The Smart Cube Appoints Sushma Rana As Its First Chief Human Resources Officer


The Smart Cube, an award-winning global analytics company, has announced the appointment of Sushma Rana as its first Chief Human Resources Officer, with a remit to lead the global HR strategy to support the company’s existing client business and its ambitious growth plans.

Sushma brings two decades of leadership experience in human resources and talent management to this role. Prior to joining The Smart Cube, she spent 11 years with MSLGROUP – part of Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest communications company – most recently as HR and Talent Director, and a member of the Executive Team. Under her stewardship, MSLGROUP climbed the ranks of India’s Best Companies to Work For, reaching fifth place in the Professional Services category in 2014 and 2015.

Commenting on this appointment, Co-Founder and CEO Gautam Singh said: “The Smart Cube’s greatest asset is our workforce, whose talents and dedication have contributed to the business doubling in size over recent years. Strong HR leadership is fundamental to delivering both continued growth and excellent customer service, and the addition of human resources to the C-suite is evidence of our commitment to meeting these goals.”

Co-Founder and Managing Director Sameer Walia stated: “Sushma joins us in very interesting times. The rapidly changing nature of work in today’s world, combined with the higher aspirations of an increasingly younger workforce, presents an opportunity that we are determined to leverage successfully. Sushma will play a pivotal role in aligning our people strategy to the future direction of the firm, and I am excited to have her join the team.”

Sushma Rana, CHRO, added: “Increasing recognition of the value of effective data management, coupled with rapid innovation in data-related products and services, make a career in research and analytics an extremely attractive choice for millennials and experienced professionals alike. The Smart Cube is already recognised as one of the top 10 most desirable companies to work for in this space, and I will focus on increasing this brand awareness, as well as nurturing existing staff and attracting the best new talent.”

Sushma holds a B.Tech degree in Electronics & Communications from the National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur, and a postgraduate degree in Human Resource Development from the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune.

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5 Tips to find work in a new industry

Finding a job in a new industry can certainly be a daunting prospect. However, you will find that there are a number of qualities which can give you an advantage when starting out. These transferable skills are highly sought after and will ensure you maximize your prospects of being employed in a new industry.

1. Research the Industry

When looking for work in a new industry, researching your chosen field is a priority. Changing industries does not always mean an entirely new career, so try looking for positions similar to your past experience first.

Keep up to date with news from the industry you’re looking to work in and learn about its culture. This will help you weigh up the pros and cons of the industry and identify any challenges or opportunities which could occur in the future.

“Having a basic working knowledge of my field before my career began was an advantage.” Rosie, Offline Campaign Manager

2. Make Yourself Stand Out

Making an immediate impression is integral to any successful job application. When applying for a role in a new industry, you may feel that your CV will be lacking relevant experience. In reality, you have the opportunity to highlight your skills and show you’re serious about bringing a new perspective to that industry.

These skills can be picked up from almost any background, from university courses to long-term hobbies. What you do outside of work can even provide the spark of individuality that will help set you apart from the competition. Employers love being able to see what people are passionate about in their spare time, as they’ll look for you to bring that same level of commitment and enthusiasm to their workplace.

“I completed a placement year as part of my university degree and I can’t stress enough how important this year’s work experience was. It allowed me to put into practice some of my learnings but most importantly prepared me for the real world when I completed my degree.” Lydia, Project Manager

“I did go to university and it was invaluable to me in terms of transferable skills.”  Offline Campaign Manager


3. Adapt to Change

If you want to find work and excel in a new industry you must be willing, and able, to change to meet the demands of the job. The ability to adapt is one of the most useful transferable skills you can obtain and is something all employers look for. This ranges from your individual work skills, such as writing style and methods of research, to how you manage working with others.

The workplace is a constantly changing environment. If you can step outside of your comfort zone and push yourself into new situations, then you are sure to excel. All of it requires a degree of flexibility.

“We have to work with new people all the time and adapt to changes in the workplace. Not being able to adapt to change can really hold you back in your career!” Lydia, Project Manager

 4. Be Willing to Learn

When you enter a new industry, you may be starting from scratch in terms of practical, firsthand experience. But this doesn’t mean that you are at a disadvantage. As long as you demonstrate an eagerness to learn, an employer can work with this and help you develop the more specific skills they require.

This willingness to learn can also extend to professional training courses. By indicating that you are open to expanding your knowledge, you make yourself more valuable to a potential employer. You can also show you would be willing to spend extra time learning how to complete tasks when you are still new to your role.

