KPIT HR Head says nurturing an environment of learning is key to growth

KPIT’s Global HR Head shares his views on the company’s expectations from new employees, how to keep workforce motivated and importance of work-life balance.

KPIT HR Head says nurturing an environment of learning is key to growth

KPIT Technologies, one of the leading software partners for automotive and vehicle manufacturers aims to have one of the best places to grow for its employees. Rajesh Kumar Singh, Global Head HR, KPIT Technologies, shares his views on the company’s hiring process, expectations from employees and how it recognises its employee contributions.

Rajesh Kumar Singh, HR, KPIT Technologies
Rajesh Kumar Singh: “The rapid pace of change in the external environment and advanced technology requires both academia and industry to work together to bridge the gap.”

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

The automotive industry is going through a rapid transformation, which is why a lot of work is going on in application development, cloud technologies and the transformation of architecture.

While many skills are required to make this entire software stack possible for automotive OEMs, the common type are Embedded C, Embedded C++, Model Base Development, Python, Linux, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and many more.

At KPIT, freshers who join us go through rigorous training and exposure through cutting edge work. depending on the line of work, they develop competence in more than 5-6 programming languages.

The young talent gets a platform to learn different languages and hone their skills in the relevant stream of their choice or allocation.

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

We are in midst of transformative changes in technology in mobility. This requires fast learnability and agile mindset as we nurture excellence in our talent. We also look for drive for results, collaboration, and quality orientation as we want to give the best opportunity to our young talent.

We have robust competency assessment and development framework to ensure this.

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

We require good programming skills and more importantly learning mindset. We have people from electronics, computer science, IT background with skills of Python, Linux, C/C++, Cloud, AI, and ML among others.

We have identified three tracks namely model-based development, cloud, and other technologies. Freshers are enrolled for one of these tracks, develop their proficiency in the selected one and eventually posted in the mobility application areas as per business demands.

What are the challenges you face when hiring new talent?

Typically, there are three sets of challenges that we face. First, the automotive industry requires an elevated level of safety critical understanding, which means writing software for vehicles is quite different from writing software for many other fields.

Therefore, understanding the safety criticality as well as domain expertise is a key required for the job.

Secondly, in the automotive industry, we require talent to have a larger architectural or holistic view. This becomes crucial to understand the software and write codes that are compatible with components in the vehicle.

Thirdly, the mobility ecosystem is also moving towards agile development and the need for individuals to be fully responsible from development to testing to final delivery is required. Creating the mindset of craftsmanship that they will write world-class zero-defect code is a key challenge too.

Do you think there is a gap between academia and industry? 

Currently, there is a mismatch between industry expectations and the availability of talent. The rapid pace of change in the external environment and advanced technology requires both academia and industry to work together to bridge the gap.

We have a freshers program known as KPIT Nova in which we are collaborating with our partner educational institutions for rigorous learning aligned with our business needs. This program is our endeavour to bridge the gap between academia and the industry.

We have built internship programs for freshers to make them ready as per business needs. We have also partnered with training institutions to build effective learning programs. Additionally, we have a faculty development program also.

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

We want to build KPIT as ‘Best Place to Grow’ where diverse and global talent realise their full potential aligned with their aspirations. We have designed our talent development framework around key competencies aligned with the specific role(s) with continuous learning and feedback to nurture excellence.

Our career framework by design ensures industry-leading career growth for high-performing talent. There are various listening mechanisms within the company to ensure that we regularly get feedback from our employees, prospective talent, and alumni as well to have a wonderful experience with us.

We have built seven behaviours which is part of our performance management framework as well to deepen ‘Culture of Excellence’.

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

We nurture continuous learning embedded in our work based on role-based competencies. We have collaborated with world-renowned learning platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, and edX among others to provide ample opportunities to our talent.

Additionally, our Higher Education Initiative (HEI) aims to encourage KPIT full-time employees (FTEs) to pursue master’s degrees from reputed Indian and foreign universities. KPIT’s successful collaboration with Coventry University has resulted in more than 120 full-time employees pursuing Masters.

We would like to share that more than 90% of our leaders have been developed from within and role model learning and development spirit on daily basis.

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

In line with our mission statement of Best Place to Grow, it is our endeavour to provide holistic talent experience for unparalleled learning and career growth. We provide rapid career acceleration for high-performing employees and strive to provide a career path to all employees so that they can realise their aspirations.

Our total rewards are one of the best in the industry with significant benefits such as global vacation at the year-end. We provided visibility of our talent’s impact on the mobility ecosystem to ensure that their sense of purpose is fulfilled too.

We provide an autonomous and collaborative work environment. 360-degree feedback for all employees has been designed to ensure that people build self-awareness and better themselves proactively.

We provide platform to our employees towards a vision of ‘Remainiging mobility for a cleaner, smarter, and a safer world.’

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