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Tarun Katyal, Chief Human Resources Officer, MTS India

May 01, 2014
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An engineer by qualification, Tarun Katyal began his career with a tractor manufacturing firm but soon realised that his true calling lay elsewhere. “I felt burdened by working in shifts and was not passionate about what I was doing. Also, I realised that my options as a graduate were limited. Therefore, I decided to quit my job and go in for higher education, which helps give a balanced view of one’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as the external environment,” says Katyal.

Katyal pursued a master’s in personnel management and industrial relations. He thereafter went on to lead the HR function at various companies in diverse industries such as retail, FMCG and manufacturing. Some of the organisations he worked with are the Aditya Birla Group, Coca-Cola, Bharti Airtel and the Vardhman Group. He is currently serving as chief human resources officer, MTS India.

Having managed people across industries, what have been the key learnings he has assimilated? “By and large, the people landscape remains the same. However, an HR head’s functional role changes if he/she is part of a consumer-facing industry. For example, telecom, unlike retail or FMCG, is a far more dynamic industry and supports a more diverse workforce. Also, since telecom is a fast-paced industry, one has to be more adaptable and flexible in one’s approach, which may not be the case with other industries that are organised and not subject to too many regulatory changes,” says Katyal.

Of all his assignments, he picks his current role at MTS as his most challenging and rewarding. It has given him an opportunity to experience all facets of the business, including network roll-out, new circle launches, cancellation of licences, optimisation of existing business processes, healthy employee engagement, and attrition management when the company’s business was impacted by the cancellation of its licences.

Commenting on his people management skills, Katyal says, “One cannot sit in a cabin and work through HR strategies. I regularly participate in various forums and discussions, and engage with business leaders to understand the challenges the business is going through. This helps me align the employees’ work style with what is required of them for the company’s growth as well as for their own development.”

Katyal devotes his spare time to his family, comprising his wife and his daughter. He unwinds by watching cricket and soccer.

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