Interview #26 Jaspal (JP) Saini: "Continued innovation – new ways of working in a virtual environment."
Jaspal (JP) Saini

📌 Read the interview with Jaspal Saini to find out why a person who wanted to become a lawyer switched to an HR career and how does Tom Hanks relate to the company Jaspal works for.

Hello everyone!

We have published quite a lot of interviews with HR experts and with each new one, we are convinced of how much valuable experience HR people share.

Today, our guest is an SHRM-CP certified strategic HR Business Partner, JP Saini.

Jaspal (JP) Saini

He has experience in industries such as Wholesale, eCommerce, Retail and Staffing. JP has worked on a variety of different projects in his career ranging from supporting business acquisitions, company transformation while continuously focusing on strategic initiatives. 

Currently, JP is an HR Business Partner at the largest private employer in NJWakefern Corporation. He has his Bachelor's Degree in Pre-Law studies and plans to return for his Master's in Human Capital/Analytics this year. 

The Wakefern Food Corporation, founded in 1946 and based in New Jersey, is the 73rd largest private non-governmental company in the world, the largest retailers' cooperative group of supermarkets, and the fourth-largest cooperative of any kind in the United States, and the largest private employer in New Jersey in 2017.
Wakefern Corporation
Image source: https://www.foodtradenews.com/2019/11/26/store-openings-help-wakefern-reach-16-6b-in-retail-sales/

AO: Jaspal, nice to meet you and welcome to AcademyOcean "studio". Did you work somewhere before becoming an HR professional, why did you decide to become an HR?

JP: I’ve had an unusual introduction to the Human Resources field. In college, my aspirations were to become a Lawyer. Towards the end of my college career, I realized that I was not quite passionate about going into Law. Upon graduation, I was hired as an HR Generalist in a mid-sized company working directly with the HR Manager and thus began my ascend in the Human Resources field.

AO: A very unusual career switch.  Can you share your thoughts on why HR is an important function in any organization?

JP: HR is transforming. More organizations are looking at HR to provide a business impact to their company. The use of data/technology is something the HR industry is adapting too and HR professionals are asked to show quantifiable metrics to use for their organizations. Meanwhile, HR professionals are still expected to keep the “Human Touch” to their positions

An effective organization should expect its HR professionals to be well-trained in these two areas; both quantitatively and qualitatively. In my opinion, that is an organization that is getting the most ROI from a strong, balanced HR team.

AO: Talking about HR evolution, where do you see the HR industry in the next 5 years?

JP: I see the HR industry continuing the evolution into metrics/data combined with providing a qualitative approach to the associates each HR professional supports. The HR industry is evolving right before our eyes. The demands put on HR professionals are not the same as they were just a few short years ago. 

In my organization, we are tasked with providing more data-driven results in the projects we are working on that might not have had that component to them before. I see this normalizing in the industry. 

A strong HR professional should find the balance of qualitative and quantitative. 

I don’t believe the sole reason one should get into HR is to “help people” in a corporate environment. That can surely a reason to get into the field but becoming a strategic partner to the organization has to be right up there, if not the majority of the reason why.

AO: It is so interesting to get completely different ideas about the future of the HR sphere from HR specialists. In 5 years, let's see who was closest to the truth:) 

What difficulties do you usually face working as an HR specialist?

JP: Finding ways to make a consistent impact with my position. I want to ensure I’m listening to the divisions I support and providing a tactical, strategic HR approach that is relative to that division/leader specifically. This comes with being able to listen openly which is a skill I work on daily.

AO: Jaspal, can you name three areas that you feel need the most improvement, based on your understanding of common HR practices?

JP: Three areas I can see needing the most improvement would be Data/Reporting, identifying effective Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices and efficiency in HR Project Management

I believe these areas can continue to align HR to the business objectives and strategic goals of the respective organization. With Data/Reporting, understanding Human Capital/Analytics and tying that into the HR function can provide business data that we can use to make more informed decisions. This can cover many areas such as recruitment, retention, turnover, seasonal projections and history.

HR

In my opinion, I believe Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are subjective to each organization. What does that organization want with their DEI initiative and how can they tie that into their culture? This is the field that we HR professionals have to truly be in sync with our organizational leaders and population on.

With Project Management, many HR professionals are leaning towards the Lean Six Sigma model/licensing to help aid their skill set. With HR professionals juggling so many projects, many of which are niche, developing a pattern for efficient HR deliverables is a key area of improvement going forward.

Which corporate LMS is better to choose?

AO: In addition to your answers, we want to tell statistics regarding the areas that you named:

  • Only 2.6% of people on UK tech boards are ethnic minorities. 
  • In the USA, there are more CEOs called John or David than there are female CEOs.
  • GDP in the USA would increase by $25 billion if just 1% more disabled people were hired.

We hope that everything will change soon.

Can you name one (or several) HR experts whose work do you highly appreciate or take as an example?

JP: The HR Leadership Team at my organization provides daily inspiration for me. I try to take aspects of their HR leadership and incorporate them into my own routine whenever I can. Working for Wakefern Corporation, we have a large population who have been with the company for 25 years or longer! Including in my own department. There are so much history and trial/error for me to go off of.

AO: Nice, we listened to some of Simon's podcasts. They are really great.  

HR stats
HR quote

That's all for today, friends. See you at the next interview!

In case you would like to ask your own questions, write them down in the comments. Also, if you want to read an interview with a particular person, let us know.

Learn more about LMS 2.0 Platform for employee training.

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Take care 😇

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