Audit covers critical HR areas that have the highest impact, employee experience and hiring are two such areas
Audits are instrumental in understanding the health of an organization. At Aditya Birla Group, we believe audit focus should be on strategy alignment, process improvement and identifying aspects that need a review. Statutory and compliance audit are independent processes that are conducted by the internal and external audit teams. Over the years, we have leveraged our conglomerate (multi business) structure to embed audit processes as part of the workflow, with a‘maker-checker’ approach in governance. HR audit processes begin with self assessment or review; it then goes into more granular elements of process that cover aspects ranging from design, technology sufficiency, output and desired impact. The driving emphasis is on adequacy of resources, capability and awareness.
Critical HR areas that need to be audited are those that have A): the highest impact, for example hiring; B): Areas where there is a potential for conflict of interest, for example job design, talent management, reward decisions; C): addressing grievances, for example harassment, code of conduct complaints are crucial, all form important areas of audit. For a manufacturing company like ABG, addressing these challenges is instrumental in taking care of industrial relations related issues.
Periodic audits are peer reviews whereby HR teams from cross business audit another. In order to do this, experienced employees are given tool kits – which include checklists tailored to HR processes within the business. The objective is to provide platform for shared learning and highlighting local practices that are future best practices. HR audit has helped organization design build efficiency and productivity by right sizing teams. Another area for improvement has been onboarding of new hires, leading to the “Brilliant Basics” initiative that grew out of the feedback and reflection exercise. The challenge with audits has to do with the resources and time required to conduct an audit. There is also a perception that audit is a ‘fault finding’ exercise.
Employee engagement is critical to a conglomerate that is the size of ABG. And there is a comprehensive survey called ‘vibes’ that is conducted every alternate year to capture the employee experience. The feedback received by employees is discussed at local and management levels and action plans drawn up in consultation with employees. This exercise has been instrumental in identifying key employee concerns in the last twenty years. An example of such feedback was the “Add more to life” initiative that was launched to address needs of employees in townships located in remote areas. It led to wireless broadband connectivity, digital movie theatre and tele-health service facilities a few years back, when access to these facilities was scarce even in cities. Going forward the endeavor shall be on developing “Smart Townships” in keeping with the Smart Cities initiative.