Cadila puts under-30 HR executives in challenging roles for leadership development

The Company recently started identifying leaders who are below 30 in the HR domain, preparing them for challenging roles


Cadila Pharmaceuticals has always believed in grooming talent internally and building leaders from within. In fact, many of the leaders in finance and sales, have all been groomed internally by Cadila, and these are employees who have spent more than 15 years in the Company, exhibiting great stability.

Catching them young

The Company has its own ways of nurturing leaders. It identifies young professionals, who are below the age of 30, and prepares and grooms them for challenging roles within the firm. “The idea is to identify high-potential talent under 30 and place them in roles that have traditionally been the bastion of employees over 40 years of age,” says Kinjal Choudhary, SVP-HR, Cadila Pharmaceuticals.

After years of grooming young talent and developing leaders in the finance and sales roles, Cadila has now started a similar talent-development plan for the HR department. In fact, as per Choudhary, the Company has already begun the process of identifying high-potential talent in the HR domain, and will soon start priming them for bigger / challenging roles in the organisation.

These roles are ‘challenging’ because they are fairly difficult to manage and are highly critical at the same time, for instance, the plant HR roles in case of Cadila.

Managing HR operations for the plant is rather challenging, involving management of workers at the shop floor. Since the HR operations at the plants directly impact the production of the Company, these roles are highly critical too.

Managing HR for frontline sales teams in a pharmaceutical company is yet another challenging role admits Choudhary, as more often these frontline sales teams are unionised.

Equal opportunities

There is also a conscious effort by Cadila to give equal opportunities to everyone including women in challenging assignments.

Himanshi Jain is one of the first to be selected through this programme. She has been identified as a high-potential talent and has been given the role of HR manager for the largest formulations manufacturing sites of the Company with close to 2,000 employees.

At 29, she is the first in more ways than one. Not only is Jain the first woman HR manager of this manufacturing facility in its almost 25-year old history, but she is also the youngest HR manager of this manufacturing unit by a mile.

“The idea is to identify high-potential talent under 30 and place them in roles that have traditionally been the bastion of employees over 40 years of age”

Kinjal Choudhary, SVP-HR, Cadila Pharmaceuticals

In her current role, Jain is required to manage industrial relations (IR), talent and contract labour, and also handle trade unions, ensure statutory compliances, optimise employee costs, look into succession planning and develop talent for a manufacturing site with about 2,000 employees. “This is a challenge I had always dreamt of taking on, but never expected to get an opportunity to do so this early in my career. The on-the-job learning for me is immense and I am sure it is preparing me very well for more senior roles later on in life,” admits Jain, sharing her experience with HRKatha.

Jain joined Cadila in early 2019 and Choudhary shares that in the last three years, she has demonstrated immense potential in the talent-acquisition function, managing the Cadila Young Leaders Programme, the management-trainee programme of the Company. She has also played a significant role in attracting senior talent across functions, without the support of traditional search partners.

Qualities sought

Cadila is in the process of identifying more young high-potential leaders such as Jain in the HR function, who can take up challenging roles and emerge as future leaders.

“Cadila is looking to take this initiative to more individuals who demonstrate the right competencies and show potential for leadership positions,” reveals Choudhary.

As shared by Choudhary, some of the competencies that are sought in such high-potential talent under 30 include, eagerness and bias for action; High result orientation; ability to take others along; ability to articulate one’s point of view convincingly; perseverance and steadfastness in the face of hurdles and the ability to maintain pose and equanimity under pressure.

“These qualities make a difference as one takes on senior roles, and hence, the endeavour to identify young talent who show these qualities early on in their careers,” explains Choudhary.

Training and assessment

The high-potential candidates chosen for this programme are assessed basis on-the job training. The Company evaluates the talent on what and how they achieve consistently, on the job.

The young talent identified for grooming are slowly exposed to the actual jobs and responsibilities of the roles they are chosen for, and the functional leaders continuously coach and mentor them in preparation for the same.

“As and when we feel the person is ready to take up the role, the transition into the same is completed,” reveals Choudhary.

Since Cadila is now trying to build a strong leadership pipeline in the HR function, it hopes that this initiative will create some great HR leaders for the Company.

In addition to building a leadership pipeline, this initiative also allows Cadila to engage with young potential talent and draw innovative ideas from them.


  1. Himansihi Jain’s story is incredible . It is very encouraging to note that Cadila is now trying to build a strong leadership pipeline in the HR do,main. Cadila’s structured programme to groom young talents early in their career is very commendable .

Comment on the Article

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

fifteen − thirteen =