Suchita Oswal Jain is the Vice-Chairman & Joint Managing Director of Vardhman Textiles – the leading textile conglomerate of India with over 20 manufacturing units strategically located across states. Ensuring that all 27,000+ employees of Vardhman feel valued and respected at the workplace, she has walked one step further in embracing diversity and cultivating an environment conducive to growth. While respect is more often seen as an individual’s attribute, Suchita believes that inculcating the desired environment makes respect integral to workplace policies.
Here is the first job experience of Suchita Oswal Jain – Vice Chairman & Joint Managing Director of Vardhman Textiles Ltd.
What is the biggest lesson that you learnt in your first job?
The most important lesson I had learnt during my first job is to carefully listen and understand the complete situation or prospect by asking relevant questions. Sound understanding is crucial to succeeding in any dimension of life. It is through this critical thinking ability that one can make informed decisions. I come from a family background of textiles i.e., my everyday life revolved around the business as I saw my father and role model Mr S P Oswal working with precision on a quantum of tasks. He has remained personally involved in every dimension of business operation and I too followed the same path.
I worked in different departments to gain insights and while doing so, I increasingly felt the need to know more. It became my habit to think from different approaches and ask questions. These questions sometimes took us to solutions and sometimes unravelled aspects that we were not thinking about. Listening is a preliminary level of understanding but analysing and asking questions is decisive.
What would have happened had the pandemic struck while you were starting your career? How would you have tackled things in your stride?
If pandemic was prevailing at that time, things would have been very different. Who knows, maybe, with the world not being a global village, the impact might have been lesser. However, it happened in 2020 and through digitalisation, people could continue to be in touch. During this time, there was an increased emphasis on health – physical, mental and also spiritual. I feel that technological solutions enabling virtual communications offer relative ease to continue living in the New Normal.
Assuming that my career started in 2020, with the advent of the pandemic, I would still believe in taking it ‘one day at a time’. Just like everyone else, I would also be working from home, learning through video calls, attending seminars & workshops, networking through such events etc. But above all, I would keep my eyes set on the goals and try to mitigate the surrounding negativity. It is okay to feel unsure for a while, but an entrepreneur has to acquire the skill of taking calculated risks and keep sailing the ship despite storms with utmost might.
One interview tip that you find extremely useful and relevant over the years.
I believe that one must know what s/he is aiming for. Give your 100% to the one thing that you want instead of following a hit and try methodology while trying to secure a job. I have been associated with my family business for decades now and over these years my desire to know and understand things better has only intensified. If you are willing to learn, no test is too tough.
What are the 3 main soft skills that a fresher must possess to ace jobs?
Communication skills, Analytical ability and Adaptability are the top three soft skills in my opinion. Over the years, demand for these skills has drastically increased. The virtual world has established itself universally and we confront content in the form of images, texts, gifs, videos and whatnot, without even realising. Its impact in the business world is massive. Plus, in the global digital village, good communication skills are a necessity.
This mass content creation has also led to an abundance of data, thereby amplifying the need to critically analyse all aspects of information. Besides, these are all changes and embracing change is an inevitable trait for professionals in the modern-day business environment.
How has the pandemic shaped/changed the work culture?
It is not an exaggeration to say that the entire workspace has been re-created. There has been a drastic shift in expectations of employers from employees and vice versa. Work from home has gained more acceptance and as a result, employees need to be self-motivated and responsible. The emphasis of organisations on employee engagement has also increased.
In our workspace, people development and safety has remained a part of ethos ever since its inception. We value our employees and our teams are collectively called One Vardhman Family. There is a little room for work from home in the manufacturing domain but the change is visible here too. With the pandemic, the HR function has further evolved. There is a greater thrust on safety and health. We have got almost all our employees vaccinated, safety protocols are adhered to in letter and spirit, engagement drives are being carried out and digital learning tools are being utilised to continue the process of skill development.
Your perspective on the changing work culture over the past decade.
Generations change every few decades and so does the business landscape. Though, with modern-day technology, the pace of change is much faster. Even in the general setting, what a grandfather thought and practised might or might not be implementable for the grandson. There is nothing wrong or right about it. Change is a law. It will happen whether you like it or not. It is always better to embrace change. Resistance only creates friction, making things rough.
One book that you would recommend to the freshers that can help.
Blue Ocean Strategy would be the book to recommend as the illusion of knowing it all has to break. To sustain oneself in the professional world, one must learn this lesson early. Willingness to take and offer help accompanied by an awareness that our unchecked assumptions are our biggest enemies will come in handy for freshers.