Bajaj Auto’s ‘Flying Start Leadership Programme’

Leveraging social media innovatively to welcome newcomers and also create a sense of belongingness, Bajaj Auto has managed to take employee engagement to another level.

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Bajaj Auto is leading the change by staying ahead of companies in the industry. How? From its innovation labs, it is tenaciously generating ideas capable of elevating the employee-engagement experience.

Recently, the Company’s official page on a popular social-media website, carried a series of posts. Each of them was a collage of pictures with vibrant colours and graphics. These visually-appealing posts were created to introduce the management trainees who were hired from various B-School campuses in early 2019.

In addition to a thumbnail image of each trainee, there were snippets of information about them. We found them to be a form of entertaining and compelling storytelling.

A great idea for sure, because the anecdotes are short, crisp, and do not talk about mundane stuff. Typically, people ask newcomers boring questions during introductions. However, Bajaj Auto very cleverly broke the monotony through peppy taglines, such as the most embarrassing moment, useless talent, superpower, passion, favourite quote, defining moment of life, title of life’s novel and many more.

This was not only a fun exercise for the management trainees, but also a pleasant surprise. After all, who would have imagined that they would share anecdotes on the most embarrassing moment of their lives on the Company’s social-media page?

Management trainee, Daphne Gorre, says the title of her life’s novel is ‘How to simplify the complex and complicate the simple’. Navin Dhote’s defining moment of life was when he gifted his dad a bike. The posts are packed with interesting and tiny tales.

“The objective is the same as that of all campus hires — an opportunity to showcase the personality of the individuals in a crisp yet compelling post,” says Ravi Kyran, CHRO, Bajaj Auto.

Apparently, they have hired a total of 38 management trainees and hit the nail in diversity with 50 per cent of new hires being males and the rest women. For the automobile sector, this truly is a great feat.

The 80-year old Bajaj Auto runs a power-packed internship programme for management students, called Octane. Interestingly, of the current lot of management trainees, 18 interned with them and received pre-placement offers.

Ravi Kyran

“Considering that we hire fresh graduates round the year — be it management trainees, graduate trainees or diploma trainees — we have distinct ways to introduce and induct them. Right from day 1— starting with their joining kit/induction, up till the completion of 90 days—when their stint starts, everything is methodically planned to ensure smooth onboarding into the Bajaj system”

“Our social-media pages are managed by our in-house team which handles both content and creatives. The credit for this particular series of posts goes to HR management trainee, Siddharth Karthikeyan, XLRI 2019 batch,” says Kyran.

Building prospects for creativity in functions, such as human resources, is a big leap for Bajaj Auto. This marks the dawn of innovative employee engagement, both for the designer and the newcomers.

Kyran says, “Considering that we hire fresh graduates round the year — be it management trainees, graduate trainees or diploma trainees — we have distinct ways to introduce and induct them. Right from day 1— starting with their joining kit/induction, up till the completion of 90 days—when their role/stint starts, everything is methodically planned to ensure smooth onboarding into the Bajaj system.”

The question that comes to mind is, ‘Are these practices Gen Z centric?’ ‘Is the company making efforts to appeal the target, the digitally-savy Generation Z?’

“The onboarding experience is not differentiated in terms of Gen X, Gen Y or Gen Z. Once a hiring decision is made, we view them as part of the Bajaj family. There are minor changes depending on roles, but for the most part we see everyone as equals,” remarks Kyran.

Bajaj Auto, a legendary player in the automobile industry has initiated changes in multiple areas — one is the administrative process of onboarding. This has been streamlined to ensure that employees are role ready and up for the challenges at the earliest. Additionally, the new hires have access to senior leadership right from day one.

Feeling elated because of the two-fold advantage, Kyran concludes, “We have received tremendous response both from the management trainees and our followers on the social network platform. As a matter of fact, our followers have increased dramatically. No other company in this sector is anywhere close to us.”

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