Interview with Shaista Sabharwal: Co-Founder – India & Global Board Member & CMO – The Taplow Group S.A

Shaista Sabharwal

An exclusive interview with Shaista Sabharwal: Co-Founder – India & Global Board Member & CMO – The Taplow Group S.A

Shaista Sabharwal, a dynamic leader, and Co-Founder of The Taplow Group S.A., India, is a name synonymous with innovation, excellence, and global leadership. With a multifaceted role as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Global Board Member, Shaista has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and global expansion.

Her career journey is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence and her relentless pursuit of success in the world of executive search and leadership consulting. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the insights, experiences, and vision of Shaista Sabharwal, a true trailblazer in the field of talent acquisition and leadership development.

The Taplow Group S.A. has a global presence in the executive search and HR consulting industry. Could you share the story behind the company’s founding and your role as a co-founder?

Shaista Sabharwal: The Taplow Group S.A. is a global brand with a presence across 20 countries. It was founded in a town called Taplow in the UK back in 2000 and was established as a network of multiple partner firms across various countries, firms that assume the brand name “The Taplow Group”.

Each partner firm is wholly owned by the local Managing Partner/ Founders who not only own the local business but also drive business development in their respective countries, while also being shareholders and part owners of the larger entity The Taplow Group S.A. which is headquartered in London.

Our logo is inspired by the Tulip Trees on the Taplow House Hotel grounds that have stood the test of time, weather, evolving economies, and nations.

Sangeeta Sabharwal and I founded the India partner firm in 2014, where we both quit our then-respective jobs and jumped into this venture. As a co-founder, I drive the operations of the firm along with Sangeeta and drive business development and client engagement for multiple leadership hiring assignments for various organizations across sectors and across geographies.

Our client base includes multinationals as well as Indian business houses. Additionally, I also get involved in many projects with our internal teams and external SMEs around HR practices, policies, and systems, including leveraging technology platforms for the same | Ensuring that the firm has the required and up-to-date IT infrastructure in place to help the team work seamlessly across locations | Working with our colleagues to drive internal hiring etc.

Since 2019 I have also been elected into the Global Board as the Group CMO and thus drive our social media marketing at a global level. I am today the youngest sitting board member, and the Board is working collaboratively to ensure that we make space for new age thinking and ideas on a regular basis. 

As the Chief Marketing Officer, what strategies have you employed to enhance The Taplow Group’s brand visibility and market positioning in a competitive industry?

Shaista Sabharwal: While driving the marketing strategy for The Taplow Group, what I’ve kept in mind always is that in a competitive landscape, brand visibility is the compass that guides us through the clutter. We’re not just shaping careers; we’re shaping perceptions.

India’s vibrant and diverse business ecosystem presents us with exciting opportunities to showcase our expertise in identifying top-tier leadership talent. Thus our marketing journey to the forefront isn’t about outshining others, but about illuminating our distinct expertise and unwavering commitment.

With 20+ years of leadership hiring globally, The Taplow Group is dedicated to revolutionizing the Executive Search industry, especially in India. We have a strong brand identity and a compelling value proposition that reaffirms our position as the ‘trusted’ Executive Search Partner of choice for our clients.

Our growth strategy isn’t measured solely in numbers, but in the meaningful connections we create, the careers we shape, and the companies we empower. Expanding our horizons isn’t just about covering more ground; it’s about elevating our impact, and that is what we focus on in our strategies both operationally and through our marketing efforts.

As the CMO, my objective is to enhance the executive search firm’s brand visibility and market positioning, ultimately leading to increased recognition, client trust, and business growth. Through strategic storytelling and relentless innovation, we’re crafting a narrative that resonates with those seeking excellence. In a sea of options, our brand stands tall as a beacon of trust, precision, and the promise of transformation.

The world of executive search and HR consulting is evolving rapidly. How does The Taplow Group adapt to changes in talent acquisition and management to stay ahead of the curve?

