Born and brought up in Czech Republic, the travel enthusiast in Jindra Hachova took her places in Europe and around her homeland, but she yearned to visit India for ten years, until she got to know that Home Credit was looking for a CHRO for their India business.
A travel aficionado, Jindra Hachova invariably spent her vacations going around Czech Republic or parts of Europe. However, one desire she always had was to visit India someday. She even bought a lonely traveller guide book but for ten long years, the opportunity never came or even if it did, plans did not work out. She always felt a couple days would not be sufficed to visit a nation so expansive. Besides, work commitments would not permit weeks or months of travel.
Finally, the opportunity came two years back. She learnt that Home Credit, the Czech based non-bank financial institution was scouting for a CHRO for its India operations. She realised that this could be the ideal break for her, both professionally and for the travel aficionado in her. Despite all her excitement and willingness, the decision to move and the selection process that went behind, wasn’t an easy one.
“The fact that I did not change my behaviour trying to accommodate, and instead I remained my true self, helped me get along with people sooner and better.”
Hachova shares how she had to undergo several levels of interviews or discussions before she was chosen for the role. After all, the role of an expat HR professional was not an easy one. Besides, she also had her own apprehensions and inhibitions in moving to a completely new country.
“To understand more about the country, its culture and challenges that expats are likely to face, I spoke to many people who had worked in India or were working at that time. I did my own mental preparations,” she says.
However, to her surprise, when she reached India, all the preparations she had done seemed like a futile exercise. She was quick to realise that it was best to be herself. “The fact that I did not change my behaviour trying to accommodate, and instead I remained my true self, helped me get along with people sooner and better,” Hachova shares.
“Being an HR professional and being new to the legislation in the country was one of the biggest challenges initially, but a comfort level came in with time, and with a lot of reading and learning through experience.”
After joining as the chief of HR, she also had the luxury of building up the team, and on a significantly large scale as the company was growing at a fast pace. With hiring 2000-3000 people a month, the job entailed vast exposure, however, it wasn’t sans the challenges of the initial days.
She says, “Being an HR professional and being new to the legislation in the country was one of the biggest challenges initially, but a comfort level came in with time, and with a lot of reading and learning through experience.”
On a lighter note, she shares how she used to get confused with Indian names, always being unable to guess if one was a male or a female. Hachova also shares that with time as she learnt more about the culture, habits of people, various Indian festivals, lifestyle and so on, it became easier for her to understand the expectations of people, which she feels is crucial for engaging people. “It really helps an expat in respecting the differences and the diversity here,” she says.
“I have observed that for many people life is really tough here and yet they stay strong and balanced, instead of complaining every now and then. There is a usual positive attitude towards things.”
The one thing that she really appreciates about most Indians is their ability to stay calm and composed despite many difficulties. “I have observed that for many people life is really tough here and yet they stay strong and balanced, instead of complaining every now and then.There is a usual positive attitude towards things,” Hachova shares.
Intrigued by India’s diversity of culture, multiple languages and a rich talent pool, Hachova has been enjoying working here since two years and appreciates the growth potential. However, one of her observations in the workplace has been that at times people lack a sense of urgency in getting things done, unlike her.
In the initial days, Hachova got confused with Indian names, and was unable to guess if one was a male or a female. With time, she learnt more about the culture, habits of people, various Indian festivals, lifestyle and so on. It became easier for her to understand the expectations of people, which she feels is crucial for engaging people.
She calls it a difference in ‘mental pace’ and being extremely cautious about not generalising the same, she says, “Having worked in Czech and after experiencing the quarterly work life-cycles in the US and parts of Czech, I sometimes feel an itch to get things done faster however I feel that people here are not too concerned about the speediness and timeliness in finishing tasks.”
Besides that, living her long-time dream, Hachova has already visited some of the prominent tourist places in India, from the Himalayas to Kerala as she plans to visit Leh during her next vacation. She has also picked up some expressions, gestures and few of the words from the languages and communication intricacies people in India display. Making the most of this as an opportunity to learn new things and grow her career in HR, Hachova has also tasted the best of Indian culture as an expat.
“It was the combination of a rapidly growing company and a culturally rich, fast-developing country that brought me here and I am glad that I took the decision,” Hachova concludes.