A Krishna Kumar - Bosch, Senior vice-president (Human Resources)
Senior vice-president (Human Resources) -
What initiatives has Bosch taken on the HR front in recent times to hire and retain talent?
HIRING: As an organisation Bosch offers various opportunities to existing and prospective employees. ? Technology and services company: Over the years, innovation, research and new technological breakthroughs have become synonymous with Bosch. For instance, Bosch was the first company to adapt the magneto ignition for vehicle applications. The list of cutting edge technology contributions to the automobile industry at large includes the Bosch automotive lighting system in 1913, the electric starter, and the diesel injection pump in 1927 and ABS (antilock braking system) in 1978, among others. One of the recent developments includes ESP in 1996. Over the years Bosch has also been contributing immensely to the Industrial Technology, Building Goods Technology and Consumer Goods domain. Recruits in the engineering and technology domain therefore have in front of them a great opportunity to work with futuristic solutions and technology. This opportunity is deeply valued by the engineering workforce and provides Bosch with an edge as a recruiter. Keeping in line with its long tradition of technological excellence, Bosch continues to focus on innovation and invest heavily in R&D. On an average Bosch files 15 patents a day accounting for 3,800 patents annually. Even in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008-09, Bosch chose not to cut back on R&D spending. Thus in 2009-Bosch spent 9.4 percent of its 2009 global sales revenue on R&D (the R&D spend in 2009 was to the tune of 3.5 billion Euros). This figure continues to be the highest in the industry.? Process-driven: Bosch is proud of the great working environment it is able to create for its associates. Processes and systems followed in the organisation ensure efficiency. Prospective employees are given an opportunity to see what working at Bosch is like through ’Backstage@Bosch’ – a one-day event, designed to give university students a behind the scenes view of Bosch. The event begins with an overview of Bosch, followed by demonstrations from different business units. To facilitate easy movement and effective learning, the students are usually divided into groups. Each group is shown around by a mentor (a Bosch employee) who helps them through the different presentation stalls. The mentor also interacts with the students and helps them clarify their queries, while enhancing their knowledge about Bosch. The students are also taken through the workstation areas, meeting rooms and labs. ? Junior Managers Programme (JMP): From the perspective of career growth, Bosch has a special programme for prospective employees. The Junior Managers programme is a 24-month programme at Bosch that offers new-recruits extensive training. Training includes on-job training at four stations for a period of six months each. One of the six-month periods is an international assignment providing the candidate with international exposure. A JMP candidate has a clearly mapped career path. In case of performance in accordance with set goals, a JMP candidate has the opportunity of rising to the level of a department head within a period of 6-8 years – a faster career path than the company and industry norms. ? Bosch alumni: Existing, retired and ex-Bosch employees are the biggest brand ambassadors of Bosch. Bosch in fact has a very low attrition rate of less than six percent for white collared associates, which is far lower than the industry average. The attrition rate for workmen is even lower and almost 0.01 percent. Satisfied Boschlers go a long way in encouraging prospective employees to come aboard.RETAINING EMPLOYEES? Working environment: Bosch offers a great working environment. It is a very process-driven organisation ensuring employees are able to perform better on account of productivity enhancing processes and systems so followed. The structured approach to work at Bosch also goes a long way towards maintaining a health work-life balance. More importantly, it provides each associate with the right level of space and professional freedom for good results and growth.? Feedback: Apart from a structured approach to work, employee feedback to senior management is encouraged. Bosch maintains forums like 'Open House' where employees are given an opportunity to voice opinions about existing processes. The HR department also conducts regular surveys pertaining to employee satisfaction on company processes, training, remuneration and work culture. Feedback so received is analysed closely for implementation? Training: Bosch offers several training opportunities to employees in technical fields and in management. Bosch offers facilities to employees where it funds higher post- graduate education. Apart from specialised training, Bosch offers soft skill training as well. One to two-day workshops are held at regular intervals. On account of increasing recognition of training, organisations on an average provide employees with three to four mandays of training. This figure at Bosch is six to eight mandays.
By how much did your hiring requirements dip/increase during the recession? Would you say you are back to normal hiring?
Hiring did come down during the economic crisis of 2008-09. It returned to normal by the beginning of 2010. The current blip in the economy may though result in short term slight decline in hiring.
Can you give us a few examples of the skill-sets that Bosch has not been able to find easily? What, in general, are the domain areas where finding the right people isn’t easy.
We do not find any particular domain or area where recruitment is difficult. Bosch is a well established brand name that enjoys a good reputation with respect to its work culture. As mentioned earlier, existing and ex-Bosch employees act as excellent brand ambassadors and we in fact in most cases see a good response to our openings.
How many jobs do you expect to create in a year-on-year basis going forward?
We, on an average, recruit about 3,000 people on a yearly basis for the entire Bosch Group in India.
Has social media helped you get connected to potential employees and have you hired people in this way?
We do understand the potential for social media, but we are yet to explore it. We have and are using online job portals and advertisements for recruitment and are indeed satisfied with the outcome. We are therefore certain that social media too has huge potential and are in the process of analysing these tools with the objective of deployment.
Can you tell us about one HR initiative that your company has done that others could replicate?
Bosch has a vocational centre dedicated to training apprentices in its area of operation not just for its own requirement but for the industry as well. Established at Bangalore in 1960 to provide necessary skill sets for young and budding technicians, today Bosch Vocational Centre (BVC) provides free training to young apprentices in six mechanic trades, including mechatronics. Every year 60 boys and girls start the three and four years of training course. Most of them are absorbed by Bosch on completion of training. BVC also provides training to upgrade the skills of employees based on needs. The other programme offered by BVC is the Graduate Apprenticeship Training where 30 graduate engineers are trained annually by the BVC in Bangalore. About 150 apprentices are trained across all Bosch locations in India. The BVC is equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms, a full fledged workshop, computer training facilities, mechatronics lab, a drawing hall, an electrical / electronics Lab, hydraulics and pneumatics facilities and CNC technology. BVC is acknowledged as a centre of excellence in training and has been adjudged the best training establishment by the government of India 41 times and 186 of its apprentices have won gold medals at national skill competitions over past several years.It is firmly felt that the BVC is one such human resource development initiative that has huge scope to be replicated in other organisations. Such initiatives, if adopted by the industry at large, are capable of enhancing and improving the workforce and ensuring livelihood for the less financially privileged class.
After raising USD 15 million from the Al Futtaim Group, River India plans to ramp up its manufacturing facilities and di...
The importance of India as a strong export base for auto parts suppliers is increasing, says Anil Kumar M R, President a...
In an exclusive interview, Radha Krishnan, President and Founder, Detroit Engineered Products (DEP) talks about how the ...