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The answer is simple- their people.
We caught up with the CHROs of Phillips India, Roche Diagnostics India, and Lanco to understand more about what kept them constantly on their toes, and the reply was unanimous; their people, their employees.
Ravi Kumar, the CHRO of Roche Diagnostics India, said that the secret to keeping your employees happy was to think of them and treat them as family. Deepak Bharara, the CHRO of Lanco, believes in trusting, believing, and empowering his employees and Krish Shankar, the CHRO of Phillips, India has set his heart on the continuous development of his employees and shaping and nurturing them into becoming the young and dynamic leaders of the future.
As HR Heads, each of these dynamic people motivators have an unshakeable strategy for their people agenda. However, the people agenda cannot stand in isolation; it has to be aligned to the overall business agenda and who understands this better than Krish Shankar. While from an overall business perspective, his focus is on doubling Phillips India’s revenue, developing new products, and transitioning the business from being only product oriented to also being service oriented, his primary focus is on building a talent pipeline and fostering innovation using a strategic workforce plan. His dream is to make Phillips India “a hotbed of talent”. Deepak Bharara is laying the path to improving his manpower planning and streamlining the talent and leadership issues within the organization. Ravi Kumar, on the other hand, is striving with his team to recruit some fresh talent into the close knit diagnostics industry, and into Roche Diagnostics India in particular. His focus is also on increasing the percentage of women employees in the organization.
Despite the fluid and fluctuating nature of business and the global economic slowdown, all three organizations are on a growth path and rightly so, as their CHROs are laying so much emphasis not only on aggressively growing the business, but are also focused on growing their people along with it. The industries of high tech healthcare and diagnostics, especially, are gaining new grounds due to the increased awareness in the Indian consumers. While consumer awareness is on one end of the spectrum, each of the CHROs have their own strongholds on strategizing a talent pipeline, creating a dynamic succession plan within the organization, and creating and fostering charismatic young leaders to take their business a step further.
Change is the only thing that is constant, and that is one concept that these leaders are trying to instil within all their people. In order for the business to grow, processes, systems, and people need to change but getting people to accept and embrace the change is not always easy. And there is no denying the fact that the culture of an organization can change only if there is a top down and a bottom up approach.
Deepak Bharara feels that in order to grow together, the culture of an organization needs to change and he believes that this can happen on the basis of the principles of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Ownership. These same principles are advocated as the strongest motivating factors by Ravi Kumar as well. He feels that one of the factors that motivate an employee is being recognised through exposure to national and international assignments, Leadership programmes and cross functional projects. The employees of Lanco have their motivation in the strong ethical value system hat Deepak has lovingly built, the scope for horizontal as well as vertical growth and the continuous Learning & Development that is doled out to them. Krish Shankar believes in motivating his people by identifying their skills, fostering them, and making them into dynamic leaders.
While almost all global companies who operate as separate divisions in India do face local issues in their people management or in the manufacturing plant, Krish Shankar says: “I have been lucky in my journey so far. I have not had any local or manufacturing issues as an obstacle.” The path, however, has not been as smooth for Deepak. He spoke candidly about the issues they faced during the sale of a plant to Lanco. Having too many contractual employees and rigid governance regulatory norms had been an impediment in the smooth transition. Ravi Kumar also expressed his views on the changing regulations. But he believes that he can bridge these gaps by keeping his employees in the know-how of the latest technology advancements in the Diagnostics industry.
“Is there any one HR problem that you would like to wish away by magic?” asked Deepali of KelpHR. While Deepak guffawed saying he did not believe in magic, Krish Shankar said that he would wish for good, dynamic leaders and Ravi Kumar said that it would be an increase in the number of women employees along with building a succession pipeline. One thought that seems to unite all their views, is the lack of second line leadership and they are all striving to build a better base to create just that.
Krish Shankar says that his success mantra is very simple; “Build talent, build capabilities, and identify strengths and build on that as well. This is the same mantra that I would like to cascade to my fellow HR professionals as well.” Deepak Bharara advises: “The one mantra that I try to practise at all times is the 3Fs – be fair, firm, and friendly and I hope that all my fellow HR peers would strive to follow the same as well.” Ravi Kumar spoke with great pride about the openness in his organization and feels: “We have great HR practices and that stems from the fact that we treat our employees as family.”
Like other business leaders, CHROs are also predominantly working towards achieving operational excellence and aggressively growing their business. But it is clear, after our chat with these three dynamic HR leaders, that the growth of an organization depends on the growth of its people and if you can motivate your people to develop and grow, then nothing can stop your organization from growing as well. After all, people drive business!