Article: Airtel is turning employees into true talent brand ambassadors

Employee Engagement

Airtel is turning employees into true talent brand ambassadors

Srikanth Balachandran, Global CHRO, Airtel on turning employees into true talent brand ambassadors & connecting them with the organization’s growth agenda
Airtel is turning employees into true talent brand ambassadors

We want every employee to feel a sense of belonging with Airtel’s growth agenda, and in the process, carve out a long term future for themselves at Airtel


At Airtel, talent is everybody’s agenda, not just HR's. The talent agenda has always been at the forefront of our business strategy. Since I took over this role, our first exercise was to reconnect with our business leaders and people, both existing as well as ex-employees, to get a sense of what we should do new or better. We also revisited the employee engagement survey results to remind ourselves of the voice of our employees. 

Talent First

When we did the exercise of reconnecting with leaders and employees alike, we also connected with respected HR leaders and practitioners from other organizations on the latest industry practices. Based on their feedback, we arrived at a 10-point people agenda for Airtel called ‘Talent First’. Through Talent First, we want to build a high performance culture, and organizational and people capabilities to deliver and grow, and enable functioning of cross-functional teams across Airtel. At the core of the ‘Talent First’ initiative are the culture and values that every Airtel employee experiences day-in and day-out. Our culture is to keep the customer at the heart of everything we do and this manifests in our employee behavior at the workplace. People collaborate with each other to deliver a delightful experience to Airtel customers and help achieve our vision of enriching their lives. Everyone in Airtel is obsessed with winning customers for life. Our values of being alive, inclusive and respectful define who we are. Talent First will help employees know what is expected of them, what their future is and how they can learn, deliver and grow. It will also make Airtel an exciting place to work, and employees would feel energized and connected. 

Connecting talent and business strategies

We want to tie our talent strategy with our business strategy. From a business standpoint, currently, Airtel is the world’s third largest mobile operator in terms of customer base. We have achieved this in exactly 20 years. And we are embarking on the next wave of growth with a proposed investment of $9 billion in the next three years which will propel Airtel to greater heights. Our employees are going to be at the forefront of this exciting era. We want every employee to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness with Airtel’s growth agenda, and in the process, carve out a long term future for themselves at Airtel. We want to make our employees feel a part of this journey and become true ambassadors for Airtel. That is the basis of our Talent First agenda.

Focus: Building our employer brand

Keeping that in mind, our number one agenda will be to develop a strong employer brand. We want to leverage the fact that we are a big telecom brand, the number three mobile operator in the world. 

Going forward, in 2016, our plan is to use social media to attract the best and brightest talent. At Airtel, employees are doing some great work in terms of latest technologies, cutting edge digital apps, customer propositions and market development. We want our employees to be our best (talent) brand ambassadors, and we want them to use the power of Social Media to do the same. We will also enable and aim at enhancing our employer value proposition by sharing the exciting work, and enriching and enticing activities that are and will take place at Airtel. For instance, we are launching our Payment Bank soon, and we are looking to leverage the power of social.

For us, the picture of success is that all employees feel inspired to do their best every day, and take pride in the feeling of “I am Airtel”. Our culture, together with our values, is the glue that binds our people, and creates lasting relationships within Airtel, and with millions of our customers.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employer Branding, #TalentAgenda2016, #TAWeek

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