On DBL Group’s HR Strategy and Building A Meaningful Career: An Interview With Biplab Barua, DGM, HR, DBL Group

On DBL Group’s HR Strategy and Building A Meaningful Career: An Interview With Biplab Barua, DGM, HR, DBL Group

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HR was a relatively obscure discipline, particularly in the context of Bangladesh, just 20 to 25 years ago. Things have significantly changed over the past several years. Today, not having an HR Department in your organization tells a lot about what kind of organization yours is. Of course, we have a long way to go where organizations will truly realize that investing in their people is the best form of investment they could make, but the progress we have made in the last two decades is in no way insignificant. (1)

Biplab Barua is the Deputy General Manager, HR, at DBL Group, one of the fast growing and most important conglomerates in Bangladesh having operations in vertically integrated textile and apparel manufacturing facilities. Started in 1991, DBL employees some 28,000 people in its 22 concerns and has been able to build a reputation in the market for its workplace excellence and being a pro-people company which is an absolutely tremendous feat for a garment manufacturer in Bangladesh.

Mr. Biplab has over 17 years of experience in the field of human resources management, mostly in RMG sector. Prior to joining DBL, he worked at Youngone Group and Bangladesh Hats and Bags Manufacturing in various important HR roles.

Since joining DBL Group in 2000, Mr. Biplab has been instrumental in building a culture that produces human excellence, experimenting with new ideas to build better teams, design better policies, improve productivity to identifying better ways to help people find fulfillment at work and creating an environment of continuous learning and growth.

In this fascinating interview, Future Startup’s Ruhul Kader sits down with Mr. Biplab to explore his personal journey to what he is doing today, his work at DBL Group as Deputy General Manager of HR, how people work at DBL and values and culture that drive people, designing HR policies that work, how you build a culture and why it is important for an organization to build one, what he looks for in a candidate, the most sought after skills in the market, his take on the future of work and workplace, and what you need to do today to prepare yourself for the future of work.

Future Startup

Let us begin with your story, where did you grow up? And then please tell us about your journey to what you are doing today.

Biplab Barua

I was born and brought up in the Agrabad area in Chittagong. I finished my primary and secondary education from Agrabad High School and BAF Shaheen College. I was in the science group both in school and college. After college, I went on to study at the Chittagong University from where I completed B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Physics.

Soon after my post-graduation in 2001, I began my professional career at Youngone Corporation. Despite living in Chittagong all my life, I wasn’t particularly aware of the local EPZ and the huge amount of work that had been undergoing there until that moment when I finally started working for Youngone.

Youngone was and is among the top companies in the Chittagong EPZ. After graduation, I was naturally looking for a job. I was not particularly looking for a job in physics or anything, it was like any decent job should do. So, when someone suggested me to apply at Youngone, I applied and luckily got selected. I did not have a plan at that time. But as a new entrant, I was amazed to see how large their operation was.

I started out in the admin and personnel department at Youngone. Its functions were very similar to today’s human resource departments. It might be surprising for a physics major to become an HR personnel and nor did I consciously make that decision. At that time, I just wanted a job and start earning. But now I can see the connection when I look back. I’ll talk about it in a moment.

It was an exciting time at Youngone too. A cultural shift was in the process and the company was trying to bring in more Bangladeshi university graduates with a diversified portfolio. They were trying to build local leadership to run the company.

Although I didn’t have much fascination for the apparel business, I stayed at Youngone for six years. I felt empowered being an admin personnel. I started to take my job very seriously. If I saw anyone neglecting her/his duty, I used to take immediate counseling session. Such was my rigor and sincerity.

I worked at Youngone till 2006. I was lucky to be able to play roles in many important projects, notably in women empowerment in the organization. I learned a great deal about people and employee behavior during my tenure as an HR personnel. Although I started without a plan, I fall in love in no time. So, when I got an offer to join the merchandise department, which offered better opportunity in terms of earning, I declined it.

