Puja Shah is the Senior HR Manager at VFlowTech, a company reinventing energy storage with Vanadium redox flow technology, with a vision to develop the cheapest and most scalable Vanadium redox flow batteries in the world.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
I’m currently serving as the Senior HR Manager at VFlowTech Pte Ltd, I have been instrumental in managing stakeholders, overseeing end-to-end employee cycles, and spearheading digital marketing functions in various start-ups and SMEs.
My bachelor’s degree in management from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, coupled with my experience in organizational development and people and culture, has given me a unique perspective on managing teams and supporting business operations. I am known for my creative approach to problem-solving and my ability to identify and nurture top talent, earning me the reputation of being a ‘purple squirrel’ expert.
Before joining VFlowTech, I served as an Executive Business Support at Sing Fuels. Prior to that, I worked as a Human Resources Manager at Canwell Commerce Pte Ltd. My responsibilities in both roles included HR management and development.
In an earlier position, I served as a Marketing Manager (Recruitment) at Blake Dair Consulting Pte Ltd. Blake Dair Consulting is a leading executive search and boutique recruitment firm based in Singapore, providing services to clients in Singapore and the region. My role focused on recruitment within specific geographical areas and technical skill sets.
Before my time at Blake Dair Consulting, I worked as a Recruitment Specialist at Appco Group Asia in 2015. This position involved HR management and sourcing responsibilities.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
As a Senior Human Resources Manager at VFlowTech, my role is crucial in managing and overseeing various HR functions within the organization. Here’s a general overview of what a typical workday entail for me at VFlowTech:
8:30 AM: I start your day by reviewing and responding to emails, prioritizing tasks, and planning my schedule for the day. I also review any urgent HR issues that need immediate attention.
9:00 AM: I attend a leadership meeting with other department heads to discuss ongoing projects, address any HR-related matters, and provide updates on recruitment, employee engagement initiatives, and performance management processes.
10:00 AM: I conduct a meeting with the HR team to discuss current projects, upcoming recruitment needs, employee onboarding processes, and any employee relations issues that require attention. I provide guidance, support, and direction to the team, ensuring alignment with company policies and objectives.
11:00 AM: I meet with the finance team to discuss budget planning for upcoming HR initiatives, such as training and development programs, employee benefits, and recruitment efforts. I collaborate with them to ensure financial resources are allocated appropriately and in line with organizational goals.
12:00 PM: Lunch break. I use this time to connect with colleagues from other departments, build relationships, or take a break to recharge.
1:00 PM: I review job applications and resumes for current open positions. You collaborate with hiring managers to understand their requirements, participate in interviews, and provide input in the selection process. I also update job descriptions, post new job openings, and communicate with potential candidates.
3:00 PM: I conduct a training session for managers on performance management and feedback techniques, aiming to enhance leadership skills and promote a positive work culture. I provide guidance on setting goals, conducting performance reviews, and addressing employee development needs.
4:30 PM: I meet with the company’s legal counsel to discuss compliance matters, employee contracts, and any legal issues that may arise. I ensure that HR policies and procedures align with local labor laws and regulations. I also catch up with the co-founders of VFlowTech on matters with organisation development and its pressing needs.
5:30 PM: I wrap up the day by reviewing any pending HR tasks, updating employee records, and finalizing reports. I also make a to-do list for the next day to stay organized and prioritize upcoming tasks and projects.
Of course, the specific activities and schedule may vary depending on the ongoing priorities and projects within VFlowTech, as well as any specific HR challenges or initiatives that may arise.
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
As a Senior HR Manager at VFlowTech, I understand the importance of work-life balance not only for myself but also for promoting a healthy and productive work environment for all employees. Here’s how I define work-life balance for myself and my approach to maintaining it:
Setting Clear Boundaries: I recognize the need to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. I prioritize defining specific working hours and strive to adhere to them, ensuring that work-related tasks don’t encroach on my personal time. I communicate these boundaries to my team and colleagues, promoting a culture that respects personal time and supports work-life balance.
Prioritizing Self-Care: I understand that taking care of myself is essential for maintaining work-life balance. I prioritize self-care activities such as regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and pursuing hobbies or activities that bring me joy and relaxation. By prioritizing my well-being, I set an example for others and emphasize the importance of self-care within the workplace.
