dr neeta pant

(Recognised by Bizemag Media)

Industry             :       Education

Function                   :       Human Resources

Location                   :       Gurgaon

The above not only resonates with me but is the philosophy of my life.

Briefly describe your professional skills and the industry you are a part of.

Pathways School Gurgaon (PSG) is one of the leading IB schools in India and is the only continuum school in India as of date.  I am a part of the senior leadership team at PSG and involved with strategic HR Planning, Operations and Management.  My strength lies in streamlining processes, analytical thinking, problem solving abilities and simple yet strong communication with internal stakeholders.  I have a keen interest in continuous HR policy development and process formulation for streamlining operations.  I am a self-motivated learner and keep on donning different hats while dealing with staff concerns and issues.  I am a counseling psychologist, Executive Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, Soft Skills Trainer, POSH Trainer, POCSO Trainer and a Graphologist, all rolled into one!

Please tell us about your Childhood, Education and Early Career.

I come from a very humble family of educators and perhaps that is where my passion for education stems from.  No matter how strange this may sound, I have never stopped learning or earning educational qualifications since my school days.  I have earned many educational degrees, diplomas, and certifications to my credit.  I have a Ph. D. in Clinical Psychology, dual MBA degree in HR & Marketing, MA in Psychology, and MA in English under my belt, to name a few.  I have also completed Research Fellowship in Strategic HR Management from WHRB.  I am a govt. certified POSH and POCSO Trainer besides being a Soft Skill Trainer.  I have a keen interest in handwriting analysis and hence earned a degree as a Graphologist as well.  A recent feather that I have added to my cap is my certification as an Executive Life Coach which has added new dimensions to my HR profile.

I started my career at a very early age when I was 17, just out of school as I wanted to be financially independent.  Post school, I completed my diploma from YWCA in Office Management and started working as an intern.  After two years of internship, understanding the need for computer literacy, I decided to hone my skills in computer literacy & joined a PG Diploma in computers while working.  I joined the same institute as Manager – PR after the completion of the diploma and moved from one position to another within the same institute in no time.  Within 6 years, I was heading the branch because of sheer hard work, determination, and zeal to excel & prove myself.  I took a conscious break from work life post my marriage in 2000 and utilised my break to build up my resume and kept adding on new learnings while raising my children.  After a gap of about 10 years, and after making my children independent to some extent, I resumed work post my return to India from Singapore, and today I am heading the Human Resource Department at Pathways School Gurgaon.

How did you become interested in Psychology?

I always been inclined towards Psychology knowing it not only helps an HR profile enormously but also helps in understanding the human behaviour and psychology which can be an asset in any field of life.  I chanced upon pursuing my interest in Psychology when I was in Singapore in 2010 as my husband got posted there.  I first completed a certificate course in Psychology, followed by a Diploma in Guidance and Counselling from MDIS, Singapore.  I ultimately found my passion in the subject and knew in the heart of hearts that this is my calling.  I always say – my bread and butter are Human Resources, but my heart lies with Psychology. Upon return to India, I pursued a formal degree in Psychology and since then, there has been no looking back.

How does your current role help you in exploring your psychology skills for the benefit of organisation?

When an HR professional dons the hat of a psychologist, it’s a great combination. HR’s focus and expertise mainly lies in dealing with people. The essence of Human Resources lies in understanding the person before hire. It is of supreme importance to observe their behavioral attributes.  Although skills, competencies and technology come into play it’s all about people.

A psychological background helps me to sense and gauge the candidate’s personality traits during interview.  Their body language, their appearance, tone of voice etc. are the next gestures to navigate their basic persona.  It gives me the insight into their personality, and I take it as an indication and not as a judgement while interviewing.  I purposefully started a system of candidates writing a paragraph about themselves on the spot which has helped me to assess their personalities through my graphology skills as well.  I introduced a personality assessment test for the candidates as well which gives all the stakeholders a deeper insight into the candidate’s personality and his/her career aspirations.

Placing the right employee in the right position based on his or her strengths, and then building a sense of flow and engagement in work not only boosts productivity but contributes to the loyalty and well-being of the worker.  Sensing their engagement, interest areas and their growth aspirations helps me in maximising their potential and performance and my psychology background certainly comes handy here.

My guidance and counselling qualifications are put to best use while resolving employee’s conflicts and issues that they are facing in their day to day professional life.  Life Coach training did equip me with the skills to help the staff resolve their own issues through coaching guidance.

In this journey what have been your make or break moments?