However, there were challenges as well since I did not come from an HR background. I came to realize that if I want people to take me seriously I have to have a professional credential on the subject. Hence, I started to look for opportunities to gain some academic understanding of the field.

I was looking for training programs because universities hadn’t introduced human resource management studies yet. Before long, I found out that Bangladesh Institute of Management was offering a one-year course on personnel management. I completed that course and made the decision to build my career as an HR expert.

I worked at Youngone for a little more than five years and then joined Bangladesh Hats and Bags Manufacturing Industry in 2006 as Head of HR and Admin. It was a Chinese-owned company engaged in manufacturing caps and hats for the Cambodian, US, and European market. It also had its own retail stores where apparel products were sold under the label of the company-owned KC brand.

The main advantage of joining Hats and Bags was that I got the chance to work as the head of HR department. It exposed me to a bigger business arena. I could see how an HR department operates. I actively took part in policy- and decision-making process which was absent at Youngone.

I worked at Bangladesh Hats and Bags for three years. I learned further about dealing with people. My direct interaction with worker unions helped me learn how to resolve labor issues.

I worked at Hats and Bags for almost nine years. By the time I left Bangladesh Hats and Bags, it had already been nine years since I begin my professional career. At that point, I decided to gain more experience so that I could understand the field better and do something meaningful. To that effect, I planned to leave for Dhaka since there weren’t many large companies in Chittagong.

I came to Dhaka in 2009 and applied for a position at Dulal Brothers Limited (DBL). I had to go through a two-phase interview to get the job after the initial recruitment process. First I sat with an interview board who then referred me to the managing director. When the MD finished interviewing me and said that they would soon reach out to me, I told him that he should decide right now whether I was to be appointed or not. It was a bold move, no doubt, but certainly wasn’t a stunt. I had to ask because after the interview I was about to return to Chittagong and I knew by heart that if I go back to Chittagong without a decision there would be no coming for another interview. Because my family would not be interested in such a move. In fact, I had to do a lot of convincing to attend that first time. Surprisingly, I got selected and later found out that that was what impressed the MD.

So, I joined the HR department at DBL corporate office in 2009. To my surprise, I discovered I was the only one in the HR department. The person who used to work before left DBL GROUP three months earlier. As a result, I had no one to explain my job responsibilities to me.

At that time, there were 76 people at the corporate office; and as a group, DBL GROUP had almost 14,000 people working in nine different sister concerns. So I started as a one-man department and gradually tried to build an effective HRM concept throughout the organization. We attempted to establish interlinks between different concerns and the headquarters. I centralized the recruitment process and employee evaluation. The corporate office was made responsible to hire employees and manage their salaries, benefits, and performance.

I also focused on building my own HRM team. Within 2013, there were already 18 people in my team. We recruited an ED of HR in the same year to whom I delegated some of my responsibilities. I began to concentrate on the operation segment as the Head of HR (Operation). Meanwhile, we have divided our HRM team into sub-groups to look after separate segments such as–recruitment, training, compensation, and others. During 2017, our ED of HR left the organization. So again I had to take the full responsibility to run the department. But it becomes quite unmanageable at times to manage the entire department alone. So, we have hired a new ED of HR from March this year.

This is briefly how my journey has been for the last nine years at DBL GROUP.

Most people live is a seeking mood and comparison mood. Social media and similar technologies have made it even more unavoidable. This leads to a kind of dissonance. At the same time, the time we are living is very fast-paced. Everything takes place instantaneously. You upload a photo, immediately you receive social approval in the form of likes and comments. This has shaped our psyche in a certain way. We then ask for similar instant gratification in other places. We seek immediate success in our workplaces and when it does not happen, which is the logical way of it, we become restless.

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Future Startup

Nowadays we see a lot of young people having dissatisfaction with the job they are doing. This is evident in many areas and people are not happy with their job. Have you ever felt that sort of dissatisfaction in the early days of your career?

Biplab Barua

Not particularly, no. Actually, my experience tells me that life, in most instances, is not a place where you get rich and powerful overnight. In every field, you need to struggle your way to the top. That too for a long period of time. If you are impatient, you might never get what you desire. But if you persist, your efforts will surely pay dividends someday.