“As with any new job, I felt pretty useless for a while. My knowledge needed to grow, fast. Even after a year I still feel like there is so much more for me to learn. I made sure that I spent extra time on tasks in the beginning to learn them well, and I was lucky enough to have a manager who was a very knowledgeable and good teacher.” Rosie, Offline Campaign Manager

5. Adopt the Right Attitude

In every industry and in every job there are certain aspects that you won’t like. Regardless of your feelings, you have to be able to complete tasks assigned to you. You have to be able to show dedication to your job and for the company that you work for.

If you can show that you care about your work then this will shine through in the quality of what you produce. Keeping a positive attitude will also reflect well on you and ensure that you fit in with a team of colleagues. This is an important facet of starting in a new industry as personality is an influential factor in gaining a job in the first place.

“Every job has admin tasks that are less exciting than the others but these tasks must be done! The most exciting tasks for me are those that are not so day to day, such as the ideas sessions, photo shoots, events, trips to the head office and learning of upcoming plans.” Rosie, Offline Campaign Manager

“Personality is the most important trait but I would also look for experience, confidence and attitude.”Jenna, Finance Department

The bottom line is that you should not be afraid to pursue a career in a new industry as long as you ensure you have the necessary transferable skills. As you can see, there is a lot which you can do to make yourself attractive to any potential employer!



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Are you one of the lucky people who loves your boss? Maybe she’s everything you aspire to be one day. Hanging with the team for happy hour. Turning the hallway into a putting green. Giving you solid client insight from her years in the trenches.

Or maybe you’re a boss overseeing the employee of your dreams. He reminds you of yourself when you were just starting out. You, too, were once called a rising star, asked to join junior employee committees while still having time to hit both the gym and the downtown bar scene.

Overall, it’s a good thing to like your colleagues, especially those with whom you have a direct reporting relationship. But in my work, I often hear about the times when these relationships become too close for comfort and the boundaries of professionalism are crossed. Work can and should be enjoyable! But relationships can be complicated.

In this post, I’ll explore the ways you can have great workplace relationships, and even be very friendly, without overstepping bounds. Here are some tips to help both sides navigate the boss/employee friend zone.


  • Don’t friend your subordinates. You thought I was going to put this under the employee list, didn’t you? Well, sure, it applies there, but you’d be surprised how many employees — usually millennials — come to me, cringing because their boss has requested them as a friend on social media and they don’t know what to do. #awkward. If you’re the boss, don’t put your employees in this tough spot, where they feel they have to accept and then monitor every word they say online. Some offices are friendlier than others, but it’s safest to stick to LinkedIn and avoid connecting on more personal sites like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
  • Be likeable. Some of the best advice I’ve heard about managing and relationships comes from Alexandra Lebenthal, CEO of the financial firm Lebenthal & Co. “The best leaders I have known are the ones who let their true personalities shine through by being open and approachable,” she says in an interview we conducted for my book, Becoming the Boss. In my experience, the best leaders of any age are confident and strong, while still being fair and open.




  • Understand if your boss isn’t into chitchat. I enjoyed this recent article by Kristin van Ogtrop, managing editor of Real Simple, about why a boss might not ask about your weekend. It’s not because he doesn’t like you or she doesn’t care. It’s because you’re all there primarily to work.
  • Find other friends. When you have a great relationship with your boss, you might start to feel like you’re developing a relationship that feels more personal than it is. As you go through ups (the big client win!) and the downs (the big client loss!), you forge bonds. But, at the end of the day, you have to remember that your boss can’t be your everything. Make sure that your work-life integration focuses on developing solid relationships outside of work, too.
  • When in doubt, err on the side of polished and professional. If you have fallen into a friendly routine with your boss, kudos to you. But as the employee, it is your responsibility to always monitor how much is too much. Take your cues from your boss: Does she try to change the subject when you talk about a late night after-party you attended? Is he sharing about his family as much as you are? In any work situation, it’s better to be safe than sorry.



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4 Signs You Need to Move On in Your Career

So you’ve come to the realization you’re unhappy with your career path. You can’t remember the last time you looked forward to a Monday morning. You’re no longer are proud of your response to the question, “What do you do?”

At first, maintaining a steady salary and avoiding a gap in your employment history was more important, so you tried to put your head down and make things work.

The problem is it’s exhausting—physically, mentally and emotionally—trying to tolerate your job when you know deep down you’re unhappy.

In 2013, I was 10 years into the world of marketing in the corporate world. I was on a huge global team, managing advertising campaigns being rolled out across the world. By this point, I’d marketed everything from trash bags to drain opener to luxury desserts.


