In turn, these pillars will be supported by a modernized HR governance model that is equipped to achieve our 2020 aim. We are in the early stages of our strategy, but we have high expectations for its success.
How do we attract and retain talent?
We seek to be an employer of choice in all of the regions where we operate. We place emphasis on talent development, targeted internal movement and continuous engagement.
Our progress as a company is driven by both the expertise of our seasoned carbon black professionals and the continuous exchange of ideas with the next generation of engineers and scientists. For this purpose, we continue building partnerships with local colleges and universities and invite interns to gain realistic work experience with us. In FY2017, we provided over 60 internships to students.
Participants on the Aditya Birla Group Leadership Program are also offered global project opportunities in varied business functions such as operations, marketing, finance, and human resources. In FY2017, 13 participants from leading schools and universities in India and Asia completed projects with Birla Carbon through this program.
In pursuit of our desire to build competent and highly engaged Global Leaders, we have implemented a strengthened Talent Management process across Birla Carbon. Our Talent Management philosophy encompasses the following tenets:
- Leaders can be developed;
- Leaders are responsible for identifying, building and nurturing future leaders;
- Development is best achieved through multiple, diverse experiences; and
- Each employee is responsible for sharpening their innate potential.
In the past year, we have reinvigorated the talent management processes across Birla Carbon through:
- Assessment of potential, which involves the evaluation of behavioral competencies for success in future roles;
- Talent Councils, which bring leadership teams together for collective and in-depth discussion on high potential individuals and their career development;
- Development Centers, which apply a rigorous process to assessing and creating a development plan for each individual based on their strengths and opportunities.
The cyclic assessment and review of individual potential and investment in their career development will continue as part of our talent management and leadership development process across Birla Carbon and the entire Aditya Birla Group.
Developing our people
At Birla Carbon, we believe that continuous learning sustains employability. We encourage our people to invest in learning throughout their career by providing multiple opportunities and platforms that fit their needs. The aim is to enable our employees to meet their career aspirations and perform successfully.
Our Enterprise Learning Management (ELM) system is the platform to access and record all learning activities. The online library of close to a thousand courses is available to all employees at no cost. Courses are provided in multiple languages, covering a broad range of topics, both functional and behavioral:
- Coaching and counselling
- Performance management
- Conflict management
- Customer focus
- Developing employees
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Finance essentials
- Health, safety & environment
- Communication to influence and engage
Through ELM, we aim to enhance employee skill levels, encourage employees to apply the knowledge gained to improving our business, and conduct all training and development from a centralized source.
We are in the process of developing a series of courses specific to Birla Carbon to institutionalize the knowledge accumulated by our Subject Matter Experts through the long history of our business. We rolled out our first e-learning course, Carbon Black 101, which simply presents our product and our manufacturing process.
In FY2017, we introduced our first E-Academy sessions, through which employees provide training for other employees. The concept is that our leaders can offer expertise to the entire business, through a webinar. Our first E-Academy session was presented by our Global Head of Sales for Specialty Blacks, Mark Bass, on our Specialty Black business strategy and contribution to the overall business.
Interview with Samah Shawky, Vice-President, Birla Carbon Alexandria (ACB), Europe and Africa
I have worked for Birla Carbon (ACB) in Alexandria, Egypt, since 1998. I was a recent graduate; I saw an advert in the local newspaper for a position and I joined. After several years, I decided to do an MBA, which I completed in 2011. On completion, I was appointed Technical Service Manager for Europe and Africa. A year later, a vacancy arose to be Head of ACB Quality – my manager told me that I should go for the position, which I did, and held for three years. In December 2016, I was promoted to the position of Vice-President of the plant and I’m now responsible for the entire Manufacturing area at ACB.
In the 19 years that I’ve worked for Birla Carbon, I’ve never thought of leaving. It is a great company to work for, with real opportunities for hard workers. During my time here, I have learned a lot and built a solid reputation in the wider Aditya Birla Group – I got recognized by the group and won the Distinguished Achiever award in 2014, and the Value Torchbearer award in 2015.
As a woman, I feel that I have achieved a lot. Traditionally, Egyptian and industrial cultures are male-dominated – but I have never felt that to be the case in Birla Carbon where I got the opportunity to have a leading position. One example is the Women’s Accelerated Development Program, which has given me real impetus as a career springboard. The company treats all talent equally; I am proud to work here.
I do not know what the future holds, but I feel very optimistic and willing to take more challenges here at Birla Carbon: the company occupies a special place in my heart.
Recognizing our people
Our employees are recognized and rewarded for their contribution to our success. Besides performance-based rewards, exceptional performance is also recognized through regional, business and group-level awards.
The PRIDE Program
Exceptional individual or team performance is recognized through the PRIDE Program, providing employees with a monetary reward for outstanding contributions to the business. Besides being rewarded at the Business Level, our various locations supplement PRIDE with added regional recognition reflecting the traditions and cultural norms of their specific region.
Employees are also recognized through the Aditya Birla Group Awards for Outstanding Achievement. Exceptional performers are nominated for individual awards, including Young Professional, Distinguished Achiever, Exceptional Contributor, Outstanding Leader and Value Leader.
In addition, business-level awards recognize excellence in a company, area or unit where specific initiatives have enhanced shareholder value and business sustainability.
Career movements with Birla Carbon
At an increased rate, we have continued to make internal career paths easier to determine, through a streamlined career path framework for the Technology, Engineering and Operations areas. As part of talent development and growth, we encourage intra- and inter-regional movements of qualified employees as well as transfers from other businesses within the Aditya Birla Group. For example, we engage with the employees and their spouses prior to a potential relocation, ensuring that they are comfortable with the move and the role. We offer comprehensive support to relocating employees and their families, including assistance with school admissions and employment assistance for spouses.