- In 2018, Uno Minda would hire over 70 percent talent from outside and only 30 percent of its internal talent used to be mobilised and promoted to upper tiers.
- Currently, the company mobilises 70 percent of its talent from within the organisation and only 30 percent are hired laterally from outside the organisation.
- By 2026-27, Uno Minda targets to reach 95 percent of its internal talent mobilisation.
- Over the past two years, there has been an increase in retention by over 40 percent at the company.
Uno Minda, earlier known as Minda Industries, founded 65 years ago, is a conglomerate engaged in manufacturing, growth and sale of varied automotive components to leading global OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) for domestic and international automotive markets.
The company has an employee strength of over 30,000 people. Out of this, about 5,300 comprise permanent staff and the rest associates or operators functioning from over 70 plants across the world.
In an exclusive interaction with ETHRWorld, Rajiv Kapoor, Group Chief Human Resource Officer, Uno Minda, talks about how through its robust learning and development, the organisation seeks to mobilise its internal talent, create a rigorous leadership pipeline, and also foster retention of youngsters as well as different levels of employees at the company.
Fostering internal talent mobility
Back in 2018, the company would hire over 70 percent talent from outside and only 30 percent of its internal talent used to be mobilised and promoted to upper tiers.
But the tables have now turned and the numbers switched now, as Uno Minda currently mobilises 70 percent of its talent from within the organisation and only 30 percent are hired laterally from outside the organisation.
This goal came up after 2018, when the company redefined its talent strategy and its vision to internally skill, upgrade and mobilise its talent from within, more than focusing on hiring talent from outside.
By 2026-27, the company targets to reach 95 percent of internal talent mobilisation.
“Due to new technology advancing at a fast pace, and now the coming up of EV technology, we have to keep hiring people from outside. For that, we have kept the remaining 5 percent to be hired from outside,” says Kapoor.
This incentivizes the Gen Z employees, as well as talent from different functions and verticals to upskill, grow and aspire for leadership positions in the company, and also helps the company control its attrition in addition to creating a promising leadership pipeline from within.
Uno Minda changed its strategy by monitoring attrition at different levels of the company, and was able to figure out that by providing ample upskilling and training opportunities, employees stay relevant, helping them keep up with the latest trends and advancements.
The company also provides its employees with a tentative Career Roadmap and Career Ladder that would be beneficial for them, and thereby help improve the retention and enhance its forthcoming leadership.
“Earlier, it was easy to just dial up a consultant and get a person hired from outside. And any capable employee sitting in the organisation would be wondering why I was not considered. Now, this process has been deliberately made tougher to hire from outside,” says Kapoor.
“People have to justify why they want to hire from outside and it is only when we don’t have anyone at all inside when we bring people from outside,” he adds.
Uno Minda recently hired 300 people through campus hiring.
For next year, the company’s target is to hire 500 people from campuses.
Uno Minda provides its new joinees with a tentative career roadmap as to how they can grow in the organisation, and within roughly how much time they would be able to climb up the ladder from a fresh management trainee position to a mid-level position or say, a team leader and henceforth.
The company also encourages and fosters horizontal movement of employees to other functions, and even allows them to join back the previous function that they were working for.
This helps employees enhance their overall experience in the auto manufacturing sector comprehensively, as well as enhances their skills and capability set.
“We, as an organisation, help and allow people to have multi-functional experiences. Although they may want to grow in one function only, they are encouraged and nurtured to grow in multiple functions,” says Kapoor.
L&D: Functional Skills Upgradation
The functional skills upgradation at the company happens at three levels.
1. The current employees are trained and kept relevant. With the advancement of technology people, if they are not able to grow with technology and latest trends, they become obsolete with time.
So, people above the age of 40 are helped by the organisation to do away with this fear of becoming obsolete by providing them and staying up to date with latest advancements.
2. The company keeps a track of new or emerging technologies and also new kinds of specialised and technical skills and roles that would be required in the time to come in the sector and which will be needed over a span of the next 5 to 10 years down the line.
Explaining this with an example, Kapoor says that five years ago, they never thought they would ever need optical engineers or experts from the acoustic and camera domains for manufacturing of vehicles or auto parts.
3. The youngsters and new hires in the company are trained in future technologies which also aids them set their tentative career roadmaps for themselves as well as for the organisation’s leadership conduit.
Leadership Skill Upgradation: Creating a holistic leadership pipeline
One of the ways Uno Minda is building a pipeline of upcoming leaders is through cross-functional job rotations for its employees.
Every year in the month of January, a list of job rotations is announced that lists different employees who will rotate and into which departments.
The talent team of the organisation sits and discusses how these cross-functional transfers or rotations of different employees in different departments in the organisation are going to be carried out.
“This helps us create holistic leaders who can be put in any function or any opportunity when required with time. Otherwise, you will always have restrictions- say this is only an HR person, this is only a tech person or this is only a finance person,” says Kapoor.
Coupled with engineering, employees are trained under all the six Ms of production management – money, manpower, material, management, machinery and method.
“This multi-functional training and capability sets acquired by employees helps them become robust and holistic leaders in the future,” says Kapoor.
He adds, “Only once you work in a certain function, when you start respecting the function; otherwise, you never know or truly understand what the function is doing or its challenges are.”
