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Hiring From IITs, IIMs Help Us Beat The Skill Gap In The Market: Azure Power HR

"We have strived to ensure we have a robust pool of women within the organization and regularly review our diversity ratios at all levels", HR, Azure Power

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Azure Power is a leading independent solar power with a pan-Indian portfolio. With its in-house engineering, procurement and construction expertise and advanced in-house operations and maintenance capability, Azure Power provides low-cost and reliable solar power solutions to customers throughout India

Shalini Naagar, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Azure Power talks about the organization and employee development, hiring and adapting to the requirements of changing workforce.  

Employees constantly tend to look for better opportunities outside. How do you keep them engaged and keep the attrition rate down?

Fast-growing industries such as the solar sector attract millennials, who are ambitious and at the same time very conscious of the role that they play via the organization in CSR, Corporate social inclusion and the meaning to their work.

We capitalize on this intrinsic motivational need by helping our people develop and grow. We provide multiple sources of learning e.g. online courses from best universities across the world, leadership development programs, mentoring and job rotations. Employees are provided with challenging opportunities with a steep learning curve, allowing employees to learn a lot in a short span of time while growing in the organization at a rapid pace.  Some of our people joined us as trainees and have progressed to the VP level. A couple of our female employees have climbed the organization ladder to senior positions.  There are many more of such success and growth stories.

This helps us to retain and engage our people, who help us in fulfilling the Vision and Mission of our organization.

How do you ensure fairness in promotion and hiring and keep employees happy?

People like to work in tough and challenging environments which are fair and transparent in their culture. We make sure that we have created systems and processes which are fair and transparent to our employees within the organization; all our policies and processes are available to all our people on our internal online platform. We also have various formal and informal communication channels such as quarterly All Hands Meets, newsletters and top leader interactions to keep our employees updated about business updates.

The process of recruitment is again socially inclusive and helps us to recruit the best Talent available in the industry. We also aspire to be a very diverse organization and work towards it with focus. At Azure Power, we have strived to ensure we have a robust pool of women within the organization and regularly review our diversity ratios at all levels. To ensure we keep our employees happy we have adopted employee friendly policies such as providing flexible work hours, cab facilities for late work hours and Creche-cum-Day Care Centre facilities for employees to take care of their children. 

Since there is a lot of talk about the skill gap in the market, how difficult it is for HR to hire?

It is true that there is a skill gap in the market, and we tend to manage this situation by hiring a lot of IIM and IIT Graduates and MBAs from renewable energy schools and put them on our Young Leaders Program to develop them for our future needs. Our new employees are provided with appropriate accountability to learn and grow in the organization. We believe in developing people internally as well so that we are ready with our talent pipeline. As the solar sector requires a lot of technical expertise, we regularly hold in-house technical skill development training programs to ensure we develop the necessary skills that are most required within the organization.

How does your organization adapt to meet the requirements of a changing workforce?

We recruit a large workforce which are millennials and as the needs of this generation are different from Generation X and Y, we keep taking feedback from them on their aspirations and expectations from the organization through HR connect programs. We also approach organizations which conduct studies on millennials and their needs to keep us abreast of the demands.

We then create our HR policies and systems to help us meet these changing needs. These needs typically are around high learning and growth opportunities, work-life balance and involvement in CSR. We have been providing opportunities for 5 learning man-days across the organization and exposure to a world-class organization. We also ensure that various opportunities are provided to people for partnering in corporate social activities.

How can organizations lead the way in learning and close the skill gap both for their employees and for their organization at large?

It is important for organizations to understand the current and future needs of the business and then build the training plans accordingly. The plans should be a combination of helping employees to become more efficient in their current role and build the capability for future roles as well. This also ensures that the future talent pipeline is filled internally. The approach that organizations should take is to look at the organizational goals for a horizon of 3-5 years and do a gap analysis on the strategic capability. This will help them to evaluate the skill gap at the moment and for future. This should then be utilized to create development plans for the individual basis learning through various forms of experience, exposure and classroom training.

To ensure we bridge the skill gap for both employees and the organization, we conduct various guest lectures at premier educational institutions to create awareness about the sector and inform students about the industry skill requirements to improve career prospects for future employees.  


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