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Uno Minda HR chief says from engineering to material science, company looking at a wide range while hiring fresh talent

Rajiv Kapoor, Group CHRO, Uno Minda Group believes right aptitude and attitude are crucial when looking for fresh talent and emphasises on the need to give employees the opportunity to learn and upskill on all fronts.

Uno Minda HR chief says from engineering to material science, company looking at a wide range while hiring fresh talent
It's interesting to note that at Uno Minda, women account for roughly 60% of the day shift's workforce on the shop floor due to their high level of dexterity in handling small parts with precision.

Rajiv Kapoor, Group CHRO, Uno Minda Group believes right aptitude and attitude are crucial when looking for fresh talent and emphasises on the need to give employees the opportunity to learn and upskill on all fronts.

What are the key general skills that you look to hire freshers?

The automotive and auto component industry remains at the forefront of cutting-edge manufacturing technology. Hence it is important to hire people with right technical skill set to remain competitive and drive the in-house technological innovations. Consequently, we prefer applicants with an engineering background in electrical, mechanical, or Artificial Intelligence, with a preponderance of electronic engineers for our core manufacturing activities.

Besides technical skills, we also look at right aptitude and attitude with good learning ability. We conduct psychometric tests to assess their behavioural skills. High levels of adaptability and their inclination to work in core manufacturing industries are also important factors.

What skills and qualities do you look for in employees on the shop floor?

Working on the shop floor carry huge responsibility and calls for competence and vigilance as workplace safety together with product quality remains the focus.

While we look at a high degree of adaptability, dexterity, and their adeptness in assembly, die casting, molding, and tooling, we also train Associates for specific tasks before taking them to shop floor. Workmen at assemblies make up roughly 60–70% of the workers on the shop floor, followed by die casting (20%), remaining forms the molding and tooling.

It’s interesting to note that at Uno Minda, women account for roughly 60% of the day shift’s workforce on the shop floor due to their high level of dexterity in handling small parts with precision.

For staff at shop floor, we look for technical expertise including tooling engineers and specialized diploma holders.

Right behavioral and interpersonal skills are also some of the key requirements for our shop floor.

When hiring new talent, which are the various streams of education/qualification that can apply to your company?

We are one of the vital company that feeds the automobile industry, as was already mentioned, so we can’t cut corners when it comes to knowledge and abilities. Having said that, the majority of our team has engineering credentials in electrical, electronics, mechanical, AI, CPETs, chemicals. Light weighting of vehicles requires study of various material hence we are also recruiting talent with material science capabilities.

For our aftermarket division and support function like marketing, human resources and finance, we also hire management trainees from leading management institutes. Last but not least, when it comes to the finance and legal area, we also hire trainee CAs and CSs in addition to managerial positions.

What are the challenges you face when hiring new talent?

Being an Auto component company, we are largely a B2B organisation. While well-established amongst OEMs, we are not very familiar amongst the direct customers. Hence it becomes difficult to familiarise with prospective talents who would want to work with well-known brand.

Automobile and auto component industry are the backbone of our economy providing most stable, long term and consistent employment opportunity whereas some of these new age and or service oriented organisation can be volatile at times. Keeping its core values intact, manufacturing organizations like us are also going through changes to adapt the aspirations of new generations and to attract best talent.

Do you think there is a gap between academia and industry? How can this be bridged?

Yes, there are evident gaps between academia and practical requirement in Industry. Academia is restricted by decades-old curriculum which may not be relevant on current times. Furthermore, most of the professors and teachers do not have practice experience and understanding of the current industry trends.

However, industry and academia is making efforts to bridge this gap by organising various immersion program. Uno Minda has also participated in various such immersion program. Colleges are also inviting industry experts as faculty for guest lectures to impart practical knowledge.

What are you doing to attract, train and retain young professionals?

We undertake various brand-building exercises in multiple schools and colleges to establish Uno Minda as preferred choice of employment. 

We are a people centric organisation with people first culture. We have strong HR policies that give our employees the opportunity to learn and upskill on all fronts, including technical knowledge. We run various engagement program specifically for our campus hires involving senior leadership including Chairman and Managing director. We also provide them a clearcareer roadmap within the organization.

Employees are also offered job rotation to learn new functions and skills. Auto being a technology driven company, we also provide opportunity to employees learn and work in newer technologies with global exposure of our R&D centres in Germany, Spain, Taiwan. We have defined training calendar for all level of employees to strengthen functional, behavioral as well as inter personal skills. We also run management development for mid and senior level management to prepare them for further advancement in their careers.

We believe in holistic development to employees where health and wellness are also kept as priority. We run program named Uno Minda FIT focused on health of the employee offering health related session and counseling along with tie-up with leading health tech offering discounted medicines, test and food supplement etc. Another program Uno Minda Energize is focused on mental, physical, social and emotional wellbeing of the employees.

What is your hiring target for FY23?

We have strong workforce of 23,000 plus employees across various geographies which is expanding every year. We are a growing organisation hence there is net addition of employees almost every year however we don’t fix any hiring targets upfront and is totally depend on the business growth opportunities. 

