How the millennials at MTR Foods are enjoying global exposure

‘Junior Board’ is a reflection of the new employee value proposition launched atOrkla Group, the owner of MTR Foods


Across organisations, it is the millennials who will be seen coming forward to take up leadership roles in the future. Therefore, engaging this younger lot has become more important now than ever before. Also, identifying the tremendous potential in these energetic youngsters, early in their careers, gives them the required career push in the organisation. This is something that the Orkla Group is well aware of and is working towards.

Owner of the MTR Foods brand, the Orkla Group has rolled out a global-level programme called ‘Junior Board’, developed specifically for youngsters and millennials in the organisation. As part of the programme, about 16 youngsters have been selected and offered an opportunity to work directly with the group CEO of Orkla, in Norway. The purpose of this programme is to engage with the high- potential youngsters early on in their career.

Speaking to HRKatha, Milan Chattaraj, chief people officer, MTR Foods, shares that the Company developed the ‘Junior Board’ programme to give an opportunity to young professionals to work directly with the group CEO. The selected youngsters will work on specific projects and enjoy the opportunity to come up with innovative business ideas.

The first criterion to be a part of this programme is to be below the age of 30 since the programme targets the millennial population. As per Chattaraj, people can self- nominate themselves for the programme by submitting a document about themselves and recommendation letters from two people who can highlight their capabilities, either from within the organisation or outside.

The candidates are required to submit a small video clip based on which they will be evaluated on their ability to ideate new business proposals and ideas. It is the team at the CEO’s office that directly evaluates the people and announces the participants. The seniormost leadership teams interview the candidates and then the CEO has a chat with the selected candidates.

“It is not about promotions or hikes always. This programme gives these youngsters a rare opportunity to meet the CEO and gain valuable exposure”

Milan Chattaraj, chief people officer, MTR Foods

Since it is a global initiative, Chattaraj reveals that the Company is trying to make sure that people from diverse backgrounds, and from different regions, genders and functions are part of this programme.

Orkla started the programme last year and the one employee who was selected to be a part of this management training programme from India, was fresh out of college.

The selected participants travel to Norway, where they are divided into teams. They work on self-interest projects and meet with the CEO on a quarterly basis for a year.

The ‘Junior Board’ programme is into its second leg this year.

Though people who are part of this programme do not get any promotion or increment, it is the exposure that matters and which they really value. “It is not about promotions or hikes always. This programme gives these youngsters a rare opportunity to meet the CEO and gain valuable exposure,” points out Chattaraj.

On asking upon why the company chose to put an age cap on this opportunity, Chattaraj replies, “In the coming years, almost 70 per cent of the population will comprise millennials, and we want to give exposure to these youngsters early in their careers.”

The whole ‘Junior Board’ programme is actually based on the new employee value proposition (EVP) launched at MTR Foods, tagged as ‘Home to Grow.’

“As part of this new EVP, we believe in the philosophy that only if the individual succeeds and grows can the company grow,” says Chattaraj.

Whatever be the programmes designed by the Company — whether for learning, engagement or hiring — ‘Home to Grow’ forms the founding principle and ‘Junior Board’ is a reflection of this new EVP at MTR Foods.

Not surprisingly, every employee at MTR Foods is aware of what it means to work with the MTR Foods brand. This becomes the reason for new and prospective employees to want to join the Company. Irrespective of the project the employees are working on, they are all well aware of the purpose of their work, which is aligned with the new EVP.

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