Article: Building a wide leadership pipeline by filling competency gaps


Building a wide leadership pipeline by filling competency gaps

With a focus on building leadership capabilities at all levels, Vedanta Limited adopted a framework of external guidance and internal involvement for leadership development
Building a wide leadership pipeline by filling competency gaps

Every organization is prone to disintegration and losing its way in absence of a strong leadership acting as the guiding and motivating force for the entire organization. Vedanta Limited, Jharsuguda commenced operation in 2008 as an aluminum and power company in the manufacturing sector. To emerge as a leader, the major challenge for Vedanta Limited, Jharsuguda was to strengthen the leadership capability of this technically-strong pool of employees for creating a sustained leadership pipeline. Though the workforce was technically strong, the competency gaps on the leadership front existed which required to be bridged especially for the middle-level and first-time managers in terms of competencies like developing people, being a team player, thinking and acting strategically, managing external and internal environment, etc. Attracting and retaining the right quality of leaders was a major challenge.  To counter this, creating a strong leadership pipeline internally and incorporating it in the organization’s DNA became the need of the hour.

Identifying the right strategy for deployment

Acknowledging the benefits of tried and tested models, Vedanta initially looked at the option of outsourcing leadership development to a third-party with expertise in L&D solutions. However, this involved a major drawback in terms of the extent of customization. Therefore, Vedanta strategically developed a talent management framework for leadership development which combined the internal expertise of people development team with external expertise. The combination of external guidance and internal involvement for leadership development was designed to build leadership capability at all levels. The biggest benefit of such a framework was its ability to adapt to the growing organization’s changing requirements. While the internal L&D team was well aware of the organizational challenges and requirements of the leadership development model, the involvement of third-party brought with it tested practices.

Putting leadership development model in place

The adopted talent management framework sought to address the challenge of leadership development from the nascent stage by involving internal recruiters trained on competency-based interviewing. The model then helped to classify both existing and new employees in one of the six stages of the career stage model. These employees were then imparted trainings to prepare them for the next career stage. This model also included Competency Assessment of employees both internally by managers and also through external Development Assessment Centers in association with reputed third-parties which acted as the base for segregation of employees in the 9-box performance-potential matrix. The crux of the framework was in leveraging developmental interventions like the 70:20:10 learning principle where 70% of the learning for leaders would happen through tools like action learning projects, cross-functional exposure under secondment for stipulated period, 20% through mentoring, coaching and reading engagement/desktop study and 10% through training and also involving leaders in leading and implementing the Total Quality Management approach. Individual development plans were designed for leaders and performance was reviewed by managers on quarterly basis.

Building a pipeline of leaders

Vedanta witnessed numerous benefits, ranging from financial figures and perception scores, to benefits like transformation of culture and increase in trust of people. With the objective to sustain and increase these benefits, Vedanta has identified cross-functional coaches across the Aluminum & Power sector who can act as mentors to the identified pool of talent to be groomed as future leaders. In addition to all of these, potential leaders are also being provided executive coaching as well as global exposure to internalize capability-building and leadership development as part of the Vedanta culture. 

(Vedanta Ltd, Jharsuguda won the L&D League award for the “Best in Accelerating leadership” category)


Winner's Response 

We are delighted to receive the award for "Best in Accelerating leadership" category. This is a proof that the organization is on the right track. In the last four years we have been trying to create leaders across all levels, it also included special initiatives for building a technically proficient talent pool.

The success of the practice was determined by a perception survey and by seeing if the areas have seen significant increase in scores. However for future, Vedanta is open to make changes as and when required considering the fact that what worked 4 years ago might not work for the current or upcoming year.


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Topics: Leadership, #LAndDWeek, #HR Ready, #RootedinLearning

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