In a candid Q&A session, Latha Iyer, CHRO of Zaggle, shares valuable career advice, talks about her dream celebrity co-worker, and even reveals the fictional character she’d love to have as CEO.
Through her responses, Latha Iyer, CHRO, Zaggle, emphasises the transformative power of embracing new traditions and flipping the narrative on “Manic Mondays,” turning them into energising beginnings rather than mere hurdles to overcome. Her unique perspective challenges one to reimagine one’s approach to the workweek, infusing it with renewed enthusiasm and a fresh outlook.
What is one new company tradition you would like to create?
The Bangles song ‘Just Another Manic Monday’ comes to mind instantly. It’s such a relatable depiction of the rush and chaos that kicks off the workweek. But there is a twist in my version of ‘Manic Mondays.’ I would have people embrace the manic but let go of the ‘just another’. Instead of viewing Monday as a hurdle to overcome, I would have it pictured as a unique, energetic start to the week, an opportunity to kick off on a high note.
If you could instantly become an expert in any other field, what would it be?
I’d choose astrophysics, as it shares similarities with HR in understanding complex systems and the interactions within them. Astrophysicists study galaxies, systems comprising myriad stars, while HR professionals oversee organisations, complex structures filled with diverse individuals. Both require understanding the nature of individual components, how they interact, and their role within the larger system.
If you could travel back in time and give your younger self one piece of career advice, what would it be?
To my younger self, full of audacity and dreams, the one piece of advice I’d have is: seize the day, kiddo! Each opportunity, no matter how big, small, scary, or unfamiliar, has the potential to shape your journey and your perspective–so grab it!
What’s the most interesting thing you have on your office desk and what’s the story behind it?
On my office desk, there is one ubiquitous object that is there on most other tables – a coffee mug. But mine isn’t just any mug. This is a memento from the beginning of my career, a companion in many ways; it has been there for me through late nights, early mornings, countless cups of coffee, and numerous defining moments in my professional life. The mug, now slightly faded and chipped on the rim, holds a deep personal significance for me. Every mark on it narrates a tale from a different point in my journey—the trials overcome, the victories celebrated, and the countless meaningful experiences in between.
Which celebrity would you want as a co-worker, and why her or him?
That would undoubtedly be Meryl Streep. Not only is she a critically acclaimed actress who’s achieved the pinnacle of professional success, but she also exudes wisdom and grace. I pick her because she would inspire the team with her work ethic and encourage us to constantly strive for perfection. Our Monday morning meetings would never be dull again!
What’s the most bizarre or unexpected question you’ve ever been asked in a job interview?
Early in my career, after the interview was nearly done, an interviewer asked me: ‘If you were an animal, what would you be and why?’
This took me by surprise. That question had never crossed my mind, even when I did mock rounds of the interview with friends. But I answered that ‘I would be a dolphin.’ I explained that dolphins embody intelligence and adaptability, evoking a profound sense of beauty. Renowned for their teamwork and communication prowess, they effortlessly navigate changing environments. These qualities resonate deeply with my professional aspirations.
If you could choose a single theme song to play every time you enter a meeting, what would it be?
For me, this would be the iconic “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra. It’s a song that perfectly captures the spirit of aspiration, ambition and it reminds you to have the courage to dream big and explore life’s boundless possibilities.
If your job title were a flavour of pizza, what would it be and why?
The Queen’s Margherita. The topping represents feminine ambition and elegance, and the pursuit of greatness. One can think of it as a tribute to the extraordinary women who embody strength, elegance, and unyielding ambition. It’s also a reminder that femininity and ambition can coexist beautifully.
If you could have a fictional character as CEO, who would it be?
Professor Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series—hands down! His wisdom, compassion, and profound understanding of human nature, combined with his innate ability to inspire others, are qualities that make him an exceptional leader.
If you could have a “do-over” on any work-related decision, what would it be and why?
This would certainly be that moment when I hesitated to speak up about an inefficient process early in my career. It was a valuable lesson that taught me the power of voicing my thoughts, particularly when it will bring about a positive change in the process, regardless of my position within the company.
As the CHRO of Zaggle Prepaid Ocean Services Limited, Latha Iyer is responsible for strengthening the company’s employer brand, driving talent strategy, and spearheading various talent initiatives to support the growth and innovation goals of the organisation.
Year of Incorporation: 2011
Number of employees: 250+
Name of the founders: Raj N, Founder and Chairman at Zaggle
Name of the key execs: Avinash Godkhindi, MD & CEO, Zaggle
Business line: Zaggle is a B2B SaaS FinTech company providing spend management solutions and prepaid cards.
Hiring Pipeline: We are hiring candidates across levels in tech, sales and product departments.
CAGR of workforce growth: 40% approximately in 3 years
Key HR differentiating factors: HR Tech, Wealth creation opportunity through ESOPs, our Values and Culture, client base, diverse products, flexibility and hypergrowth leading to deep learning in the spends management space. Additionally, we provide Flexi Benefits Plan as part of employees’ compensation structure to reduce the tax burden and a fully automated Rewards & Recognition platform. Zaggle Propel, helps in further accelerating the performance and growth of the employees.