Jayantika Dave, vice president, HR, talks to Gauri Rane about changes in the profession and how Ingersoll Rand has nurtured talent.
How has the HR department of today`s corporate changed?
The role of an HR department has developed significantly today from being an administrative necessity to a critical business function. There are several reasons for this change including technology, legislation, diversity, and globalisation. Organisations have now realised that having a strong employee engagement programme is integral for any business, and understanding the human resource function is essential to manage them. Business plans, strategies and implementation of these plans are dependent on how human resources discover innovative approaches to resolve employee-related issues.
In Ingersoll Rand, the HR function is an integral business partner, with a key seat at the table. This is apparent from the fact that one of our three key organisation focus areas globally, is centred on employee engagement and a progressive, diverse, inclusive culture. In our planning process too, HR objectives are tied in tightly with business objectives, and are key to business success. We also have initiatives around the business fundamentals for HR i.e. our reason for existence. Initiatives here are centred on industry leading practices in hiring, development, rewarding and retaining leaders and employees.
Your company follows a VCUA model to train employees to be successful in varied business environments. Can you please explain the concept and its advantages?
We follow a multi-pronged approach to leadership development, aimed at being successful in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Changeable, and Ambiguous) world. The aim is to build VUCA leadership skills which enable leaders to convert:
1. Volatility to vision
2.Uncertainity to understanding
3. Complexity to clarity
4. Ambiguity to action
This is achieved through a three step process of building the foundation (education on key leadership concepts); challenging thinking capability (leading the creation of an ambitious initiative with organisation wide impact); and execution (lead the initiative to achieve clearly defined stretch goals.)
The key skills that we believe will be imperative for leaders to be successful in this VUCA world, are the 4 Cs—convergence thinking, conceptual flexibility, concept formation, and an unerring customer focus. Our leaders are characterised by being economic, intellectual and social assets, and we attach a lot of value to the societal impact that we can create in our engagement with society.
For us therefore, potential applicants must showcase the attributes of being able to deal with a VUCA environment. We have a clear process to identify such attributes, and in addition, while we recognize that a large part of this ability is intrinsic to the individual, we also strongly believe that the organization can support an individual in building these abilities through job projects and mentoring.
How do you retain/ nurture talent across various levels?
Talent retention is a key aspect in our organisation and we continue to have structured programmes to help retain employees. There are four key elements to retaining and nurturing our stars, and this is the framework around which we have built our winning culture as a differentiator:
1. A strong focus on employee engagement (our built to succeed and last initiatives)
2. A progressive, diverse and inclusive culture (our PDI initiatives)
3. A specially built, and accelerated career development path for our stars (built to succeed and last initiatives)
Leaders who are role models, and help to deepen our winning culture, and are passionate about helping our stars to succeed (path to premier performance initiatives)
These are tied together with a robust two-way communication culture, which help us to create a cohesive, premier performing organisation with engaged employees having a shared vision, purpose and values.
What is the Oorja initiative and why has it become important for corporates to undertake more such initiatives?
Oorja is a gender diversity programme that has a multi-faceted external and internal focus on key areas such as increasing percentage of women hires from universities, increasing percentage recruitment from new positions, build university relations programmes, to name a few. Currently more than 25% of the leadership positions in the company are held by women.
People come to us from many different backgrounds and possess unique attributes, but they share one common trait: the commitment to delivering high performance. As an organisation that values diverse and inclusive perspectives and helps these to thrive, we invite people to share their views, leverage their expertise and, at the same time, welcome and embrace one another`s suggestions and ideas.
As an HR expert, what is your advise to the newbies on HR initiatives/ policies for their companies?
My advise to them is to work towards building a culture where employees are empowered to inspire progress for customers, communities and for themselves. Also to instil an ethical spirit amongst each employee of an organisation, it is essential to focus on the key attributes that motivate an employee towards achieving their own goals while working in the company. While doing so, the organisation needs to align the goals and aspirations of the employee with that of the company so as to demonstrate the impact to the employee that his/ her contribution is making via the achievement of their goals.
Our employees know that their work makes a difference, and that their work is valued, and that contributes to a very energized and inspired workforce. Most people want to make meaningful contributions and work for a company that makes a difference to the world.