In my case, what happened during the early days is that I was very excited about the work that I was doing and didn’t think much about the salary or position. Although at a certain point I started thinking about making money because I had to start a family and so on. It was already six years since I started my career. Luckily, my salary was gradually being increased around that time. This is what happens in this field.

Most people live is a seeking mood and comparison mood. Social media and similar technologies have made it even more unavoidable. This leads to a kind of dissonance. At the same time, the time we are living is very fast-paced. Everything takes place instantaneously. You upload a photo, immediately you receive social approval in the form of likes and comments. This has shaped our psyche in a certain way. We then ask for similar instant gratification in other places. We seek immediate success in our workplaces and when it does not happen, which is the logical way of it, we become restless.

Another reason is I think people are confused and seldom commit. You have to commit and pay attention and love the work you are doing. It takes a lot of running to go from one place to another. Focus on that running instead of looking around for new opportunities.

The main reason behind our success is the way we treat our people. Although we have adopted automation, we always consider human resource to be the most important component of an organization. We have tried to build a culture where employees are appreciated for their sincerity. Every month we reward our best-performing employees based on 10 criteria. The winner receives remuneration and recognition in different forms.

Future Startup

Can you give us an overview of the HR department at DBL Group? How does it work? And how do you collaborate between different concerns in the organization?

Biplab

At present, DBL GROUP has 14 sister concerns. All of these concerns have their own HR departments which we call Plant HR. These individual Plant HR teams are fully functioning. Throughout our entire group, we have around 146 people working in HRM.

The Plant HRs have the responsibility to look after the worker issues; whereas the corporate HR deals with issues related to top-level management. Also, if there is a need to formulate or reform any policy the corporate HR takes the lead, regardless of the level of management. This is how the Group/Corporate HR collaborates with the Plant HRs.

During the last nine years, we have been able to establish an effective HR culture at DBL Group. Our efficient HRM measures have enabled us to maintain a leading position in the ready-made garments sector. We have been given the Excellence in Export Award for being the top exporter of RMG in terms of volume for three consecutive years.

The main reason behind our success is the way we treat our people. Although we have adopted automation, we always consider human resource to be the most important component of an organization. We have tried to build a culture where employees are appreciated for their sincerity. Every month we reward our best-performing employees based on 10 criteria. The winner receives remuneration and recognition in different forms.

There is another aspect of our culture that I’d like to discuss here. It’s called the quality control circle. A few years back, I went to Japan for a three-week training program titled Solving Human and Organizational Problems (SHOP). I was first introduced to the concept of quality control circle in that program as part of my training in total quality management.

Let me explain it to you, suppose you have an assembly line where 21 people are appointed to carry out different parts of the production. From them, you choose five or six people and ask them to brainstorm ideas for increasing the efficiency of the production process. Say, they come up with two to three ideas.

They would ask their supervisors to provide feedback on these ideas and if the supervisors give the nod they would experiment with them. Then, if they get positive results, they would prepare a presentation depicting the new and improved approach and compare it with the previous one. When other employees in the organization watch the presentation, they would learn from it and employ the same strategy in their areas as well.

So, suffice it to say that you engage a certain group of people in the organization into solving a problem or improving a flawed process. And when they successfully do that, another group will be encouraged to do the same. This group will, in turn, motivate another group and soon there will be a ripple effect throughout the organization. Everyone will learn from everyone. This is basically how quality control circle works.

After coming back from Japan, I applied the technique here. At DBL Group, we have till now 122 incidents when quality control circles worked on different kind of operational problems. The results so far are quite satisfactory. A few other companies in Bangladesh, such as–Rahimafrooz and Beacon Pharmaceuticals, have similar practices in their organization. But we want other organizations to adopt this technique. Toward that goal, Bangladesh Society for Total Quality Management (BSTQM) has been working with the local companies. I feel lucky to be part of the BSTQM team.

