The Amara Raja Group has a strong presence in the automotive battery business, as well as other sectors including packaged foods and beverages, electronics products manufacturing, infrastructure, power system production and fabrication of sheet metal products and fasteners, in India and abroad.
Being one of the largest business conglomerates in the country, the Group continues to rely on stable business partners and outlets for growth in the Subcontinent.
In its continuous expansion journey, the conglomerate considers India one of its growth nodes while they currently export their various products to more than 45 countries. It continues to expand its business presence in the country through expansive growth and trust built on the back of an employee base working extensively on trust and company confidence.
Globally, Amara Raja has been consistently recognised as one of the best places to work for, through the years. Not surprisingly, it has come to be known as the one of the best Indian companies to work for, as cited by Forbes amongst many others.
“This surely is a pleasing testimony to ‘The Amara Raja Way’ — our people-focused culture and values system. People are the biggest strength of the Group. Their extraordinary response at all times and utmost commitment have ensured that the organisation is able to navigate through all the challenges that the business landscape poses as it keeps on evolving,” Jaikrishna B, president-HR, Amara Raja Group, tells HRKatha.
He explains how the Group has gained recognition and emerged “with flying colours”, and how this helped them smoothly ride the pandemic wave and “renew our commitment to our people and all our stakeholders through five key aspects”.
“We ensure that basic needs and the highest needs are adequately met by the organisation for our operators and this is an integral part of our annual workforce strategy”
Jaikrishna B, president-HR, Amara Raja Group
The senior HR leader details the five inputs through which the conglomerate maintains its people as its major stakeholders:
1. Values and culture: The Amara Raja Way, comprises a hospitable environment promoted through a rich company culture, which is maintained by steady HR practices.
2. HR excellence model: This model was developed by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).
CII-HR Excellence Award Model is based on the CII-Exim Bank Excellence Award encompassing all aspects of human resource management. Jaikrishna explains that it requires organisations to undergo rigorous on site three to four days assessments by experts from the Industry, to get the recognition and we are humbled that we got the recognition quite a few times for various businesses of ours..
3. People strategy: The Group’s people strategy and the way it ties up to corporate governance is yet another contributor. Corporate HR is valued at par with how one looks at business itself.
4. Talent-management model: his includes different aspects within talent management. Primarily, the policies for attraction, engagement, development, excellence and growth are included within this model.
5. Employee value proposition: While onboarding new employees, the Company promises them the following – learning, growing, collaborating, leading and transforming during their tenure.
Unique HR policies
Jaikrishna explains that the Conglomorate’s approach to performance management is a big factor in differentiating its company culture from that of competition. He believes that performance management is strongly linked to leadership development. Hence, certain KRAs are set to assess the technical performance of the employees in combination with the assessment of attitudes and leadership behaviour.
“Even if a manager’s KRA is on the higher side, the performance appraisal will still depend, to a very large extent, on attitude assessment. If the attitude and leadership behaviour assessment is lower than the KRA, then the overall appraisal score of the employee is low,” Jaikrishna explains.
This move allows the firm to keep a check on leadership behaviour, and hence, ensure a good work culture.
Jaikrishna also mentions the annual employee experience survey that the Company conducts through a third-party vendor.
The survey is presented in a report format, on the basis of which concrete action is taken by the leadership.
“With AR-SPEAK, which is our Experiences Survey, we take employee feedback on the issues that are integral to the workplace. On the basis of the findings of the report, we undertake corrective actions on the inputs given by the survey,” he explains.
The Company has also worked extensively to ensure a respectable lifestyle for its employees at the lower levels. It has developed a workforce strategy focused on ensuring that they meet the fundamental needs of life, such as food, shelter and so on.
“We ensure that basic needs and the highest needs are adequately met by the organisation for our operators and this is an integral part of our annual workforce strategy,” says Jaikrishna.
Some other employee-involvement initiatives are:
Quality Circle Movement: These are a group of operators who specifically work to improve the Company’s products and processes. Jaikrishna highlights that there are about 600 – 700 junior-level employees working in teams of seven to nine.
These teams are sent to various international locations to challenge higher level Awards and also share best practices and learn best practices.
The movement, called QCC in short, has been in place for about seven to eight years and offers huge benefits to the Company, in terms of adding business value and developing processes and methodologies to be adopted across functions to rectify certain problems..
Large-scale Interactive Process (LSIP): This is an initiation process for new joinees. With this, around 600 -1000 new employees of the Company are brought together under one roof and the initiation process, anchored by the HR and top leadershipn is undertaken. “The HR and the business-leadership team collaboratively work to brief new hires about the Company’s operations through two-day workshops.
Medical cover: The medical coverage by the Company is allocated in a very unique way. The hospitalisation medical insurance coverage for each employee is allocated according to the age rather than the hierarchy of grades. So be it a Vice President or an Operator of the same age will get the identical coverage.