Neil Shah is a Human Resources specialist and a Director of People + Culture. Neil obtained his MBA from Walden University (Minnesota, U.S.) with the distinction of being a Delta Mu Delta for his academic achievement of maintaining a 4.0 GPA. In addition, he completed his certification course in HR with a focus on start-up entrepreneurship from the Harvard School of Business. Presently, Neil is a Doctoral candidate and his research revolves around HR methodologies and employee skill audits. Currently enrolled in a PhD program, he is on the cusp of completing his education and has a bright future in store once he graduates.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
It was just something that I had in me. Having seen a lot of employees complain about work culture or have no growth or experience, I felt it is best to utilize my skills to bridge the equilibrium and assist the company, by assisting the employees to make sure they feel both happy and fulfilled.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts at 5:30 a.m. It allows me to be three hours ahead of where the tornado of the workday would be. It enables me to be productive and gives me the chance to compose plans, address immediate projects, and answer the concerns of my fellow coworkers.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Collaboration. When I say that I mean it in reference to my academics. I am presently undertaking my doctoral studies, along with working closely with my HR team, which includes my HR Business Partner, my tech recruiter & generalist, and so on. It’s how we come up with new ideas by bringing new ideas to the table. It builds new and agile methodologies that are being utilized in the field.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In human resources, it’s a personal growth department. Now, to be specific, every human resource professional will have their own personal philosophies on how they will approach an issue. Most importantly, the reason why I consider that important is that there is no right answer. There is always the best answer for the issue at hand and that is based on personal experiences or personal biases. But you always try to act in good faith with and deliver equality to any issue.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Just dedication. It’s not just Carpe Diem, but it’s dedicating each and every moment to your profession. That makes it very challenging, but refreshing at the same time. Since there are always new challenges to take on, it keeps things from being repetitive. It enables me to become better and do better as a professional.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Work harder. When you’re an adolescent, there are a lot of distractions and there will always be people who want you to fail. You have to be prepared for them and work hard to overcome those obstacles that will inevitably appear. In short, focus and demand yourself to be better as a professional and as a human being.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Honesty is the best policy.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Never lose sight of your goal. Keep working hard every day to achieve that goal. It won’t happen overnight, but if you build up to it, it will happen, step by step, brick by brick.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being a listening ear. By that, I mean, listening to everybody, regardless of your position. You could be a maintenance person listening to a tier-one C suite executive or a contractor or vendor to the company. Everyone has value and you need to be able to embrace that value. Do not assume your title to elevate you above another person. The human ear is a powerful and vital tool that can help you put yourself in the position of someone you may not know otherwise.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think the failure is when people leave. I see involuntary resignations or terminations. I know it has nothing to do with me in particular, but I can’t help but feel that we’ve failed that person if they leave for whatever reason. And while you can’t overcome it completely, because everyone has different reasons for leaving, I make sure to meet with every single one of my employees everyday and hear them out. I see where their mind and heart is and give them honest advice if they’re looking for it. We want to make sure their longevity is sustainable, not just for the company, but for them as an employee.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would say to see the value, credibility, and strength of the human resources department. Sometimes the department is taken for granted and you carry a preconceived notion that Human Resources is just an arm of the company and does nothing for the employees. I still feel there is a tremendous value to it. People need to have the conversations to see that it’s a benefit for everyone, not just the company itself, big or small.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best one hundred I felt we spent was for a parting gift for someone on the Team. The individual accepted another job and while we were sad to see this person leave, we wanted to leave on good terms and let them know how much they meant to us. I feel that people should always feel appreciated regardless of where the trajectory of their career is going. It’s the kind of gesture that may be small, but it will be long-lasting and provide fond memories for them afterward.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Koffax Paperport. It is the best filing system I have. I use it to store any emails, documentation, employee profiles, confidential documents, agreements and more. It is a very helpful filing system that I use, literally, every single day.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The one I’m reading now is On Business and Strategies by Dr. Gil Grant. It’s a strong book that talks about strategies and implementation of growth of not just the Human Resource department, but business and start-up growth for companies in general.
What is your favorite quote?
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but at times of challenge and controversy.’ – Martin Luther King Jr.
- Working hard grants expertise.
- People regardless of standing have value.
- Listening is a vital skill.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.