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Nishant Kolgaonkar
Nishant Kolgaonkar
Vice
President
– HR ,Allcargo
Logistics
HR Strategies in Place in your Company

Allcargo Logistics Ltd. is public listed company providing integrated logistics solutions. The organization currently operates out of 142 own offices in 62 countries and gets supported by an even larger network of franchisee offices across the world. The organization has won many business awards and offers specialized logistics services across Multimedia Transport Operations, Container Freight Station Operations and Project & Engineering Solutions.

Before listing HR strategies, it is necessary to understand the opportunities and challenges that exist in logistics industry. The global logistics industry is estimated to be worth USD 300 billion. Generally the annual Logistics cost for any country varies between 9% and 20% of the GDP. The annual logistics cost in India is estimated to be 14% of the GDP. The industry is characterized by rising costs of operations, talent shortage, infrastructural bottlenecks, demand for investments in technology and providing one-stop solutions to clients needs. Despite these concerns, the Indian logistics industry is growing at 20%.

While our HR strategies are aimed towards addressing some of these challenges, on a broader level it's about creating a congenial environment and entrepreneurial work culture. Alignment with business strategy, resource optimization & corporate governance are the key drivers of our HR strategies. This is achieved by creating a responsive and efficient HR organization structure that plays multiple roles of being a strategic advisor, business partner and operations experts.

Today trends seen in HR

Although there are signs of anemic economic growth but few of these trends could have significant implications for HR, and overall organizational growth.

  • Generations are colliding at work place and employees are putting a stronger satisfaction rating on whether their employer is developing them.
  • Evolution of new technologies, a move towards single software platform, social media, mobile platform will enhance communication and accentuate the migration of HR and business processes from being manual and administrative to more automated and self-service in nature.
  • Corporations will have to consistently monitor risks globally, in lieu of governmental regulations and uncertainties.
  • Analytics and assessment tools will be used widely in workforce planning, optimization, productivity measurement and leadership development.
Difficulties in Planning Human Resource in an ever changing business

Almost every business discussions today revolve around people. Executing strategy in absence of right people in the right positions is unimaginable. The challenges in planning emanates from balancing the workload and resources to achieve desired results. It is slightly easier to engage in short-term operational workforce planning - which includes headcount forecasting and staffing requisitions but with rapidly changing economic conditions, it is a bit daunting to engage in long-term strategic workforce planning.

HR Relationship with the CEO

With human capital becoming a major source of competitive advantage, HR is being actively involved from the inception to execution of business strategies. Since everybody works towards the common goals, the relationship with line managers has to be strategic, collaborative, convivial and equally professional. Our initiatives get ardent support from all the stakeholders. Last year, Mr. Shashi Kiran Shetty; our Chairman and Managing Director had been honoured with the prestigious "CEO with HR Orientation Award" which in a way symbolises this cordial relationship.

Biggest Pain Point

In any organisation, there is an innate tendency for business managers to focus on personalities rather than issues. This sometimes leads to resentment, discrimination, bitter feelings and if not communicated properly even creates trust deficit and vitiates the environment. HR has to make managers wary of this aspect. Moreover, in an era of rightsize environment, building capacity and capability of "ambidextrous" workforce to multi task, take initiatives beyond their job roles, collaborate and build linkages across the organization could be a challenge.

Motivating Employees with Rewards

Recognition is a powerful motivator. The implementation of various awards and recognition programs creates a positive working environment that encourages employees to thrive. Both monetary and non-monetary rewards are essential. Performance linked rewards are instituted to encourage and motivate employees. In addition, there are several awards like Employee of the Month, Employee of the Quarter, Long Service Awards and the prestigious CMD Awards, that honours individuals for their outstanding contributions.

Different Qualities looking while hiring people

We interview people with the intent to hire and not to reject. Being an integrated logistics organisation, we evaluate people keeping in my mind multiple opportunities within our various business divisions. Regardless of levels, we essentially look for people with good attitude, flexibility, entrepreneurial spirit, passion for excellence and cultural fitment. At the middle and senior level, we also insist on managerial and leadership competencies so as to align with our vision and build strong teams. Above all, we look for people who display a 'can do' attitude, have strong ethics, integrity and possess high levels of energy.

Some of the leadership development programs being held & results obtained

Every quarter we organise 'Kshitij' a unique knowledge sharing session which is a brainchild of our CMD. Through this forum we invite imminent professionals to share their experience and insights on contemporary topics. This programme is attended by all managers, senior leadership team including board members. Participants are encouraged to implement best practices learnt during these sessions. In addition, workshops on "Strategy development" and "Bonding for Greatness" that combined the essence of open space and action learning techniques were conducted by renowned faculty. Moreover, with Logistics gradually moving into the realm of supply chain management, employees are avidly encouraged to attend conferences and internal / external trainings based on the current and future needs of the organisation. Our training calendar ensures that we organised various programmes on technical, functional, behavioural and leadership skills.