You’d be amazed to know that every year an especial type of competitions are held on national and global stage. In these competitions, quality control circles working in different organizations participate and work on different kinds of projects. The team that comes up with the most feasible solution(s) wins the contest.

Quality control circle teams from DBL have participated many times in such competitions and fortunately, they have won many awards both in the local and international arena.

This also indicates a positive change in the mindset of the owners in the RMG industry. Instead of thinking only about profit like in the past, they are now trying to see the bigger picture and letting their employees and workers contribute more meaningfully. It is quite unprecedented!

Future Startup

There are several functions that HR department performs in an organization like recruitment and employee development. How does that work at DBL Group?

Biplab

Our HR department has several wings to carry out its responsibilities. We have a recruitment wing, a compensation and benefit wing, a performance wing, and a learning and development wing.

Once I used to look after the recruitment wing. Someone else now has the responsibility. Now, I’m particularly focusing on compensation and benefits for employees.

After finishing a training program in Singapore, I’m now planning to introduce a competitive salary structure for our employees. I think it would boost our overall employee performance.

One of the main factors that differentiate DBL Group from the rest of the industry is our use of Oracle. It’s an ERP solution that we use to design and implement our HRM. While other companies take only one or two module of their services, we have purchased all of their modules to digitize the whole process. I believe it’d be proven quite beneficial for us.

Keeping people motivated is a persistent challenge in any organization. This is especially true for the RMG industry where worker unrest is a regular phenomenon. But 17 years of experience in the field tells me that most often it happens for lack of communication.

Future Startup

As HR, one of the things you look after, I suppose, is ensuring that your people stay inspired and motivated because unless people are motivated, their performance suffers. This is more so for RMG given the fact that the industry employs a huge number of people and we see unhappy incidents in the industry. How do you make sure that your people are always charged and delivering at their best at DBL?

Biplab

Keeping people motivated is a persistent challenge in any organization. This is especially true for the RMG industry where worker unrest is a regular phenomenon.

But 17 years of experience in the field tells me that most often it happens for lack of communication.

As the DGM of HR, I have established direct communication channels for everyone in the organization. We have tried to ensure that anyone can express her/his concern any time. And we immediately take that into consideration and resolve it as soon as possible.

The HR department at DBL Group is working like a bridge between the workers and the management. We believe that ensuring direct communication between them can solve organizational problems more effectively and easily.

Future Startup

If you look back at your experience with people and overall human resource management, what are some of the biggest lessons that you would like to share with us?

Biplab

In my opinion, it’s critical for an HR personnel to be a good listener. The lion’s share of people’s problems can be solved by merely listening to them. If someone wants to do well in HRM, s/he must practice the habit of active listening when employees/workers come up to air their grievances.

Traditionally, we have seen that the top management has always remained in the center of HRM attention.

As an HR manager myself, my personal strategy is to address the mid-level management. I have introduced quality control circles among our executives and inspired them to participate in national competitions. This has boosted their performance to a great degree. When you pay attention to your mid-level people, it gets easier to deliver the result as well as have a pipeline of leaders for the future.

We also have a program called FLDP (Future Leader Development Program) in which we monitor our employees throughout the organization and gather information on them. Based on that information, we select a few aspiring candidates and provide them with extra care under FLDP.

Through proper mentoring, we aim to create leaders out of our own employees. This is also why we generally hire fresh graduates at DBL Group because it is easy in their case to easily adapt and engage into the organizational culture.

In my opinion, it’s critical for an HR personnel to be a good listener. The lion’s share of people’s problems can be solved by merely listening to them. If someone wants to do well in HRM, s/he must practice the habit of active listening when employees/workers come up to air their grievances.

Future Startup

What are the qualities and skills do you look for when recruiting for a position?

Biplab

Good question. This is a common question I face when I give talks to students at different universities. Glad that you’ve brought that up.

When I began my professional career back in 2001, new-entrants used to stay in the same job for years. The situation is quite different now. Young people today are fast-moving. They want to explore more in a short time. Employers can’t ignore this attitude.

