April 2016 | Sanghamitra Bhowmik

'Creating a great place to work has been a key imperative for us'

Vinod Kumar, CEO, Tata Communications and Adesh Goyal, CHRO, Tata Communications at the Aon Award ceremony

Winner of Aon best employer 2016, Tata Communication's chief human resource officer Aadesh Goyal tells tata.com it's gratifying to know that the organisation's policies, practices and culture are considered to be top-notch.

Grooming future business leaders and developing a sound leadership is key to an organisation’s success, how do you strike that balance?
We lead various initiatives internally to get a right mix of talent pool within the organisation. One-third of our lateral hiring is through our internal job posting programme. This approach works well for employees from their career growth and opportunities point-of-view; and we as an organisation benefit from cross-pollination and retaining our talent pool.

We provide employees with exciting career opportunities where they take up interesting assignments for two years, gather sound learning and then look for new opportunities again. With this broader career horizon, we create an inclusive working environment, encourage collaboration, innovate, build knowledge and skills; and above help employees feel fresh and motivated - rather than creating silos. They can recommend people from their network or from the previous job and this helps us to become a networked organisation; so it’s a win-win for everyone.

This award is a culmination of the hard work and commitment of our people. Being recognised for our efforts in India and winning the Best Employer award validates our commitment towards building a strong, diverse and inclusive workforce I thank each of our employees and their families for their contribution. However, this is just a beginning and we look forward to many more such awards.

– Vinod Kumar, CEO, Tata Communications

As an organisation, how much do you invest in learning, development and training?
Learning and development has been our key priority for us. In our recent internal survey, employees gave us very positive feedback on the depth and breadth of learning and development opportunities offered within the organisation.

Innovation is one of our other drivers for strategy and we feel happy to see that on a global level our employees do see value in this approach and participate. We take pride in promoting personal responsibility for learning and development. It’s great to see employees enrolling for their training which is self-driven; and anything which is self-driven yields good results.

What are the key challenges you face when acquiring talent and retaining them, especially in the current market scenario?
We have been a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for three years in a row now, so we compete rather well in the talent market in terms of hiring. Our attrition is lower than the industry average and we take pride in retaining and growing our talent, retaining our employees and our best performers.

That said; we learn from our research and analysis to help us compete well with retention and attract new talent. Tata is associated with trust and carries a strong brand reputation. People outside India may not know Tata brand as well but employees from the industry who we hire are certainly quiet aware of it.  We are working on building our brand awareness globally and that will take some time.  

The other challenge is that as part of our transformation, we are looking to attract a diverse mix of talent from industries other than telecom.

We will soon be able to iron out these challenges.

How tough is ‘the best employer award’ journey?
Creating a great place to work has been a key imperative for us for a few years now with strong commitment from the entire leadership as well as each of our 9,000 employees.

To be recognised as one of the 25 best employers in India is a testament to the consistent and focused effort to retain and grow our talent and engage employees with our vision and business strategy. It’s gratifying to see that our policies, practices and culture have been considered to be top-notch amongst hundreds of other organisations.

What makes Tata Communications the best employer?
At Tata Communications, we are committed to building a performance driven culture to achieve business results which truly reflects our effective people practices. Given the expanse of our operations, we need to design our people strategies that are timely and relevant to meet business goals.

Our consistent effort has always been to ensure the business best practices reflects in all that we do - empowering our employees through learning and development opportunities, rewards and recognition, work processes and creating an inclusive and motivated workforce.

Tata AIA Life Insurance, Tata AutoComp Systems, Tata Chemicals and Tata Communications won Aon best employer awards in 2016. Heads of the human resource departments speak about the best practices which helped each company win the award. Read more:
Overview: Putting people first
'A happy workforce is key' — Kristyl Bhesania, senior vice president and head of human resources, Tata AIA Life Insurance
Tata AutoComp braces change and comes on top — Siba Satapathy, president (people & engagement) and CHRO, Tata AutoComp
On top of the transformation game — R Nanda, chief human resource officer, Tata Chemicals