The packaging industry is one of the few exceptions that saw growth during the pandemic. As people started to rely more on delivery systems for their requirements, business for the packaging industry grew. The Indian packaging company, UFlex expanded its workforce during the pandemic along with its operations, into multiple other countries.
Chandan Chattaraj, president – human resources, UFlex, tells HRKatha that since the Company was categorised as an essential services provider, its operations grew significantly during the pandemic. He also reveals that hiring saw an increase of 25 per cent during the pandemic, taking the total employee count of UFlex to 9,000. The Company also increased its global operations during the time.
“We are currently establishing a plant in Nigeria. In the past quarter we have commissioned plants in Russia and Hungary. While setting up an extended operation, attracting the right talent is really important,” he says.
Along with drawing suitable talent, it is also necessary to upskill the existing talent in order to ensure retention. For that, UFlex has set up an internal upskilling academy, where employees undergo training.
“Our Academy operates under seven thoughtfully-curated wings, which are creativity & innovation, sustainability and business excellence, functional capability building, operational excellence, leadership excellence, sales and marketing excellence, and behavioural capability building”
Chandan Chattaraj, president – human resources, UFlex
Chattaraj believes that the UFlex Academy provides a sort of grooming ground for the industry.
The Academy brings together a range of off-the-shelf digital, blended and classroom courses on a wide range of business-driven subjects, delivered through UFlex’s secure and accessible Oracle HCM online platform.
“Our Academy operates under seven thoughtfully-curated wings, which are creativity & innovation, sustainability and business excellence, functional capability building, operational excellence, leadership excellence, sales and marketing excellence, and behavioural capability building.
Each of these wings is led by our ‘Wing Champions’ who provide guidance, under their wing, to the Academy,” he tells HRKatha.
These Wing Champions are in charge of strategic learning initiatives and share their insights and domain experience that help the Academy conceptualise business- specific as well as cross-business workshops and learning programmes.
Chattaraj also informs that the academy utilises ‘proficiency partners’ who help them devise ways of better learning for individuals and businesses through a practitioner’s perspective.
In order to address the requirement of specific technical upskilling, UFlex also came up with a unique training initiative called ‘Prashikshan’.
“Our industry is very unique and so are the skills required by our people. As a focused initiative to bridge the technical skill gap of our shop-floor employees, ‘Prashikshan’, a technical training programme, was conceptualised and implemented,” he informs.
The programme was designed in-house with the help of internal subject-matter experts (SMEs) by gathering their inputs and giving shape to their knowledge in the form of training modules covering the end-to-end process of each work area of the manufacturing process. Further, the learning programmes offered by the Company are also implemented in other languages, based on the geographical locations of the Company.
“PRASHIKSHAN is implemented in all our global location in local languages such as Arabic, Polish, Spanish, Russian and Hungarian,” he informs.
Chattaraj shares with HRKatha, that the Company will be setting up a manufacturing plant in Dharwad, Karnataka, for which a total of 350 new employees will be onboarded, of which 150 technical trainees have been hired. “All these trainees are going through rigorous training on processes, systems, soft skills and behaviour training.
Additionally, our Noida employees who have opted for transfer to Dharwad went through a 12-week training to learn the local language, Kannada, before moving there, to experience seamless cultural adaptation,” Chattaraj reveals.