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Henkel India’s Rishma Alagh says collaborating and bringing fresh ideas is their key mantra while looking for talent

The Head of Talent & Organisation Culture at Henkel India, Rishma Alagh, shares her views on what the German multinational is looking for when hiring new candidates, the challenges involved and availability of talent in relatively remote manufacturing locations.

Henkel India’s Rishma Alagh says collaborating and bringing fresh ideas is their key mantra while looking for talent

The Head of Talent & Organisation Culture at Henkel India, Rishma Alagh, shares her views on what the German multinational is looking for when hiring new candidates, the challenges involved and availability of talent in relatively remote manufacturing locations.

Rishma Alagh
Rishma Alagh: “At Henkel, we are continuously looking at opportunities to grow our business in India and expand our portfolio footprint. This will lead to higher hiring numbers than in the previous years.”

What are the key general skills that you look for when hiring freshers?

We like to see our freshers getting fully involved, regardless of the location and function, taking on projects and responsibility from the start. When hiring freshers, some of the attributes key to Henkel are a winning attitude, learning and curiosity, entrepreneurial drive, digital awareness, agility and a daring attitude!

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

Technical and functional competencies along with behavioural safety mindset and leadership are key for any shop floor employee. Being a part of Henkel also means taking on responsibility right from the start, collaborating and bringing fresh ideas to life.

When hiring new talents, which are the various streams of education/ qualification that are sought by your company?
In general, for technical roles, we seek engineering backgrounds with diverse specialisations. For sales and general management roles, masters with specialisation in relevant areas such as Marketing, Finance, HR, Operations, SCM and IT is preferred.

What are the challenges you face when hiring new talents?

The top two challenges that we face are:

  • Availability of diversity in commercial and technical roles.
  • Availability of talent in relatively remote manufacturing locations.

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

Yes, readiness of talents is a potential challenge faced in the automotive and chemical industries, particularly in innovation and techno-commercial functions. This could be bridged through better collaboration between academia and industry for grooming talent and improving employability of the general workforce. Initiatives such as industry exposure early in the curriculum and mandatory traineeship with industry during the graduation period will surely help.

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

Our integrated talent management approach supports several career management programs such as mentorship, coaching, education assistance, besides short- and long-term global exposure early in the career to support young professionals sharpen and develop skills for the future.

What is your hiring target for FY2023?

India is expected to be one of the growth engines for the global economy in this decade. At Henkel, we are continuously looking at opportunities to grow our business in India and expand our portfolio footprint. This will lead to higher hiring numbers than in the previous years.

Are there any additional training programs or courses that you have incorporated to skill your existing workforce?

At Henkel, we believe in making learning a part of our culture by enabling learning through experiences, reflections, and peer groups, in addition to the formally defined trainings for each role across geographies.

We also focus on related themes such as employee wellbeing, emotional awareness, creativity, among others.

In addition to all of this, we drive positive mindset shifts across the organisation through initiatives that harness the power of togetherness by unlocking successful positive change to accelerate performance.

How do you ensure to retain your hardworking employees? Are fiscal incentives the only way to motivate employees? 

Ours is a culture where we develop people with passion, fiscal incentives are just a part of the holistic offering that we leverage to motivate our employees. We support Talents in developing a diverse portfolio by enabling global opportunities, cross-functional projects, improved visibility etc creating an impact in the larger ecosystem.

Henkel India
Henkel India believes that a positive work-life balance goes beyond just fiscal incentives. Well being of mental and physical health is equally important.

We also support higher education, provide platforms to participate in CSR engagements, organize frequent employee engagement campaigns on multiple themes as well as and encourage concepts on work-life flexibility to further a culture of trust.

By aiming for a combination of mobile and office work, we lay the foundation for productive work environment of the future, in which employees own their results. We believe that mobile work can be possible for up to 40% of the work time for hybrid roles. Our offices have, and always will, play a crucial role in our company culture – they enable collaboration, innovation, the exchange of knowledge, and are a place of belonging and community that shapes the Henkel spirit. We have flexi work timings and smart work guidelines covering all our locations enabling employees to work in a manner that suits them best.

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