Workplace Leaders
Robert Walters Group
Chief People Officer

Indy Lachhar

Embedding inclusion in an organisation starts with authentic, self-aware leaders who are passionate about creating safe and positive working environments for everyone.

Co-host of The Interview Luke James spoke with Indy Lachhar, Chief People Officer at Robert Walters Group. With nearly eight years of experience at Robert Walters Group in various human resources roles, Indy shared insightful perspectives on strategies for embedding inclusion and belonging within organisations and the pivotal role of self-aware, authentic leadership.

Indy's Journey

Luke: Could you start by introducing yourself and providing a brief overview of Robert Walters for context?

I'm Indy Lachhar, recently appointed Chief People Officer at Robert Walters Group. I've been with the company for just under eight years now in a range of HR roles. To give a brief overview — Robert Walters Group is a leading specialist professional recruitment group delivering specialist recruitment consultancy, staffing, recruitment process outsourcing and managed services across the globe. We have physical office locations spanning 31 countries around the world. Our overarching purpose is centred around "powering potential” - for candidates by connecting them with dream roles, for clients by helping them build effective teams and for our own people by offering long-term, rewarding careers.

Luke: What originally spurred you to pursue a career in human resources and people leadership?

It's quite interesting actually, I never envisioned a career in HR or people leadership growing up! I was always just genuinely passionate about supporting others and having a positive impact on everyone I interact with. What I've found is that working in HR and people roles enables me to do that every single day. So that personal fulfilment is what drives me in this function. 

Luke: In your view, what are the most important things for leaders to get right in order to create an equitable and inclusive workplace?

Such an important topic and something I think can be very difficult. When I first stepped into a senior HR role back in 2021, conversations around equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) had really started ramping up compared to prior years. It can honestly feel overwhelming initially figuring out where to start and how to approach it. For me, it’s never about box-ticking or implementing initiatives just for show — it has to be about clarity on the outcomes you want to achieve first and foremost, then determining how you'll get there. 

As a "people business", ED&I has always been core to who we are, and more recently we formalised it through articulating an internal vision and focus areas around it. In 2022, we relaunched our ED&I vision and made it more public both internally and externally. We started with our priority of a “people first” workplace — encouraging listening, learning and respecting each other. We also focused on speaking about what authenticity really means at work.

Luke: On a more tactical level, how have you worked to foster a sense of inclusion at Robert Walters?

At a tactical level, it’s foundational to nurture a human workplace — where people listen, learn, respect each other and feel psychologically safe being their authentic selves. We also educate on the roles we can play to support more inclusive hiring practices for our clients. As an example, we recently launched a co-created leadership behaviour framework called “ACE” which focuses on authenticity, care and an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s now embedded into our leadership development programmes and helps clearly define expectations. We also actively nurture “culture carriers” across the organisation who can organically spread the energy around priorities like inclusion.

Luke: How do you successfully motivate and achieve buy-in across the organisation? 

I think it comes down to the mindset HR and people leaders approach employees with. We have to start from a place of assuming positive intent — at their core, people ultimately just want to contribute to a positive work environment and culture. No one wants to come in and have a bad day at work — we know that. I find that when I begin with curiosity and an intention to build connections, rather than worrying about being a distraction, I receive a positive response. In my experience here, no one has refused when you frame the ask in terms of “how can I enable you to have a great day at work?”. It's about meeting people where they are and tailoring initiatives accordingly. When we look at it through the lens of putting people first, it creates a great starting point.

Luke: On a related note, in your view, what makes for a truly inclusive leader specifically? 

The foundation is absolutely self-awareness – having a willingness to listen, seek feedback, and understand the impact you have on others around you. Consider how you manage your own emotional responses and energy that you project. 

Secondly, I think it’s important that we all take time to consciously reflect on how we can continuously improve and proactively invite candid feedback, to underpin a growth mindset. 

Then it’s about inspiring others through your behaviour and credibility. Essentially, lead by example. Developing this level of self-awareness enables psychological safety so people feel comfortable speaking up and being their true selves. With this authentic foundation in place, true inclusion follows.

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