Article: The journey of authentic conversations with CEAT's MD

Culture

The journey of authentic conversations with CEAT's MD

In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Anant Goenka, the Managing Director of CEAT, shares his 'people' mantra for the company including how they build a continuous learning culture.
The journey of authentic conversations with CEAT's MD

Anant Goenka took over as the Managing Director of CEAT in the year 2012 and has transformed the tyremaker over the years. CEAT is part of the RPG group which was set up by his grandfather Rama Prasad Goenka in 1979.

In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Goenka shares his ‘people’ mantra for the company including how they built a continuous learning culture.

As the CEO of the company, how do you create a learning culture in the organization?

Our learning philosophy is to build a culture of self-learning that enables each employee to unleash talent, experiment and contribute productively and collectively to organization success. We have thus, imbibed the 70:20:10 principle of learning.

We have institutionalized a culture of cross-functional teams and there are several teams working on live business projects and learning on the job. Through structured job rotations, we encourage all our employees to take up new assignments every four years. We have been able to build a pool of diversified talent which has also helped our succession planning. We have embarked upon the journey of authentic conversations and are equipping all people leaders to conduct effective career dialogues with each of their team members. Thus, individual career aspirations are captured from where development needs emerge. We make a ‘Long Term Development Action Plan’ which brings a sharp focus on employees’ development in line with their career aspirations. There is also a robust potential assessment exercise that happens every year which, together with career dialogues, ties in with succession planning and job rotation.

Niche forums like ‘Young Executive Board’ are helping our top talent with accelerated learning opportunities. Development of employees is one of the key priorities for all the senior leaders in the organization. Coaching and mentoring is an integral part of our DNA. We have more than 25 certified coaches and several mentors who are positively impacting a significant number of employees every year.

We offer several structured interventions for the development of our employees. With CAIRO (our values) and Quality Based Management (our TQM philosophy) being the tenets of CEAT, our focus has always been on creating a culture where value-based behaviors can be demonstrated and people are equipped with structured problem solving and decision-making skills. We have institutionalized functional development through academies for Quality Management, Sales and Technical capability building. Our Competency-Based Learning Maps help identify and bridge skill gaps. There is a sharp focus on developing “People Leadership”. We have partnered with globally reputed institutes like Harvard and ISB to impart high-quality learning. From a leadership learning point of view, our parent, RPG Group’s Corporate University provides various programs which align the employees to the RPG Capability Framework. Through our e-learning platform, we provide over two thousand online courses for our employees.

To my mind, we have been able to create a culture of learning where our employees own their development and we have been able to create an ecosystem which provides the flexibility and resources for learning.

How do your leadership and character development programs align with the changing needs of today's organizations?

Given the technological disruption and workplace trends for the future, through deep insighting process, we have identified core competencies for future leadership. Ability to inspire, influence, coach, and build a relationship will become very important. In addition, the ability to display humility and empathy will be critical.

We have brought significant focus on building people leadership with a focus on character, empathy, humility, etc. We have started imparting ‘Story Telling’ as a core skill. This has the power to inspire and influence people. Coaching is embedded in CEAT. We have a large pool of certified coaches who are helping people in their personal and professional journeys. Over the last two years, we have invested in building conversation capability across the organization.  

Through these interventions, the idea is to build leadership which will anchor and guide employees through the disruptive and uncertain times.

How do you plan to bring value to your organization and prepare the organization to face disruption?

The key priority for HR is to prepare the organization to face the disruption caused by the massive and fast-paced technological changes. With the possibility of all the repetitive and administrative tasks being taken care through the usage of AI, automation, etc., re-skilling of employees in the area of creativity, customer centricity, and other relevant skills will become crucial. The learning orientation has to be accustomed to the changes triggered by disruption. It is estimated that by 2020, more than 45 percent of the workforce will be comprised of millennials. Also by 2025, more than 50 percent of the total workforce will be GIG. With more and more employees opting for work from home, managing this diverse workforce will pose a significant challenge for the leaders. Hence HR will be required to play an important role in skilling the leaders on managing this workforce, anchor conversations, manage anxiety and demonstrate empathy. The standard definition of employee engagement will be replaced with dynamic models relevant to the diverse workforce. It will be critical for HR to build an extremely agile organization which can adapt and move in the line with the pace of change. It will be very important for HR to first build this skill set and then anchor this for the entire organization.

In August 2018, CEAT announced an investment of Rs. 2000 crores on a new plant. How many jobs is CEAT going to create in the coming years?

We have invested in Phase I of our upcoming Chennai manufacturing facility. We will be generating around 1000 direct employment over time.  

Coaching and mentoring is an integral part of our DNA and we have more than 25 certified coaches, and several mentors who positively impact a significant number of employees every year

What are your expansion plans for India in terms of hiring new talents?

We have aligned our talent strategy with our company vision. We are a people-centric organization and believe in creating leaders from within. This helps us in protecting the culture of the organization and minimize disruption. We have managed to fill 65 percent of all open positions through the internal talent and have the intent to take it to 75 percent. Talent development is also a part of senior leadership’s goal.

We have a very strong entry-level talent acquisition strategy. We hire around 70-80 management and engineering graduates every year. We have a defined career path in place for them and they look forward to having a meaningful career with us. We also do lateral hiring to fill the skill gap and strengthen the succession pipeline.

Through the succession planning workshops, we bring in a sharp focus on the Long Term Talent need of the organization and work on building the talent pipeline.

 

Topics: Culture, Learning & Development

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