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Jindal Stainless, a part of the $ 18 billion USD, OP Jindal group is the largest integrated manufacturer of stainless steel in India and is ranked amongst the top 10 stainless steel manufacturers in the world, with a capacity of 1.8 million tons and revenues over 2 billion USD. We recently interviewed Mr. Amitabh Akhauri, Sr. Vice President (Human Resources), Jindal Stainless to know his views on employee engagement and discuss the best HR practices.

On HR initiatives

Mr. Akhauri- All HR initiatives for employee engagement are not meant to last forever, they have a shelf life. So initiatives have to be run for a time period then closed and new ones have to be started to maintain the rigor. It is the role of HR function to understand that people are always looking for new ways of engagement.

Your advice to the Leaders and Managers

Mr. Akhauri- The key lies in knowing your people. Every manager and leader must spend time to understand their people. They should know the ‘Stress factor’ and the ‘Stretch factor’ of the people who work with them. Most of the people in any organization want to contribute and make a difference. It the role of their manager to provide them an environment where their productivity thrives.

What are the Top Functions of HR according to you?

Mr. Akhauri- I believe that there are 4 keys functions that every HR leader must look at:

  1. Be the Business Partner- HR being a cost center must always be aligned to the objectives of the leadership. Understand and gauge the vision of the management, and ensure that the best talent is attracted and managed accordingly.
  2. Build a Strong Performance Culture- The second goal should be to build a strong performance culture within the organization so that the talent can thrive. People are like seeds and they grow to the best of their abilities if a nurturing environment is provided to them.
  3. Be Transparent and Fair-  We at our organization follow the bell curve method of evaluation. We set mutually decided performance bench marks and targets so that the employee is in acceptance mode and delivers with full passion. People are aware of what they need to accomplish to get good appraisal. Fairer the system, more loyalty it begets.
  4. Never lose the element of ‘newness’- Most of the HR initiatives have a shelf-life. Therefore as HR leader, it is our responsibility to ensure that new initiatives to engage and enable people.

How do you identify the L&D needs for your people? Is training and development effective?

Mr. Akhauri- The most important thing is to find the right people for the job position. Once the right people are on board, then keep upgrading their skills through training and development. The skills could be-Behavioral, Functional and Operational.

  • First we divide the work on the basis of unique roles (talent & competencies) that particular work profile demands
  • Second, we identify the talent that fits the competencies needed for the role. Processes, are in place to identify the ‘misfits’ so that they can be moved to roles suitable to their personalities. One can only polish a talent, but you cannot change the core of it
  • Then as per the organizational mandates training & development activities are organized.

The success of L&D initiatives depends upon the trainer’s charisma and the content of the training to a large extent.

Message you would like to give to the Young people to feel engaged at work?

Mr. Akhauri- Every morning when we wake up, we have a choice to make- to contribute to the best of our abilities or not to do so. Satisfaction cannot be derived without giving our best.

  1. Everything you do, bring your passion to work- Every morning when we all show up for work, we have a choice to make- to give our best or not. Hard work, ethics and commitment are matter of personal choice. Yes, the organization can give a productive environment but people must align to and understand team objective as well.
  2. Be proactive and take ownership- You will always be rewarded with a fruitful career if you develop the twin qualities of pro-activeness and ownership. Think one step ahead and take responsibility for the results you produce. An organization knows that if it does not reward such people; competition will take them away.
  3. Develop the skill of empathy- One of the best faculties you can develop at workplace is the faculty of empathy. It gives you the wisdom to understand that people always rise to their competence and values while working.

If you remember these three points, your professional life will definitely improve.

Acknowledgements

We are thankful to Mr. Amitabh Akhauri, Sr. Vice President (Human Resources), Jindal Stainless for his valuable inputs for the TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) research. A Post Graduate in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations from XISS Ranchi and a Law graduate from Magadh University. Mr. Akhauri comes with 25 years of rich and varied experience, out of which over 16 years has been with Tata Steel. Prior to joining Jindal Stainless, he was associated with Jaiprakash Associates Limited as Senior Vice President (Corporate HR), heading the Cement, Fertilizer and Edible Oil Divisions. He has been associated with Jindal Stainless since July, 2013. 

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