We also have goal of limiting external hiring for managers and above position and look to promote the internal employee first to fill the vacancy but if the required skills are not matched then we do hire from outside. To build young force and future leaders we also hire around 1% of the workforce from campuses each year.

Is there a possibility for engineering professionals working in different segments to switch to passenger / commercial vehicle manufacturing companies or vice versa?

It is indeed feasible. Professionals from auto components can switch to OEMs and vice versa. In fact, professionals with understanding of entire value chain can be more advantageous.

Are there any additional training programs or courses that you have incorporated to upskill your existing workforce?The overall development of our employees is one of our priorities at Uno Minda, thus we invest in all three types of training: leadership, functional, and behavioral.

Uno Minda Learning and Development program is not only limited to certain group or Section of Talent but believe in holistic development across the level. Some of these program at different levels are as follows

  • Associate to Staff Policy -Development programs for group leaders in the associate category.
  • ASCEND to identify and nurture leadership potential and develop future leaders for managerial positions across the organisation through a structured development intervention, 
  • D-GEMS– Development Program for Campus Trainees
  • SETU (Systematic Execution of Training to Upgrade) for Level IV to VI employees, 
  • FTM (First Time Managers) To create a robust talent pipeline of Managers by helping Level VI employees have a smooth transition from the role of an individual contributor to the role of a Manager of others
  • TRANSFOR-M to create a robust talent pipeline of function/Sub Function heads by imparting learning and Developmental opportunities to enhance Business Knowledge, Leadership Skills and Growth Mind-set
  • M- LEAP to develop Future Leaders and a succession pipeline of Business/Group Function Heads. 

We strongly believe that hardworking employees should be rewarded and acknowledged for their contributions to the company, we use a fair Performance Management System (PMS) that offers our employees proper credit for their work.

We make sure that we rotate them intra-functionally, inter-functionally, and within the business to provide them experience and knowledge of different functions/business. We provide opportunities to work in new areas and domains so that they can continuously gain new skills. We genuinely believe that there should always be something new for them to learn.

There are other ways to inspire employees than financial incentives. An Individual’s basic need in an organization is to constantly upskill, and become more relevant and recognized. The enthusiasm of the employee can further be enhanced by a fair acknowledgment of their effort, compliments for a job well done, and granting access to new opportunities, employment, and locations.

What are the policies laid down to ensure work-life balance for your employees?

Work-life balance is a crucial component of a productive workplace since it lowers stress levels and prevents burnout.

At the outset w

Rajiv Kapoor, Group CHRO, Uno Minda Group believes right aptitude and attitude are crucial when looking for fresh talent and emphasises on the need to give employees the opportunity to learn and upskill on all fronts.

What are the key general skills that you look to hire freshers?

The automotive and auto component industry remains at the forefront of cutting-edge manufacturing technology. Hence it is important to hire people with right technical skill set to remain competitive and drive in-house technological innovations. Consequently, we prefer applicants with an engineering background in electrical, mechanical, or Artificial Intelligence, with a preponderance of electronic engineers for our core manufacturing activities.

Besides technical skills, we also look at right aptitude and attitude with good learning ability. We conduct psychometric tests to assess their behavioural skills. High levels of adaptability and their inclination to work in core manufacturing industries are also important factors.

What skills and qualities do you look for in employees on the shop floor?

Working on the shop floor carry huge responsibility and calls for competence and vigilance as workplace safety together with product quality remains the focus.

While we look at a high degree of adaptability, dexterity, and their adeptness in assembly, die casting, molding, and tooling, we also train Associates for specific tasks before taking them to shop floor. Workmen at assemblies make up roughly 60–70% of the workers on the shop floor, followed by die casting (20%), remaining forms the molding and tooling.

It’s interesting to note that at Uno Minda, women account for roughly 60% of the day shift’s workforce on the shop floor due to their high level of dexterity in handling small parts with precision.

For staff at shop floor, we look for technical expertise including tooling engineers and specialized diploma holders.

Right behavioral and interpersonal skills are also some of the key requirements for our shop floor.

When hiring new talent, which are the various streams of education/qualification that can apply to your company?

We are one of the vital company that feeds the automobile industry, as was already mentioned, so we can’t cut corners when it comes to knowledge and abilities. Having said that, the majority of our team has engineering credentials in electrical, electronics, mechanical, AI, CPETs, chemicals. Light weighting of vehicles requires study of various material hence we are also recruiting talent with material science capabilities.

For our aftermarket division and support function like marketing, human resources and finance, we also hire management trainees from leading management institutes. Last but not least, when it comes to the finance and legal area, we also hire trainee CAs and CSs in addition to managerial positions.

What are the challenges you face when hiring new talent?

Being an Auto component company, we are largely a B2B organisation. While well-established amongst OEMs, we are not very familiar amongst the direct customers. Hence it becomes difficult to familiarise with prospective talents who would want to work with well-known brand.

Automobile and auto component industry are the backbone of our economy providing most stable, long term and consistent employment opportunity whereas some of these new age and or service oriented organisation can be volatile at times. Keeping its core values intact, manufacturing organizations like us are also going through changes to adapt the aspirations of new generations and to attract best talent.

