RSB kicks off drive to empower staff
The Pune-based RSB Group, which has manufacturing plants at seven locations across India, is in the process of implementing an organisation-wide change in its automotive business that draws on the principles of PAEI, a methodology that has been developed and tried globally by Israeli management guru, IchakAdizes.
The PAEI acronym, which stands for Producer-Administrator-Entrepreneur and Integrator, has been used by several global companies and aims to help identify talent and match it to the right job. Further, it helps companies place their existing and new talent in positions that can produce results, says NirmalaBeheraUdgata, Head – Group HR, in an exclusive interaction with Autocar Professional. The RSB Group first kicked off this initiative in its CMI division and is now in the process of preparing to implement it in the automotive vertical. Like most auto companies, RSB has had its Japanese-based TQM in operation for the last four years and so the PAEI will basically overlie the existing systems.
While TQM helps identify skills gaps, it does not, in a larger sense, identify people or business goals. In effect, once the PAEI is accomplished, it will complement the TQM system. “We did not want to, in any way, disturb the TQM structure in the automotive vertical,” says Udgata, explaining why the system was first introduced in the CMI vertical.
Bagging the best
Launched a year ago, the PAEI, in the words of Udgata, focuses on the soft, inner skills of employees. With a staff strength of about 4,000 people across both its CMI and automotive verticals, the RSB Group will tap its experience implementing it for the CMI vertical. The project will basically have a significant involvement of the corporate quality head who will work closely with the HR department.
The Adizes method, says Udgata, will also help the company in its recruitment processes. “We will be able to hire the best person,” explains Udgata. She is well aware of the fact that there can be employee resistance but understands that this will, therefore, require familiarising them with what to expect.
The RSB Group has a stated attrition rate of between four and five percent. According to Udgata, “We do a lot of mass communication and interactions internally, working with plant and vertical heads.” During these discussions, the topics that are broached include aspects like recession and its likely impact. “We speak about the recession and how it would likely affect production,” says Udgata. In addition, the scope of such discussions has been widened to include aspects such as inventory and material prices, cost control and awareness, adds Udgata.
While the RSB Group is in the process of implanting the Adizes systems, on the shopfloor, it is trying to look for solutions to fix skillsets. One key area that needs attention and has been identified is process engineering, particularly machining work, an area that needs strengthening. For this, talks are in progress to take on an external consultant who may be from Japan. RSB says that as the Group goes increasingly global, it has to strengthen this area. According to Udgata, the issue is one of availability of knowledge and the way that the company wishes to go about this is to get the senior staff trained first and then transmit this knowledge to the junior cadre.
Udgata says the Group’s HR philosophy is best described as empowering employees or associates as they are called. “We want to create a culture of trust and create an environment that is inspiring and promotes innovation,” she says emphatically.
Asked about what one key RSB initiative that other companies could emulate, Udgata speaks about what is called at RSB ‘heart-to-heart’ meetings of associates with the Group chairman. This initiative, which commenced four years ago, enables an associate to fix an appointment with the chairman for a frank chat to provide feedback as well as other opinions and seek clarifications if the associate so wishes. In addition, the company calls people directly for such meetings which it feels can serve as an opportunity to motivate a company staffer. Typically, the chairman would meet 20 associates in a year.
If there is one area that Udgata wants to devote her own attention is the hiring of more women in the corporate section and on the shopfloor. RSB wants to hire more women graduate trainees and her long-term plan is to have women employees account for five percent of the workforce. She also want to give more opportunities to physically-challenged people and some have already been hired at the Jamshedpur plant.
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