Delegating and Empowering Others: I believe in the power of delegation and empowering my team members. By effectively delegating tasks and responsibilities, I not only lighten my workload but also provide growth opportunities for my team. This approach allows me to focus on strategic HR initiatives and ensures that work is distributed evenly, reducing the chances of work overload and burnout.
Flexible Work Arrangements: I advocate for and implement flexible work arrangements whenever possible. Recognizing that everyone has different needs and commitments outside of work, I support initiatives like remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks. By enabling flexibility, I help employees better manage their personal and professional lives, leading to increased job satisfaction and work-life balance for all.
Encouraging Work-Life Integration: Rather than viewing work and personal life as separate entities, I promote work-life integration. This approach involves finding ways to blend and integrate work tasks and personal activities, such as taking breaks for exercise or family time during the workday. By encouraging work-life integration, I strive to create an environment where employees can seamlessly balance their responsibilities and enjoy a fulfilling personal and professional life.
Regular Communication and Feedback: I maintain open lines of communication with my team and colleagues, encouraging regular check-ins and feedback sessions. This allows me to gauge their workload, stress levels, and work-life balance. By actively listening to their concerns and suggestions, I can address any issues that may affect work-life balance and take necessary actions to improve the overall work environment.
By defining work-life balance for myself and implementing these approaches, I not only prioritize my well-being but also cultivate a culture of work-life balance within VFlowTech, fostering a happier, more engaged, and productive workforce.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
Here are some lifestyle changes that I have made to improve work-life balance:
Prioritizing Time Management: Effectively managing time is crucial for achieving work-life balance. I have set clear boundaries between work and personal life, scheduling dedicated time for personal activities, and using time management techniques such as prioritization and delegation to optimize productivity.
Implementing Healthy Habits: Incorporating healthy habits into my daily routine has significantly impact work-life balance. This includes practicing regular exercise, getting enough sleep, maintaining a nutritious diet, and prioritizing relaxation and self-care activities.
Setting Realistic Goals: Establishing realistic goals and expectations helps to manage workloads and avoid excessive stress. I have worked on setting achievable targets and breaking larger tasks into smaller, manageable ones, which has then enabled me to maintain a healthier balance between work and personal life.
Seeking Support and Delegating: Recognizing that I cannot do everything alone is essential. I have sought support from colleagues, delegating tasks, and fostering a culture of teamwork and collaboration which helped alleviating work-related stress and create more time for personal pursuits.
Practicing Mindfulness and Stress Management: I have incorporated mindfulness and stress management techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and engaging in hobbies such as painting that brings joy and relaxation, helping to reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
Certainly! Here are some recommendations for books, that can provide valuable insights and guidance on work-life balance:
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss: This book offers strategies for maximizing productivity, delegating effectively, and achieving a better work-life balance.
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown: This book explores the concept of essentialism, helping you prioritize and focus on what truly matters, enabling a more balanced and meaningful life.
- Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington: Arianna Huffington shares her personal journey and offers insights on redefining success beyond traditional measures and prioritizing well-being.
- I would highly recommend everyone to also read The Alchemist by Paolo Cuelho too!
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Yes, sure thing!
Define Your Own Balance: Work-life balance is a personal journey, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Take the time to reflect on your priorities, values, and goals, and define what balance means to you. Strive for a balance that aligns with your unique circumstances and brings you fulfilment.
Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability: Balance is not a fixed destination; it’s a continuous process that requires flexibility and adaptability. Recognize that work and personal priorities may shift over time and be open to adjusting your approach to balance accordingly. Embracing flexibility allows you to navigate the evolving demands of work and life more effectively.
Set Boundaries and Learn to Say No: Boundaries are essential for maintaining balance. Learn to say no to excessive workloads or commitments that don’t align with your priorities. Communicate your boundaries clearly to others and advocate for your needs. Remember, saying no to some things means saying yes to your well-being and the things that truly matter.
Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection: Balance is an ongoing process, and it’s important to celebrate small victories along the way. Recognize that achieving perfect balance is unrealistic, and instead focus on making progress and finding harmony in different areas of your life. Celebrate the small steps and accomplishments that contribute to your overall well-being.
Remember, work-life balance is a personal and ever-evolving journey. It requires intention, self-awareness, and continuous adjustments. Embrace the process, be kind to yourself, and remember that finding balance is about creating a fulfilling life that integrates both work and personal aspirations.
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