Article: Ensuring employee engagement: C.S. Verma


Ensuring employee engagement: C.S. Verma

C.S. Verma, CMD, Steel Authority of India

As everyone knows, among all resources namely men, machine, money, and material, it is the first i.e. men or people, which facilitate effective utilization of all other resources. So, any effective business strategy cannot afford to ignore the significance and central role of human resources. SAIL is a labor-intensive company with multi-locational units and people challenges are therefore aplenty.

To realize its vision, SAIL has adopted a multi pronged approach that includes organic growth through Brownfield projects, technology leadership through strategic alliances and ensuring raw materials security through acquisition and development of new mines. In this backdrop, the HR priorities of the company include, benchmarking of manpower to meet skill demands due to change in technology and develop a committed workforce through right acquisition, retention, development and utilization; competence and capability building by revitalizing a learning culture through innovation and creativity, and optimization of employment cost.

Being the CEO of a people-intensive organization, my role is all people-related. Even when we are discussing operations, finance, projects etc., it all boils down to people-management and people-skills. Having said that, if I look at my attention to “people-related” activities in the present context, I spend anywhere between 40-50 percent of the working hours, excluding the external stakeholder engagements, which take away a major chunk of the total time for any CEO.

Within this, employee engagement and leadership development are two major people-related time investments that feature on my personal calendar. Further, I am also available to our people through SMS/email. Any employee of the company can send an SMS or email to me and I personally respond to each one.

During the beginning of my tenure, I started the practice of putting in place a monitoring mechanism for both short-term and long-term goals of the company. I included periodic reviews with the chief executives, breaking down the unit level tasks/targets down to the department/individual level, etc. I also introduced the Balanced Scorecard system in the organization for performance management and strategy development.
Additionally, my role is to ensure that SAIL practices the highest standard of corporate governance by ensuring transparency, disclosures and reporting that confirm fully to laws, regulations and guidelines, and introduced the ‘Enterprise Risk management System’ in SAIL for streamlining the strategic planning and identifying risks in all areas of business including talent management. This was recognized on Public Sector Day (13.4.2012) wherein SAIL was conferred the Scope Meritorious Award 2010-11 in Corporate Governance category by Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, Hon’ble President of India.

Besides the above activities, I have ensured frequent employee-expert interface programs for their overall development, by enabling interactions with industry experts like Shobhana Radhakrishna, Chief Executive of DISHA, and Lord Swraj Paul, an eminent industrialist of Indian origin, who spoke with the employees of SAIL on steering the manufacturing industry through difficult times.

Being a firm believer in people’s capabilities and its role in driving performance, my focus is to ensure employee engagement at various levels in the company to tap their ideas and potential to find solutions. I would like my people to work towards value creation at workplaces, build a strong, cohesive and aligned team, ensure operating discipline and connect with stakeholders to champion the company’s value and culture.

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Topics: C-Suite, Strategic HR, Employee Engagement, #ExpertViews

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