Last year, Satyajit Mohanty, VP-HR, Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited, informed us about the company’s intention to devise its maiden EVP after so many years. We got in touch with him again to know how it is shaping up. Mohanty is quite clear about what the organisation wants to achieve with this initiative. ‘Crompton is neither a cool place to work nor do we intend to be one’, opines Mohanty in this interview.
As per a Gartner study from 2019, organisations that effectively deliver on their EVP (Employee Value Proposition) can decrease annual employee turnover by 69%. At a time when talent shortage is mounting along with a steep attrition rate, designing a neat EVP is highly important to communicate a company’s purpose. It has also become imperative to communicate the same to the existing employees who become brand ambassadors for any firm. But that’s not the only reason why Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited felt the need to devise its first EVP after six years of being in business.
Why did you decide to design an EVP after so many years?
Crompton has been trying to transform itself for the last five to six years. It has resulted in two things. Firstly, people who were unable to keep up with the pace of transformation have left. Secondly, a lot of new people have joined from different backgrounds. As a result, we currently have a mix of long-term employees and newcomers from different industries. The people who are not aware of how the company was in the past, may not have a clear understanding of its purpose. As a result, they just see short-term changes but not the destination. The reason we decided to design an EVP for the first time is to clear a bit of air around what we are trying to build from a cultural or employee perspective. The objective of our EVP is that we believe in growing the employees by empowering them to transform Crompton.
Empowering employees is something Crompton has always been good at. It has been our strength for the last five or six years. What has changed now is that a huge amount of focus is given to innovation and transformation. We want to use this as a tool to let the employee chase things and develop in the process. In several meetings, employees have asked ‘while we know what’s happening, what is the company all about?’ This is the main reason why, we thought that now since we have travelled a reasonable length in terms of the transformation journey, it’s time to define our future.
What is the status right now?
We have started doing a lot of internal and external branding. Our employer branding or EVP is a continuous reminder of the word “growth”. Empowerment comes from simplifying processes and systems. If you have a very bureaucratic process or organisation structure, empowerment doesn’t really work. So, a sizable amount of work is happening in simplifying processes.
We are also putting a huge amount of emphasis on growing internal talent which has never been there before. Back in 2016-17, whenever a leadership position became vacant, hiring was done from outside. Five senior positions have become vacant over the past four to five months. This time, all these positions were filled internally. Had it been 2015-16, one would be lucky to find even one guy from inside. Therefore, a lot of emphasis is being laid on grooming talent internally.
We want to use this as a tool to let the employee chase things and develop in the process. In several meetings, employees have asked ‘while we know what’s happening, what is the company all about?’ This is the main reason why, we thought that now since we have travelled a reasonable length in terms of the transformation journey, it’s time to define our future.
Do you also have some kind of training or upskilling program to create a succession pipeline?
We have those but we have something even more powerful. We have tied up with prestigious institutes to have long-term future development courses where our high-performing employees go through those programs. We have had them running for the last three to four years. We have also placed a lot of emphasis on job rotation in recent years. We find it an excellent way for developing the employees’ muscles and also test them out in new scenarios. Right now, every employee who’s more than three years old in the company is part of the job rotation plan.
We have improved our assessment systems. Promotions or placements are no longer based on judgment or gut feeling. We have implemented various data-driven tools to get a more objective and neutral or scientific view of employees and their capabilities.
Since you have revamped the assessment strategy, have you included any new skills based on market demands?
One big role we are witnessing in almost all the customer-facing, operations, and process roles in analytics. It is primarily for two purposes: understanding your customer and consumers better and solving problems. Therefore, it is one important skill we are searching for across various roles which are becoming a key defining characteristic for selection.
A few years back, our innovation pipeline was dependent on what was working best in the market and then copying the same. Our industry operates like this, unlike FMCG companies where there is a global firm investing in R&D and insights. India is not so strong in research and development.
Therefore, the majority of innovation taking place in this sector is based on the premise that if the competition has done it, I should do it too, at the fastest possible time and at the lowest possible cost.