Each day I spent marketing products to consumers left me feeling emptier.

Still, when you have a good job, it’s hard to walk away for a whole host of reasons: money, status, credibility, reputation, social validation, stability, investment, corporate incentives, or even just plain old inertia. Every single one of these factors has kept me firmly planted in jobs, even when I was feeling unsatisfied.

So how can you tell when enough is enough?

In every instance when I chose to leave a job, there was NOT an epiphany where the clouds parted to reveal that it was time to move on. Even when I was struggling, I was torn about what would be “right” for my career and life.

However, there are four common signs that suggest it may be time to make a leap—the same signs I’ve heard from talking with hundreds of people ready to make a career change.

1) You’re Absolutely Drained

One of the factors that led me to pull the plug on an unfulfilling career path is exhaustion.  For most of my life, I’ve worked in office settings—not exactly physically demanding. Still, in the months leading up to resignations, I always felt utterly drained.

Work that isn’t fulfilling can really sap your energy. When I wasn’t happy with my job, my weekends were spent recuperating. I vividly recall struggling to keep my eyes open in meetings, and I had no energy left to take care of myself, let alone spend time with people I loved. This just isn’t sustainable in the long run.

2) You’re No Longer Serving Your Interests

As your career evolves, so do your interests. When I landed my first corporate marketing job, I focused on learning everything I could, and developing a strong set of transferrable, professional skills. The corporate world served me well in this context.

Over time though, my interests shifted. I got married, so family life became more important. My father also passed away, so caring for my own health became more salient. I also began craving work I found truly meaningful. My interests in a strong work-life balance were no longer being served by the corporate world.

3) Balancing It All Isn’t Realistic Anymore

The realization your job no longer fulfills you can mimic emotions you go through when dealing with loss. One of those stages is “bargaining”—highlighted by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death & Dying.I refer to this as the Mitigation Stage in my 7 Stages of Career Change Roadmap. It’s when you try to find ways to make your situation more tolerable. For me, this meant taking up a side project. In 2012, I enrolled in a professional coaching program while holding down my full-time job.

I began coaching people through career changes on evenings and weekends. It started as pro bono work, but I quickly began enrolling paid clients. I loved it.

The problem was, my full-time job was still my priority. I was regularly working 60 hours a week. I was starting to turn away coaching clients because I just didn’t have the energy, time, or mental capacity to do it all. At some point, I realized everything was only getting a fraction of my attention, resulting in a fraction of the results. I knew something eventually had to give, and I didn’t want it to be my growing coaching business.

4) The Timing Is Right Enough

The reality is, only you can know what timing makes sense for your situation. Maybe you need to finish a project so you can leave on good terms, or wait for your year-end bonus. Maybe you’re just not ready. People will try to push you to make a decision—if you have good reasons for staying, stay.

Still, no time will ever feel 100% ideal. It’s generally easier to convince yourself to maintain the status quo than to plunge into the unknown. At some point, when the conditions feel right, you just have to make your leap to the positive changes you desire, something I spoke about in my TEDx Talk. When you feel ready enough to go, when you’ve tied off as many loose ends as you can, just go.

Trust Yourself

No one likes to say, “I quit,” but sometimes, you have to let go of one part of your career to make room for something greater.

These four sentiments helped me clarify when my situation had become intolerable. However, only you can know when the timing is right to make a move. Leaving your job behind is a huge and deeply personal decision. No one else can make it for you.

Trust yourself and remember that everyone has limits. When you reach yours, you owe it to yourself to move on.

Where Will You Draw the Line?

To iron out how where you’ll draw the line in your own career, you can download my “Work-Life Scorecard”to help you understand the impact your work is having on your life. You can also define the steps you’ll take if your situation crosses over from bad to intolerable.

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Easy ways to reduce stress at work

What’s the best way to handle stress at work? Try these tips and techniques from career specialists Position Ignition to help keep your cool.

  1. Picture a relaxing place

Imagine sitting on the beach with no cares in the world.  Approaching a situation with a clear mind and calm manner can make things seem less difficult.

  1. Have a laugh

Studies have shown that laughter can help to reduce stress (and even make you healthier). Find a funny person to talk to or read a funny book, watch a funny movie or YouTube clip. Do something that will make you laugh and take your mind off any stress.


  1. Take your time

Stressful situations can cause people to react in the heat of the moment, which is not always for the best. If you’re feeling cross or angry, try and cool down before firing off a hasty email or taking any action which you’ll later regret. Thinking things through usually results in a better outcome all round.