Do you think there is a gap between academia and industry? How can this be bridged?

Yes, there are evident gaps between academia and practical requirement in Industry. Academia is restricted by decades-old curriculum which may not be relevant on current times. Furthermore, most of the professors and teachers do not have practice experience and understanding of the current industry trends.

However, industry and academia is making efforts to bridge this gap by organising various immersion program. Uno Minda has also participated in various such immersion program. Colleges are also inviting industry experts as faculty for guest lectures to impart practical knowledge.

What are you doing to attract, train and retain young professionals?

We undertake various brand-building exercises in multiple schools and colleges to establish Uno Minda as preferred choice of employment. 

We are a people centric organisation with people first culture. We have strong HR policies that give our employees the opportunity to learn and upskill on all fronts, including technical knowledge. We run various engagement program specifically for our campus hires involving senior leadership including Chairman and Managing director. We also provide them a clearcareer roadmap within the organization.

Employees are also offered job rotation to learn new functions and skills. Auto being a technology-driven company, we also provide opportunity to employees learn and work in newer technologies with global exposure of our R&D centres in Germany, Spain, Taiwan. We have defined training calendar for all level of employees to strengthen functional, behavioral as well as interpersonal skills. We also run management development for mid and senior-level management to prepare them for further advancement in their careers.

We believe in holistic development to employees where health and wellness are also kept as a priority. We run program named Uno Minda FIT focused on health of the employee offering health-related sessions and counseling along with tie-up with leading health tech offering discounted medicines, test and food supplements etc. Another program Uno Minda Energize is focused on mental, physical, social and emotional wellbeing of the employees.

What is your hiring target for FY23?

We have strong workforce of 23,000 plus employees across various geographies which is expanding every year. We are a growing organisation hence there is net addition of employees almost every year however we don’t fix any hiring targets upfront and is totally depend on the business growth opportunities. 

We also have goal of limiting external hiring for managers and above position and look to promote the internal employee first to fill the vacancy but if the required skills are not matched then we do hire from outside. To build young force and future leaders we also hire around 1% of the workforce from campuses each year.

Is there a possibility for engineering professionals working in different segments to switch to passenger / commercial vehicle manufacturing companies or vice versa?

It is indeed feasible. Professionals from auto components can switch to OEMs and vice versa. In fact, professionals with understanding of the entire value chain can be more advantageous.

Are there any additional training programs or courses that you have incorporated to upskill your existing workforce? The overall development of our employees is one of our priorities at Uno Minda, thus we invest in all three types of training: leadership, functional, and behavioral.

Uno Minda Learning and Development program is not only limited to certain group or Section of Talent but believe in holistic development across the level. Some of these program at different levels are as follows

  • Associate to Staff Policy -Development programs for group leaders in the associate category.
  • ASCEND to identify and nurture leadership potential and develop future leaders for managerial positions across the organisation through a structured development intervention, 
  • D-GEMS– Development Program for Campus Trainees
  • SETU (Systematic Execution of Training to Upgrade) for Level IV to VI employees, 
  • FTM (First Time Managers) To create a robust talent pipeline of Managers by helping Level VI employees have a smooth transition from the role of an individual contributor to the role of a Manager of others
  • TRANSFOR-M to create a robust talent pipeline of function/Sub Function heads by imparting learning and Developmental opportunities to enhance Business Knowledge, Leadership Skills and Growth Mindset
  • M- LEAP to develop Future Leaders and a succession pipeline of Business/Group Function Heads. 

We strongly believe that hardworking employees should be rewarded and acknowledged for their contributions to the company, we use a fair Performance Management System (PMS) that offers our employees proper credit for their work.

We make sure that we rotate them intra-functionally, inter-functionally, and within the business to provide them experience and knowledge of different functions/business. We provide opportunities to work in new areas and domains so that they can continuously gain new skills. We genuinely believe that there should always be something new for them to learn.

There are other ways to inspire employees than financial incentives. An Individual’s basic need in an organization is to constantly upskill, and become more relevant and recognized. The enthusiasm of the employee can further be enhanced by a fair acknowledgment of their effort, compliments for a job well done, and granting access to new opportunities, employment, and locations.

What are the policies laid down to ensure work-life balance for your employees?

Work-life balance is a crucial component of a productive workplace since it lowers stress levels and prevents burnout.

At the outset, we provide multiple leave options to spend quality time with family or to attend any urgent personal work.

The mental health of our employees is a priority for our organisation, and we periodically introduce new policies to address this. We have an app called MAATRI which is an active medical helpline for employees and all his/her family members. Employees can store all medical records, plan doctor visits, attend consultations on various diseases.

e provide multiple leaves options to spend quality time with family or to attend any urgent personal work.

The mental health of our employees is a priority for our organisation, and we periodically introduce new policies to address this. We have an app called MAATRI which is an active medical helpline for employees and all his/her family members. Employees can store all medical records, plan doctor visits, attend consultations on various diseases.

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