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‘Management Of Talent Is Key To Indian Market'

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Peter R. Vogt, global HR head, Nestle, talks to BW’s Monica Behura about hiring policies and India as a resource pool, among other issues
Q: What brings you to India? 
A: It is a market inspection visit. My new role requires me to understand the challenges and issues here. I have visited the factory; the objective is to tell employees that the head office is here to help win the local market. Talent management is key to the Indian market because of the growing young population, and I am here to strengthen that. 
Q: What is Nestle’s hiring policy globally? Do you consider India as a resource pool? 
A: We focus on growing talent and developing leadership skills. For a developing market, it is important to have talent development programmes for the young. For developed markets, it is important to look at culture and change management, as workers are less flexible because of their successful past. People in developing countries like India and Brazil adapt to changes quickly compared to those in mature markets. India has one of the best talent pools among the emerging markets, and we are keen to spur the participation of emerging nations in the global talent pool.  
Q: Any learning that Nestle has adopted from India...
A: The concept of placing young talent under mentors has been rolled out in other markets. 
Q: Are Nestle’s HR policies different for different countries?
A: When we go deep down, we see a certain set of values and culture. We have a number of key values that is important for us. First, the  long-term view, which says that any short-term gain should not jeoparadise long-term gains. Second, respect for other culture and tradition is very important, and this is the reason we are successful in many countries. But the global strategy for consumers doesn’t work always. So, the connection with the local tradition is very important.
Q: As HR head, what is the uppermost priority of your company?
A: Pooling of talent, developing leadership, strengthening the culture of our firm. HR should be closely linked to the business. The emotional and personal parts play a major role in giving positive results. Employees should not feel that they are being used, rather they should feel they are a part of something good. 
(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 15-06-2015)

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