Shaista Sabharwal: Staying ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving field like Executive Search and HR consulting requires a combination of continuous learning, adaptability, networking, and strategic thinking. To navigate and thrive in this dynamic landscape, one must embrace a mindset of continuous learning, to stay updated on industry trends, best practices, and emerging technologies.

As knowledge is ‘power’, one must constantly look at ways of enhancing their knowledge base, be it by attending webinars, workshops, conferences, and online courses to subscribing to industry publications, research reports, and blogs to gain insights into the latest developments.

The world of executive search and HR consulting is not confined to a single region. Thus, it is important to stay informed about international trends and practices to broaden one’s perspective and cater to a diverse clientele.

I see ‘networking’ as crucial for an industry like ours, thus one must always look at ways of connecting with professionals, engaging in discussions, sharing insights, exchanging ideas, establishing valuable relationships, and learning from others’ experiences.

The business landscape evolves rapidly, so staying ‘agile’ is essential to survive. We are constantly willing to experiment with new strategies, approaches, and business models to be able to stay flexible and solution-centric. With technology redefining the way businesses operate, leveraging technology in all aspects is key.

In conclusion, I would say that staying ahead of the curve is a continuous journey…….. while keeping the core intact – which is the customer. Embracing change, remaining curious, and consistently investing in our own professional development is what will help us to steer the course.

Building and maintaining client relationships are crucial in your industry. What approaches does The Taplow Group take to ensure long-lasting and successful partnerships with clients?

Shaista Sabharwal: Building successful partnerships takes time and consistent effort. A focus on standardisation, process centricity, delivering value beyond running a process, being consultative in our approach, and maintaining open communication helps us to foster strong relationships. We constantly think about how can we deliver impact to our clients and deliver tailored solutions that address the unique talent needs of each client.

We avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and instead, ensure that clients benefit from our sector-specific insights. We take a personalized approach to every single client engagement and understand the intricacies of their business and culture to then be their representatives and act as an extension of them while engaging with talent in the market.

The more you understand your client’s challenges and goals, the better you can tailor your services to meet their requirements. The more you understand them, the better the fitment of the talent you will find for them.

Moreover, we maintain clear and open lines of communication with our clients. Transparency builds trust and demonstrates our commitment to the partnership. We also believe in a feedback loop system not only with our candidates but clients about their experience working with our firm. This feedback helps us make necessary improvements which enhances our commitment to clients.

Last but not least, we are flexible and adaptable to meet the changes in the client’s needs in a dynamic and market landscape which reinforces our flexibility and shows our commitment to meeting their evolving challenges.

For young professionals aspiring to enter the executive search and HR consulting field, what advice would you offer based on your own experiences and journey?

Shaista Sabharwal: The advice that I would like to offer to aspiring professionals would be that success in Executive Search and HR consulting takes time and dedication. Continuously invest in your growth, stay curious, and approach challenges with a positive attitude.

Have a hunger for growth which would mean keeping abreast of industry trends, changes in laws, and emerging HR practices as well as technologies. Networking too is essential in this field. Familiarize yourself with inclusive hiring practices and understand the benefits of diverse teams as the modern workplace values diversity and inclusion.

Develop problem-solving skills to offer effective solutions as HR consulting often involves solving complex organizational challenges. Seek mentorship from experienced professionals in the field. Also, look for learning opportunities, such as certification programs or specialized courses or even internships, as many as you can do.

our interview with Shaista Sabharwal, the Co-Founder, Global Board Member, and CMO of The Taplow Group S.A., has provided a glimpse into the life and accomplishments of an exceptional leader. Shaista’s passion for her work, her dedication to fostering talent, and her commitment to global growth make her a role model for aspiring professionals in the field of executive search and leadership consulting.

Her insights and experiences shared during this interview have offered valuable lessons and inspiration for all those seeking to make their mark in the corporate world. As she continues to shape the future of The Taplow Group and the industry as a whole, Shaista Sabharwal’s journey remains a remarkable source of inspiration for us all.

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