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People Control The System At Bacardi, Says Surabhi Joshi, Head HR, Bacardi India

Surabhi Joshi, Head HR, Bacardi India takes us through what goes behind managing that their workforce along with maintaining productivity and the influence of social media.

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With major workforce being millennial, and hiring becoming restricted with certain challenges in HR space with the evolution of technology, Surabhi Joshi, Head HR, Bacardi India takes us through what goes behind managing that workforce along with maintaining productivity and the influence of social media. Edited Excerpts:   

2017 had largely been a slow year in terms of recruitment. How have your recruitment policies been affected?

At Bacardi, 2017 has been a year of changes. We focused significantly on campus recruitment, digital efficiency and nurturing our own timber. Further, we want to ensure that we are increasingly seen as a talent brand which facilitates a progressive work environment with rapid proliferation of digital wave. We weaved our recruitment strategy and policies in a way that it engages with potential talent through social media and digital platforms. We have even redefined our digital capabilities on social media to best utilize and communicate the opportunities and the brand culture in the organization to identify and reach the right talent.

With a strong belief in investing and growing our talent, we inspire, engage and support our people to become recognized internally and externally as the “Envy of the Industry”.

What are the challenges in HR with the ever evolving technology? 

The function of HR has evolved with focus on innovation, digital engagement and personalization. Constant advancement of knowledge and technology has been challenging the industry to uphold an organizational balance. While technology brings in ease of access, simplification and better analysis, if not planned well, it can lead to practices becoming automated,limiting the personal touch.

At Bacardi, the system does not control people, people control the system. With every evolution, a change management committee comprising of cross-functional individuals comes together to discuss the impact of the change and the plan ahead.

Every process at Bacardi is driven by actual human interactions with technology being the medium. Harnessing the power of engagementand personal touch is key to building a cohesive workplace, and this model of experimenting with formats of human interaction has evolved to be our go-to model for any technological advancement.

What about cross industry hiring – which industries do you majorly hire from and for what profiles?

Diversity of knowledge and perspectives has enabled us to think out of the box and be ahead of the industry curve in the most competitive times. In line with this principle, we have increased our focus on hiring talent from across industries and profiles. If you look at the numbers, most of our cross industry hiring is from the FMCG companies followed by telecom, and this has been across levels, functions and roles.

As the scale of our operations in India has grown, we have hired significantly across the business in last few years- attracting the best of external talent and combining it with our existing experienced team.

With digitization advancing within an organization, what are the key profiles and skill sets you look at while hiring?

Digitization has radically changed the way we hire for every role and seek for talent who are open to technology, adaptable to changing trends and agile in their ways of working.

Given the confines of brand advertising in the alcobev industry on traditional mediums such as print, digital media has provided tremendous opportunity to connect with our consumers and all other stakeholders. Bacardi India has an established digital marketing function which strongly partners with the Brand Managers to bring our brand strategy on the digital space. In such roles, we seek specialists who not only bring a deep understanding of digital marketing but also demonstrate an ability to think ahead of the curve and proactively partner with business to create value adding solutions.  

We’re constantly seeking for the new tech savvy talent we need to succeed in this digital age and only expect this demand for talent with newer capabilities to intensify going forward.

How have your recruitment policies changed with the advent of social media? What are the challenges in the HR industry?

Social media has definitely brought talent and the potential employer closer. The power of social media is in its extensive reach and that’s exactly what we have tried to leverage at Bacardi. We have moved away from the traditional recruitment agency model to building an in-house team of staffing associates who through social media channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn publish opportunities and identify talent. This has enabled us to directly connect with our potential employees and identify the areas we need to focus upon and review our recruitment and selection process.

Thanks to social media, we are able to find more creative hires simply by looking at how candidates choose to apply for positions. Nothing like the traditional cursor resume, these new creative techniques showcase the value creative hires bring to the table.

Social media is challenging and encouraging the function of HR to be more innovative and preserve the company’s culture to be an attractive place to work for while screening and attracting new talent.

How do you ensure productivity in cases like extended maternity leaves, work from home etc.?

Every employee is trusted upon as a family and the members put forward their best, treating the company as their own.

As 55 percent of Bacardi India is millennials, there is a constant desire to seek such opportunities to try something new and different from their everyday job. In cases where it’s difficult, such as extended maternity leave or extended leave due to personal emergency, we leverage this as an opportunity for others to step up into the role and learn more about it; thereby up-scaling and up-skilling their skillset to best deliver the anticipated results and make most of the opportunity.

In today’s era of technology wherein distance and location are irrelevant, concepts such as work from home or remote working do not have any downsides. With employees who show accountability as a founder and demonstrate trust as a Family, high productivity only becomes an organic by product.


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