So, at DBL Group, the single most important thing we look for in a job-aspirant is whether s/he is passionate about the job s/he is applying for. And, we have seen that today’s youths are fairly goal-oriented.

A globalized education has enabled them to nurture meaningful interest in a particular area. We search for people who have invested their time and effort in preparing themselves.

Add to that, we also assess how well a person can cope up and collaborate with a team. If an applicant’s qualifications and personality don’t match with the attributes of a particular team or the organizational culture as a whole, we have to decline them humbly.

Future Startup

What kind of people do you think would do well in workplaces in the future?

Biplab

If you look at my career, you’ll see that I work mostly with young people, be it the quality control circle initiative or the FLDP. And I really enjoy my time with them.

Young people nowadays are more skilled and information-savvy than we used to be in the past. They can shine in any area only if they can properly harness their potential. In line with what I was saying about our expectations from job-aspirants, my advice to people is that they should remain patient.

If you’re good at accounting, don’t go for marketing just because it promises a more lucrative career. Keep doing whatever you’re good at and you’ll get benefit one day. Patience is in short supply these days and your ability to stick to a thing for a long time is a competitive advantage.

Future Startup

The job market is changing quite fast, thanks to growing technological changes, what are some of the most sought-after skills in the market at present?

Biplab

Communication skill is one of the key requirements in today’s job market. No matter what job you’re applying for, you must be able to communicate effectively.

A fair understanding of the technology is also an in-demand skill now. Given the increasingly digital nature of the economy, people who are tech-savvy will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t.

In my experience with the youth, I have observed that they are often very impatient. Maybe this is an intrinsic characteristic of today’s youth. They want to learn everything overnight and achieve things quickly. This inclination toward knowing everything ultimately prevents them from gaining a deeper understanding of a particular field. Achievement, of any form, is a long-term game.

If you’re good at accounting, don’t go for marketing just because it promises a more lucrative career. Keep doing whatever you’re good at and you’ll get benefit one day. Patience is in short supply these days and your ability to stick to a thing for a long time is a competitive advantage.

Future Startup

You were talking about hiring people who can assimilate well with teams. To extend that discussion, how do you think a great team is built? What are the imperatives?

Biplab

Let me explain it by saying what I do with my own team. In order to maintain harmony and maximize the proficiency of the members, I have attempted to instigate a number of practices in my team. For instance, if one of my teammates has a problem with another, they solve it to their mutual satisfaction instead of coming directly up to me.

Most teams break up for the things that are left unsaid. If you let people talk and vent their feelings, the discomfort easily clears up.

Besides that, I occasionally try to arrange outings for my team. I try to engage them in the decision-making process knowing that I can do it alone. As for the leader, s/he needs to be completely truthful with her/his teammates.

You can’t expect to be fair all the time, but admitting when you make mistakes and being honest in your treatment of your employees helps to build a great team.

In my experience with the youth, I have observed that they are often very impatient. Maybe this is an intrinsic characteristic of today’s youth. They want to learn everything overnight and achieve things quickly. This inclination toward knowing everything ultimately prevents them from gaining a deeper understanding of a particular field. Achievement, of any form, is a long-term game.

Future Startup

What kind of challenges do you face in your job as an HR manager?

Biplab

As an organization grows larger so does its employees in number. The job of an HR personnel becomes even tougher when s/he needs to deal with a large number of people working at the same organization. Many people mean many groups with differing interests.

So there arises a need for effective conflict management in large corporations. Conflicts of interests, as I was explaining earlier, between people or groups of people arise mainly due to lack of communications.

It’s my opinion that miscommunication coupled with misguided perception and imagination is at the root of this problem.

Other challenges that I face in my work include fear of losing control and keeping my personal preferences aside. As a manager, I always try to remain as unbiased and delegating as possible.

Future Startup

How do you set goals and key performance indicators (KPI) in your organizations? And how do you ensure that your employees are diligently carrying them out?

