Windmill Experts: Akshata Bhandare, People Care Leader
Editors’s note: In the few weeks since the following interview took place, Akshata has been promoted to Windmill’s Senior Leadership Team as Windmill’s India team HR representative. We are immensely proud of Akshata’s development and progress at Windmill during her six years here!
In the latest edition of We Are Windmill, we spoke to Akshata Bhandare about her career in HR and her journey at Windmill.
How did you start at Windmill? Tell me a bit about your interview and first meetings with the team.
It was 2017 and my previous experience belonged to the manufacturing industry, but here I was entering the IT world. My final interview was with the founder himself, Sunny Gambhir, who asked me just one question: What are you passionate about? This one question was enough for him to decide whether I was selected or not.
While I was still feeling conflicted about whether I made the right decision to switch between industries, an incident came up in which a founder of a recruitment agency asked my manager if I could cope with the IT industry. My mentor confidently replied, “Yes of course, Akshata has potential and I am sure she will be able to do a great job!” This motivation was all that I required to keep me moving ahead and to live up to the expectations of my mentor.
I was challenged enough by both my mentor and Windmill’s then-CTO of India, who always answered all my tech expertise-related questions. They wanted me to be technically strong, to avoid me looking unprepared or someone who does not have technical knowledge when I took technical interviews with candidates.
How has the company changed since then?
As I was handling an HR generalist profile, I was interested in the operations side of the things too. I was never asked why I required to know any information. I was supported by all my mentors and, as a result, I started looking into operations activities as well. Initially along with India, I also assisted for recruitment in Ukraine.
As time passed, Windmill grew as an organization and we now have specialists for every activity.
Focus on marketing has increased as compared to the past years, we have a dedicated marketing team taking care of several marketing campaigns and every individual in the organization feels responsible for the company branding. In short there is an awareness among the employees for the same.
Roles and people performing those roles are clearer, the teams are becoming more aware & focused.
How has Windmill supported your personal development?
Windmill has always been an organization that gives opportunities to experiment with roles. In case an employee believes that he/she can perform a particular role or handle a function, they always get a chance to prove themselves and explore their career options.
The company believes in the potential of their employees as much or sometimes even more than the employees believe in themselves.
Windmill has helped me to grow myself in the IT domain. My knowledge of Agile & Scrum methodologies has also widened.
Apart from HR, I have been given the opportunity to explore and deliver any role/function that I wanted. I have completed certifications and continue to pursue more as I am working at Windmill; this has helped me to stay updated with the current and emerging trends in the industry.
What contributions have you made to the company?
During the pandemic we were focusing on reimagining the fundamentals of the organization and rethinking the operating model and ways of working in the “new normal”. As an HR representative, I have played a central role in how the company builds organizational resilience and drives value.
To be successful, a transformation should touch every face of an organization—people, process, strategy, structure, and technology. HR can help create an iterative approach by developing core elements of the people-management process, including new career paths for agile teams, revamped performance management, and capability building. The next step for me in the company is to link technology and analytics with day-to-day HR functions.
The accelerating pace of technological change is widening skill gaps, making them more common and quicker to develop. To survive and deliver on their strategic objectives, all organizations will need to reskill and upskill significant portions of their workforce over the next ten years. This is where the HR function in Windmill can play a vital role to minimize employee skill gaps.
What advice would you give to new colleagues?
Windmill is an organization that believes in the latest technology and the potential of the employees. If you have the potential to work smartly and develop yourself, your efforts will never go unseen in Windmill. Windmill always has acknowledged and rewarded good work and effort.
Do your best, upskill yourself, set clear goals & expectations to keep you moving forward.