Leadership training, which includes both technical and interpersonal skills, plays a crucial role in achieving organisational success, especially when leaders lead by example and make employee engagement an integral part of it. In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Megha Goel, Chief Human Resources Officer at Godrej Properties Ltd, shared insights on how nurturing leadership skills in talent can enhance the effectiveness of the organisation's business strategies and elevate the employee experience at all levels.
Here are the edited excerpts:
Could you give an overview of Godrej Properties' Talent Assessment and Capability Building (TAC) program? Can you provide specific examples of its impact on employees and the organisation?
At Godrej Properties, we believe in grooming and investing in our talent and as a result, we have been able to take bets on our talent early on in their careers. Most of our top talent is home-grown and we take immense pride in the way we went about taking bets on them; three out of four Zonal CEOs in the organisation are home-grown and 11 out of 13 members of our Management Committee are internally groomed. The same is the case with our Zonal Leadership group. As Godrej Properties is on a growth trajectory, it’s crucial that we further reinforce and multiply our talent engine and this is where Talent Assessment and Capability Building (TAC) comes in.
The programme involved a deep assessment of the top talent in the organisation and identifying the next line of leaders at various levels of the succession pipeline with a Ready Now/Ready in 2 years categorisation. The next steps of career paths in business-critical roles and the development of key talent helped us channel our efforts into investing in the development of key high-potential talent in the organisation.
To share an example with you, we recently filled one of the GPL MC positions from the internal cadre. The TAC programme played a pivotal role in identifying the talent pipeline for this position and we were able to take a thought-through call on the succession. Only talent identified through this intervention gets evaluated for leadership roles.
What key aspects of the TAC program, in your perspective, have set a new industry standard for talent management? How does this programme enhance employee engagement and the overall workplace experience?
In my opinion, TAC is a one-of-its-kind programme, since it’s no longer a People Function agenda but a larger business transformation exercise to hold ourselves accountable to delivering high-quality leaders to the organisation for achieving Quantum Growth at Godrej Properties. We have set ourselves on a catapulted growth journey and we need visionary leaders to drive it for us. We are also very clear that we want to create leaders for the organisation and for the real estate sector at large. Market leaders must do that and we take that mantle seriously.
We recently also launched another initiative called Talent War Room for identifying talent for early leadership and chalking out their next leadership role and we have seen immense enthusiasm from our leadership across the organisation in sponsoring and pitching success stories of their talent. The BIG experiment we ran there is having Managers pitch their talent – this is usually a cohort that is guilty of hoarding talent. We were surprised by the enthusiasm they showed in their pitches and the power and privilege they took from the exercise. In the coming future, we want to closely partner with the identified budding leaders in grooming them to scale newer heights. This is also a platform for us to identify young women leaders – 25% of the talent identified in this exercise were women. We aim to increase this number as well by focusing work on young women's talent.
Can you provide an overview of the Catalyst programme at Godrej Properties and explain how it fosters holistic leadership development?
Quite literally, a catalyst is an “accelerator” and we couldn’t find a more fitting nomenclature given our intent for this program is to accelerate the journey of young talent for early leadership roles. In fact, the talent identified through War Room will ideally go through Catalyse in the future.
The Catalyst programme is meant to enhance the readiness of our high-performing talent making the transition from entry-level roles to first-level leadership roles.
We started the programme last year in 2022 with a handpicked batch of 130 participants pan-India undergoing a 6-month long blended learning journey. This year another batch of 125 are currently on this journey.
The programme focuses on building capabilities around Strategy, Finance and Leadership subjects, along with enhancing the functional capabilities of participants. This is based on deep diagnosis answering one question “What does it take for me to grow into the first level of leadership?”.
This is delivered through a mix of self-paced modules, virtual classroom sessions, in-person workshops and various activities such as case discussions, simulation games, and group activities.
Can you share examples of how the Catalyst programme has enhanced the leadership skills of participants?
The program focuses on helping them make some of the critical shifts that support their transition – moving from an individual mindset to an organisational mindset, big picture thinking and taking a more strategic view of business problems, decoding business numbers, business planning and forecasting.
We have received strong participant testimonies around aspects of building multi-faced perspectives to business problems, being able to build a deeper appreciation of business numbers and leadership thinking and being able to engage meaningfully with senior stakeholders and those from other functions.
Of the participants who underwent the complete program in the first batch last year, we saw 2/3rds getting promoted to the next grade and approximately 20% are already in first-level leadership roles today within just 6 months of completion of the programme.
Some of the key examples of this programme are:
- Through the program, I have been able to build a more global view of business situations, see the same issue from multiple functions perspective, and understand the thought process that gets any stakeholder to a particular point (Participant, Design)
- Catalyze program taught us ‘Big Picture Thinking’. Now instead of jumping into solutions, I’ve learned to process my thoughts and shape the problems with multiple possibilities and then own a solution with it. And now when I’m convincing stakeholders, I’m able to speak to them in a language that is meaningful for them. (Participant, Operations)
What long-term impact do such programs have on an organisation's growth and success, in your experience?
Personally, I firmly believe in staying closely invested in the development of people and TAC, Catalyse and the GPL Alchemy (In-house learning academy) are steps towards this direction. GPL is still a young organisation that is poised to grow stronger. The only way we can sustain the momentum is by entrusting the helm of our organisation in very capable hands.
Our vision is to be an industry shaper in talent practices, and our key talent tenet is to build talent from within, as well as to build great functional and leadership talent for the sector.
These are fundamental interventions to extend beyond focusing on the development of only leadership talent and take it to every level – catch them early and hold on to them through their journey. In fact, we have seen a sharp dip in our high performer attrition overall especially in cohorts that are a part of such talent and capability intervention.