Article: Meet the winners of Hindustan Unilever Limited’s Nutcracker 2021

A Brand Reachout InitiativeStrategic HR

Meet the winners of Hindustan Unilever Limited’s Nutcracker 2021

With sharp takeaways for every participant, the challenge Nutcracker by HUL, demystifies the function and adds value in terms of understanding HR roles and the strategic role played by HR in future-proofing the organization.
Meet the winners of Hindustan Unilever Limited’s Nutcracker 2021

To break the myths around HR by setting the stage for a deep-seated understanding of HR at HUL, the company annually hosts The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker invites first-year students from the country’s esteemed institutes like XLRI, TISS and SCMHRD and allows them to steer through the real-time challenges and active engagement with HUL Leaders.

With sharp takeaways for every participant, the challenge demystifies the function and adds value in terms of understanding HR roles and the strategic role played by HR in future-proofing the organization.

People Matters interacted with all the three winning teams of ‘The Nutcracker 2021’ and asked about their journey, learnings, and takeaways from this competition:

Team Name: Expecto Patronum
Team Members: Ananya Shukla, Ananyo Bhattacharyya, Paramita Das
Institute: TISS

What’s your vision for the Future of Work?

The future of work is about adapting to agile operating models and borderless workforce, the need for lifelong learning, and embracing diversity in its truest sense. HR will bring this to reality by focussing on 3Cs, a model which I learnt about during the HUL Nutcracker– Capacity, Capability and Culture. HR will unlock the inner skills and motivation of the human capital and thus foster the creation of a purpose-driven organization. Developing capability will involve a robust model of reskilling and upskilling and cultivating a growth mindset through continuous feedback and coaching.

How will Nutcracker add value to your HR journey?

Nutcracker assisted us in dispelling prevalent HR myths by facilitating a comprehensive grasp of the subject through real-time challenges and active involvement with illustrious senior HUL Leaders.

It allowed aspiring leaders to don the thinking hat of HR and solve challenges pertaining to skill transformation in the future of the work landscape. The learning sessions as a part of The Nutcracker have tremendously contributed to our appreciation of HR as a profession. We wish to amalgamate the learnings from Nutcracker with the theoretical learnings gained from the classroom. Thereafter as budding HR managers, we wish to act as a catalyst in implementing the future of work in our respective organizations.

Key takeaways from The Nutcracker

Nutcracker journey was an enriching experience that taught us the significance of collaboration in engendering innovative solutions through late-night brainstorming sessions. Our three key takeaways from this journey are - people with purpose thrive, brands with purpose grow and companies with purpose last the 3 key enablers which are a part of Unilever’s compass strategy.

What sets you apart from others?

Our passion to envision the larger picture and curate a solution that is groundbreaking yet feasible sets us apart. We are distinguished by our commitment to break the norms and move from a transactional relationship with the workforce and embark on a transformation relationship with them.

Team Name: Gilhari
Team Members: Achintya Mohan, Mudhapaka Sai Keerthana, Niraalii
Institute: TISS

What’s your vision for the Future of Work?

In the rapidly changing dynamics of today’s business environment, the future of work is driven by technology in a decentralised environment. Pandemic has accentuated the pace of change and we are looking at a really exciting future that is full of possibilities. Organizational hierarchy and structures are experiencing a revolutionary change and the nature and scope of work are undergoing a landmark transformation. Human resource personnel have one of the most significant roles to play in facilitating this change. They have to act as the conscience keepers of organizations amidst the changing circumstances.

How will Nutcracker add value to your HR journey?

Competitions like the Nutcracker by HUL are a boon for the student community as they help us to have hands-on experience with real-world problems. Nutcracker has been a breeding ground for generating fresh ideas and bringing a new perspective to look at the issues faced by the industry.

Winning the Nutcracker has been a landmark milestone in our HR journey. It has not only given us a chance to expand our knowledge base but has also taught us the true essence of the HR profession, that is the opportunity to create a difference in the lives of the employees of an organization.

Key takeaways from The Nutcracker

Before Team Gilhari could crack the nut, it was almost on the verge of giving up. This brings us to the 3 key takeaways:

  • We are here simply because we were persistent. We kept on going even when the path ahead was uncertain.
  • The sessions taught us that any future-ready organization needs a coordinated plan of action spanning across geographies and verticals.
  • We realised that the needs of individuals and businesses can be married together for the greater good of all the stakeholders.

What sets you apart from others?

Diversity in the team and well-defined roles for each member sets us apart as a team.  

Team Name: X-Women
Team Members: Rangoli Kumar, Ainab Zaidi, Farheen Neyaz
Institute: XLRI

What’s your vision for the Future of Work?

With the realities of work shifting dynamically and some organizations permanently adopting hybrid model, ensuring employee wellness, maintaining the hi-tech and hi-touch aspect together, preparing the organization for the future with automation, and reskilling and upskilling the workforce to make them future-fit lies with the HR. The Future of work that we are aspiring for places the onus on HR who is handled with the responsibility to ensure security, the happiness of the workforce, productivity, and results for the organization at the same time.

How will Nutcracker add value to your HR journey?

The entire timeline of Nutcracker was designed intricately to intimate us to the myriad facets of HR and its real-world application when it comes to handling the workforce of the largest FMCG. Each session was a deep-diving experience into the synergies that human resources bring about with functional domains, whether it was the supply chain or employee relations.

The Nutcracker journey created by HUL was an enriching experience, helping us bust myths, retrospect internally to discover our purpose and to align the future of work to the prevalent business models. Setting the tone for our path into the world of human resources, informed us of the agility required to deliver consistently.

Key takeaways from The Nutcracker

An enriching experience, in the first stage of HUL Nutcracker “Grip,” various sessions on busting the myths about HR, aligning various functional domains, and building a future-fit workforce were conducted. In the next stages Pop and Savour, we incorporated the learnings of all these sessions to bring a fresh and innovative solution to the case and presented them to the senior HUL Leaders. The key takeaway throughout all these stages was to consolidate the learnings with a refreshing take to find solutions to real-time business problems.

What sets you apart from others?

Coming from diverse backgrounds, what clicked for us was the synergy that we brought about by leveraging our strengths and filling in for the gaps in each others’ perspectives. Our individual approaches helped widen our outlook through every interaction we had and the more we explored the problem at hand. The winning mantra for us was to incorporate the learnings of the Nutcracker sessions to provide a structure to the solution presented.

HUL has been hosting The Nutcracker for 2 years with the aim to give a platform to nurture a new vision, mindsets, and approaches in HR. 

To read the full story, stay tuned for the People Matters November issue and get to know how HUL is nurturing the new generation of HR talent.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Leadership

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