According to a recent report published by Randstad, Canada is one of the most educated countries globally, and surprisingly, women account for 58% with a secondary degree qualification. Despite being over men in education, and women’s contributions towards the family, they are underrepresented in their representation in the workforce! While more and more businesses are flashing the women-led tag, women’s representation in leadership roles is still below average.
Second-generation immigrant sisters Koel Ganguli and Pia Ganguli inspire women and address this disparity by continuously breaking the glass ceilings using their Hour Consulting Recruitment and HR Solutions. In a recent chit- chat the Ganguli sisters threw light on several issues that they are challenging every day while being in business.
Tell us how Hour Consulting started? What is it all about?
Hour Consulting is a woman-owned and operated Human Resources and Recruitment Consulting Firm based in Toronto, with clients located worldwide. We simplify and keep the Human in HR with the Human Intelligence approach using AI to strengthen further. My partner (Pia) and I (Koel), started the company as we wanted to do what we do best with a holistic purpose. Our business is built on the values we bring, and that is what has been the core of helping us achieve our goals as a team.
We help employers get the best out of their workforce. We try to find answers for the 3Ws and 1H for our clients in their team-building efforts. In most teams, the focus is on ‘what,’ but we believe that successful teams are built on the ‘Who’ to build productive and robust teams. Our business also answers the ‘Why’ as we aim to change people’s lives by building teams by building carers. And how do we do this? We do this simply by creating strategies, helping people find the right job, making the right match between the employer and the employee.
We operate from Canada as well as from India. We have an office in Toronto and in Kolkata, India, that helps us work with clients globally and support Canadian companies looking to enter Indian markets and create teams there. We focus on Kolkata but help companies interested in any location in India.
How does it feel breaking stereotypes as a woman?
(Pia): It feels great and is one of the main motivations for getting up in the morning. As women, we are often loaded with numerous responsibilities. Be it managing our regular work, taking care of the family, managing the house, and the list goes on! It’s not easy to be a woman, and that’s why we always hope to inspire other women around us to take their step towards full-time entrepreneurship if that is what they want to do.
Often, women need to sacrifice their careers for the sake of their families- be it child care or senior care. All we as an HR consulting firm aim is, to make sure we emancipate women and help break the barriers and let them fly! Being able to break the stereotypes also pushes you to work harder and leads to better results. We also hope to set an example for our future generations, where stereotypes will not exist.
When businesses paused due to COVID, how are you managing it in this testing time?
(Koel): It was not easy; in March 2020, we just came back from a business trip to Kolkata and the UK. We landed in Toronto almost five days before the initial lockdowns started. Things started to slow down gradually; clients wanted to pause hiring and HR initiatives or projects for a few months, so we had a few tough months owing to which we had to change our office location too.
(Pia): Indeed, it has been a difficult year furthermore as a mompreneur too! I couldn’t send my three-year-old son to daycare as the pandemic was on. Ultimately, I had no choice but to take a back seat in my career to take care of him as my partner had to work. Since September 2020, things have improved, but we have to work harder, longer hours, to ramp up to where we wanted to be in 2021.
Who are your clients typically?
(Koel): We work with various growing companies in different capacities, like increasing their team size, product and services increase, or location. Our clients are primarily from new emerging growth startups, emerging industries, technologies, and startups who are ready to roll in the market. We also support newcomers in Canada and help them to find a job in Canada.
How is your business doing currently?
(Pia): It’s doing well, but we had to ramp up only from September, making up for some lost time due to Covid. We have made some adjustments to our work like everyone is working from home, setting up the team for remote collaboration and so forth.
How big is your team?
(Koel): Right now, we are a team of five and are participating in the Canadian Summer Jobs program to hire another four team members.
Where do you see your business post COVID when distances will no longer remain a concern again?
(Pia): We see that many things will change POST COVID, including how companies recruit and hire new team members. There will be a high increase in remote hiring. This will help us with a broader reach of new clients and job seekers. We are currently working with multiple startups and tech companies that are hiring remotely across Canada and globally. We are also in the early stages of developing our HR Technology platform, a game-changer in the industry.
What help do you think you would need to grow your business in this pandemic?
(Koel): I think, presently, we need the governments to provide incentives to allow companies like ours to invest in solid communication technology and systems to help us pivot during the pandemic. Now, we need to focus on enhancing our virtual skills, supporting clients and our employees online strategically.
Any advice/tips to the women entrepreneurs around you?
(Koel and Pia): Do not be afraid to move outside of your comfort zone; don’t be scared to make mistakes. Failure can often make women question themselves and their decisions, do not let it affect your confidence and stay positive, even when we do not receive support from everyone around us. Ups and downs are an inevitable part of success, and we should all learn from them.
When you start your business, you will go through various challenges/stages; you may need to ask, network, and find the right resources and people to ask those questions. Minimize negative people in your life; you will come across many people who do not get what you are trying to do or why you are even doing it. Avoid these toxic conversations and people that do not inspire you or motivate you to move forward. As Wayne Gretzky said – “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” So be proactive, and ask for what you need.
Unlike most HR recruitment and consulting services, Hour Consulting goes above and beyond to qualify a candidate for their clients to ensure satisfaction is guaranteed between both parties. Whether you’re a startup or a big corporate, Hour Consulting can manage the human resources need by delivering a global perspective to it.
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