Article: Hyundai Motor’s Charles Walter shares the 3Es of impactful workplace learning

Learning & Development

Hyundai Motor’s Charles Walter shares the 3Es of impactful workplace learning

In conversation with Charles JS Walter, discover how Hyundai Motor India fosters a culture of inclusivity and continuous learning to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving landscape.
Hyundai Motor’s Charles Walter shares the 3Es of impactful workplace learning

Charles JS Walter, AVP & Vertical Head of Human Resources at Hyundai Motor India Ltd., boasts over two and a half decades of HR leadership experience spanning IT, Consulting, and Manufacturing industries across the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

Currently spearheading the People Strategy, Management & Development functions at Hyundai Motor India, Charles is renowned for his empathetic approach, people-centric practices, and global business acumen. His accolades include establishing People Frameworks in M&A scenarios, effecting Culture Transformation in joint ventures, and nurturing young talent. Under his stewardship, Hyundai's HR Team has garnered acclaim for institutionalizing leadership excellence, fostering a 'smart' work culture, and implementing futuristic people practices such as the role-based framework. 

In this exclusive interview, Charles shares his insights on leveraging DEI to attract top talent, nurturing diverse leadership, and ensuring continuous learning in an evolving automotive landscape.

Here are some excerpts.

In a competitive industry like automobile, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial. How does Hyundai leverage DEI to build a strong employer brand and attract diverse talent pools? 

At Hyundai, we have always strived to create new values, industry-inspiring practices and experiences. We have been determined to create an active corporate culture that evolves with the changing times. We continue to embrace diversity, new thoughts, innovative ideas and the resonance of employee voice in our decision-making process. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) aren't just HR priorities; they are integral to our business strategy.

We are moving to build a gender-diverse workforce, setting a vision and structure for women's participation in the workforce, developing Women Leaders through specific Leadership Development Programs, and introducing flexible policies aiding to embrace an inclusive working environment. HMIL further expanded its horizon by introducing Samarth - a CSR initiative for the specially-abled, making our products, services, offices and dealerships more inclusive.

Talent is more diverse and distributed. Hyundai embraces talent diversity from different genders, age groups, ethnicities and cultures. Emphasis on equality and inclusivity is not just a principle; it serves as a cornerstone that propels us toward our vision of ‘Progress for Humanity.’

Our Talent Brand resonates well at campuses and in the scouting spaces beyond; with 99.6% Day Zero/One campus visits, over 40% women hired at campus, and 400+ diverse experienced professionals joining in the previous financial year (FY 2023-24). 

The foundation of diversity and leadership starts from our Young Talent Program, which manifests talent from across India. This program was initiated in the year 2010 and has since been a gateway to usher in diverse talent. 

In the recent past, we have taken conscious steps to have a good representation of women at the leadership level. Our marque women's leadership program – TrailBlazHER collaborating with XLRI, is finding resonance. The program encompasses all levels of prospective women leaders and is a co-created development journey.

How does Hyundai Motor India integrate DEI principles into its learning and development initiatives to create an inclusive learning environment where all employees feel valued and supported in their professional development journey?

Nurturing potential and diverse talent has always been foundational to our sustained success. Right from TrailBlazHER, a dedicated program building women leaders, and in addition, our academy-based approach i.e. Leadership Excellence Academy, Behavior Development Academy, Function Development Academy and Future Development Academy, address the requirements of today and tomorrow, making HMIL a future-ready organization.

The likes of the Young Talent Program (campus hires), Core Talent Program (high potential employees), Leadership Development Academy (LEAD) activities, and Transformational Learning (technology, behaviour, function) adding to 200+ need-based learning trails are established on inclusivity and co-creation.

DEI, moreover is an integral part of our leadership framework, entrusting each leader in HMIL to play a crucial role in ushering in inclusive progress.

Looking ahead, what do you envision as the future trajectory of DEI at Hyundai Motor India, and what steps do you believe are essential for sustaining a culture of diversity, equity, and continuous learning in the organisation?

Over the past few years, we have been reimagining people practices influencing work, the workplace and the people at work, under a co-creative framework. The ushering in of the Role Based Organisation framework, stands testimony to our work culture. The reimagined people framework has DEI running subterranean across our practices-programs-policies network, and continuous learning is a way of work-life. Our learning academies under Technology, Functional & Behavior have laid out the future course well. Alliances with leading academic institutions such as IIT-Delhi, IIT-Chennai, IIM-Trichy, XLRI, XIME, LIBA, and a host of learning partners, are helping us institutionalise education, and integrate exposure and learning experience.

To share a glimpse, 100% of our leaders (400+) as of March 31, 2024, have been through an active project ‘Digital Transformation’, learning under the aegis of IIM-T.

 Curated learning focusing on the 3Es - “Education-Exposure-Experience” - have ensured meaningful application of learnings at the workplace. Moreover, our in-house Assessment cum Development Centre helps sustain the learning journey inclusively.

Mentorship and coaching are often cited as effective tools for employee development. Can you shed light on any mentorship or coaching programs at Hyundai Motor India and their impact on employee growth and retention?

At HMIL, mentoring and coaching start quite early. The campus hires, under our flagship initiative - the Young Talent Program, have individual mentors assigned to them. The mentors are Hyundai Leaders. They are certified after module-based and experience-enabled training.

High-potential employees, under the Core Talent Program, have assigned mentors (Leaders). The individual employee is given the opportunity to choose his/her mentor based on their development journey requirements.

At the leadership level, coaches are assigned based on their individual assessment outcomes and organisational requirements. Our parent organisation overviews senior leadership development and mentorship under a Global Leadership Framework.

Our attrition scores over the years have been low, exemplifying the experience and engagement levels of the employees. Mentoring and coaching have contributed to sustaining the industry’s best talent retention at Hyundai Motor India.

The auto industry is undergoing a rapid transformation with the rise of electric vehicles (EVs). How is Hyundai's L&D strategy adapting to equip the workforce with the skills needed for this evolving landscape, considering the talent gap in the EV sector?

Our learning and development investments under the Academy Framework, have helped us stay future-ready. Our employees have been exposed to learning under the education and experience mode.

 To upskill our employees with the required competency in the EV space, we have tied up with the top institutes of the country like IIT Delhi and IIT Madras, and co-created the industry's best EV certification programs to ensure that the highest quality and most effective training is imparted to our employees. These programs are collaborative with stakeholders from the academia and HMIL technocrats, jointly designing the modules. 

We continuously impart learning on future technologies, drawing strength from our parent organisation. Our employee-led ‘Knowledge Labs’ and ‘Knoxhange Forums’ pace up learning and help us stay ahead.

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Topics: Learning & Development, Leadership, Diversity, #HRCommunity

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