India’s largest stainless steel producer, Jindal Stainless, is going through a very interesting phase in terms of business as well people practices. The two companies, Jindal Stainless Limited and Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited, are set to merge in the near future and expansion plans, in terms of the workforce, are on track. In a conversation with HRKatha, Suresh Bose, CHRO, Jindal Stainless, reveals that the Company is planning to expand its workforce by about 200 to 300 people, in addition to its regular annual workforce increment.
Meanwhile, the personnel management department headed by Bose is undergoing a different kind of transformation. Not unlike many other companies, JSL is planning to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and technology in the HR function.
Tech and AI
“Our team is working on using more of AI/technology for all enabling and routine activities of HR. Our work environment aims to help employees deliver their KPIs, think out of the box, and nurture Unicorn thoughts. Hence, a lot of emphasis is being given to their ideas to achieve business excellence,” Bose shares proudly.
At the moment, the major focus is on shifting all routine as well as enabling HR work to the AI chatbot and tech. This will free the HR at JSL from having to answer queries on mundane issues. As Bose puts it, “We are looking to integrate whatever HR tech and AI we have into one single platform, which will be called ‘JI ji’, short for “Jindal Industries ji”, where ‘ji’ is the Hindi honorific,” he explains.
Bose shares that the Company has created a ‘Centre of Excellence’ (CoE) for speeding talent intake. This team will work across the organisation on screening and referencing, taking into account the last three to five years’ ratings, promotions and additional responsibilities taken vs executed/demonstrated, quantifiable value, turn-around/accomplishments, ethical records, and so on.
“We are looking to integrate whatever HR tech and AI we have into one single platform, which will be called ‘JI ji’, short for “Jindal Industries ji”, where ‘ji’ is the Hindi honorific”
Suresh Bose, CHRO, Jindal Stainless
Another major development that Bose shares with HRKatha is that JSL will soon enter into an agreement with the Haryana government to facilitate learning and insights into the manufacturing process of stainless steel. The first batch of 2022, will see 3,000 diploma students taking the course on stainless steel. Both parties will formalise the agreement on February 21, 2022.
The subject will be compulsory for one to get a diploma, and the knowledge/ lessons will be imparted by the Jindal Institute of Industrial Training, located in Hisar. According to Bose, the Company plans to offer similar courses pertaining to the stainless steel manufacturing business through more engineering colleges. “Currently, nine institutes offer courses on stainless steel. We want to expand the same and offer it on an elective basis,” says Bose.
Internal talent development
The Company has also introduced an internal upskilling and reskilling programme called ‘Parivartan’, under which it has identified about 230 star performers within the Company. These chosen few are going through certain development initiatives, and on the basis of their performance they will take up higher responsibilities.
These employees can move to JSL units in other countries such as Spain and Indonesia too. They will also enjoy the opportunity of cross-function movement.
“This programme aims at their career progression and building a suitable succession plan. It is tailor-made in collaboration with our partner, PWC. Many ideas on developing talent are unfolding on Q&A with our MD, internal leaders, alumni, coaches, CEOs who have turned around businesses, and so on,” Bose shares.
Apart from ‘Parivartan’, JSL is also working on setting up a personnel development committee (PDC) to keep a check on opportunities for the internal talent.
“The idea is to keep a balance on working with a mix of freshers, promoting internal talent and also getting new experts. We hope to execute this soon and with it, set a culture of excellence,” he says.
For new hirings, the Company has recently opened our campus-recruitment programme and will be visiting 34 colleges this year. “We are focusing on a geographical mix, as we wish to see a diverse workforce for competition. We are hiring talents from Jammu & Kashmir and from the North-East as well. Also, to gain from international perspectives, we have plans to hire interns to work virtually from countries housing our global competitors,” Bose announces.