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A Blend Of Genius, Power & Magic

Running a delicate framework of an organisation, that of human resource is not a cakewalk - it takes a rare knack, zeal, acuteness and loads of patience to tackle this fickle area. Hari Thalapalli, senior VP (HR) at Satyam Computer Services Limited is loaded with all and more, finds Vyas Sivanand

Handling humans is a tough job; it requires rare boldness to deal with, especially because the element of disparity between each man's physical and mental composition is immense. But for a man who follows the credo, 'always be happy…never be satisfied', Hari Thalapalli blends boldness with genius, power and magic. He has done that in a career spanning 20 years and three jobs, accelerating all through.

Thalapalli did his Masters in Personnel Management & Organisational Behavior and started his career in human resources with Hyderabad-based OMC Computers Ltd, leaders in CAD/CAM systems in India. He later moved on to DSQ Software Limited, Chennai.

In both the organisations, he had the opportunity to establish HR policies and frameworks. He played a key role in setting up processes for global staffing, compensation, and undertook various HR developmental initiatives. He also helped design the organisational structure and formulate strategies for DSQ's entry into new geographies.

In 1998, Thalapalli joined Satyam Computer in Hyderabad. He currently spearheads various initiatives for this 24,000-employee strong company and handles the Attraction, Retention and Motivation related initiatives for this organisation, which has operations in over 46 countries. Satyam's ideas and products have resulted in technology-intensive transformations that have met the most stringent international quality standards. Satyam Development Centres in India, US, UK, UAE, Canada, Hungary, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan and Australia serve about 452 global companies, of which about 155 are Fortune Global 500 and Fortune US 500 corporations.

For a company, which believes that 'every Satyamite is a leader', the Leadership Development Initiative is of critical focus. Thalapalli is part of the three member Leadership Development Council, which includes the chairman, in making this vision come true. Thalapalli also heads the Real Time Leadership Centre - Satyam's 24x7 Business Performance Management centre. He is also the co-chairman for CII (HR) South Chapter and represents Satyam in various national and international bodies/forums.

A person who enjoys adventure sports, travelling and music, he also keenly involves himself in mentoring budding HR professionals. Ardently involved in travelling, Thalapalli travels twice every week within the country and once in two months overseas. "Kerala and Rajasthan are my favorite Indian destinations. They are very tourist friendly and serene in their own ways. "Kerala is exquisite. I love visiting the place for its outstanding splendour, the backwaters and the friendly nature of the folks," he avers.

“Internationally, I love New Zealand and Australia. The scenic charm of both the countries is breathtaking," he adds. The picturesque Lake Tahoe in New Zealand is something that Thalapalli avidly remembers. "I just loved it. The scenic beauty of the lake and its sheer ability to make tourists blend in is something to be experienced to be believed," he exclaims.

For a person who is in the top league of the corporate ladder, humility among people is something that he has marveled during his travails. "There are many positives to my trips abroad and not much of negatives. For example, the humility that I saw when in Australia was something I cannot forget. There, taxi guys did not take fares saying that as a tourist I was entitled to that privilege from them. Such incidents just make you feel that it is the human nature that needs to be explored," he states.

His business trips have taken him to most parts of the world, but according to him, wild safaris in Kenya, South Africa is something that he is yet to experience.

Working about 12 hours every day, even weekends do not go without work. "About four hours on both days are reserved for work," he grins. Not mixing business with leisure however, he travels with his wife and two children twice every year. "I never travel with family on business so I take a vacation about twice a year - one week each time," he reveals.

Thalapalli patronises British Airways saying, "They sure have a sleeper class." As for hotels, Sheraton and Ritz find his signature. Adaptable to any kind of cuisine, he is not particular about food. "I'm very versatile when it comes to food," he chuckles. But don't let that fool you - he is quite a stickler when it comes to people. "Hard work, commitment and a positive attitude helps when it comes to handling people," he modestly says.

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