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How Culture of Experimentation Attracts Employees

Sushma Kumar is the head of Professional Services for SHL India, based in Mumbai. In this blog she shares how SHL’s culture of experimentation attracts her to work for them.

I began at SHL at the beginning of 2020, just before the onset of COVID-19. For most people, coronavirus meant one shift—learning to live during a pandemic. I was handling four shifts. I had moved from a huge professional services firm, so I was adapting to the innovative SHL culture. Then, SHL acquired the AI-powered assessment firm Aspiring Minds and I had a change of manager. After that, my team expanded from 11 to 20 people. And there was the virus itself. It was like learning to fly a plane while learning to fix it at the same time. It involved change at so many levels, but also great new beginnings.

What attracted me to work at SHL

SHL presented an opportunity to become more of a solution architect. Given its science-based approach, the company allows you to excel as an expert in your subject. SHL has an impressive culture of experimentation where everyone is asked for new ideas. There are no mistakes, only better ways of doing something. It is a mindset shift and a very stimulating, innovative way to do things. At SHL, I develop people, while continuing to learn myself. There is a level of autonomy given to me in my role and it makes me feel part of the bigger picture of the organization.

A lot of my time is spent working with my team, managing quality delivery, as well as servicing client requests virtually and in person. About half of my week is spent helping clients create new solutions, whether succession planning, building strong governance on people development or identifying the skills and attributes their teams need to be successful.

One thing I tell them to undertake is a talent audit across all levels to show who they have in their business, which indicates how ready they are in the market. This identifies which employees are ready now and who they should invest in more. Sometimes, it reveals hidden gems who have previously been overlooked.

SHL presented an opportunity to become more of a solution architect. Given its science-based approach, the company allows you to excel as an expert in your subject.

How I help clients develop talent

The science behind the SHL tools helps a lot. I would say it’s 80% science and 20% solutioning. Ideas would not have outcomes without the science. The assessments mean we know when we put someone on a high potential grid, the research indicates that person will be the one. The tools do not tell you how to develop them, but they can give you confidence that you have selected the right individual, then you build from that foundation.

In my spare time, I spend as much time as I can with my nine-year-old son and husband. I also have a passion for making candles. I am a professional candle artist and even did a  candle master teacher course in Korea. I make candles for special occasions and festive seasons and find it is a real way to destress outside of work. I even occasionally dream of opening a candle atelier one day, but I do not know if that will ever happen. I still have a lot of ambition about things I want to achieve in my current role and feel there is much left to do.

I hope my story will inspire you to work for a company that nurtures the culture of experimentation, as it helps you not only be better in your work, but also helps you develop yourself.

Check SHL’s Career Page to see if there is any suitable role for you.

headshot sushma kumar


Sushma Kumar

As a girl, Sushma wanted to be a chef, but she chose to study business and found she was drawn to learning and development. She went on to work in HR early in her career. Of the 21 years in her career, she spent eleven years as a consultant working in professional services companies. Moving to SHL has been a return to HR and talent development, using data and assessments to identify individuals with great potential, then placing them in roles where they can flourish.

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