A Fortune 500 company, the Tata Steel Group is the world's second most geographically diversified steel producer, employing around 80,000 people across five continents in nearly 50 countries. The Group's vision is to be the world's steel industry benchmark in 'Value Creation' and 'Corporate Citizenship' through the excellence of its people, its innovative approach and overall conduct.
Underpinning the vision is a performance culture committed to targets, safety and social responsibility, continuous improvement, openness and transparency. To know more, The Hindu Opportunities spoke to Mr. P Senthil Kumar, Chief Human Resource Officer, Tata Steel.
What are your unique HR practices regarding recruitment?
Tata Steel has always endeavoured to offer some of the best HR practices, and the recruitment process is no exception. The recruitment process is unique as it entails identifying talent from the pool through various practices. Some of them can be enlisted as follows:
Tata Steel is of the opinion that people are its greatest asset and has therefore adopted the best practices for its employees.
Trade Unions: The Company believes that a healthy union is an asset for it. Trade unions are therefore present and encouraged at all locations. All the non-officers (86% of the total workforce) are represented by 26 independent trade unions across all locations.
Joint Consultations: Tata Steel is a pioneer of joint consultation in India. A unique system of joint consultation has been in place in Tata Steel for more than 55 years in which both management and employee representatives consult each other at all levels on matters relating to the progress and prosperity of the organisation, including production, productivity, quality, safety, welfare, training, etc. A minimum of 56 Joint Departmental Council meetings are held in a year.
Grievance Handling Mechanism: Grievances and complaints of employees at Tata Steel are handled through well-defined and user friendly mechanisms in order to redress them at the initial stages thereby ensuring employee satisfaction. The informal grievance resolution mechanism is an online process and goes by the name of “Samadhan”. The formal grievance resolution is divided into three stages, with each stage being reached when a solution is not arrived in the previous stage. These are further referred to the Central Works Committee.
HR Service Desk: In line with Tata Steel’s philosophy of “Values Stronger than Steel”, creating “trust” among employees is an inseparable part of the long term vision of the company.
Benefits and Facilities: Tata Steel has many ‘firsts’ in the area of employee welfare. Several welfare initiatives of Tata Steel were institutionalised even before it was formalised worldwide as a convention of the ILO. The Steel Works is the only steel manufacturing unit and the largest of its kind in the world, to adopt and enforce SA 8000 as a tool to improve workplace standards.
Employee Health: Apart from continuous preventive health surveillance of employees (which includes both statutory & non-statutory health check-ups), a unique programme on Wellness@Workplace has been launched across the company.
Higher Studies: Monetary incentives to employees acquiring higher technical qualifications in a related field.
Employee development and growth
The company believes in providing continuous skill and competence upgrading of all employees by providing access to necessary learning opportunities, on an equal and non-discriminatory basis. As a management approach Tata Steel has identified the following strategies to meet this challenge: (i) maximise utilisation of available employees through right skilling and (ii) recruitment of technically qualified persons.
Tata Steel encourages a holistic approach to learning and development through its well established in-house training facilities and approaches. The Tata Steel Management Development Centre (TMDC) endeavours to provide primarily managerial training and also functional training to all officers of Tata Steel, the Shavak Nanavati Technical Institute (SNTI) provides the essential technical and functional training to all officers and non-officers of the Company.
Moreover, Tata Steel ensures the development and growth of its employees in the best possible ways through the following steps:
70:20:10 Learning and Development Programme
The 70:20:10 concept of Learning and Development of officers has been launched with an objective of creating a culture where every manager takes ownership for the development of his/her subordinates. This also helps in instituting systems so that employees are trained, coached and mentored in a systematic manner such that they acquire appropriate knowledge, skill and attitude required by the organisation and are prepared in advance to take up higher responsibilities.
In order to eliminate drudgery and maximise the learning opportunities for our employees, robust processes have been put in place pertaining to job rotation and career planning. These processes also help raise and retain the technical capabilities within the organisation by ensuring development of officers through planned rotation to keep meaningful longevity in each position so that the executive develops deeper functional capability.
Employee Contact Programme
In addition to the various Employee Satisfaction and Engagement surveys, a formal method for collecting and resolving officers’ inputs, named “Employee Contact Programme”, has been launched in 2009. The key objectives of this programme are to:
The Performance Management System called ‘Ensuring Development & Growth of Employees’ (EDGE) is one of the most important people process for executives in the organisation which cuts across all levels and sections.
Objectives of EDGE
It’s our belief that businesses should provide and maintain equal opportunities irrespective of caste, creed, gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
The core principles enshrined in the policy, and now applied across the Tata Steel Group worldwide are:
There are a number of initiatives for women which work under the umbrella of SWATI, the women empowerment cell of Tata Steel. We have self-development programmes such as Pehchan, Empowering Women Managers to Succeed and other developmental programmes.
How challenging is it to manage a diverse workforce across countries and different cultures?
There is a need to understand culture and ethnicities in the areas we operate. The cultural and value underpinnings are different hence expectations are quite varied from across cultures. We have policies and initiatives undertaken to address the needs which are:
To deal with the challenges of managing a global workforce, our HR policies are customised to local requirements as well as global requirements as per the needs of our employees.
To manage global requirements, we have compensation policy which covers security, political and economic risks of the location and based on which, mobility premium is inbuilt into the compensation structure.
What HR policies have you planned for your employees in the future?
To support the expansion of our existing facilities, we have planned the following initiatives:
Recruitment and selection: The process involves Reporting officers/ Heads of the process in counselling and training for their colleagues