Biplab

Being a large organization that we are, it often becomes tough to determine goals and to ensure employee efforts toward achieving them. Fortunately, we have been able to cultivate such a culture where employees stay true to their professional commitments.

We have a system at DBL Group called Performance Evaluation and Career Enhancement or PEACE based on which we set our targets and KPIs.

Under this approach, we sit with different departments after every three months. In these quarterly meetings, we chalk out plans for the next three months and evaluate performance in the previous quarter.

At the end of the year, we have a final meeting where we reflect back on the entire year and do necessary rectification.

Previously, it was a bit difficult to manually monitor all the departments in the organizations as to whether they were having meetings on a regular basis and making necessary arrangements. But with the integration of the ERP solution, the process is likely to become fairly streamlined and convenient.

In fact, there are many similarities between these two areas. Physical science is governed by logic; so is HRM. To take an HRM decision, you can’t just go on and make it. First, you need to gather data and information; then you form the logic that supports your ultimate decision. In this way, a number of approaches used in physics come in handy in HRM as well.

Future Startup

From a physics major in the university to a human resource manager at a large corporation, you’ve had a long, diversified professional journey. Can you recall anything that has played a key role in determining the course of your career?

Biplab

In the early days of my career, when I still bore the smell of a physics major, people used to express their surprise at my transition. I was not particularly happy with their perception so much so that I soon did an MBA on human resource management from BRAC University.

But my experience tells me that, more than an academic degree, one needs to have common sense and to know the right way to deal with people to do well in the field of HRM.

For me, it was my years at Youngone and Bangladesh Hats and Bags and now DBL Group that has taught me to be good at what I do. In my master’s programs, I mainly gathered theoretical knowledge. But real value was added when my company sent me abroad to take part in a practical training program.

I believe physics and human resource management are not as distant as popular belief dictates.

In fact, there are many similarities between these two areas. Physical science is governed by logic; so is HRM. To take an HRM decision, you can’t just go on and make it. First, you need to gather data and information; then you form the logic that supports your ultimate decision. In this way, a number of approaches used in physics come in handy in HRM as well.

I maintain a physical notebook to keep a record of my daily activities. Every day after arriving at the office, I note down the to-do’s of the day and prioritize them. But as our team is growing larger, it is becoming difficult for me alone to keep track of everyone’s records. So, I asked one of our in-house IT experts to build a personalized management tool whereby I can remotely delegate tasks and monitor employees.

Future Startup

What do you think it takes to build a fulfilling career?

Biplab

From an HRM perspective, I believe a change in the way we do things can be helpful in having a fulfilling career. Traditionally, HRM has dealt only with employee issues, tending to their needs and ensuring their effort. But what if HRM becomes more incorporated with the main operation of the business?

A new position called the human resource business partner or HRBP has begun to emerge in the market recently. It calls for an increased participation of HR managers in the overall business process.

Besides human resource data, if an HR personnel also has access to financial and management data of her/his company, s/he can actively participate in the policy-making process instead of just formulating HRM policies separate. Such direct contribution can help HR managers have a fulfilling career.

Now, you can replicate that model into any other career tracks. It is all about contribution. When people can make a meaningful contribution at work and get recognized for it, they feel fulfilled.

Future Startup

Do you personally use any tool, digital or otherwise, to better manage your workload?

Biplab

I maintain a physical notebook to keep a record of my daily activities. Every day after arriving at the office, I note down the to-do’s of the day and prioritize them. But as our team is growing larger, it is becoming difficult for me alone to keep track of everyone’s records.

So, I asked one of our in-house IT experts to build a personalized management tool whereby I can remotely delegate tasks and monitor employees. This software has made supervision of all of the 18 of my teammates quite convenient.

Future Startup

The number of university graduates in Bangladesh is rising every year. But compared to that job opportunities have not followed the same soaring resulting in a growing graduate unemployment. On the other hand, employers are often seen complaining about the lack of necessary skills among fresh graduates. What’s your take on that? Why do you think mismatch between the expectations of the job-seekers and the job-providers exists?