Now, looking at the Operations Management side, there is a significant premium which is coming from the problem-solving tools. Learning agility is emerging as a big factor in our assessment strategy. If I had to recruit a marketing manager earlier, I’d look at the kind of product knowledge he/she has as one of the criteria, along with their experience in advertising campaigns, etc. Now that we are more focused on the practical application of their abilities, we may delve a little deeper into the person’s intrinsic orientation and qualities to fulfill the needs of our customers and consumers.
Our assessment strategy depends on different assessment mechanisms for practical reasons like depth, time, and cost.
What will be your goal in terms of employer branding by devising this EVP now?
My dream is to create an EVP so clear that every person who is either inside or outside, knows exactly what they are getting into. That will further improve my assessment. Crompton is not a cool place. It’s a place where you are expected to sharpen your implementation muscles to transform things. It’s anything but cool.
We are strong in some areas and need to improve in others. No company can be good at everything. So, you will not find a single company that ticks all the boxes. But we are quite clear about the boxes we want to get ticked for the employees.
Therefore, don’t join Crompton if you just want to do 9-5 kinds of roles. We want to attract people who are willing to go above and beyond. We want to build careers for them and develop them through empowerment. We will develop you but not by sending you to London Business School or Wharton. We’ll help you grow by offering you the right tools, giving you an opportunity to grow, and allowing you to question things. Whatever time you spend at the office, we’ll make sure you’re enjoying and learning something. These are some of the indicators we look for.
Don’t join Crompton if you just want to do 9-5 kinds of roles. We want to attract people who are willing to go above and beyond. We want to build careers for them and develop them through empowerment. We will develop you but not by sending you to London Business School or Wharton. We’ll help you grow by offering you the right tools, giving you an opportunity to grow, and allowing you to question things.
Is there a metric where you could compare pre and post-EVP employee churn numbers or attrition rates?
Not across the company but in select pockets, as the EVP communication and entire brand building are relatively new concepts. We only just got started on the journey a year back. Yes, we are seeing some early encouraging signs, but it’d be too premature to say that because of our EVP initiatives, things have improved to such an extent that it has really become visible in terms of attrition or engagement, etc. Although there are some promising early signs, the struggle is still far from over, it will be too much to claim at this point.
Any more diversity-related metrics, fresh job applications from college students or young professionals, IT talent, etc.? Are there any green shoots you’re already witnessing?
Our campus programmers have grown significantly in size compared to three to four years ago. Earlier, it would only be B-schools, but now we have started going to technical colleges as well. On all the campuses, we never really had any difficulty in attracting the right talent. We are gradually shifting away from the direct campus to a PPO (Pre-Placement Offer) based hire. The reason is not that we’ll have a better assessment of them, but more importantly, they will have a better assessment of us. 50 percent of our objective is to let candidates assess Crompton before deciding to join.
In our previous interaction, you mentioned that the industry is largely unorganised. So was it a huge battle for you to convince the management to move and start investing in EVP as a sector?
We have one factor which totally separates us from the competition. We are neither an MNC where everything is dictated by somebody sitting in the US or Europe nor are we a family-driven company where everything is dictated by the owner or the promoter. We are one of the very few companies in India which are true Public Limited companies just like ITC or L&T.
So we are actually a board-led company, the members of which are on the board of Infosys and Adani group. Hence when you have such a high-powered board with you, convincing them of the validity of such kinds of things is really not a concern. That is one intrinsic strength, which we have.
Author: Satyajit Mohanty has 20 years of rich experience in Human Resources, having worked across an array of areas in the HR field. He comes with a broad consumer background as he worked with large organisations such as ITC, Coca-Cola, and Nestle.
Year of Incorporation: 2015
Number of Employees: 4500+ (direct + indirect)
Key Executives: Shantanu Khosla, Managing Director – Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Ltd | Mathew Job, CEO & Executive Director – Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Ltd
Business Line: Manufacturer of Consumer Electricals
Key HR Factor: Culture (Empowerment & development), and Innovation