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BW Businessworld

HDFC Life: Performance Pranoia

Vibha Padalkar, MD & CEO, shares the workplace dynamics at his company.

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VIBHA PADALKAR, Managing Director & CEO, HDFC Life

Right from hiring the right person to promotions, career development and all other business and people initiatives, values remain the guiding light at HDFC Life. The values framework EPICC (Excellence, People Engagement, Integrity, Customer Centricity, and Collaboration) informs the inspiring culture at HDFC Life, fostering growth and progress for its employees. Vibha Padalkar, MD & CEO, shares with BW Businessworld’s Avishek Banerjee the workplace dynamics at his company.

On what makes your organisation a great place to work for 
Four things that set the company apart and make it a great place to work for are: leading the change; paranoia for performance; living the values and, fostering development and growth. We have been leading the way in every aspect of our business — be it digital transformation, identifying and targeting white spaces or building new ecosystems for business acquisition. We have seen that this drive to lead is not only preferred, but actually needed in order to attract and retain key talent. We are paranoid — about performance, about our ability to bring a positive, meaningful difference to our work, and about being prepared for potential events that can impact our company’s future.  

On talent management
Talent management works on the philosophy of having the most skilled and engaged employees managing their current roles, while developing a strong bench of ready talent. Internal talent is given ample opportunities to take up managerial roles, through a transparent, fair and scientific internal job posting (IJP) process. Cross-functional movements are also encouraged and enabled through a talent review and assessment process to provide holistic understanding of business to employees. In FY19, over 60 per cent middle management and about 80 per cent senior management vacancies were filled through internal talent.

On the company’s evolution
HDFC was the first private life insurance company to start operations in India in 2000. In the last 18 years of operations, the organisation has gone through three major phases of transition. In each of these phases, it kept evolving its people practices in order to suit the business context.

On people philosophy
Five key levers form the bedrock of our people philosophy, namely, HDFC Life values (our guiding light), competence-driven people development and growth, fostering happiness at work, performance-driven compensation and rewards schemes and technology for people.

On employee retention
Insurance as an industry has high attrition numbers and to attract and retain talent has always been a constant challenge. The company streamlined its processes and undertook numerous interventions in line with its approach towards talent management by attracting competent and right-fit talent through a scientific selection process, creating a fungible talent pool by providing career advancement opportunities within the organisation and identifying and nurturing high potential talent through structured learning interventions, action learning projects, stretch assignments, etc.

On what the company would like to be known for 
Our focus on customer centricity while designing products has been a key differentiator. Products like cancer care, cardiac care, pension guaranteed plan have been game changers in the industry. We would like to be known for being a trusted brand, one that puts the customer at the centre while aggressively chasing top line and profitability.

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