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Aman Sahibzada & Madiha Khalid

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The first power couple we interviewed was Madiha Khalid and Aman Sahibzada. Aman, a man with dreams and Madiha, a woman with a vision! Aman is currently working in the capacity of ‘Regional Reward Consultant’ for the Asia Region at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Prior to this, Aman was looking after GSK’s Middle East & Africa Region in a similar role. Apart from this, Aman has worked with renowned banks like Royal Bank of Scotland, ABN AMRO Bank, MCB, and UBL in the capacity of an HR Business Partner/Manager.

Madiha, on the other hand, works as Head of Human Resources at Shell Pakistan. Before this, she had been the Cluster HR Business Partner for Shell’s Middle East Region, Central Asia States and the Pakistan Region. She has also worked as Recruitment Manager & HR Business Partner for Shell’s Global Functions and Global Commercial Division. It doesn’t end here. In the past, she was also Business Partner for ABN AMRO’s Consumer Division, this role being her first in Pakistan’s HR Industry.

With Madiha and Aman (M&A) having a highly impressive ‘Power Couple Profile’, given below is what they had to say to our questions

TG: Where do you see yourself and your spouse in the next 5 years?

M&A: In the next 5 years, we see ourselves leading larger teams, working on regional and global complex projects that have high impact and value for the business. We want to empower and enable ourselves to shape the picture on gender diversity at the workplace, along with inspiring the new generation to pursue a career in the HR discipline.

TG: Do you think that you both can work in the same organization?

M&A: Coincidentally, both of us were part of the same organization (even the same department) in the early stages of our careers and it worked out really well for us. We do not see any problems for both of us to co-exist in an organization, for the larger part.
The issues potentially stem where the roles are inter-dependent; at which point it becomes necessary to consciously avoid basing the discussion on your personal relationship and have the maturity to keep the professional and personal aspects separate.

TG: At the beginning of your career, did you two set out to enter the HR Industry?

M&A: I did not, as I was always focused more on a Finance-Oriented Job. I started out my career as an intern in HR at ABN AMRO, and the first week of the internship was enough to set my mind on building a career in HR.
Madiha, on the other hand was always dead-focused on building her career in HR. Her education and interest was clearly in HR from the very beginning.

TG: What key characteristics do both of you possess that enable you two to assist each other in making better professional decisions?

M&A: Like we mentioned, both of us are mature enough to keep our professional and personal lives separate. As 

professionals (and we think being in the same department also helps), both of us understand work pressures and each other’s temperaments, to deal with it. These dynamics are absolutely critical in order to provide the other person the platform and space to function.Plus being afliated with the same kind of work, we can discuss a number of general topics (obviously nothing confidential) and put our points of view across in order to achieve broader learning. HR tends to be a thankless job so we provide each other with the encouragement and the recognition to get out of bed every morning and be the best professionals we can. By the way, on a lighter note, we can also have a non-poaching agreement between GSK and Shell!

TG: Since both of you work in leadership roles which also involves a lot of confidential information, how do you two weigh and balance this information sharing at home?

M&A: It’s simple. We just don’t share confidential information and both of us respect each other’s stance on that. We don’t see this as a complication at all, because what we cannot share with others, we cannot with each other either. Of course, broader topics within the HR function are always up for discussion and we always bank on each other’s feedback when it comes to that.

TG: Tell us something you shouldn’t be telling us right now?

M&A: Well, just because you asked, I (Aman) am Batman! On a serious note, we test our HR theories on our six year old son!

TG: What do you think an efective HR Leader in 2017 would look like?

M&A: We think that you have encapsulated it in the above question. For us, the future of HR is all about strategic collaboration in order to support the business in achieving their targets. For us, if the business were astronauts going to reach the moon, HR would be the people sitting in the 

command center which plays a significant and vital role in the business achieving its target. We need to surpass the concept of “pre-historic operational human

The biggest challenge for Head of HR is to balance the role of being an advocate for the employees along with simultaneously representing the organization.

resources” and understand that our role in the growth of the organization is equally important to that of a revenue generator. Astronauts would never get to the moon if it were as simple as piloting a space shuttle!

TG: What do you two think are its pros & cons in the Human Resource Department?

M&A: I (Aman) am a big “techie” and I encourage automated and technology based solutions. So, for me, the pros of having electronic data and automated processes range from having readily available information to saving up on time and resources by automating tasks. We think that if you have a very secure platform and if you maintain back-ups for business continuity, there are absolutely no cons attached to this.

TG: As Heads of HR, what are the biggest challenges that you two are up against?

M&A: The biggest challenge for Head of HR is to balance the role of being an advocate for the employees along with simultaneously representing the organization. It’s not an easy or comfortable space to be in, and can, indeed cause a lot of tension as well as personal dissatisfaction. At the end of the day, one wants to be fair to both – the employees as well as the organization.