How an expat CHRO built the HR team in Home Credit India
As we know from the previous story, Jindra Hachova, CHRO, Home Credit India always had a dream to travel to India. When she got the opportunity at the company, it was a dream come true. In the previous article, she shared her story including some professional and personal challenges. She shared the story of Home Credit India’s expansion in pan India and highlighted HR’s role during the same.
Continuing the conversation with People Matters, Jindra Hachova speaks about diversity, talent acquisition and building an HR organization. She also talks about the evolving role of HR in the future.
Considering that Home Credit India is a Czech Republic company, were there any challenges related to cultural diversity? How did you address these challenges?
I won’t compare the people of Czech Republic to the people of India but would talk about diversity that we have in India. We have a lot of diversity within Home Credit India, and it is important for us to address that. For instance, we have three call centers which operate in 11 languages. We are running separate customer support in various regional languages. For HR this means recruiting people not just as per process but also as per languages. For this, we developed a tracking mechanism to track how many people you need for which process and for which language. It was very sophisticated capacity planning based on business needs converted to recruitment requirements, converted to how many recruiters we need. This is how we successfully managed complexity. This complexity was there in the recruitment process because of the diversity we required within to cater to diverse needs of our customers. This recruiting was not limited to the customer centers, in fact, I had to recruit HR people who knew regional languages as well. What helped me as an expat to overcome this challenge was reliance on local HR people in my team. I depended on people for their knowledge of local market, and I was very lucky to have dependable people on my team.
Can you talk more about the tracking mechanism that you built to identify your recruiting needs?
It is very technical. It is not secretive. It is a very sophisticated excel tool which is allowing us to predict our recruitment needs based on the trends of business volume and certain other parameters. So, for example, for core actions, we have some history of the delinquency, we have some history of attrition and also some history of the productivity of our recruiters. So, what we are doing is we are taking the historical data and converting it into projections, and through the formula, we can calculate how many people we need for a particular project, what will be our project attrition and how many people we will need with a particular skill set. And this is something we do on a weekly basis. We made projections and did some planning. This tool enabled us to foresee and become more proactive in terms of recruitment. Until we had this sort of projection we were always behind because we were not aware of the requirements. So, this was one of the breakthroughs in how to shift from far-fighting to be at least in line with business needs and not behind.
How has working as an ex-pat HR professional been for you?
There is no difference when it comes to skill set requirement, but yes there is an element of uncertainty. You have more knowledge about the place where you have grown. You have a certain background experience and knowledge, and you can build on it. The moment you move to another country, the knowledge and experience you have is not enough. When I came here, I had to learn the market. A lot of things were new. I was blind towards vendors, for instance. As an HR in a country for 15 years, I knew which the good universities are and which great Payroll Company is. While when I came here, I had to learn all of this and had to depend on others for advice. This was one area where I faced difficulty.
I was very lucky to find dependable people. However, I believe that in the end, you have to rely more on yourself than on others. That has been my learning. And this is why even when it comes to recruiting we utilize internal channels more than external channels.
Tell us more about the internal channels that you are utilizing for recruitment?
For recruitment, we have developed very strong referral program which today covers more than half of our requirements. Some policies allow us to advertise, create awareness and sell it to the people. This is also helping us increase the loyalty of people. We are also killing the issue of attrition because when someone refers someone, then the quality of personnel is usually higher, the loyalty is higher, and hence, the overall result is higher. You need less external vendors, and you don't have to rely on them. This was one of the breakthroughs in our journey to be self-dependent. We did something for compliance as well. Relying on external vendors for compliance was much riskier but then we developed our internal capacities for managing this field.
Besides leading these initiatives what has been your role in bringing transformation in Home Credit India?
Let’s say contribution. To begin with, one of the major contributions was to build HR organization which consists of HRBP functionality, Centre of excellence and then delivery or execution. This basic philosophy implemented well and helped me to build efficient HR. When I joined, we had more of HR operations, and we had direct recruitment as a function or vertical. Within the operations, we were somehow managing the payroll. What helped me was having a vision of how it should work. Vision is the starting point, but it's also important to know how you really make it happen. I went ahead and defined the roles, hired people. My personal favorite was introducing the concept of HRBP, and I had to build it from scratch. Everyone perceives HRBP differently. For me, HRBP is a consultant who knows HR end to end and can partner with people manager. He/She should also be someone who helps in implementing all the policies and processes. I also faced a little challenge here because when I advertised HRBP, people who were coming were not having the sufficient skills set. But eventually I was lucky to find a few, and they brought in more people, and I could build a strong HRBP team.
The second area which was very crucial for us was to define how we manage the regional HR organization. Earlier we had HR people in the cities for recruiting and some other basic functions. But then we created a new role, and we call it "City HR." This is probably my second most favorite because if you are a city HR, you are in a way HR manager for your city and you are responsible for all the business in the entire city. It is also a superb opportunity for people who really want to learn HR.
What are some of the current talent-related challenges that Home Credit India and the entire BFSI sector is facing?
On the sector level, there are many employers in the marketplace today. So the challenge is to manage the market and stay competitive. Employers should have a unique value proposition to offer.
How do you foresee the role of HR emerging in the future?
In this fast-paced, competitive business environment, HR as a function should enable the businesses instead of slowing it down. Therefore, HR needs to be more process oriented, automated and strategic. The future of HR is integrated viz-a business. Integrated means HR is required to be part of all decision making. If it isn’t then it will lag behind and will not get the recognition it needs.
Jindra Hachova is also one of the aspirational women HR leaders.
Click here to read part one of the interview.