The Game Changers

Always be curious: Khalid Raza’s journey through human resources

By Andie Burjek

May. 6, 2020

Khalid Raza, a 2016 winner of Workforce’s Game Changer Award, is now a talent acquisition leader at EY. As someone who’s been recognized for his achievements in human resources, Raza answered some questions for Workforce.com about his career in HR, the rise of data analytics and the importance of constant curiosity for a well-rounded talent professional. 

Also read: How technology fits into an HR manager’s job description

Workforce: How have you grown professionally over the course of your career?

khalid razaKhalid Raza: Career is not a destination but a journey where evolution happens with each experience. The growth of a professional is a story of continuous transformation stemming from experiences, interactions, reactions and self-reflection. Success and failures contribute to the depth of learning.

I had the luxury of being surrounded by visionary and compassionate leaders, talented team members who always set the bar higher, and my family which stood by me at all times. My professional growth has been fueled by curiosity to learn, do and achieve more.

WF: How has your career changed?

Raza: [As] someone who gets bored of [the] mundane, I moved roles within HR frequently, allowing me to appreciate and inculcate an understanding of every function and role. The organic accumulation of knowledge has helped me be more effective at all times. I am fortunate to not have a unidimensional career. 

 WF: What are some of the trends you’ve seen in HR over the past few years?

Raza: Equipped with data and analytics, HR now takes more informed decisions and provides measurable business solutions.

WF: What advice would you tell yourself five years ago? 

Raza: The only advice I have is to be more curious about the business we work for. HR exists to support the organization. Isolated efforts yield amputated outcomes.

WF: What have you learned over the course of your career in HR?

Raza: People are the key to success. Organizations that understand this theme continue to grow through tough times, too. Humans are not resources. The most successful teams are [successful] because of the people driving the transformation.

WF: What do you foresee in the future of HR?

Raza: I see more real-time analytics impacting outcomes [and] more open organizations, allowing leadership to tap and leverage mutual knowledge of all the employees. Those days are gone where a bunch of suit-clad executives decide in a boardroom what the strategy of the company should use, oblivious of the fact that the next big idea may come from a desktop engineer.

  • Impact of changes need to be understood in real-time through sentiment analysis.
  • Tailored bouquet of compensation structures.
  • Skills and value-driven compensation and growth.
  • More focus on inclusion than diversity.

WF: What are some things that you value most about your career field/position?

Raza: Talent or HR as a function deals with people, and as I alluded earlier, people drive companies to success or failure. I value the impact HR makes to the organization’s growth.

WF: Do you have any advice for HR professionals? 

Raza: Yes, I’d [like to share this] guidance to HR professionals:

  • Be Curious.
  • Strive to learn more at all times — people, experiences, struggles, success, and failures — there is always a lesson to be learned.
  • Don’t network. Build relationships. Adding random people on a social network is of no use unless you have built relationships with them.
  • Always find a mentor who can guide you — be it a career mentor or a skill mentor.

Also read: HR 101 for new human resources managers

Andie Burjek is an associate editor at Workforce.com.

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