Jugglers are much sought after by employers

We cannot confuse jugglers with multitaskers

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Soham is celebrating his recent promotion. For the first time, he has been elevated to a managerial role. At first, he basks in the glory of having become a leader — something he always dreamt of. However, he soon realises that managing team members comes with its set of challenges what with the multiple demands that accompany the role.

Being in the talent-management function, Soham was, at one point, looking to build a good succession pipeline. He was also looking into the upskilling of employees and working towards offering them a better employee experience.

It took him a while to learn the ropes of leadership, especially time management. There were times when he found himself double booked in his calendar, which hampered productivity as he kept missing the deadline for many projects.

“Multitasking is a myth, rather taking every responsibility one by one and juggling between them is the real trait”

Mahipal Nair, VP & head- HR, Japan, India & APAC, Trellix

Soumi Alphons, chief people officer, Volkswagen Group Technology Solutions India, shares that it is quite common to be overwhelmed with work. Given the competitive times of today and the speed of business, each and every role in an organisation has become more demanding. “Juggling between responsibilities has become a way of working, especially after pandemic. To keep productive in this environment, it’s important to charter the day cautiously between deep dive concentration work along with multitude of daily demanding tasks,” she states.

Alphons believes the whole framework of business has changed with digitalisation.

Things need to be achieved using limited resources. That means, cost has to be optimised amidst the challenge of short supply of talent.

We find that three people are doing five people’s work as organisations are unable to find the right talent in the market points out Alphons. Such scenarios have led to people multitasking at work.

Rattan Chugh, senior HR leader, admits that technological advancements have changed a lot of things. “With technology, one is always ON, even while at home,” asserts Chugh.

With the changing times and demands of the business, the skill to juggle responsibilities or even roles has become essential. Such jugglers are very much in demand across sectors today. “I would definitely look for people who can adapt to various situations and are flexible enough to switch between responsibilities,” admits Mahipal Nair, VP & head- HR, Japan, India & APAC, Trellix.

“Juggling between responsibilities has become a way of working, especially after pandemic. To keep productive in this environment, it’s important to charter the day cautiously between deep dive concentration work along with multitude of daily demanding tasks”

Soumi Alphons, chief people officer, Volkswagen Group Technology Solutions India

Jugglers have the great ability to handle multiple projects and deliver each time they are given a task. Human resource leaders believe that such traits are much sought after across functions or sectors. “Flexibility and adaptiveness are anyway the most desirable skills or traits in employees for any employer,” says Nair.

Jugglers vs multitaskers

As Nair rightly mentions, we should not confuse jugglers with multitaskers. He feels that multitasking is a myth and cannot be done. Rather, taking every responsibility one by one and juggling between them is the real trait. This requires the ability to adapt and be flexible, and most importantly, prioritise things in a better way.

Time management & prioritisation

It is quite understandable that when there are too many things at hand, managing the time becomes a huge challenge. By trying to do everything at the same time, one may end up doing nothing.

Therefore, Chugh agrees with Nair on the significance of prioritisation. “One has to analyse how important something is and whether or not it can wait until tomorrow, and then prioritise things accordingly,’ advises Chugh.

Alphons believes that productivity takes a hit when one tries to finish all the tasks in a single day, and just randomly starts a day at work.

“Everything cannot be done in one day,” reiterates Alphons. She admits that many a time she has found it difficult to juggle different responsibilities. However, being organised and using her leadership position to delegate work in an appropriate manner has worked for her.

“I ask my team to refrain from marking me in every mail, and only copy me in those conversations where my feedback is actually required,” Alphons shares.

She goes on to reveal how she has “empowered” her team members to take calls in certain decisions, which saves her precious time. She uses her free time — more often in the early morning — to strategise and research and come up with a strategy for things.

“With technology the speed of business has enhanced and one is always ON. This makes switching between responsibilities much harder and manage time”

Rattan Chugh, senior HR leader

While on the one hand it has been established that with technology the expectations of every stakeholder in a job have increased, on the other hand, we often blame the advancement of technology for everything.

Chugh believes that it is possible for one to discipline oneself in today’s digital world as well, by making the right choices. For instance, one can very easily choose to not attend calls or avoid responding to work-related e-mails after work hours.

Continuing to work beyond office hours often becomes a habit. One has to break that habit and discipline oneself in such a way that one manages to finish all the high-priority work early in the day and not leave much work to be dealt with after work hours,” suggests Chugh.

Jugglers who really wish to add value will definitely need to stay organised, but should also have the flexibility to manage time for high-priority stuff, which can come anytime. Human resource leaders suggest keeping a flexible calendar schedule, which is not 100 per cent full. It should have room for flexibility whenever required. This can help to stay prepared for uncertainties.

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