HR played an essential role in Home Credit's expansion: Jindra Hachova
With a background in psychology and a passion for numbers Jindra Hachova, CHRO, Home Credit India eventually found her calling in HR. She started her career as a recruiter around two decades back, and also worked as an HR manager before joining Home Credit India in May 2015. In a conversation with People Matters Jindra shares how in her journey from recruiter to HR business partner and then to CHRO, she has seen the role of HR evolve and has witnessed the business transform.
Reminiscing her early days as a professional, she shares her experience of working for a company which was providing internet connection at the beginning of the digital era. “At that time internet wasn’t that popular and it was difficult to find people with appropriate skills,” she says. She shares how she went through different telecommunication channels and attracted computer lovers to these jobs. Although people didn't have the necessary skills or lacked knowledge, they were enthusiastic to learn. Newness is what attracted them then, and training is what helped in placing them in right jobs.
From then to industrial revolution 4.0, not much has changed. The challenges are different, but the saga of lack of availability of skilled talent continues. However, Jindra believes it’s not that dramatic today.
“I would say that it is not that dramatic as it was earlier. At that time we were starting from zero. Now, we are more prepared, and all that we need for fulfilling our requirements is the investment in terms of time and money, patience and persistent efforts to skill and train our employees," said Jindra Hachova, CHRO, Home Credit India.
Emphasizing the significance of skilling, Jindra Hachova highlights the importance of skilling and shares few L&D initiatives led in Home Credit India. She also talks about her journey in the company, challenges she faced and contributions she made.
How are you approaching skilling in Home Credit India?
Jindra Hachova: There are two main disciplines for us. One is functional training, and it relates to the front liners which we are hiring in hundreds and thousands. From the hiring perspective, 2016 was a busy year as we were hiring 2500 people a month and also training them. The fundamental of providing functional training is that you need to have a solution which should further have a blueprint. Within 3-10 days, we teach the person everything regarding the process, and then we move them to on the job training. This is how we ensure that they become fast and productivity increases. This whole process is required to be completed smoothly and swiftly. Building this strong training process was crucial for us because it ensured a fast expansion.
The second one was more of a generic learning system as it aimed at building soft skills. We went ahead and designed a management development academy. This L&D initiative was aimed at people managers. In Home Credit India, every people manager goes through the same set of training. This is done to ensure everybody shares same thinking, approach and measurements regarding managing people in the country. This is a country level program and currently, we are delivering this training to 1800 people.
While Jindra believes in the significance of learning initiatives, she thinks the solution to measure the effectiveness of these programs has not yet been developed.
Are you able to measure the effectiveness of these training programs?
Jindra Hachova: If I have onus, then no one has the answer. Of course, we are doing some scoring and assessing the trainers. We have a second level of efficiency measurement, and we ask the manager questions before and after the training. Did you see any difference? Was it impactful? Yes, we are doing this. Is it brilliantly measuring the efficiency? We are still trying to figure and assess it. Even if you want to go through business results and you try hard to link your KPIs criteria to before and after the training, you will always have external factors which you will not be able to relate with the training. To be honest, we are doing all of this, but a strong tool to measure the effectiveness of training program has not been developed yet.
In your journey from the Czech Republic to India, what are some of the challenges that you faced in your new role?
Jindra Hachova: The opportunity to lead the HR function for Home Credit and go to India was exciting but the decision was not that easy. On one hand, the opportunity to work for Home Credit was a dream come true but the risk related to it was also very high because I had to go and live in another country where I had never been before. It was a new beginning, a new company, and a new country. My husband was still working in the Czech Republic as a university teacher and he was commuting from there to India. I was living in India with my nine-year-old son and spoke to my parents who were back home over Skype. With my friends in Czech Republic, I remained connected online.
While this was about the personal life, on the professional front came the task of building a business in India and opening branches in 100 cities in three years.
When I joined we had the interest rate product, and in September 2016 we introduced the zero interest product. The zero percent EMI loan today is our flagship product and a trendsetter in the industry in which we operate. In just one-and-a-half year, we opened branches and expanded pan-India. We created dedicated project teams for various cities.
From HR standpoint, recruitment takes 80 percent of your time in this expansion mode.
And it is almost impossible to find a 100 percent fit in such cases. This is why training is also essential. We started by making a blueprint which was followed for all the cities where we were planning to expand. We made models which included aspects like how many people we need in different positions, the exact timing of their joining the company, and weekly review for the performance of the project teams. At the same time, we were also working on building the HR team. When I joined Home Credit, we had 30 people, and today it is more than 200 people strong team. For two years after I took over as CHRO expansion remained our main focus. Simultaneously, we also continued to focus on basic functions like payroll and compliance. Then we worked on tuning the quality of process and efficiency. The situation today is completely different. The moment we introduce ourselves as a multinational operating pan-India with 18,000 employees it becomes easier to attract people to work with us. The HR impact can very well be seen on the brand that we were able to build. When we started, brand awareness was one of our agendas and today we are proud to be recognized as a 'best employer' by Aon Hewitt.
(This is part one of the two-part interview with Jindra Hachova, CHRO, Home Credit India. Read more about some of the HR initiatives led in Home Credit India and about Jindra’s contribution to the company's success and transition in the second story coming soon on People Matters.)