He firmly believes that creation and retention of skilled manpower along with employee-friendly policies are a win-win combination to support any organization’s business expansion at multiple levels. One of the ways to achieve this kind of success and sustain it, is clearly, by having the management listen in – not only to its stakeholders and managers but also listen in to its teams on the shop floor. The quality of the culture in an organization has a direct correlation to the productivity of its teams, says this charismatic leader.
A thriving and uplifting work culture is the perfect playing field for employees to harness their true potential and ensure high impact results. Armed with an excellent combination of being a people’s person, and having outstanding organizational skills he does complete justice to his role in the organization and has taken the company to the pinnacle of success. Meet Ramesh Krishnan, the Senior VP Human Resources at Delphi TVS, Chennai, India.
What is that one thing you love the most about what you do?
I’m an all-out people’s person. Put me in a room full of people and that would make my day. That’s what I love about my job too – Interacting with people at our workplace who hail from different backgrounds and have different expertise. I therefore also love people development, hiring, and managing employee relations.
Do you believe the employees and those associated with your organization deserve to be appreciated for their roles? If yes, what are the current options you are engaging in to express appreciation?
Absolutely. Appreciation and recognition happen at every level in the organization, ensuring people feel valued and appreciated for the contribution they bring to the table.
On the people front we spend more time on induction, where we introduce them to our organizational culture and set the right expectations so they get more clarity on the way forward. Bonding with our employees, explaining safety guidelines and encouraging an open-door policy for them to approach the management at any time with their feedback and grievances. This helps us give them a deep sense of belonging and participation.
For those who join us at mid and senior levels, we encourage a new wave of unlearning and relearning, so they can quickly align with the organizational policies and culture. To train new joinees we have professionals with over 25 years of experience who guide and nurture them for a while until they are given any responsibility. This also helps in getting to know their peers and their seniors.
The organization has a ‘no firing’ policy. They strongly believe that there is always something valuable to learn in the mistakes we make and play an instrumental role in helping employees find their potential and work on upgrading their skills to ensure their productivity and value addition to their job role continues to grow each day.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Various committees for betterment of safety measures and welfare are formed in rotation, which meet once in 2 months to onboard valuable suggestions made by employees. The committee also implements the same, giving the employees the confidence that their voices are being heard, their suggestions matter and are acted upon. To encourage the employees to constantly think about ways to make the organization a better place to work in, suggestions and kaizen (incremental improvement) are encouraged and the best ones are awarded cash prizes, certificates and also appreciated publicly during important events. For every suggestion, tokens of appreciation like pens and key chains are also given regularly.
Important days and events at the organization to recognize the ecosystem that we are part of
Founder’s Day gives us an opportunity to recognize outstanding employees amidst the presence of all the senior managers to motivate them and instill a sense of belonging in all. Employees are trained to showcase their skills, knowledge and creativity and are given an opportunity to participate in District, State and National level competitions. Not only do our teams usually win these, but they also present creative solutions in problem solving and continuous quality improvements.
On Teacher’s day, we do something very unique. We invite teachers from nearby schools to join us for a few hours as a way to appreciate the great work they do. They feel happy, important and recognized for their hard work. Teachers of the employees are also invited. They feel happy visiting an organization where their students are serving at good positions and are impacting their teams.
On Republic Day, young achievers from the nearby schools are acknowledged for their work, which also helps in encouraging the other students to work harder.
The Navratri grandeur is a musical sight! With employee families and villagers joining together for a 9 day long celebration that involves bringing in young artists to perform and showcase their talent. It’s a full blown community celebration that leaves everyone feeling happy at the end of the festivities.
Encouraging a culture of constant learning
We believe in continuous improvement and benchmark ourselves for winning various awards like TPM,TQM and 5S which gives our employees a sense of ownership and helps them steer the organization to greater heights. As a result our customers also value us more for our process, quality and delivery.
Corporate Social Responsibility
TVS is well known for their social responsibility and giving back to society. Employees are given the opportunity to spend time for CSR activities. We involve ourselves with nearby schools, medical centers and orphanages and interact with the students and inmates. This isn’t a compulsory activity and therefore only those who are interested sign up. We would love for our employees to partake in such activities, as there is always something wonderful to learn in the process. Such is the inspiration that our teams derive from these activities, that some of the employees even give their salaries to those in need as a way to help more people get access to a more nourishing environment and create a better life for themselves.
Are there any organizational policies that set you apart from your contemporaries?
It has got to be our system of promotions. Hard work, genuine contribution of value and integrity are seen as the cornerstones for the promotion policy in the organization. Hierarchy and seniority take a back seat in this situation making it encouraging for anyone across the board to get a promotion as they know the parameters that are required to qualify for one and are very clearly spelt out. At the same time we do have periodical grade promotions. And it’s a given that with any promotion comes higher responsibility and deliverables.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
In 2019, there was a change in government policy which had strict enforcement of environmental and emission norms. In India, we were forced to move away from BS4 to BS6 vehicles. Our first plant was left with no business and no jobs as the system had become obsolete, almost overnight. The organization took it upon itself to ensure the team of 300 people working there were made to understand the situation and were taken care of by giving them good compensation and VRS along with 2 year medical insurance.
The real challenge was to make them and their families understand the situation through constant counselling, providing moral support and above all a complete system to help them upscale and re-skill themselves. 15 courses were introduced to train, certify and develop their skills in areas that were of interest to them, in line with their passion and this gave them the much needed boost of confidence. This was done through Government MSMS training facilities which not only gave certificates, but also ensured bank loans to start a business. This training helped them to get started with their own entrepreneurship journey. We worked with our placement agencies to get them an alternate job opportunity. Though it was painful, the support extended by the management gave them a sense of satisfaction that though employees were asked to leave due to business compulsions, they were given adequate protection and enough financial assistance to meet the ends till they found an alternate job or started a business.
Three tips you would like to share with our readers – to bring in more joy at the workplace
At the onset, I believe joy is not something that can be brought, it is something that already exists in the organization and is evident in the satisfaction of the employees. There are some activities we indulge in to ensure the happiness quotient continues to grow. These are simple practices, but go a long way in making all our people feel more relaxed and happy.
- Encouraging casual wear once a week and bringing in food of their choice.
- Allowing access to intranet facilities that allow them to sell goods, put up stalls, share recipes etc., creates a happy and thriving atmosphere at work.
- Access to sports activities to de-stress and have some fun times with the team is a much appreciated one too.
Is there something that you would want to implement in your organization?
I strongly believe that, in the present circumstances, one should utilize the time in the best productive manner, and the results are better from Work From Home. This will also provide time for one to learn new skills. I believe it saves commute time, reduces commute fatigue and allows people to use their highest energies towards doing productive work.
The production and manufacturing staff don’t have an option but others do. With the current situation WFH is now becoming the norm and the way I see it, it is here to stay.