  1. Draw on your past experiences

Try and recall past events that have similarities with your current issue. This will give you insight on what to do and also help you realise that you are capable of getting through this situation too.

  1. Don’t be the hero

When you need to figure out a problem, don’t try to do it alone. Seek out help from colleagues and friends or talk to your manager.  Don’t take the burden on yourself – get advice, help and support to find a solution.

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4 Easy Ways Anyone Can Start Developing Leadership Skills at Work

Ever feel like you’re at the bottom of a long chain of authority? Pretty sure there aren’t enough resources at your company to help you develop essential skills that’ll get you moving up that chain? Well, you’re not alone.

According to the annual Global Millennials survey, cited by Business Insider, most young workers (two-thirds!) are planning to leave their positions by 2020. And 71% of the people planning to jump ship in the next two years will be doing it because they feel there aren’t enough leadership development resources available at their current organization. While that’s a clear indicator that companies have a lot to improve upon on their ends, a lack of clear opportunity isn’t always a good reason to leave a job you like.

There are plenty of different ways to develop your leadership skills even if there aren’t any official programs or tracks in place for you. Because being a leader isn’t about having the boss title, it’s about stepping up and becoming the kind of person others aspire to be.

So, because you shouldn’t have to leave your job to find chances for growth in your career, here are ways to create these opportunities for yourself no matter where you work.


1. Get to Know Your Team

All good leaders know their team members their strengths, weaknesses, and how people can best complement one another. And I’m not saying you need to make some Devil Wears Prada-style flashcards of everyone’s information; just start with simple conversations and build from there.

Take the time to really get to know your company, its history, its values, its industry, and the departments and people that keep it all going even if bonding with co-workers doesn’t always come naturally to you. Do you think your boss got where she is now without doing the research or understanding the context of her work first?

If you find this to be a challenging, create time on your calendar to make sure it happens, whether it’s a 30-minute lunch, or just a five-minute coffee run with someone you don’t know too well.

2. Help a Co-worker Out

Notice anyone who’s super busy or stressed out lately? Offer your spare time to help him out or take on some of his tasks. No matter where you fall in the hierarchy, you still need to embrace a team player mentality and that means recognizing the value of working together toward a common goal.

It takes great maturity to be able to prioritize what’s needed most and respond to that, even if it doesn’t immediately benefit or interest you to do so. If you genuinely work at being a point of support or guidance to your peers, you’ll learn so much more about communication, collaboration, and trust than you would by getting mad your job won’t send you to that leadership conference.

Bonus: I’m pretty sure everyone would also love you because an extra hand is almost always appreciated.

3. Take Initiative

You can always go above and beyond at your current job by taking on more responsibilities around the office. The more you do, the more you learn about your workplace and what makes it run smoothly.

If you notice something lacking at your company, you can easily flex those management muscles by recognizing small weaknesses and developing plans to address them.

They can range from being good for the long-term, such as writing up a new training manual or re-organizing the internal drive, or just be about helping out right now, like showing a new person on a different team how to use the copy machine.

These acts both big and small show your boss that you’re a self-starter. Even more, advocating for your co-workers or showing around a new employee are all ways to practice management, no matter your current position.

4. Ask for More

At the end of the day, if you don’t feel that you’re growing enough at your company, quitting your job shouldn’t be your first impulse. Sure, if there really seem to be no opportunities to improve, you can consider looking for something new. But a conversation with your boss might be all it takes to shake things up for your work responsibilities.

The key is not to go into the conversation on a negative note, but rather to come prepared with specific ideas for ways in which you could work on your leadership skills. Maybe you volunteer to lead team meetings, or perhaps you suggest mentoring new employees, or if you’re more of a behind-the-scenes person, you revise those old style manuals.

If nothing else, this conversation’s great practice for advocating for yourself seriously, no one has ever solved a problem by ignoring it. Chances are, your boss will really respect you for your dedication to the company and enthusiasm for taking on more. As long as you’re able to complete your current work, odds are high you won’t be turned down.

Leaders don’t just happen because other people made them that way. It takes practice, and if you look hard enough and get creative, you’ll notice plenty of hidden opportunities all around you to strengthen that leadership muscle.

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Why Online Certifications Are Key To Professional Success

We’re used to living in a world where having a college or university degree has always been the minimum requirement to be considered for a job. No matter how skilled you are, it’s hard to get noticed and have employers value your skills if you lack a degree.

