Renewal of Work: Steven Kanga (Human Resources)

Steven Kanga reflects on how the gospel narrative influences his work as a human resources professional.

Editors’ note: 

Our work or vocation is very much a part of the gospel story. In this series, The Gospel Coalition India invites working professionals and entrepreneurs to reflect on their work through the five chapters of the gospel narrative—creation, fall, redemption, renewal and new creation.

Steven Kanga reflects how he envisions his role as a human resources professional in light of the gospel narrative.

Vocation: Tell us about your work

I have been working as a human resources professional for about the last 15 years. My current role is as an HR business partner to 3 divisions.

I function as a human resources, single point of contact: “HR SPOC.” My role is a fulcrum between the business leaders, the business team members, and the HR team members. I am responsible for 500+ team members.

In my role, I handle HR processes and functions like employee engagement, managing employee issues, and performance management. I am also responsible for employee career development.

During Covid, my role also included employee care as well.

Creation: How Does Your Work Connect with God’s Original Creation Plan for Humanity?

When I look at God’s creation plan, I see that God created everybody in his image to reflect his perfection. But on a day-to-day basis, I see how far we have fallen from the original creation plan.

Sin has entered my life and affects my responses. I believe that God created everybody to work in symphony, synchronised with each other.

But at present, we work such that we are stepping on each other’s toes and pulling one another down, showcasing how far we have fallen from God’s original creation.

I believe that HR is a profession that seeks to take us back to the original plan of working in harmony with one another.

Fall: How is Your Work Making You Aware of Your Own Brokenness and the Brokenness of the World Around You?

There are a couple of things I have become aware of. One is, how we tend to gossip and speak of things behind another person’s back. It is another way that reminds me of my own brokenness.

Additionally, I often strongly associate work with my income. Hence, the minute my increment does not come to what I expected, despite the work I put in. It leaves me disappointed, reminding me of my brokenness.

During the high of achievement as well as during the low of feeling worthless, I was still a child of God.

I also mistakenly base my identity on my accomplishments. For a long time, I felt I was not good at anything.

About 2 years ago I won an award. Suddenly I felt recognised for my work and capability. Funnily enough, I remember being tearful and joyous when I experienced this feeling of “Finally, something I am good at!” But, I was wrong at both times.

During the high of achievement as well as during the low of feeling worthless, I was still a child of God.

The identity of being a God’s child is the biggest foundation I can anchor my life on. I have received both criticism and praise over the last 15 years. But the only thing that kept me stable is that I am a child of God.

Redemption: Could You Share a Recent Example of How the Gospel Made You a Better Worker?

When we go through the performance cycle process, there are parts of the process that I am responsible for, parts which are a joint effort, and parts which others are responsible for.

In the past, I would refrain from taking on added responsibility for work that was part of a joint effort. But I recently found myself thinking that I cannot be limited by my role.

It prompted me to take the extra mile and pick up work outside my sole responsibility and take full accountability and responsibility for it.

When I receive criticism I try not to become defensive. I try to offer accountability and take responsibility for it.

Renewal: How Are You Able to Love and Serve Others In and Through Your Work?

During the peak of the pandemic, it was a tough season for me as an HR professional.

I remember there was one day when I had to make 5 calls to different people dealing with Covid and with each call the story got worse. I heard of more people falling sick, more desperation as people fell sick and were unable to find beds.

God enabled me to console them and assure them that we are helping them find beds, and reaffirm that things were not as bad as they were fearing. This was a way where I have been able to show God’s love and empathy.

New Creation: How Do You Connect Your Work Here and Now to Our Longing for the Perfect World That Christ Will Bring When He Comes Again?

It is something I am still thinking through; I do focus on being God’s ambassador in my current role, but do not think of it from an eternity perspective. It is something I am wrestling through.

When Christ comes back, we would be redeemed and our nature and character would be fixed. The Bible says we will be redeemed and set right. What comes to my mind is, “What would HR do then?”

Because nobody would be in conflict with each other and I wouldn’t have to ensure everyone gets equal treated fairly. I think that it would be a pleasant experience as work would be joyful, unlike the current work environment where there is a constant feeling of stress and strife.

I guess the role of HR in eternity, in a perfect world, would be like a conductor in an orchestra, someone to bring that harmony in.