“We are now investing in our Leaders to groom them as coaches as coaching employees to achieve their aspirations is an instrumental step towards their upskilling.” said Ritesh Rana, Head HR, Britannia Industries Ltd.
What are the steps you take as a leader to embrace innovative disruption?
Before we get to embracing innovative disruption, we need to ensure that out of the box thinking and innovation get encouraged and entrenched into how we do things at work. At Britannia, encouraging diverse ideas that connect with the changing times today is something that we foster through a Young Managers Forum that has endorsement and commitment from the Leadership as well. This group of millennials is given the empowerment and autonomy to suggest ideas and pathways for the org to invest in, that they think will work and be valued by consumers today. This group is treated as a representative of the young consumers of today and is provided the platform to voice ideas to the Leadership while being involved in the entire execution roadmap. Along with this, we have initiated the Cost Efficiency Program as frugality and doing more with less is a part of our culture and how we do things here. Through collective brainstorming and different thought processes, we come up with ways to enhance efficiency and effectiveness at whatever we do.
For the organization at large, we have embarked upon this journey using innovative platforms and chat bots integrated with our social network to nudge employees to think differently and ensure that enablers are accessible to ideate. The innovation agenda we call Eureka also fosters cross functional collaboration as ideators are given an option of being a part of the implementation team, while striving to raise the bar for the entire org. As a leader, encouraging and nurturing this spirit in the org, pressing on the need for transformation and progression, and inculcating risk taking in the culture while not negatively treating failures is the key.
What are the strategies you employ to upskill your workforce?
At Britannia, the focus is on indexing on the potential of our internal talent. Britannia for Britannians is the philosophy ingrained in our culture. Trusting high potential talent with the responsibility and accountability of enhanced job roles which they would not have handled before ensures learning by doing, experiential exposure and opportunities for rotations resulting in continuous learning. We also have focused on e-learning modules which are behavioral and functional giving power and flexibility to individuals to learn on the go and basis their convenience. Thirdly, we are now investing in our Leaders to groom them as coaches as coaching employees to achieve their aspirations is an instrumental step towards their upskilling.
How do you win at talent management?
As mentioned earlier, we focus on the “Britannia for Britannians philosophy” wherein we bet on our high potential talent and trust them with enhanced responsibilities, while enabling them to perform to their fullest potential. Our people love the job they do as it gives them the ownership and autonomy to prove their mettle. Also, with more power to people, we give them the opportunity to take the onus to manage their careers and growth journey. Our rich legacy, success and strive to constantly transform builds pride within and also attracts talent to join us or our alumni to come back to this culture that we nurture.
We have also started our focus on developing a consistent yardstick for evaluating the potential of employees all across, identifying their progression needs and strengthening our learning agenda to bridge the gaps identified. In this dynamic day and age where the only thing constant is evolution, an annual talent conversation is not enough. As an organization too, we are toiling towards our new vision of being a Global Total Foods Company and would constantly need to evolve our capabilities. We thus are working out ways for continuous conversations between employees and managers and the mid-year performance conversation is no longer purely retrospective but done through a developmental lens, keeping talent aspirations and organization’s needs in mind.
What role do you think culture plays in increasing efficiency at work?
Culture is the crux of whatever we do and it is heartening to see more and more organizations focusing on the how as well as what of performance. For us a culture of approachability, openness, transparency, listening & acting and an informal eco-space has always worked. It reduces hierarchy, speeds decisions, brings in a family like warmth that glues people, gives avenues to individuals to speak their mind, get heard and empowers them as owners, resulting in great effectiveness. Also, since we operate with a spirit of One Britannia, we operate with common beliefs and behaviors. You would see most of us speak the language of customer centricity, focus on cost efficiency at whatever we do and also keep a razor sharp eye on bias for action and execution. These shared beliefs help us work in the same direction efficiently. It is important for an organization and its leaders to speak the same language and walk the talk to ensure these beliefs get weaved into our way of being and reap us benefits.
What role do you think technology plays in talent management? How can technology bring about a change in the talent management lifecycle?
Not only in talent management but in every sphere today, digitization and technology are indispensable. Be it recognition that happens through bots and portals today, knowledge sharing that happens through social networks, ideas that are generated on a digital platform, continuous engagement touchpoints and connects that happen at the touch of a button, online learning and so on and so forth. For talent management in specific, we have development conversations that are enabled with technology between managers and employees that result in development plans recorded for the year. Technology equips a year on year progress metric of an individual towards the aspirations and nudges these continuous dialogues within teams. These systems also go a long way in institutionalizing transparency, meritocracy and objectivity, while reducing subjectivity and individual dependence as performance and development needs are seen vis a vis the goals and aspirations set for the year that are accessible by managers and employees at any given point in time. With organizations getting diverse, expanding to unchartered territories and employees being dispersed across locations, technology aids to break barriers, build in accessibility and a one team spirit. However, it is also imperative that we do not trade familiarity and human interventions for tech based interventions to maintain a healthy balance between the two.