A compelling employee experience results in better HR and financial outcomes: Chandan Chattaraj, President HR, UFlex
Chandan Chattaraj is President – Human Resources of UFlex Ltd. Chandan comes with extensive experience in People Development and Change Management from varied industry sectors. His stint prior to UFlex was with Aircel as Chief Human Resources Officer where he led the HR Function and was also responsible for the Aircel Academy (Centre of Learning & Development). He has also worked with The Oberoi Group, Xerox India, Jubilant Organosys, Delphi Corporation, Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) and Tata Steel in his professional journey thus far.
Under his leadership, the UFlex HR team has won many accolades like award for Excellence in L&D in 2018, Continuous innovation in HR strategy award in 2017 by UP Best Employers, Best CSR Practices Award 2016 and Most Caring Companies of India 2015 by World HRD Congress. Edited excerpts:
What does Employee Value Proposition (EVP) mean for UFlex and what drives your organisation’s decision to invest in it?
For UFlex, Employee Value Proposition is a cultural shift whereby we invest just as much in our employees as we do in our customers. It comprises an array of programmes which UFlex offers to the employees in exchange of their employment and defines the ‘give and get’ between us and employee, encompassing every aspect of the employment experience — from the organisation’s brand, mission, purpose and values, our jobs, culture and people, to the full portfolio of our total reward programs. At UFlex, while keeping pace with the fast changing business and market dynamics, we strive to continue to be market leaders in Packaging films business, Aseptic Liquid Packaging business, Chemical business and Flexible packaging business. For this, it is important to have a distinctive employer brand and compelling employee experience which results in better HR and financial outcomes. EVP helps us differentiate from our competitors by laying down what is unique about us, our employer brand, and the experience of working in the world of UFlex.
How do you define Employee Value Proposition (EVP) of your company – how is it unique for UFlex? How do you create an employee value proposition for your organisation?
The USP of UFlex EVP is that it has a range of offerings to our employees on employee empowerment, striving for excellence, continuous growth and recognition. Based on the employee life cycle, it also addresses the complete employee perspective. At UFlex, EVP is an essence of the company and we have created an employee value proposition for our organisation based on following three phases methodology:
- Assess & Analyse: The Business strategy, Organisation brand, Talent requirement, Review of current people practices, Strength elements and improvement areas.
- Design & Develop: Themes on the basis of employee perspective for creating unique and compelling EVP for UFlex.
- Branding & Communication of EVP Model
Why is “employee experience” (EX) important for HR organisations and business leaders?
In view of fast changing business and market dynamics, it is important to have a unique employer brand and compelling employee experience. At the end of the workday, positive employee experience has direct correlation to business success. Employees who feel comfortable, welcome, accommodated, and empowered return this positive energy into the work they do, the interactions they share, and the company culture. These factors contribute to a business’ bottom line. We have to keep in mind that all people don’t need to be happy all the time, but an employee’s experience with their workplace should never be the reason for them to be unhappy.
At UFlex, while maintaining the balance between employee productivity and employee experience we have clearly defined ‘Culture and Values’ of the organisation and have employee experience at the heart of the company culture.
How do you facilitate recruiting and talent acquisition strategies to improve EVP? Have you seen outcomes in terms of talent retention?
While recruiting and acquiring talent, we encourage diversity and inclusion and believe in equality and non-discrimination on any basis globally. We have a well defined framework of dynamic job descriptions for each and every position we hire and therefore we provide clarity of role to our new entrants which enhances the quality of our EVP. Since we are a multinational company, we provide a large spectrum of opportunities to our employees to work and engage with different nationalities across the globe. We have a well-defined on-boarding program for any new entrant at different levels which helps in quick settling of new employees and thereby creating a positive experience for them.
For hiring from campuses, we have a structured framework at every level and also have a clear career path defined in our campus recruitment scheme. Therefore, helping the freshers to remain aware about their career path and succession in the company. For lateral recruitment too, we have a well-defined hierarchy structure and elevation norms that makes them aware about their career mapping while joining UFlex.
All the above initiatives in Talent Acquisition led us to improved retention of employees. Our retention rate is quite healthy and we have a large pool of employees who have been working with us for many years.
Have you noticed outcomes of a positive employee experience in terms of business, employee satisfaction and work culture?
A happy and motivated employee leads to happy customers - in turn making the work environment positive. Our productivity has increased manifold and we have been able to expand our businesses in different geographies around the world. In the last two years, we have started our manufacturing operations in Nigeria, Russia and Hungary globally and added new manufacturing lines in Egypt and Poland while in India we built new manufacturing setups at Hosur and Dharwad which will be live soon in the next few months. We are able to attract industry talent to the Company, in the last two years we have increased our workforce by more than four thousand. Our attrition rate in the last few years and even in the era of The Great Resignation remains a single figure and quite stable although new competitors are stepping in. During the pandemic, while other industries were grappling with issues of absenteeism or low productivity, we recorded high levels of productivity and revenue generation. Our employees at all levels remained motivated enough to contribute to the goals of the company.
What practices at your organisation have the most significant impact on employee experience? Any specific guidance you want to elaborate on how organisations can improve employee experiences and achieve employee experience (EX) excellence?
We have structured talent management initiatives which have largely contributed to positive employee experience. We have uniform HR Policies throughout the organisation and across locations. Robust Performance Management System has led to realistic rationalisation of performances and thus identifying the top performers, average performers and low performers. While doing this we have identified the high performers whom we can groom to take leadership positions in near future. Individual Development Plans are prepared for identified hi-pots and consistently been taken through structured experiential and intellectual initiatives to prepare them for future assignments. In learning and development, we have launched ‘UFlex Learning Academy’ which provides a platform for specialisation and growth of our human capital. The Academy brings together a range of off-the-shelf digital, blended, and classroom courses on a wide range of business-driven subjects, delivered through our secure and accessible online platform. Our build v/s buy philosophy has helped us to stay ahead of the curve for new manpower requirements and expansions.
How do you use technology in creating and sustaining positive employee experiences?
Technology brings a lot of ease and provides a space for innovation and creativity in day-to-day operations. Innovation is one of the values that we cultivate in UFlex. From the shop floor to offices, advanced technology is being introduced to remain ahead of the curve; this technology advancement helps in creating a new learning curve for employees and thus keeps them engaged and motivated.
Our HR functions right from TA (Talent Acquisition), Payroll, PMS (Performance Management System) to L&D (Learning & Development) are available on cloud based online platforms thus enabling an employee to work from any place in the world. During the pandemic, we adopted online assessments and virtual interview mode in TA and now we are continuing with it. That helps us cope better with no-show candidates while also providing better flexibility to good quality candidates, thus improving our turnaround time. All such technology interventions for HR operations have led to providing transparent, accurate and uniform information to employees thus creating a sense of trust and positivity.