APOLLO FIEGE Integrated Logistics Pvt Ltd. is a joint venture between Apollo LogiSolutions Ltd., India and FIEGE Logistics, Germany. This partnership brings together the well-known expertise, efficiency and dependability of FIEGE in the field of contract logistics on one hand, and the keen insights, network and reach of the Apollo LogiSolutions team in the Indian logistics landscape on the other. As part of the TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) research project, we recently met Ms. Ashita Jain, Head HR – Logistics at Apollo Group of Companies- to understand more about the best practices in the areas of employee engagement, positive work psychology and best HR practices. Here is a an excerpt from the interview between Ms. Ashita Jain and Mr. Siddhartha Sharma:
How long have you been in the HR function?
Ms. Ashita Jain- I have been in the HR function since the beginning of my career. It has been more than 11 years now- and have experience in all the HR domains- Recruitment and Consultant Management, HR Induction and Orientation, Compensation & Benefits, Succession Planning, Performance Management, and Talent Management.
Best practices for engagement quotient according to you?
Ms. Ashita Jain- In the logistics industry employee engagement is still at its very nascent stage due to the nature of the industry and the workforce. However, I believe that it is very important to maximize employee engagement. Some of ways in which it should be done are:
- Treat Your People like Business Partners- Treat your people like your business partners rather than as employees. They will go out of the way and work for the fulfillment of company objectives. Build a great people-culture in your organization.
- Organize Frequent Interactions with Management- I suggest that every business organization should organize regular discussion meets with the leadership and the workforce. The leadership gets to know the people’s expectation and the people get to know about the company’s vision. The two way communication culture promotes harmony and engagement in the organization. This is the best way to connect and establish a long term trust with your people.
- Give Recognition to Employees- Every time you recognize your employees for the work they do, you add a strong strand of loyalty in the fabric of your relationship with them. Bosses and managers should constantly ask themselves- ‘When was the last time I appreciated the people who work with me?. Give all the recognition in public because then its impact gets magnified.
Do the engagement levels of people vary with gender?
It will be unfair to be bias and whatever I can say it will be only my personal observation. However, if you study you will find that women are far more engaged at workplaces than their male-counterparts. As I mentioned, I do not believe in generalizations but still women seek job-engagement, designation and role while men in addition to this also seek a lot of monetary rewards.
3 ways you give learning and growth opportunities to your people
Ms. Ashita Jain- We measure the 3 engagement levels- actively engaged, slightly engaged and disengaged. We try to give growth opportunities to people through following three ways:
- Job Enlargement- If we feel that an individual can handle larger responsibilities of similar nature we offer growth opportunity through job enlargement. For example, if two people are doing the same role in a team or organization, then the responsibility can be given to any one of them. Therefore, one individual’s job enlarges to handles the same.
- Job Enrichment- We also give people the opportunity to move to larger projects and take up responsibilities by tagging them along with senior leaders. They get to work beyond their particular team with expert leaders. The learning and exposure is tremendous.
- Job Rotation- People who are disengaged in their present profile are also given fair opportunity to move to other roles and improve their performance. A time window of 3-6 months is given to them to bring their performance up to acceptable levels.
Any Best Practices or examples that you would like to share from your decade long HR experience?
Ms. Ashita Jain- Yes, a couple of interesting examples I can share:
- In my previous organization, the HR lead left the organization along with most of the team members. Rumors were there that the company is planning to outsource the HR function. I reached out to the CEO on my own and asked if it was true. The CEO believed in my potential and said that he can give me 6 months to reestablish the HR function. I accepted the challenge and started doing the ground work. We organized an offsite with all the leaders and shared with them the expectations of the CMD/CEO and then the functional leaders (strategy, marketing, finance etc). Every HoD was asked to come up with 5 KRA’s for their department and members. Eventually after 6 months we managed to pull of the challenge and HR function was not outsourced. This taught me the importance of believing in oneself, power of open communication and engagement.
- In another example, some documentation on appraisals was pending for over 8 months because of previous HR team. I took help from a management trainee and we managed to complete the 8 month pending work in matter of 2 days. Then, we recognized the efforts of the management trainee in front of the people. I also realized that day what a powerful tool recognition is. Never fail to appreciate people for the good work they do.
- Our office starts at 10 am but everyday I reach 30 minutes early. Our team spends 10 minutes to discuss the plan of action for the day. We utilize this time to understand and appreciate each other. Sometimes, we congratulate members by using small thank you cards. Likewise, at the close of the day we again get together to discuss the tasks achieved or the ones that need to be rolled forward.
It is very evident that organization offers great opportunity to its people and rewards merit. The current CEO & President of the Apollo Fiege started his career with the group as a management trainee and is now leading the organization.
We recently interviewed Ms. Ashita Jain, Head HR – Logistics at Apollo Group of Companies for the project- TGIM- Thank God It’s Monday, to understand best HR and employee engagement practices in her industry. An enthusiastic and dedicated professional, with more than 11 years of qualitative experience in Human Resource Management with elite organizations. She possesses expertise in aligning HR strategies to business and in managing the intact spectrum of human resource development. She has the expertise to motivate & reinvigorate personnel towards achieving organizational objectives as well as adhering industry best practices.