But times are changing. Today, the average high school graduate has the option to look beyond a run-of-the-mill degree. Alternative means of education -like online certification courses- are proving to be as effective in the long run.

What has contributed to this change in perception?

Simply put, online certifications deliver incredible returns for the investment, both in terms of time and resources. While a college or university degree takes three to five years to finish, online certification programs run for no longer than a few weeks or a couple of months, depending on the field of study. Increased employer recognition and the tangible benefits that follow from having a certification to your name have made this a popular choice for professionals around the world.

According to Upwork, 54 million people did freelance work in 2015, with the number as high as 75 million in 2016. That’s 24% of the population of the United States! The pull of a freer lifestyle and flexible working hours have been the main reasons an increasing number of professionals are opting for freelance careers.


And freelance professionals are among the biggest customers for online learning service providers.

I’m exploring my professional education options. Which do I choose: university, online certification, or a blend of both?

Attending university while pursuing an online certification course to add industry-relevant skills brings together the best of both worlds, naturally. But let’s be honest – none of us have the time nor the inclination to commit to both. If you’re passionate about a specific field and want to start working as soon as possible, choosing an online course or certification program is the way to go.

Here are a few reasons I prefer online certification training to university degrees.

Demands less of your valuable time

As I mentioned before, getting an online certification takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It depends on your chosen field and effort you put in. Also, it allows you to balance work, social life, and your family with professional education. At university, studies will take years to finish and will severely constrain your time.

Cost-effective learning

According to the Top Universities survey, fees for 2014/15 at state colleges were an average of $9,139 for state residents and $22,958 for everyone else. In comparison, with online courses, you can get your professional certificate for less than $1000.

Flexibility – learn anytime, anywhere

One of the biggest benefits of online courses is that you can study from anywhere. Whether you’re at home, on the commute, or are on vacation, e-learning affords you the flexibility to learn anywhere, and on any device. You don’t have to get up early in the morning, go to class, & study for a university-stipulated period of time daily.

Widely accepted & recognized

Five years ago, few would have attached any credibility to an online certification. Today, online certifications like the PMP, CBAP, Lean Six Sigma, etc, carry more value and credibility than a university degree, even.

One reason for this development is that large MNCs like YouTube & Facebook are entering into agreements with certification providers. Companies are struggling with a skills-gap crisis, with a dearth of suitably skilled professionals who have received industry-oriented training.

Conventional education -university programs, college degrees, vocational training- aren’t designed to cope with the changing needs of industry, while online certifications are devised specifically with this end objective in mind.

Last year, LinkedIn bought video site for $1.5-billion, giving further impetus to the theory that tech and education are working together.

Too many certification options to choose from – which do I pick?

Find an industry that is in its growth phase and has potential. A field like digital marketing, quickly becoming the biggest area of spending for companies in every industry, is a great place to start.

According to a recent study on Yahoo Finance, digital marketing is number 6 on the list of top 10 careers for non-degree holders around the world. The study uses “the average salary of the top 8% of earners in each of these fields without an advanced degree” as the criterion for listing.

The salary for skilled, certified digital marketers has no upper bound. While the average begins at $73,000, certified, knowledgeable marketers can expect to earn as much as $210,000. But these are only average figures. The best marketers in the industry can earn much more.

But again, digital marketing is not for everyone. Identify a field of study you are comfortable with and one that best aligns with your long-term goals. Then look for courses and online training programs to get yourself ready for the industry.

Online education – the game changer

The primary criterion for employers is to have a professional on their team. It matters little whether you learned your craft sitting four years in a classroom or spent three months learning with online courses. Industry standards, norms, and best practices are in a constant state of flux. Conventional pedagogy is always playing catch-up.

By contrast, e-learning providers like Treehouse, Simplilearn, Codecademy and others help you improve & learn new skills quickly. In a few weeks, you will be able to get a new certification and launch your dream career.

Online training for enterprises

Online training programs are also proving hugely beneficial for enterprises. The availability of multi-modal delivery options, the elimination of logistical considerations, and ease of access translate to significant savings in employee training & L&D overheads. In addition, with most e-learning providers boasting of diverse catalogs, companies are able to further cut costs by opting for a single training provider for all business functions.

In conclusion

With online certifications promising much better returns & guaranteed jobs, professionals are moving away from conventional university degrees. If it’s faster career growth, higher salaries, and significantly better long-term prospects that you’re after, online training & professional certifications are your best bet. Why not take the time to explore the web to find something that suits your needs today


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