Biplab

Yes, this is a sad reality in our country. We often hear HR managers complaining about not getting the right kind of people.

To tackle this, first, they need to look for people who specialize in particular areas. If you want to hire for a textile engineer position, look for someone who has majored in textile engineering. Don’t recruit a computer engineer in that position.

HR managers should set the criteria for jobs and then target institutions accordingly. From DBL Group, we have created affiliations with various universities.

We are arranging industry visits for students there so that they can gain practical experience of the workplace. We are also providing career counseling to students who are about to graduate in order to clear up their confusions and explain the benefits of working in the RMG industry.

Future Startup

Tell us about the career opportunities in the RMG sector?

Biplab

Unlike other industries, the RMG sector can accommodate as many stakeholders as possible. For the last decade or so, this industry has grown enormously so much so that we are targeting $50 billion dollars export this year.

Look at the DBL Group, for instance. We have at least 20 C GRADE EMPLOYEE in our organizations each of who are drawing six-figure salaries every month. In terms of financial benefits, the sky’s the limit in the RMG industry. This is probably why we are now seeing a trend among people toward shifting from other businesses to apparel companies.

Future Startup

What is your management philosophy?

Biplab

Let me explain my philosophy with an example, whenever I plan to introduce something new, first I discuss it with the people who will be affected by it.

Through these discussions, a range of issues come to the front which I can resolve before forwarding the plan to the management.

As a result, when the management itself raises issues, I can show the resolutions which have been already figured out.

Future Startup

What advice would give to your 20-years old self?

Biplab

As a just-graduated fellow, I was quite impatient back then, not caring enough to understand the importance of my work. So, if I could meet my younger self-today, I would suggest him to take more responsibility.

I’d also advise him to plan your career path ahead so that you do not get dumbfounded when you enter into the real world. I mean, yes, I can now relate to my transitions from the field of physics to HRM; but at that time, the decision was made hastily. So a career plan should be set out in advance.

I see a large group of young people today who are confused about what they want to do. Actually, I believe that they want a smooth career. But career no matter how you plan it will by default have ups and downs. If you want to be satisfied, you need to stick to it.

Future Startup

What do you think about the HR practices in the RMG industry?

Biplab

Due to the nature of apparel business, it’s not easy to implement all types of HR measures in our company. For instance, while other organizations in Bangladesh have two weekly holidays–Friday and Saturday, we only have one.

Because if we keep our business close on both Friday and Saturday, we have to remain shut on Sunday as well since it is the weekly holiday in many countries worldwide.

A large number of employees also raises a concern in policy implementation in the RMG sector. If a wrong policy is adopted, thousands of people would have to suffer.

But compared to the time when I started in this field back in 2001, we have come a long way in championing HR practices. Apparel manufacturers now recognize the importance of human resource. HRM plays a key role in the decision-making process. Look at DBL Group and you’ll see the change.

Future Startup

What advice would you give to young people who are just starting out?

Biplab

The first thing a young individual should determine is her/his area of interest. The ultimate decision hers/his but it needs to be based on solid information.

Then once the decision is taken, never go back. Commit your full energy to it and don’t waste your time on second-thoughts.

I see a large group of young people today who are confused about what they want to do. Actually, I believe that they want a smooth career.

But career no matter how you plan it will by default have ups and downs. If you want to be satisfied, you need to stick to it.

Notes

1) Interview by Ruhul Kader, Transcription by Rahatil Ashekan

2) Further reading on the future of work in Bangladesh here.

3) (1) Part of the introduction has been reproduced from this interview.

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About the sponsor: This story is made possible in part by our friends at Bdjobs.com, whose generosity enables us to publish premium stories online at no cost to our readers.

Bdjobs.com has introduced Employability Certification Test. The Employability Certification Test is a computer adaptive test which measures job applicants in critical areas like communication skills, logical reasoning, quantitative skills and job-specific domain skills thus helping recruiters identify the suitability of a candidate. By adding this test to the Job Ad, you will be able to significantly cut your recruitment lead time and effort. Learn more here.

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