Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Vinay Walia - a man of the people

Published:Friday | January 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Vinay Walia

Vinay Walia is on a mission to create a pool of skilled, competent executives to keep the Guardsman Group of Companies well ahead of competitors.

Rapid advances in emerging digital technology have dictated the need for ongoing investments in infrastructural resources, but the recently promoted group managing director is still banking on people power.

"We have systems in place - a team in place - and what we are doing now is actually concentrating a lot on human resources elements. This year, my mandate is evaluating the strengths of that pool; do the right fittings within the human resource pool; and, basically, create more leaders like me," he said.

"It's very easy to say we will double and triple the business, but if you don't have the human-resource element behind it, you will collapse. So your foundation has to be strong. I need to have succession planning - five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years from now. And I need to identify those people today, and this year, 2017, is a big year, so what I'm doing right now in my new position is interviewing and sitting and learning from my managers about who they are and see how the group can work with them to meet their goals and our goals," Walia shared with The Gleaner.

Having joined the company as a group financial controller 17 years ago and going on to serve as group financial director, the finance expert's focus during that time has been on the business end of things or "the hardcore of what makes the numbers", as he explained.

"The whole idea is that wherever you end up, you must love it. I love what I do. My goal was never to be a group manager, director or whatever. Positions don't matter, but you must enjoy what you are doing, and I get up in the morning and I look forward to going to work, and the operations that we have, as you can see, is 365 days, 24/7.


"It's the passion that drives us, and I am passionate about what I do and I can tell you one thing, every day that I come to Guardsman Group, I learn something. I'm a graduate of 'Guardsman University'," he shared.

Having crunched numbers for so long, Walia is revelling in his new role of molding managerial staff into future leaders.

"We have young people in our midst who, every year, come to me for guidance and say, 'What should we do further? What course should I do?' I encourage them, but I think what we teach on the job, if you're willing, is better than any university you learn from. And they are giving me ideas no university will teach me, no book will teach me."

Even as Walia appreciates how technology is revolutionising every aspect of business, social and recreational activities, he is insistent that people will continue to be relevant to guide and complement this revolution.

He explained: "You cannot eliminate the human element in our business. Cameras are something that will help you, but will not prevent anything from happening. In security, our job is to prevent, rather than report on it. So our business is human resources and that will never change."