POSist?

Garima: POSist is a pretty fun place to work at. If you take a quick look at our bright colourful office or our Facebook page, you’ll know our culture in a heartbeat. We set the right tone in the office from day 1 and it actually makes sense, since we spend most of our day here.POSist #CoffeeWithHR office inside

But apart from the fun and celebration, we work hard too. Balancing them both is tricky but we found that if we give total freedom and accountability to smallest of the teams, they often surprise us with the results. And if someone needs a break after a long session of immersive work, well, they can take up a sport or one of our weekly activities to let off steam.

To sum it up, we focus not on micromanaging or handholding, but building relationships with people. Because that’s the secret sauce of getting work done while playing.

That’s great! So, how do you conduct team building and employee engagement activities? You mentioned a few minutes ago that you play matches. Apart from that, are there any specific team building programs?

Garima: Our whole office is like one big family. So just like a family, we celebrate every festival together, hold themed parties, and frequently go on trips and picnics. Like our last new year which we celebrated with a trekking trip to Asola Wildlife Sanctuary. Or the one before when we went rafting and camping in Rishikesh.POSist #CoffeeWithHR asola

The best part about conducting such activities is that every employee is involved in deciding what to do or where to go. It’s a real bonus for us that everyone on the team speaks the same language, it makes our tasks much easier and team-building occurs almost spontaneously.POSist #CoffeeWithHR rishikesh

Let’s say a candidate is interviewing at POSist. Is there any tested formula or tactics to provide the candidate with a great experience irrespective of whether he gets hired or not?

Garima: Not a formula, but we’ve found that being honest with candidates and expecting the same from them works pretty well for us. Candidates go through multiple rounds of interviews and during each round they are interviewed by people at different levels of management. So that gives them a wholesome image of the company and also tells them everything they need to know before deciding to join us.

I think recently a few people have joined your recruitment team. So how do you define your star recruiter? What are the qualities you look for in a recruiter?

Garima: I think a star recruiter is someone who loves to explores actively. That means they learn new things every day, offer a point of view, challenge assumptions, and have a thorough knowledge of their industry.  

You see, sticking to the calendar isn’t enough anymore. Because being aware of what’s happening in the company or where the candidates come from for an interview, gives you a unique way of looking at things. For example, you can frame different questions for different candidates to personalise the experience if you know where to look. Lastly, an exceptional HR digs in unknown places for the talent that no one else thought to look.

Do you have any advice for somebody who’s starting up in your field?

Garima: I’d like to tell all the newbies that a role in HR is one of responsibility and you’ll gain respect too. People will listen to you. And that’s exactly why it’s a hard job.

You need to be a quick learner. Explore a lot. Be quick on your feet to answer tough questions or make impromptu strategies. It’ll require a lot of effort on your part but the satisfaction at the end will be worth it. I know, I work there.

That’s inspiring to hear. Moving on to our final question, how do you unwind yourself? What’s your happy place after a long day at work?

Garima: I start unwinding after a long day by listening to music while travelling back to my place. Bollywood and Hip-Hop are my favorites but I love a mix of genres on my playlist. Once I reach home, I usually put on a movie or spend some me-time. I love going to sleep after spending some quality time alone – puts me in a great mood. Oh, and I watch a lot of movies. The last one that stuck with me was Bajirao Mastani.

POSist is hiring. Check out their profile here!

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