Falguuni Sheth: Charting a New Horizon as India’s Most Iconic Woman Leader to Watch in 2024

Falguuni Sheth
Falguuni Sheth

Human resources is a great profession for individuals who are passionate about people and their potential. Being passionate about people is a great starting point, but a successful HR professional goes beyond that. They possess a deep understanding of human behaviour, use strategic thinking to empower individuals and organizations and embrace continuous learning to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of HR. In this ever-evolving landscape of Indian HR leadership, a name shines brightly: Falguuni Sheth, the visionary Founder of New Horizon.

Recognized as one of India’s Most Iconic Women Leaders to Watch in 2024, Falguuni embodies the spirit of innovation, resilience, and empowerment, paving the way for a brighter future with New Horizon, created with a vision to provide innovative and strategic HR solutions from Recruitment to Retirement. Starting from Recruitment, the expert team of New Horizon offers Organization Structuring, HR Policies, Designing Compensation Structure, Retention schemes, Performance Management Systems, Reward & Recognition plan, Employee Engagement Plan Employee Relations, and HR Audit.

From Liking People to Understanding Them: According to Falguuni, HR isn’t just about keeping a record of attendance, salary, and documentation. It’s a crucial function which can drive business and people growth.

Individual Stories, Collective Impact: It’s not just about one-on-one interactions. “We at New Horizon see the bigger picture, understanding our clients’ business, work flow, bottlenecks and challenges. Post understanding their Business Goals for future we design the entire HR Regularization which is in sync with Business Vision.”

Strategic Influence, Not Just Administration: At New Horizon, we just do not make or suggest strategy but also handhold client in implementation till we get desired result. It is equally important to monitor the system consistently.

Beyond Passion

Falguuni’s journey to becoming a trailblazing entrepreneur is deeply rooted in her family values and the extraordinary support and encouragement she received from her parents. Raised in an environment where education held immense importance, she drew inspiration from her mother’s remarkable ability to balance a full-time job, household responsibilities, and the care of her children. Witnessing her parents’ dedication and resilience became the foundation of Falguuni’s belief in the immense capabilities of multitasking and leadership roles.

Her professional journey began in 1995 when she embarked on a career in human resources by working as an HR intern in a manufacturing company. At that time, HR was not considered a core but a support function. Undeterred by the prevailing perceptions, Falguuni gradually navigated through changes in business dynamics and increased awareness about the strategic role of HR. During this period, she actively learned and implemented core HR functions such as formulating policies, developing performance management systems, and establishing reward and recognition frameworks.

Crucial to her growth were the encounters with exceptional mentors and senior HR professionals who played a pivotal role in shaping her expertise and understanding of the field. Dealing with people had always been Falguuni’s passion, and as she honed her skills and expertise, it naturally evolved into her chosen profession. The decision to establish an HR consulting firm was a strategic move that allowed her to leverage her knowledge and experience to provide comprehensive HR solutions to organizations.

Falguuni’s journey is a testament to her resilience, continuous learning, and commitment to turning her passion into a thriving profession. Her trajectory reflects personal growth and a significant contribution to human resources, transforming it from a support function to a strategic pillar that drives organizational success.

Inspiration and Empowerment Go Both Ways

Falguuni’s guiding philosophy stems from her rich experience, particularly during her tenure as the head of the HR division in a multinational corporation until 2011. In the same year, she translated her long-cherished desire to become an entrepreneur into reality with the establishment of New Horizon. This marked the beginning of her journey to fill a crucial gap in the market.

Through her research across diverse industries, Falguuni identified a significant challenge faced by SMEs and mid-sized companies—the need for growth through streamlined systems and processes, particularly in HR. Recognizing the acute struggle of these businesses in acquiring and retaining top talent, she envisioned New Horizon as a solution-oriented HR outsourcing company. The primary goal was to offer customized solutions tailored to the unique needs of each industry, the nature of business, and the client’s overarching philosophy.

