Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Hinduja Foundries visit- A HR perspective

Cylinder blocks, cases, metallurgical processes brought back memories of good old thermo and fluid mechanic days spent within engineering premises. This visit was a different ball game though, trying to understand humans rather than machines, and to manage ‘living’ assets of an organization, which by and large is a challenge in itself. The HR varsity’s visit to the Hinduja foundries could not have been timed better, considering the fact that we had just completed courses on Performance Management and Employee Relations. Retention of individuals was the most critical HR factor at the Hindujas, especially the shop floor employees. This factor hinged around recruitment options in the nearby vicinity, predominantly in and around a 30 km radius of the plant. Also, HR’s roles in employee benefits and welfare activities were emphasized upon. ‘Skill Matrix’ was a tool followed at the R&D department, and the engineers with the department shared vital inputs on mapping and bridging the gap by training. Training was either closed or open, based on requirements. HR training was imparted to both managers and executives. The concept of ‘Time Office’ was also discussed. Importance of safety among workmen was reiterated with HR’s critical role in creating awareness among workers. CSR and training camps outside the premises were some of the other initiatives of the HR department. The accident rate at the Hinduja foundries had come down from 20/month to 6/month- a testimony to increased safety emphasis within the plant. Appraisals were monthly, quarterly, half yearly or yearly depending on the role of the employee. Though there was no union as such at the Hinduja plant at Sriperumbudur, the other two plants at Ennore and Hyderabad had strong unions. Labor union interaction and negotiation patterns were discussed at length reiterating the importance of the ‘Factory Act’ for every IR professional. The importance of formulating new processes than continuing with outdated operations was highlighted. The plant visit from an Operations management perspective coupled with timely HR insights were indeed a huge take-away. At the end of it we certainly realized the nuances of the HR function in an industrial set up!

Contributed by Balaji MS, HR Varsity, CBS Batch-4 (2009-10)

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