Milind Apte, Senior Vice President, HR, CEAT who leads the people function in CEAT company shares some significant challenges faced by today’s organizations and how he is planning to navigate through all of them.
Q. A lot of organizations are reviewing talent management approaches and focusing on an integrated approach that looks at how talent management programs can support business strategy. What's your view on this?
We have continuously made changes in our talent management strategy to align it with our business strategy. Our succession planning is designed strategically to de-risk the organization from any business adversity. Lateral hiring is done to meet the skill gap and to create a diverse talent pool to support the long term vision.
With more than 65% of all the positions being filled internally, we make sure that the culture fabric is strengthened. This also leads to massive hiring at the entry level. The company hires a significant number of management and graduate trainees from excellent business schools every year.
Q. What are the different practices that are followed in CEAT that are different from other organizations?
‘Samarthya’ is one of our unique offerings. This was launched in 2018. The tagline of “Machine to Market” offers an opportunity for our shop floor associates to move from manufacturing to sales as territory leader. Our employees have widely appreciated this initiative. We have so far placed six of our associated in the sales system, and another twenty five are raring to join the field.
We as a company strongly believe in ‘Work-Life Balance.`` This is why we have five working days and have removed the nine hours per day and 45 hours per week norm for our employees.
Q. Almost no one is passionate about what they do. In fact, research shows that a whopping two-thirds of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. What’s the missing link?
I agree, the way employees look at work and life has changed tremendously. With the change in the composition of the workforce and their preferences, existing engagement models may not remain relevant for long. Hence it’s no more about “one fits all approach” which will work. Employees look forward to the enhancement of the “Professional Net Worth” by staying in an organization. To my mind, it’s all about creating individual experience journeys which will inspire and engage the employees.
Q. Which will be HR’s most significant challenges in the coming year?
Technology is disrupting the way organizations work. The pace of disruption is significant. With millennials becoming a vital part of the workforce and Gen Z about to become a part, standard methods of work and engagement are getting challenged. Hence preparing the organization to adapt to the changes caused by these disruptions will be one of the biggest challenges organizations will face in the coming year.
Q. There are discussions around how HR is going agile. Can HR leverage this model which is mostly used in the tech world?
The tech world has moved towards working in dynamic teams which can respond to the customer needs quickly. These teams pre-empt the requirements and work on finding solutions which may be sought by the customer in the future. They are highly empowered teams which work without any formal boundary. Everything these teams do is with the customer at the center. It’s all about the speed of response and ability to change direction quickly that matters.
Given the pace of disruption, it is essential for organizations to be agile. HR is responsible for creating enabling structures, processes, policies, culture which will define the way organizations work. Hence HR will be required to lead this transformation by first skilling the HR team. It’s all about building dynamic structures, processes, and policies which will provide both stability and dynamism.