Xavier School of Human Resource Management (XAHR), Xavier University Bhubaneswar (XUB), in association with XIMAHR – The HR Association of XAHR, pulled off their annual flagship event, HR Symposium’20, with added grandeur by going virtual on August 29, 2020. The theme was, “Reimagining Human Resources: Pandemic and Beyond”. The event was graced by 9 HR industry stalwarts who shared their views and thoughts in a 5-hour engagement session with students, alumni, and faculties of XAHR.

The morning began by invoking the blessings of the Supreme by lighting the lamp, followed by a keynote address by Fr. E A Augustine SJ (Registrar, XUB). This was followed by Dr. Andrew Dutta (Dean Academics, XAHR) extending a warm welcome to the panelists for the day.

Following the welcome address, the ground for the panel discussion was set by the moderator – Prof. Sadhana Dash (Assistant Professor, XAHR). The discussion agenda for Panel 1 was “Role of HR in Business Continuity: Planning and Winning in unprecedented times”.

Ms. Uma Rao (VP-HR, Ashok Leyland) began with the saying “Every challenge comes with opportunities”. She highlighted the fact that while there have been incidents of firing employees and snipping variable pays, Ashok Leyland ensured that none of these steps were taken and employees were kept a primary priority. Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia (CEO, Knowability Ventures) shared his experience in the consulting field. Mr. Bhatia cited steps taken to ensure the safety of employees like setting up 24*7 helplines and tie-ups with hospitals. Mr. Rajorshi Ganguli (President & Global HR Head, Alkem Labs Ltd) spoke about the VUCA world in unprecedented times. Mr. Ganguli mentioned three challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry, such as hurdles in supply chain management. He stressed that HR leaders play a key role in encouraging people to serve the nation in these tough times.

The discussion agenda for Panel 2 was Post-COVID Workplace- Redesigning Work for the New Normal”. The panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Mousumi Padhi (Associate Professor, XAHR).

Ms. Lipika Verma (Director Rewards, Global Supply Chain, Global Human Resources, Schneider Electric) spoke about resilience – both at an organization level as well as a personal front, digital adoption and proposed a hybrid model of work including a mix of work from a home model and physical presence to keep the social touch alive in organizations. Mr. Luna Mohanty (Sr. Vice President Human Resources, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd) started the discussion with the question “How will COVID-19 change the world?” and stressed on people management i.e. changing from organization performance management system to absolute hybrid PMS, to be able to support agile teams, work synchronously, reskill, and upskill, and to figure out the data and IP rights. Mr. Mridul Chandra (Senior Director, HR, Tata Communications Transformation Services Limited) captured the audience by throwing light on the perspectives of corporates in these uncertain times. They have managed the entire supply chain and even supported group companies. Mindfulness and yoga sessions, along with various health initiatives, have been organized for flexible working hours.

The discussion agenda for Panel 3 was Leadership, Communication, and Management with Remote Teams- What to Learn and Unlearn in the New Normal” was moderated by Dr. Arup Roy Chowdhury (Assistant professor, XAHR).

Mr. Madnesh Mishra (Joint Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India) gave insights as to how pivotal it was for the government to adapt to the changing scenario, identify critical areas, and deliver on the same. Mr. Sunil Singh (Founder, and CEO, Mindstream Consulting) majorly spoke about how this pandemic had been a blessing in disguise because it has fast-tracked the changes would otherwise have happened five or ten years later. Mr. Amitabh Akauri (Managing Director, Tenacious Services Pvt Ltd) captured the audience through his visual comparison of the pandemic to a fog where all industries have entered a situation where stakeholders are unable to see the future but concluded by saying that all businesses are learning and finding ways to fight the pandemic since there is no fit-for-all situation right now.

All three panels were followed by Q&A sessions that turned out to be enriching, with questions pouring in from the first- and second-year students of XAHR. The discussion ended with the key learning of putting the human back in HR, having care and compassion for employees, being authentic, transparent, consistent, and rational in decision making, and to not forget the old saying “Action speaks louder than words.”


Xavier University, Bhubaneswar (XUB), with its philosophy of “Inspiring Futures”, was established in accordance with the Xavier University Act, 2013 and was inaugurated on July 07, 2014. XUB has 13 schools that offer world-class education in different fields. The schools that comes under the XUB tree are Xavier Institute of Management, Xavier School of Human Resource Management (erstwhile XIMB-HRM), Xavier School of Rural Management (erstwhile XIMB-RM), Xavier School of Commerce, Xavier School of Sustainability, Xavier School of Human Settlements, Xavier Emlyon Business School, Xavier School of Communications, Xavier School of Economics, Xavier School of Computer Science & Engineering, Xavier Law School, Xavier Centre for Humanities & Compassion Studies, and School of Government & Public Affairs. XUB also hosts Centre of Excellence in Fiscal Policy and Taxation, Centre for Humanities and Compassion Studies, Centre for Sustainable Ecological Systems, Centre for Business and Society, Centre for Corporate Governance, and Centre for Business Analytics and Digital Transformation.