Learning from Every Interaction: According to Falguuni, every employee, from intern to CEO, brings unique experiences and perspectives. A good HR leader constantly understands the need to have right mix of different roles and valued addition they bring on table.

Empowerment Through Systems and Support: She says that while inspiring individuals is important, true empowerment comes from creating systems and structures that allow employees to thrive. This helps small company to grow smoothly and quickly. Alternatively absence of this takes a lot of time and energy, pulling back the business and employee growth.

Celebrating People, Not Just Performance: Metrics and goals are important, as are recognizing and celebrating individual contributions and personal milestones. This fosters a sense of belonging and appreciation, igniting motivation and inspiration.

Dedicated to the Cause

HR outsourcing was relatively new in this sector at the time of New Horizon’s inception, prompting a deliberate and thoughtful approach to market positioning. Despite the novelty, Falguuni and her team dedicated themselves to the cause, taking strides to establish the company as a reliable partner for organizations seeking comprehensive HR solutions. The journey was challenging, but Falguuni’s commitment to tailored services set the tone for New Horizon’s success.

Visibility and credibility were crucial in building the company’s presence, and Falguuni adopted a multifaceted approach. Leveraging client referrals, actively participating in networking platforms, maintaining a robust online presence, and organizing regular HR awareness programs for business owners were key strategies that contributed to establishing New Horizon as a respected player in the HR outsourcing landscape.

In essence, Falguuni’s guiding philosophy revolves around understanding the unique challenges faced by businesses, crafting bespoke solutions, and fostering a supportive ecosystem where companies can thrive through effective HR practices. Her entrepreneurial journey with New Horizon reflects the successful realization of her aspirations and a commitment to making a meaningful impact in human resources.

The entrepreneurial landscape is continually evolving. To ensure that New Horizon remains adaptable and ahead of industry trends, providing innovative solutions to its clients, Falguuni says, “You have to be in it to win it.” New Horizon has been a trendsetter in introducing best employee practices from day one. “We have been recognised as one of the most innovating HR companies.”

Innovation in HR Policies

Falguuni says they continuously communicate with the client and their workforce, read about new and upcoming HR trends and practice innovative ideas to gain ultimate employee and client satisfaction. “Often, a unique problem also compels us to give unique solutions. During the pandemic, we were handling new daily issues like downsizing, pay cuts, termination, etc. However, few companies had a trust that the future would be promising and we could retain their workforce without any morale affected,” adds Falguuni, whose iconic leadership style is often recognized as an inspirational force behind New Horizon’s achievements.

Shedding light on their approach to leadership and team building within the organization, she says, “You have to follow a sustainable business model. In service providers like ours, it is essential to have deep involvement with every client and module, and with this, time management becomes a challenge as you drive the show with your experience and expertise.”

This is how Falguuni and her team of experts worked on long and short-term strategies. For long-term growth plans, hiring freshers and training them as per their philosophy helped, and for short-term assignments, they had taken experienced consultants on board on a Project basis.

The essence of iconic women’s business leadership lies in bringing innovation and advancements by disrupting norms. “Our USP is to provide customised solutions as per client industry, nature of business and philosophy. Every client is important, and their growth matters to us. We do not offer the same solutions even to the same industry or two clients as both can have different philosophies, workforce strengths and pain areas,” she states.

At the same time, since they deal with human beings for HR processes and systems, they cannot have a new policy or practice every day at the workplace. Over-flexibility will harm the culture.

So we have to make at least six month’s plan to plan, execute, and get desired results,” says Falguuni.

Further, sustainability and environmental responsibility are crucial aspects of modern industry. Thus, Falguuni says they integrate these principles into their operations and contribute to a sustainable future. “We design our client employee engagement module and plan. We encourage a few CSR activities like celebrating Environment Day, safety week, charity to orphans and underprivileged people, education help to give back to society,” informs Falguuni.

