In sports, all kinds of players with different skills are needed to gain an edge over competitors or rivals. Similarly, in business, the unique skills and potential of the people can be a major differentiator in making the business a dominating force.
Citing an example, Raja Radhakrishnan, country director – HR, Hitachi Energy India, talks of the game of cricket, from back in the 1960s or 70s, when India was known for its great batting talent. However, in those days, the Indian team lacked fast bowlers. That is precisely why, the Indian team kept struggling to become a dominating force in cricket.
Gradually, India worked on those skills and now we have some of the greatest fast bowlers who are helping win matches overseas and also on home ground, making the Indian team a dominating and fearful force in the world of cricket.
Similarly, “we at Hitachi Energy focus on balancing our unique technology prowess with core business drivers that we may require to perform sustainably in the market,” says Radhakrishnan.
Talking to HRKatha, Radhakrishnan shares that for many years Hitachi Energy had been focussing on building the existing talent and skills in the organisation. Now, however, the Company wants to focus on diversifying its skills in other key areas, which will help the organisation prepare for the future.
There is a lot of scope for growth in the energy sector, where it is expected that India will move towards electricity as an energy resource for running all kinds of vehicles.
“We at Hitachi Energy focus on balancing our unique technology prowess with core business drivers that we may require to perform sustainably in the market,.”
Raja Radhakrishnan, country director – HR, Hitachi Energy India
Radhakrishnan shares that electricity will be over 50% of all energy generated in the country.
To prepare for such a heavy demand, the Company needs to diversify its skills in different areas.
Some of the existing skills
As of now, Hitachi Energy has been able to build upon its core skills — such as technology, designing switch gears and transformers and high voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission technology skills — quite well, admits Radhakrishnan.
He goes on to say that the Company has been known for developing the HVDC power transmission technology since the 1970s, and it has the largest talent pool in the country in terms of skills in this area. “In our Chennai centre, we have more than 1500 technologists who are helping projects all over the world,” says Radhakrishnan proudly.
However, there are some other emerging skills that Hitachi Energy has identified across its four business lines, which are required to equip them for the future.
New skills required
Some of the unique skills required to make Hitachi Energy a dominating force lie in the areas of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, software engineering, product life cycle management, solution architects and SAP programming. The Company is making efforts to develop those skills in the organisation.
Skill development strategy
As per Radhakrishnan, Hitachi Energy plans to develop these new and unique skills largely by hiring people from diverse backgrounds and across sectors.
Diversity: The Company believes that diversity is one thing that can make an organisation a good mix of people from different backgrounds. Hitachi Energy is already taking the right step in this direction by hiring more women.
Its ‘women returnship’ programme gives an opportunity to women who had to take a career break, to get back into active employment.
The Company also has a ‘Diversity 360’ programme under which people from different backgrounds and shades of life are hired to be part of the workforce.
Inclusive job descriptions: Hitachi Energy endeavours to hire talent with the required skills from across industries. Radhakrishnan shares that earlier, the firm only focused on developing skills, which already existed in the organisation. Now, however, they are open to hiring other unique skills from different backgrounds as well.
“This is reflected in our job descriptions,” says Radhakrishnan admitting that earlier “we had too many specifications in the job descriptions, and therefore, ended up hiring similar kind of people”.
Now, the Company has sensitised its managers to produce inclusive job descriptions. “In the past, our filters sought people with an electrical engineering background and ‘x’ years of experience in the field and so on. Now, we have reduced such filters to give an opportunity to new talent,” explains Radhakrishnan.
Hiring from across industries: Hitachi Energy loves to hire from different industries such as automotive and construction. “When it is about designing transformers or switch gears, we have ample talent, but when we talk about quality and operational excellence, the automotive sector has very high standards.”
“Similarly, in terms of contract management, construction companies are the best sectors to hire from,” enunciates Radhakrishnan.
Balanced approach: Hitachi Energy adopts a balanced approach when it comes to fresher hiring and experienced hiring. “We only seek people with curiosity, eagerness to learn and an agile mindset, irrespective of their age or background,” asserts Radhakrishnan.
Leadership competency: The Company has four pillars of leadership competency behaviour basis which managers are hired — people to purpose; people to people; people to potential and people to performance.
It is challenging!
Hiring people from different backgrounds, does pose challenges.
Many people do not know what the company really does. “We have to tell them what we really do,” says Radhakrishnan.
Even otherwise, the energy sector does not appear to be too lucrative and exciting for people. However, “when we tell people what we do and how it is creating an impact they feel excited to join us,” points out Radhakrishnan.
It is working!
Radhakrishnan reveals that as of now, in terms of capability building, the Company seems to be moving in the right direction. Our attrition levels are below 10 per cent in key engineering functions, lower than industry average. Our engagement scores are encouraging, which indicates our efforts are really working,” says an elated Radhakrishnan.
He is of the belief that there is ample talent in the market, and that one just needs to have an inclusive mindset and offer opportunities to people.