Talent Leaders – Yasar Ahmad

July 13, 2023

Yasar is currently the Global Vice President of Talent, Mobility, and Rewards at HelloFresh. Previously, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Zalando focussed on Technology Hiring, and prior to that the Director and Head of Strategic Hiring at Wipro and Wipro Digital. 

An accomplished people leader with experience in various HR roles, with a passion for Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Inclusion and Diversity, Mobility, Rewards and learning & development, and employer branding. Across my career, I have been strategic in embracing digital innovation and automation to transform organisations’ HR / People functions. From Talent Acquisition processes, Global Mobility, D&I Strategies to early careers for Graduates and Interns.

A member of the RL100 and committed speaker on industrial challenges and creating human-shaped experiences. With my team winning the 2019 HRD Award for Diversity & Inclusion and the 2018 Award for Innovative Recruitment and On-boarding.

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What do you think is the key to being successful as a Talent leader in the current business environment? 

In my view, here are the essential elements to becoming a fruitful Talent Leader in the current business landscape:

High Emotional Quotient: It’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of your employees, comprehend their drives and hurdles, and cultivate a supportive atmosphere.

Quick to Change and Adapt: With business and tech changing at a breakneck pace, having the capability to adjust swiftly, adopt fresh technologies, and leverage them in a way that benefits both the company and its employees is crucial.

Inclusivity and Varied Talent: Today, organizations understand the significance of having a diverse talent pool. Building an environment that encourages differing voices, backgrounds, and viewpoints is not just appreciated but actively pursued.

Decisions Based on Data: Utilizing analytics in talent management aids in making impartial, effective judgments about hiring, retaining, and nurturing employees. However, one mustn’t overlook the human aspect amidst all the data.

Nurturing and Retaining Talent: Keeping skilled employees on board is more economical than continually hiring new ones. Offering continuous learning prospects and clear career progressions can foster loyalty and engagement.

Clear and Open Communication: In our connected world, maintaining transparency and effectively communicating with employees about company objectives, changes, and their role in the grand scheme of things is paramount.

In summary, being a successful Talent Leader goes beyond just managing resources. It’s about connecting with people, forging relationships, and creating a culture that draws in, cultivates, and retains the best minds and highest quality of work!

As a Talent leader, what is your key advice for managing your teams and people? 

Cultivating Trust: Building trust is foundational to a thriving team. Be dependable, uphold clear communication, and show genuine interest in your team’s well-being.

Transparent Dialogue: Be clear and open with your team members. Set explicit expectations, provide feedback in a timely manner, and keep communication lines open at all times. Encourage a culture where input is welcomed from all sides.

Individual Growth: Recognize the unique strengths each team member brings. Promote their personal development by implementing custom training programs and offering opportunities to acquire new skills.

Appreciation: Recognizing the efforts of your team is key to a positive work atmosphere. Regularly give credit where it’s due to boost team spirit.

Understanding: Practice empathy at all times. Get to know the challenges faced by your team and lend your support. This will reinforce the image of you not just as a manager, but as a leader who truly cares.

Flexibility: Be ready to switch gears and adapt when required. Whether it’s integrating new technologies, altering tactics, or managing unforeseen obstacles, demonstrating adaptability will show your team your commitment to facing challenges together.

In summary, as a Talent Leader, your ultimate goal is not just to guide, but also to inspire, motivate, and aid your team. The accomplishments of your team reflect your own. By embodying these principles, you’ll be well-equipped to forge a strong, vibrant, and high-performing team.

How has the role of a recruiter changed and what new skills do you think they need to possess and develop? 

Embracing Technology: With the advent of AI, automation, and various recruitment software, recruiters have had to become more tech-savvy. They need to know how to leverage these tools to streamline their process and reach the best candidates.

Market Insights: Understanding labor market trends, the competitive landscape, and the company’s position within it is more important than ever. This awareness can help recruiters formulate effective strategies to attract and retain the right talent.

Personalization: Recruiters now need to think like marketers. That means personalizing communication and outreach to create a strong employer brand that resonates with potential candidates.

Diversity and Inclusion: As the workforce becomes increasingly diverse, recruiters must have a firm understanding of D&I principles. It’s about making sure the talent pool reflects the diversity of the market and creating an inclusive culture within the company.

Data Analysis: With an increasing amount of data at their fingertips, recruiters must develop strong data analysis skills. Interpreting this data can provide insights into the effectiveness of their recruitment strategies and help improve decision-making.

Relationship Building: Recruiters have always needed strong interpersonal skills, but it’s become even more crucial. They need to build and maintain relationships not just with candidates, but also with hiring managers, to ensure a seamless hiring process.

Remote Hiring: With more companies adopting remote work policies, recruiters need to be adept at conducting virtual interviews and onboarding processes. They need to ensure a positive candidate experience, irrespective of geographical boundaries.

In summary, the role of a recruiter has evolved to become more strategic, tech-oriented, and candidate-centric. This requires continuous learning and development to keep up with the rapidly changing recruiting landscape.

What do you think is the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity facing Talent and Recruitment? 

From my viewpoint, the Talent and Recruitment industry is currently navigating through substantial hurdles and prospects, mainly due to advancements in technology and evolving work norms.

Major Challenge: One of the greatest difficulties today is steering the change toward a remote work setting. The COVID-19 pandemic fast-tracked the shift towards digital workspaces, now there seems to be a shift towards return to work. This makes it incredibly difficult to manage expectations. The middle ground of Hybrid work doesn’t address the folks that moved further afield away from commuting distance to workplaces.

In essence, while the Talent and Recruitment sector is tasked with the demanding responsibility of adapting to new work settings, it also has the unparalleled opportunity to harness technology and global talent for shaping more efficient and diverse teams.

What is the next stage of transformation for Talent functions? 

As we venture into the future, the concept of workplace happiness is due to be radically redefined. We’re moving past the era where ping-pong tables, team lunches, or yoga sessions were seen as key drivers of employee happiness. Tomorrow’s workplace will focus on cultivating an environment of ‘Emotional Ergonomics’ where the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees is at the core of all organizational decisions and processes.

In this brave new world, companies will create Happiness Intelligence Systems, incorporating cutting-edge technologies like AI and Big Data, to intuitively understand and respond to the emotional pulse of their teams. These systems will monitor, analyze, and predict factors contributing to happiness in real-time, from workload management to the intricacies of inter-team dynamics, thereby facilitating personalized happiness paths for each employee.

HR teams will evolve into ‘Happiness Architects’, designing emotionally ergonomic workplaces that foster deep sense of purpose, personal growth, and meaningful relationships. Moreover, happiness will be seen not just as a benefit, but as a strategic tool to drive innovation, productivity, and employee loyalty. In essence, the future of workplace happiness lies in the convergence of empathy, technology, and a profound understanding of human nature at work.’s Talent Leader Series seeks to share the view of leaders in the Talent space.

By sharing the thoughts and insights of these leaders will hopefully help the Talent industry as a whole as it explores new opportunities and faces new challenges.

If you are interested in taking part please reach out to for more information.

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