Article: Building a skills-based organisational structure should be a top priority, says Rajesh Uppal from Maruti Suzuki

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Building a skills-based organisational structure should be a top priority, says Rajesh Uppal from Maruti Suzuki

In the current episode of HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Experts Take, we explore how HR can change to respond effectively to complex people challenges with Rajesh Uppal from Maruti Suzuki.
Building a skills-based organisational structure should be a top priority, says Rajesh Uppal from Maruti Suzuki

The HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Empower and Evolve is a comprehensive analysis of HR transformation and trends in the APAC region. Conducted by People Matters and Darwinbox, the report carries insights based on responses from more than 1,200 HR practitioners, 350 CXOs and 1,500 employees. As part of this endeavour, we are also engaging APAC business leaders to understand how they are managing workplace transformations and identify key HR priorities for 2024.

In this edition of Experts Take, we had an enlightening discussion with Rajesh Uppal, Senior Executive Director, HR and IT at Maruti Suzuki. With over 35 years of experience in the corporate world in diverse roles, Rajesh is a tech professional, IT evangelist and futurist. He drives the IT and HR functions at Maruti Suzuki and is a tall leader in the IT and auto industry. He has a strong grasp of long-term industry trends and is extremely quick to notice industrial shifts that will lead to significant changes in the future.

In this article, based on the discussion with Rajesh, we dive deeper into the following topics:

  • Leading drivers of HR growth for 2024
  • How to build a skill and outcome-based organisational structure
  • The challenges of balancing the varying demands of a diverse workforce

Drivers of HR growth in 2024 for Maruti Suzuki

With the auto industry experiencing a once-in-century transformation encompassing changing production processes, evolving customer preferences and increasing regulations, Maruti Suzuki aims to build a growth-oriented culture and infrastructure that puts people and skills at the forefront. To facilitate smoother collaboration and ensure higher productivity across a multi-generational workforce, Maruti Suzuki is focusing on the following three structural HR shifts that will help the business achieve its goals:

  • Building a skill-based organisational structure: Large companies tend to have traditional organisational structures that reward people based on their tenure and seniority. Maruti Suzuki wants to move toward a skill-based structure that rewards and promotes people with the right skills. This strategic shift is expected to motivate people across levels to focus on skill development and apply those skills to meet business results.
  • Overhauling the employee experience: Rajesh explains that Maruti Suzuki wants to build an employee experience that is at par with customer experience to ensure that every interaction throughout the employee lifecycle is engaging. This will be a core focus area of investment in the near future, in tandem with bolstering the talent acquisition function.
  • Prioritising continuous learning and skilling: Maruti Suzuki wants to enable its workforce to choose relevant learning and development solutions without making an effort to step outside the BAU ecosystem. The organisation plans to accomplish this by integrating digital learning assets in daily workflows and supplementing them with practical training.

Moving from process-based operations to outcome-based strategy

Rajesh says that one key reason HR leaders are more confident in implementing ambitious organisational transformations is that abstract concepts like employee experience and engagement have become measurable today. This means that traditional change practices and models are increasingly becoming obsolete as new transformation approaches are showing better results. These new change management strategies are enabled by HR but are primarily driven by cross-functional collaborations and line managers. In other words, the KRAs for these new practices are not conventional metrics like TATs but more business-oriented success.

Today, HR also follows a more agile methodology of working by co-creating new value propositions with business leaders and functions. The current HR landscape encourages leaders to conduct a pilot, learn from it and scale up implementation strategies expeditiously, allowing HR to experiment with several different facets of people management simultaneously. This outcome-driven approach also helps show results quickly, which is paving the way for higher investment and leadership buy-in.

Managing a multi-generational workforce

Large companies usually face challenges in implementing change at an organisational level. Factors like entrenchment of behaviour and managing a multi-generational workforce further compound this challenge, and yet, a consistent employee experience is critical in today’s world. One practical approach to this problem is having flexibility in policies and processes that can be customised for different roles and functions. HR leaders must recognise that different roles have different requirements; hence, creating policies that reflect those realities will increase the chances of adoption.

Another significant equaliser of employee experience is considering people processes and services as consumer-driven functions, like ordering something online or watching a movie on OTT. Building digital infrastructure that allows organisations to offer experiences and services that employees are familiar with can make employee experience seamless. So, identifying these habitual behaviours that exist outside the workplace is critical to building experiences that are customisable, scalable and consistent. For instance, Maruti Suzuki is building a centralised employee management platform that will manage every single experience across all levels of the company. So, in addition to managing the demographics of the workforce, it’s important to map the psychographic paradigm and tap into societal changes that are underway.

Learn more about the key priorities, strategies and challenges of APAC HR leaders. Download the full HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Empower and Evolve report here.

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Topics: Strategic HR, C-Suite, #Empower And Evolve

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