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We Bring In Unskilled Trainees And Train Them As Future Employees: Welspun India CHRO

Welspun also has a full-fledged program to skill and develop blue collar employees, who go through a 6-month training, says Nisha Verma, CHRO of Welspun India

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An HR professional with experience in sectors ranging from engineering, IT, retail and telecom companies, Nisha Verma, CHRO of Welspun India talks about the role of HR, hiring and employee welfare programs. 

How has the role of HR changed with the shift in technology; in terms of better hiring for business development?

The role of HR has evolved over the years, from “Personnel Management” to HR Business Partnering to now TechHR. From hiring to exit, each and every process is enabled by technology which further facilitates in delivering a great employee experience. 

Talking about hiring practises, social media has enabled organisations to build employer brands in many creative ways and have helped in global reach. Few years ago, HR\Talent acquisition teams would protect their database of candidates as priced possession. But today, searching talent is so much easier on social media including, targeting business development candidates across the globe, giving them a peek into your culture to VR technology. Face to face interviews have got replaced by video calls. At the first level candidates video record their introductions and send it to future employers. This saves time and money of all also in my view allows the candidates to put their best foot forward 

Are employees important to the company during office hours, or do you care about them after office too?

The lines between office and home or personal and professional life have started to blur. Flexible work hours and home offices have enabled diversity in workforce. There are offices in homes and crèche in offices. Hence it’s imperative for organisations to care of their employees holistically. 

Our people continue to be our strength and hence employee experience is the core of Welspun’s 2020 vision. Our offices are equipped with facilities of fitness centre to keep them fit and energetic after office hours. Our employee colonies at manufacturing locations have all amenities to keep employees and their families engaged after working hours. 

As a caring organization, it becomes our responsibility to support not only the employees but their families as well. Our comprehensive medi-claim policies which cover spouse, children and parents are best in class in the industry. 

What does a typical hiring process in Welspun look like? What roles do you hire for, and what about junior, mid and senior level hiring?  

At Welspun, we hire from campuses and laterally. When it comes to hiring from engineering and management campuses, we assess the students on their aptitude and technical skills with the aid of technology platforms. The students are assessed through a 2-month internship and are later hired for full-time.

Our major requirements are in sales and merchandising, plant operations and commercial divisions. For our mid and senior level positions, we have a set procedure to find the right candidate internally. We maintain a good ratio of build-buy at Welspun, to ensure flow of new thoughts and to develop the existing talent in the organization. 

Inclusive growth is our value and we live it in our daily lives at Welspun. Hence, it is our constant endeavour to provide equal opportunity to women and specially-abled candidates. At Welspun, we have 24 percent women in our workforce, and more than 500 differently abled employees.  

What has been lacking in the job market; job creation or the skills in the job seekers?

It is a mix of both. The expectations of GenZ, the crowd graduating from campuses, are highly evolved. Indian organizations are at an evolving stage, with a definite push to integrate technology in the processes. The synergy between the expectations and the reality is yet to be fulfilled.

For blue collar employees at our factory locations, skill shortage is a grave issue. At Welspun, we bring in unskilled employees as trainees, train them extensively and then absorb them as our employees. This is a win-win scenario as the workers gain new skills and we create a pipeline of skilled workforce. With this, we play a small part in nation building.

Do you take up internal training for new hiring? How do you deal with the skill shortage of professionals?

At Welspun, learning and development for the employees is a high focus area. Management and engineering trainees, who join us from different campuses, go through extensive training sessions, so that there is a smooth transition from campus to corporate. We groom our young talent to be future leaders in the organization. They undergo functional and leadership training to prepare them for the future. 

At the plant locations, we have a full-fledged program to skill and develop our blue collar employees. New employees, who are unskilled, join us as trainees. These employees are tagged as ‘Beginners’ in terms of skill set. They go through a 6-month training program, during which they are tagged as ‘practitioner’, ‘expert’ and finally get the tag of ‘master’.

How do you manage work in cases of maternity leave? Does that put an extra burden on other employees?

Supporting our female employees during their maternity period is of high priority at Welspun. We hire employees for a fixed term, to ensure that work is not affected, and thereby facilitate an easy transition for female employees. In order to ensure that our employees are not over-burdened, we hire these employees few days prior to complete the knowledge transfer and hand holding process. Meanwhile, we also give our employees the opportunity to take up the role if they are willing to take additional responsibilities.