Identifying Leaders promoting them to the next level

Our performance management system coupled with learning and development helps in identifying consistent good performers with leadership traits across all levels. Senior managers have to mandatorily identify and develop talent under various categories - high and early potential and specialists as part of their performance goals. Based on employee performance, development and their readiness, these employees are considered for career growth, job enrichment, special assignments and opportunities within our group companies.

Engaging Gen Y - Leadership and Organization Culture

All employeses are treated as part of one big family. We strive to engage our multi generational workforce with stimulating work and a positive work environment. Despite having various business vertical and different sub-cultures associated with it, what binds our employees together is our - Vision, Core Culture and Values. Apart from these, there are other requisites, when it comes to defining our organisation culture and employee engagement respect, passion, determination, and commitment coupled with some sense of humour and constant drive to make a difference.

Recruiting & retaining the diverse and ambitious Generation Y. Are they really ambitious

Generation Y is distinctly different as it is shaped by tools like the mobile and the internet. Since organizational culture is enduring and acts as an anchor for individuals, cultural fitment also aids in recruitment and retention. Recruitment happens through employee referrals, direct applications, campus placements and search firms. There is a stronger emphasis on creating future talent and leadership pipeline. Employees undergo training and get hands-on exposure with business systems and process. Retention starts with setting clear expectations during hiring. Along with challenging work, training and reward strategy, proper role clarity and communication are equally essential for retention of ambitious Generation Y.

Attrition Management: Retaining vs. fresh hiring

Strangely this question reminds me of Hamlet's famous soliloquy- "To Be or Not To Be"
On a serious note, hiring and retaining good mix of freshers and experienced talent is necessary. By hiring stipulated number of fresher's, we are able to provide dedicated attention towards their development. Peers and colleagues do play vital role in assimilating new employees, building a sense of camaraderie and preventing attrition. Our attrition rates are not high in comparison with the industry, but attrition does help in weeding out non performers and allows infusion of fresh blood brimming with new ideas. So long as there is a healthy attrition and happens in a controlled manner it is not bad.

Promotional techniques work best & reason behind it

Employees cannot be merely attracted and retained with HR practices. Concerted efforts have been made in designing business operations and processes to help employees succeed. In addition, strong leadership team, cultivating a positive culture, investments in technology, allocating resources, ensuring health, safety and creating conducive environment encourages employees to improves efficiency and effectiveness. Our initiatives attempt to address and promote the optimal configuration of the following:

  • Staff Attitudes (values, commitment, and flexibility);
  • Staff Capabilities (experience, competencies, technical and professional skills);
  • Staff Behaviours (performance, productivity, teamwork and innovation);
  • Specific business and HR Practices
Branding some of our initiatives also helps to create awareness, provide clarity and ensure sustenance. Just to name a few - Anubhava (Employee satisfaction survey), Umang (Team building programme), Utsav (celebrating women and gender diversity), Rejuvenate (Stress management workshop), Jashn (Annual cultural and award function), Bandhan (Employee relations) and Samman Divas (Labour Day celebration). All these and similar such promotional techniques helps in employee engagement and bonding.

Workplaces are changing. Cultures are evolving. The average employee today is different from his/her counterpart from a decade ago too? What is lacking and what does he/she need to keep in mind in todays working scenario

The nature of work has significantly changed and concept of life time employment has become elusive. Work is now more cognitively complex, dependent on interpersonal skills, technology, employee mobility and conducted with speed. At the same time, organizational structures are becoming agile and continually reorganized based on business changes. The average employee today is impatient, inquisitive, innovative, brand conscious and craves for instant gratification. Along with knowledge of business and economics, employees today must be acquainted with history and geography if they have to thrive in global environment. Young employees need to get their hands dirty, be flexible to relocate anywhere, appreciate different perspectives and develop strong domain competencies.

Attract good people, retain the better people and advance the best people

Talent attracts more Talent! For any organisation, the best way to attract and retain top talent is by creating a culture where the best employees want to work - a culture in which people are valued and treated with respect. Retaining and advancing careers requires having good performance management system, a learning environment, and creating opportunities for advancement. It is also important to understand employee aspirations, set realistic expectations and create forums to unleash their latent talents.

Advice/ suggestions to fellow HRs

Hopefully these two messages would inspire every professional.

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.'' - Rudyard Kipling from "The Law of the Jungle."

"Everything changes. Everything is connected. Pay attention." Poet Jane Hirshfield, describing the Zen mind-set.

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