Uno Minda broadly has four types of leadership programmes.
1. The first programme is at the associate or the operator level where the associates’ skills are honed to get them to come to the staff level.
They are trained in managerial skills, team leading, computer skills, behavioural and communication skills.
Currently, nearly 400 people are being trained under this programme and every year, about 80 people are promoted after a three-year training period under this.
2. The second programme is called Ascend.
This programme provides leadership skills training to youngsters in the company to become team leaders and first-time managers.
3. The third programme is called Transform.
This is a one-year long programme with the objective of making holistic leaders of the future having been trained in multi-functional roles, etc.
4. Finally, there is Uno Minda’s flagship programme, called M-Leap, which is for senior levels of leadership.
This is executed through tie-ups with external agencies, organisations and educational institutions.
Currently, the company has tied up with Deloitte and Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon for this programme.
This is again a year-long programme that provides senior level employees with coaching, mentoring, industry exposure and sessions where industry leaders come and talk to these candidates.
For a sturdy leadership, Uno Minda believes in a practice which it calls ‘One for Two and Two for One‘.
This, as explained by Kapoor, implies that one ideal candidate should have the potential to succeed for two positions, and there should be two candidates who should equally have the potential to succeed one present serving person in future.
Research & Development
There are three platforms via which research and development is fostered at the organisation.
- The first platform is called ‘Unovation’ where employees can give suggestions with regard to any innovative ideas, and the company’s CREAT (Centre for Research, Engineering & Advanced Technologies) team evaluates it.
The company also has an innovation cell that was started last year. It encourages youngsters to reach out and speak about innovations.
- The second platform is called ‘Uno Minda Storm’.
This is an annual event similar to the popular Shark Tank model, where employees come up with an idea and present it to the technology heads.
This is a very challenging event and if the idea is liked and approved then they can go ahead and do a POC (proof of concept) for that.
- Thirdly, there is an event, called I-Meet, which is like an exhibition, where engineers can showcase their prowess and present their technical ideas to engineering heads of OEMs.
If an idea is approved then it is productionised.
Kapoor quotes an example where they have patented a component, called ‘heated hand grips’.
This is an auto component for bikers riding bikes in cold terrain or in very cold countries where hands can get numb in the freezing weather. This product, ‘heated hand grips’, aids in that.
I-Meet has been having a considerable impact for the last two years, according to Kapoor.
Career Ladder for Engineers
Employees in engineering, research & development and software are provided with a career ladder around shifting and in technology that the company has been robustly working for the past four years.
If someone is interested in administrative or management roles, that option is also allowed to them for their growth, and after a certain point if the employee wishes they can go back and resume their role in tech functions again.
Management Continuity Initiative and controlling regrettable attrition
The current attrition rate at Uno Minda is 17 percent.
Over the past two years, through the company’s various aforementioned strategies, there has been an increase in retention by over 40 percent.
Management Continuity Initiative or MCI is a kind of succession plan for the organisation where the company aims to control its regrettable attrition, by identifying its high performing or high potential employees and by mentoring or training them, or engaging with them extensively.
These employees are divided into three groups – MCI-A, MCI-B and MCI -C.
MCI-A are the highest performing employees and are eligible for the senior level leadership positions. They are personally taken care of by the management, and trained and groomed to take top leadership positions in the future.
The MCI-B group comprises the mid-level managerial employees who are high performers. They have individual growth plans they have to work upon, after which discussion and feedback sessions happen once every year regarding their training and growth.
MCI-C is the group lower to the mid-managerial level. They are high potential employees, and so they are engaged extensively wherein the leadership engages in dialogues with them at regular intervals.
Diversity & Inclusion: Women in manufacturing
Kapoor honestly, yet not pessimistically, mentions how the manufacturing sector is not a very preferred employer for women.
Getting the numbers in cities and corporate offices are still better and easier, as compared to core engineering and the shopfloor, where getting more women is still a challenge due to difficult work conditions and remote or far-off locations.
The current gender ratio at Uno Minda is 6 percent women employees.
The company seeks to increase these numbers by firstly, encouraging more women to join the organisation and the workforce, and secondly, by making sure that more women in the organisation grow, and that too at a faster rate.
Sixty-three out of the 300 new campus hires this year at the organisation are women.
At the policy level also, Uno Minda is making significant changes to make it easier for more women to join and sustain at the company.
The company has come up with the policy of paternal leaves to indirectly help women in and related to child care.
With regard to social norms and marriage, female employees are easily given a transfer if they have to shift to a new location post marriage, provided an office or a plant is located in the location.
Uno Minda also has come up with a policy on ‘Leave Sharing‘ where leaves can be borrowed from and lent to colleagues who need it from each other.
Another practice that has been consciously taken up at Uno Minda is the language and grammatical nuances of its policies and documents.
Pronouns like he, his and him, which historically used to be a normal practice, are not the norm at the organisation anymore.
All policies and documentation have now been rephrased, and every word has been looked into and changed to consciously bring about gender neutrality, according to Kapoor.
Out of the two or three shifts that run on the different shopfloor locations in different places, the company has a target that 70 percent of the day shift employees need to be girls or women, and the company has achieved 60 percent of this target already in all of its facilities.
The company has no women at its top leadership levels.
The highest rank of women at the company are at positions of vice president and general manager as of now.