Tata Communications is a leading global communications and enterprise IT service provider that owns and operates the world's most advanced subsea cable network, delivering first class infrastructure, enterprise solutions and partnerships to carriers and businesses worldwide. Tata Communications' network is truly global, extending from developed markets to the world's fastest growing emerging economies.
Headquartered in Mumbai and Singapore, it has offices in more than 80 cities across 31 countries. The Hindu Opportunities spoke to Aadesh Goyal, Global Head, Human Resources of Tata Communications, on the HR policies that have helped the company become a leading player in this sector.
Aadesh has over 25 years of experience in P&L Management, Human Resources, Operations, Information Technology, Corporate Communications and Program Management and has held global leadership roles in these functions across multiple geographies.
What are your unique HR practices regarding recruitment?
Everyone is looking for the best person to hire for a particular role. To find a perfect match is not the easiest thing. You have to get innovative with the recruitment process in order to ensure you find the right fit.
To begin with, we start from within. Our aim is to ensure that all employees are made aware of and have the opportunity to apply for open positions either before or concurrent with the consideration of external candidates for employment. Internal Job Postings Programme not only helps promote greater opportunities within an organisation for employees' career growth but also increase their engagement levels. Last year, more than 300 positions globally were closed through IJP, the Internal Jobs Programme, through which all available positions are open for employees to apply and more than 50% positions in the top half of the pyramid were closed through IJP. At TCL, employees can apply for any position open in any of the 40 countries; many times the position is at a higher level and/or with higher salary.
Secondly, for any organisation, employees are the most important assets and we believe our employees can aid us tremendously in helping find the right new talent. Our Employee Referral Programme encourages current employees to recommend their friends or old colleagues for a role they might be suited. Current employees are well aware of our work culture, ethics and roles and tend to take that into consideration while referring candidates. While the referring employees get recognition and appreciation for helping fill a position, the current employees benefit from being able to work with great competent team mates. Also, in this day and age, you can't ignore the power of social media. Networks are larger, connections are wider, no one is too far away – you can recruit someone from France while sitting in your office in New Delhi. A considerable number of hiring is through LinkedIn.
The fact that we are a part of the Tata Group lends a halo to our brand. It has always been aspirational to work with the Tata brand and its companies. The Tatas were the first to introduce employee welfare rules, ahead of the actual laws. So, we try and take a leaf out of that book as well and strive to ensure a happy and motivated work culture for our employees.
Give us some details about your employee welfare programmes.
In order to enable the employees to take care of their health, the company provides free annual health check-up to those who are 40 years and above. In addition to covering employees and family in the health insurance programme, we also cover parents and/or parents-in-law.
Another unique welfare programme we offer to our employees is the APEX (Achieving Personal Excellence) programme that helps in alleviating stress, maintain work-life balance and learn self-management and leadership skills.
What are your initiatives regarding development of employee relations, employee development and growth?
At TCL, our goal is to hire people for various positions from within. Over the next few years, we will create a talent pipeline so that we are able to fill almost all the open positions from within. To achieve this, we use a unique Learning Management System through which employees can choose more than 1000 programmes to participate in.
And for each top performer, a unique and customised Career Action Plan is developed not only to just meet his/her career aspirations, but also develop the employee for one or more future roles. We also leverage the leadership development programmes offered by Tata Management and Training Centre which benchmark with the best in the world.
In a broad sense, whatever the role may be, employees are looking for intellectual stimulation and commensurate compensation. At Tata Communications, we work towards creating a culture where people are encouraged to learn, develop new skills and grow. It is endemic in our work culture.
When it comes to employee development, we have a quarterly training calendar which focuses on various aspects such as management development; career development; basic skills; professional skills; technical training; supervisory skills and creative skills.
Training is a planned effort on our part to facilitate job learning, knowledge and skill. It is an important factor for enhancing productivity and we have found that providing on-going learning as well as training has a highly significant effect on job satisfaction. Group training sessions also enhance employee motivation and commitment.
When we hire talent to be part of our organisation, we consider it our responsibility to groom that talent. Alternatively, when we find that a particular employee may not be excelling at his/her role which may affect their appraisal, we work towards understanding the employee's key strengths and placing them in teams and entities within the organisation which will complement their strengths.
Further, our senior management has an open door policy.
Whenever an employee requires help or advice, they can always approach their seniors for guidance.
We also make it a point to recognise employee contribution. We have several programmes such our Rewards and Recognition programme and Pro Club to celebrate achievers.
Through the Rewards and Recognition programme, we felicitate the employees and give them awards on a quarterly basis for exceptional performance; this includes monetary rewards as well. Amongst all the incentives we offer, Pro Club is the most coveted award. Every year, we select the top 1% of the company - these are employees who have truly over achieved their target and contributed their very best and stood out from the rest - and send them on an all-expense paid trip to an exotic location along with other winners and our team of senior executives.
What are your initiatives regarding gender equality and diversity?
Tata Communications is an equal opportunity employer. We have employees across 40 different nationalities. Nearly half of our managers have a global team with people from across the world.
And of course, there is equal opportunity for everyone irrespective of their gender, language, nationality, religion, belief, caste or creed. Women employees are amongst the highest achievers in the company at many senior positions. As more and more women are joining the global workforce, we believe, they would be adding even greater value and numbers over the coming years.
What do you think makes you unique in terms of HR practices as compared to other companies in your domain?
The thing that is most unique is our philosophy of hiring for open positions from within. This gives a strong message to the employees that they do not have just a job at TCL, but an opportunity to build a career. Secondly, we are embedding the people strategy into the heart of the business strategy. Like each business has a marketing strategy, we are building a people strategy in a similar manner. This puts people right at the forefront.
We also place great importance on employee engagement. We use our Employee Engagement programme to drive our leadership programmes, demonstrate company strategy, create a sense of purpose and unity and provide regular feedback to employees.
We try to keep it informal as well to create a sense of openness. We really try to keep an open communication between senior management and the employees so that we all get a sense of working towards common company goal and objectives, together, as a team.
What are the HR policies you have planned for your employees in the future?
One very exciting programme we are working on currently is to build multi-faceted leaders for the future - identify people at the middle level and groom them for CXO positions. We want to be able to hire all CXO candidates internally. The second one is to have a Capability Development Plan for each and every employee.
We are also very excited about The Career Action Plan for top performers through which the managers develop the top performers in their team for future/higher roles.
We also have many HR policies lined up for our employees such as the ‘Cross cultural training programme' which we plan to roll out soon.