We have zero attrition among our blue-collar employees: Suhas Kadlaskar

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 5 2014, 07:11am hrs
We are extremely proud to state that Mercedes-Benz India has seen 0% attrition rate among its blue-collared employees, says Suhas Kadlaskar, vice-president, Corporate Affairs & HR, Mercedes-Benz India, when we ask him what defines the work culture at Mercedes. He further adds that Mercedes has never had a single day of production loss in its two decades of operations in India. In an interaction with FEs Vikram Chaudhary, he adds that while productive workforce is a companys best resource, the workforce should believe in the vision and mission of the company and work towards accomplishing the same. Excerpts:

Of late, a lot of automotive companies have seen worker unrest. What, according to you, could have been left lacking on the part of the automotive companies where the unrest took place

One must understand that productive workforce is a companys best resource and it takes lot of affirmative actions and time to build one. The workforce, in turn, should believe in the vision and mission of the company and work towards accomplishing that.

What defines the work culture at Mercedes-Benz India

At Mercedes-Benz India we have a collaborative and also a participative work culture where there is highest regard for work ethics. It is this collaborative approach that, in fact, defines the work culture of Mercedes-Benz entities across the globe.

Inculcating highest levels of professionalism and blending it into different cultures successfully is one of the key success factors of Mercedes-Benz as a successful global conglomerate.

What is your total workforce, blue-collar plus white-collar

We have a total of around 700 employees, of which close to 400 are blue-collared colleagues.

What sort of attrition rates have you seen among blue-collared and white-collared workers, respectively

We are extremely proud to state that Mercedes-Benz India has seen 0% attrition rate among its blue-collared employees. We never had a single day of production loss in our two decades of operations. The mutual trust and respect between the blue-collared employees and the management, and the willingness to find mutual solutions to any problem whatsoever is an important aspect of our collaborative work culture.

From where do you hire blue-collared workforce Are they primarily from ITIs and then trained extensively at Mercedes-Benz or are they the ones working at other Indian automotive companies

We primarily hire our blue-collared workforce from ITIs in and around Pune. These employees then undergo trainings as per the requirements and skill-sets. We also hire employees with work experience from other companies.

Have you seen the other German luxury car brands poaching on Mercedes-Benz workers If not, why not

Mercedes-Benz India is proud of the fact that it has 0% attrition rate for the blue-collared employees. The core group of blue-collared employees, who started their journey with Mercedes-Benz India 20 years ago, are still happily associated with us and are proud of their accomplishments. In fact, this core group of senior blue-collared employees is great value to us, as they have travelled to countries like Iran, Vietnam, China, etc, to impart training to the workers out there.

What sort of relationship Indian and German workers have with each other at Mercedes-Benz India

The Indian colleagues share a very cordial relationship with the German colleagues and the mutual respect and trust is to the extent of being exemplary. There is a remarkable exchange of culture, language, etc, between our expatriates and Indian colleagues.

How will you differentiate between the Indian and the German work culture

German and Indian work cultures are complimentary to each other. While the German work culture is highly process-driven, Indian work culture provides flexibility. At Mercedes-Benz India we have a very effective blend of both the cultures and that is one of the most important factors behind our success in the Indian market.

Last year, Mercedes-Benz gained back some market-share from its German partners and sold more cars than the year earlier. During such times, does the role of the HR change in any way (new hiring, more incentives, etc)

HR remains a key function at Mercedes-Benz India. The HR team ensures right exposure and trainings to the employees. Promoting innovative HR policies, the HR function allows cross-functional horizontal movements within the organisation apart from vertical growth, for employees. New hiring, incentives, etc, are purely market-driven decisions and are strategic in nature.

Has Mercedes-Benz India modified its global HR policies to suit the Indian requirements

The HR policies of Mercedes-Benz India are integral to the global HR best practices. Any modifications or tailoring of HR policies as per local market regulations is discussed and implemented in close coordination and consultation with the HQ.