Techno-Human Advances

In the realm of business leadership, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency. Falguuni at New Horizon has strongly advocated embracing technological advancements to improve HR processes and streamline operations. Recognizing the need for efficiency and adaptability, she has advised clients to adopt HR software, ushering in a new era of paperless offices. This strategic move aligns with the global digital transformation trend and positions businesses to operate more seamlessly in the modern landscape.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a swift response to reimagining traditional hiring processes. Falguuni was pivotal in transitioning in-person interviews to virtual rounds on Zoom and MS Office platforms. This shift ensured stakeholders’ safety during the pandemic and showcased an agile and technologically savvy approach to talent acquisition.

By championing technology in HR practices, Falguuni has demonstrated a forward-thinking mindset that recognizes the transformative power of digital tools. This commitment to technological adoption positions New Horizon and its clients at the forefront of efficiency, enabling them to navigate the evolving demands of the contemporary business environment.

However, she also believes that:

Technology as a Tool, not a Replacement: Falguuni believes that the ever-evolving HR policies aren’t just about automation; they’re about leveraging technology to personalize experiences, streamline processes, and gather valuable data to inform strategic decisions.

Adaptability and Continuous Learning: The world of work is constantly changing, and so should HR policies. A good HR professional stays informed about trends embraces change and adapts their approach to meet the evolving needs of the workforce and the organization.

Data-Driven Decisions, Human-Centered Approach: While data analysis is crucial, it should never overshadow the human element. HR policies should be based on data insights, “But ultimately, at New Horizon, we serve the well-being and growth of individual employees along with our clients’ growth,” insists Falguuni.

Fostering Workforce Diversity

The workforce is the cornerstone of any successful organization. Believing in it completely, Falguuni says they at New Horizon foster a culture of growth, skill development, and empowerment among their employees. New Horizon has deliberately fostered a culture of inclusivity and gender diversity, with an impressive 80% of its workforce comprising women. Falguuni understands the multifaceted responsibilities that working women shoulder, balancing both their professional and personal lives. Acknowledging this, New Horizon has actively championed women’s empowerment by providing a supportive environment that recognizes and accommodates the diverse roles that women play, both at work and at home.

Recognizing the evolving dynamics of the workplace, New Horizon has embraced flexible work arrangements, allowing certain staff members to work remotely while others adopt a hybrid model. This flexibility caters to employees’ diverse needs and reflects the company’s commitment to creating an inclusive and adaptive work culture.

Beyond gender inclusivity, New Horizon has extended its commitment to diversity by encouraging hiring individuals from varied backgrounds. Embracing the latest trends in employment, the company actively promotes the inclusion of specially-abled individuals and transgender employees, contributing to a workplace that values diversity and equal opportunities for all. Through these initiatives, New Horizon is setting an example for inclusive workforce practices and contributing to a more equitable and representative professional landscape.

Ever-Progressive Future Visions

Speaking about challenges, Falguuni says that since the inception of New Horizon, she has been blessed with the best of the clients and team members. “Our clients’ growth speaks about our work. As such, even during the pandemic, there has not been any adversity that affected us.” In fact that was the time we had given strong moral support and our strategic expertise on HR front.

New Horizon has continuously been one of the Top 10 HR consulting companies in India for the last seven years. Falguuni shares, “We have won several awards and recognition in past few years consistently. We have conducted regular programs for Business owners on the HR system. Our services include PAN India Recruitment, designing HR systems for an employee’s entire life cycle, including creating organisation structure, HR Policies, Performance Management systems, Compensation and benefits Plans, Reward Plans, and Employee Retention plans.”

She adds, “We are currently taking care of PAN India Recruitment and designing customised HR systems for more than 50 clients in one go. With India’s growing economy, the future is promising for HR professionals. Our vision is to rank in the Top 3 companies by 2028.”

Falguuni reiterates that they promote women empowerment at New Horizon as well as at their clients’ companies in the best possible ways like WFH, hybrid, freelancer, etc., “As we strongly believe that women are inborn multitaskers, multitalented organizers, and excellent managers,” she concludes.