What You Can Learn About Recruiting From Ratan Tata

Recruiting Lesson

Dear Jeweller,

How are you doing?

Recently I read this wonderful book “I came upon a lighthouse” by Shantanu Naidu, in about 4 days!

Shantanu Naidu is an executive assistant to Mr. Ratan Tata in his Tata Trust and works in his office. Directly with him!

What a significant experience indeed to learn from Mr. Ratan Tata, right?

It’s a wonderful book.

It’s a very lighthearted and very inside view of what and who is Mr. Ratan Tata.

Shantanu’s story about how he got to work with Mr. Ratan Tata

It talks about the journey of Shantanu.

A Pune engineer working in one of the Tata Companies.

And his “passion” was really how to help stray dogs.

I want you to remember the “passion” here.

I will try to link it back to what we as business owners should look during recruitment of employees.

Back to Shantanu, who used to drive a bike, and he saw many stray dogs who had met with an accident and many of them didn’t survive. Most of us when we are driving, if a dog suddenly comes, it’s a very split second decision to either brake or continue on your driving while taking a chance that either the dog moves off or it’s get hit, It’s stray anyway. Right.?

So something triggered in his mind.

Inspired and wanting to do something about it, he and his friends worked to find a solution of this problem.

They tried to discover a way by which these stray dogs are not “hit” and hurt/maimed or even killed.

What Shantanu really did was, they tried to create a collar which is a reflecting collar similar to what traffic police or construction site workers wear.

So they did a lot of experiments and it soon got noticed by people.

But once it caught the attention of the media, more people started talking about it.

Somebody suggested that he write to Ratan Tata because he is a known lover of dogs.

And the journey continues & he becomes his executive assistant later on.

What is our learning?

What made Ratan Tata recruit Shantanu, when I am sure many people would want to work with him.

Because as business people, as business owners, as managers, as leaders, we are constantly searching for that spark in our employees.

You are searching for something in that employee or a potential employee what can he/she bring to the table.

And really it was the passion by which the young Shantanu tried to find a solution about how these stray dogs got noticed & how he and his friends with very limited budget tried to help these dogs.

Ratan Tata being the lover of the dog & when Shantanu reached out to him, he took time to meet up with these kids, understand what is it that these boys were doing.

Ratan Tata really liked was Shantanu’s passion on protecting the dogs.

In the same manner, when we are recruiting, there are 2 parts to the recruitment.

  1. One is whether the person has the skill set to do the job. Sales Skills, Accounting Skills, etc.
  2. Passion to for work. Attitude to solve problems or find opportunities.

So my request to you is when you are recruiting people or even with your existing employees, try to identify what is it they are passionate about.

Gone are those days when just job-related skills done mechanically, can help your business grow.

A Job related sufficient skills will get you a pass mark.

But that is no longer sufficient in today’s competitive world.

The spark in that potential employee or an existing employee is what you should be able to identify.

The spark and the passion comes out bright and shining.

In today’s time and space, it could be something “outside” work they are passionate about.

Let’s somebody has a good FB or Instagram profile, lots of friends, popular posts etc, you must try to find out what is it they have applied and created something beyond job requirements like learning digital marketing that can help your business.

So that’s shows it’s not just a job for him but it is a passion as well.

That is what I would want us to be looking for in a potential recruit.

I know it is not very easy in these times.

You might search for many people before you find young, enthusiastic and a passionate potential employee.

Talk to your existing employee one on one and find out what they are passionate about.

Try to encourage that passion.

Relate that to your business.

Google news was such a side project of one of the employee.

This can be a part of an innovation project.

So they may try something, they might look at alternative ways of visual merchandising or some fresh ways to connect on social media.

A lot of staff have really wonderful knowledge of social media.

So I would urge you to test and build on the passion of your existing staff and new recruits.

So this was a lesson from the book “I came upon a lighthouse”.

I suggest you read it.

It’s a wonderful light hearted reading.

I will come back with more of my learnings based on the book.