Talent Management Risks and Leading Teams with Mythili Sarathy


This article is a lightly-edited summary of the key takeaways from our speakers’ appearance on our podcast, “The Shape of Work.” If you haven’t listened to our show yet, be sure to check it out here. These speakers have an incredible stable of startup experiences to draw from, the kind of stories that are unbelievably helpful for HR/people managers to hear.

On this episode of The Shape of Work podcast, we welcome Mythili Sarathy, an HR professional with more than nine years of experience.


Name: Mythili Sarathy

What she does: Managing Business Partner, Polymer & SCM at Reliance Industries Ltd.

Find her on LinkedIn.

Get Smart: “When an employee leaves an organization, they don’t only leave the organization, they also leave the manager.”


In this summary, you will receive valuable insights into:

  1. Why is investing in managers important?
  2. Risks that talent management addresses:
  3. Managing change initiatives:
  4. How to determine the right talent for the company?
  5. The evolving nature of Reliance Industries:


Why is investing in managers important?

A manager has an extremely important role in influencing the employees both in a good and a bad way. The focus should be on grooming the manager to ensure the right impact. No tech tool or process would be useful if people themselves do not use it efficiently. Mythili says that HR is just an enabler to this entire thing. They cannot change anything but push the manager towards the right direction by grooming them. Both HR and the manager can create two different impacts on the employees. Hence, the manager should be a spokesperson of HR. 

Risks that talent management addresses:

There are two risks that talent management has to address.

  1. ‘My star employee left me’- In this scenario, an employee is committed to the job but not the organization. He would not hesitate to leave the organization for some other opportunity.
  2. Empty bench- Here the employee is committed to the organization but not the job. He stays in the organization but is not performing his level best.

Both these issues can pose a problem for the organization. In the first scenario, the managers need to groom the employees. The employee needs to build a relationship with the organization. This is possible through engagement, talking about their physiological needs, their values and behaviour. There should be an alignment between the employees’ values with the same of the organization. It is a strategic process which helps in planning healthy attrition. While these are generic solutions, they should be specifically planned according to the context.

Managing change initiatives:

Mythili feels that the toughest initiatives are related to change. People are not always welcome to change. Thus her organization took several change management initiatives. It is important for an organization to capitalize and analyze the requirement behind the change. It should be clear about what they want to achieve and plan it accordingly. 

All employees do not accept change in a similar manner. An organization needs to understand how they will embrace it and create strategies accordingly. The HR might plan the change but it should be expressed by someone from within the team. This helps in achieving better acceptance. In addition, they should be informed about what is in it for them.

How to determine the right talent for a company?

Most of the interviews focus on domain skills. However, it should revolve more around the transferable skills of the candidates. It revolves around their character and their managerial and communication skills. One can learn domain skills through external means of help. However, integrity, sincerity, and authenticity cannot be taught. Their values should align with the same of the organizations. Companies should understand that replacing employees is more expensive than investing in the current ones.

“I would bet a lot on transferable skills, in addition to domain skills.”

The evolving nature of Reliance Industries:

There are a lot of changes happening in India’s biggest giant, Reliance Industries. The organization is continuously evolving and staying relevant. Mythili says that Reliance has never settled for anything less than excellence. She further explains the ownership mindset the employees acquire. They focus on maintaining a top-notch behaviour and inclusivity within the workplace.

Dhristi Shah

Hi, this is Dhristi, Content Writer and Editor at Springworks India. I am a keen learner and am passionate about everything related to writing.

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