Oh, there have been many!  There have been moments of ‘fight or flight’ every now and then.  Honestly, being an HR professional is not easy.  You can’t be friends with your colleagues and staff members to ensure that you aren’t biased.  Most of the times you will find yourself standing alone and would be unsure of your decisions as well.  You will find yourself torn between emotions and righteousness. You will be judged for every action of yours and you would not be able to keep everyone happy, despite your level-best efforts.  It actually is a lonely place to be in where you can’t confide in anybody since the confidentiality needs to be maintained.   To top it all, you need to maintain neutrality in your decisions without getting emotional and that too within the policy framework.  That’s truly a lot!!!

As an HR professional and a counselling psychologist, my job is to absorb people’s issues, concerns, and problems throughout the day like a sponge. As a human being, there is not a moment to express your own struggles or pain areas, and hence the ‘fight or flight’ moments.  Having said that, there are rewarding moments in the journey too.  When you are able to make peace for someone after resolving a conflict, are able to provide them solutions to their issues, are able to bring in a change which is welcomed and appreciated by staff, you kind of forget about all the roadblocks or those moments of ‘fight or flight’ and feel a sense of pride and joy in what you bring to the table.

What are the core values you ensure?

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch

Very profound statement and my mantra in life.  My core values, I am sure, have been a result of the way I have been raised by my parents, and have been deeply ingrained into me. They are –

  • Hard work and honesty bring success for sure!
  • Do not shy away from speaking your mind, you may not be liked by some initially, but you will be understood in the longer run!
  • Give your 100% to whatever you are committed to!
  • Perseverance is the key, there is light at the end of the tunnel always!
  • Build on from your mistakes and failures, use them as a steppingstone, do not dwell on them!

In daily routine life, I struggled many a times because of some of them, like honesty at all times has put me into difficult situations.  Always speaking my mind was not the best & expected in certain situations, but I know and have experienced that it gives me a good sleep at night without having any guilt, and I sincerely thank my parents for teaching me some solid core value systems in life.

How do you define success? Who do you credit your success the most to?

Success is very subjective; it means different things to different people.  For me success is –

  • Achieving whatever you set out to achieve, even if it is not a huge target – if you are happy and content after achieving it and haven’t lost anything significant at the cost of that achievement.
  • Accomplishing something on your own terms, by setting your own rules and feeling proud of the end product.
  • Achieving something when you know you put in your best to become the best basis your capacity and capabilities. 

For whatever little I am successful at, I owe it to my father, first of all.  He allowed me so much freedom and made me independent enough to survive in this tough and competitive world despite us belonging to a pretty conservative family background.  His words of wisdom still guide me in my day-to-day struggles.

Post marriage, my husband has been a pillar of strength for me. He supported me well in all my decisions and career aspirations and has been the biggest anchor of my life.  He is my biggest critic ever as well.

Being a female, one gets chained by the emotions and responsibilities attached in your role as a mother and I am blessed to have two extremely strong & supportive children in my life who never complained whenever I was not around because of any work commitments. Without their support, perhaps the path would have been different.

How are you strategizing your professional growth in future?

Like I mentioned earlier, I am a keen learner and keep on adding whatever I feel is relevant and can enhance my profile.  For example, I am currently undergoing a degree in law from NLU, Bangalore as the knowledge of law can certainly add on to my profile.  My core belief is that if you put in efforts in the right direction and earnestly, growth is bound to happen.  Growth is not only moving from one designation to another designation.  The primary goal should be to better yourself from what you were yesterday, hone your skills and improve your performance continuously.   You should be ready to disrupt your routine and change your mind set for growth which is not only vertical.  Focus on professional development, which is the process of learning, training, and trying new things – and professional growth will automatically follow.

Kindly share about your achievements/awards with our readers.

  • A Ph. D. Degree in Clinical Psychology
  • Research Fellowship in Strategic HR Management
  • Award of Excellence by CCI
  • Awarded as being an Iconic mentor by NCN
  • Featured by K12 news
  • Nominated for an honorary Ph. D. under the category Public Awareness and Social Welfare for my contribution in the field of POSH/POCSO Training and Counselling by BVU – NITI Aayog, Govt. of India
  • On board with Ministry of Women and Child Welfare as a Counsellor

What is your message for aspiring students who want to take Psychology or human resources as a career?

Psychology perhaps is the most talked about career, especially after COVID hit.  It is a career choice which opens many avenues like Counselling, Therapy, Coaching, Teaching, Special Educations etc. and is in demand in almost every industry.  Same goes for Human Resources as well, HR Professionals are nowadays being absorbed by all small and big industries. A combination of both is the most sought after and is a very promising combination.  My advice to young aspirants who want to make their career in either of these two would be most simple –

  1. Create a balance between self and clients/staff
  2. Nurture and care for self since both professions demand lot of absorption
  3. Be empathetic but do not get too attached or lured by emotions as this could be dangerous and potentially self-destructing too

To get in touch –            pantneetu@hotmail.com