Attracting and retaining talent

We believe that we yield our best results when we are open to others’ perspectives and work together to make a difference. To maintain our industry-leading position, we seek to engage and attract bright minds in the countries where we operate. We enable our employees to develop their skills and potential, offering exciting opportunities for career development, learning, recognition and wellbeing, in alignment with A World of Opportunities, the Aditya Birla Group’s Employee Value Proposition.

Progress towards target

Target: 100% of Birla Carbon managers to have stated and measured goals set annually.

FY2015FY2016FY2017FY2018FY2030 target
100%100%100%100%100%

Our HR Vision and Strategy

Our 2020 Human Resources (HR) Strategy aims to build a high-performing organization by engaging the hearts and minds of all employees in one culture of leadership, collaboration and innovation. It focuses on four key pillars:

  • Profitability – by building a high-performing organization through a performance management system, with shared goal setting, roundtable discussions and aligned standards and ratings.
  • Leadership – by creating an environment that builds capability, leadership and knowledge, including bringing in stronger talent, encouraging horizontal movements and focusing on diversity.
  • Engagement – by enabling employees to think of Birla Carbon as a stronger brand and a desirable place to work through continuous engagement.
  • Culture – by ensuring that all of our people at all levels are aware and demonstrate our vision and values.
Four pillar strategy

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 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 FY2018, we provided over 80 internships to students.

Participants on the Aditya Birla Group Leadership Program are offered global project opportunities in varied business functions such as operations, marketing, finance and human resources. In FY2018, 12 participants from leading schools and universities in India and Asia completed projects with Birla Carbon through this program.

We also launched our Leader Career Stories initiative, through which Birla Carbon leaders share their memorable career moments with the rest of the organization. Developed in response to employee feedback through the last Vibes survey, our aim is that employees will get to know their leaders better while gaining insights on the opportunities that can come through proactive career development and mobility.

Identifying leaders

Our Talent Management process aims to build a community of competent and highly engaged global leaders. 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.

Our approach includes a range of initiatives:

  • Assessment of potential – the evaluation of behavioral competencies for success in future roles;
  • Talent councils – bringing leadership teams together for collective and in-depth discussion on high potential individuals and their career development; and
  • Development centers – applying a rigorous process to assessing and creating a development plan for each individual based on their strengths and opportunities.

Cyclic assessment and review of individual potential is a fundamental part of our talent management and leadership development process – both across Birla Carbon and the Aditya Birla Group as a whole.

Developing our people

From the plant floor to the sales floor, our passion for learning has no ceiling. We believe that continuous learning sustains employability and drives us to develop a deeper understanding of our products and their applications. We encourage our people to invest in learning throughout their career by providing multiple opportunities and platforms that fit their needs, enabling them to meet their career aspirations and perform successfully.

By combining the best of local learning with our worldwide network, we are able to take our expertise to global proportions. Our Enterprise Learning Management (ELM) system is designed 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. The platform records all learning activities and an 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 counseling
  • Performance management
  • Conflict management
  • Customer focus
  • Developing employees
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Finance essentials
  • Health, safety and environment
  • Wellness
  • Communication to influence and engage

eAcademy

The Birla Carbon eAcademy, established in FY2017, aims to share the experience and knowledge of our Business leaders and subject matter experts with employees and simplify key aspects of the business. 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 our long history. Our first e-learning course, Carbon Black 101, presented our product and our manufacturing process. This was followed in FY2018 with a new e-learning course on carbon black reactor technology. Further courses in the pipeline include Commitment Based Safety, Plastics 202 and Sustainability at Birla Carbon.

In FY2017, we introduced our first eAcademy engagement sessions through which employees are engaged by leaders via webinars. The concept is that our leaders can offer expertise to the entire business. eAcademy sessions in FY18 focused on Feedstock, Fundamentals of Finance, Business in China and New Product Development and were attended by over 600 participants. In addition, our newly launched “Food 4 Thought” sessions provide an opportunity for employees to “lunch and learn” about different aspects of the business. Over 12 sessions were completed in North America in FY2018 with a global roll-out planned for early FY2019.

Core Conclave

The Aditya Birla Core Conclave is an annual event for middle and senior management – including our future leaders – which aims to build depth, broaden perspectives and foster interaction across the Aditya Birla Group. Almost 120 Birla Carbon employees have participated in the first three Core Conclaves. The Group’s aim is to engage some 3,000 middle management employees in the next three to four years.

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.

Total Reward Philosophy

Our approach to rewarding and recognizing our people is designed to reinforce our commitment to be the most respected, sustainable and dynamic global carbon black business. We seek to attract and engage qualified employees through competitive total rewards in each country in which we operate. To achieve it, we operate a global framework that enables regions and business units in 12 countries across five regions to create programs that meet their business and legal requirements, while being consistent with Aditya Birla Group’s Employee Value Proposition, A World of Opportunities.

Our Total Reward Philosophy is to:

  • Strive to pay fair and competitive compensation, valuing skills and credentials;
  • Promote a culture of wellbeing by offering competitive benefits according to living standards; and
  • Create and maintain a rewarding and appreciative working environment, providing global exposure and offering flexible work options where possible.

The PRIDE Program

We recognize exceptional individual and team performance through our PRIDE Program, which includes monetary rewards 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.

Group recognition

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

We have continued to make internal career paths easier to determine through a more streamlined career path framework for the Technology, Engineering and Operations areas. We encourage intra- and interregional 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.

Focus on female employees around the world

Three employees tell us what working at Birla Carbon has meant for their career development journey in recent years.

“I joined Birla Carbon in 2014. The change that has helped me the most is the increase in the attention we pay to people and their development. “A World of Opportunities" is becoming more and more real, and new training opportunities have enabled me to extend my view of the company and my responsibilities. This year, I was involved in a regional project at our headquarters in Hannover, Germany. It completely changed my work environment and duties and gave me the opportunity to work with our Regional HR Director. This was a true eye-opener that made me more conscious of the impact of my job on my colleagues and the company. I would advise my colleagues to take all the chances they get, to be committed, to take on responsibilities and to do more than what they are asked to.”

Elisabetta Ferraro is an Administrative Partner at the Trecate plant in Italy

“My time as an employee at Birla Carbon has been instrumental in my professional development, as well as my personal growth. I’ve been lucky to have some outstanding opportunities to work both in my home country and internationally, which has benefited me with immense learning and global exposure. The guidance I received from senior colleagues, the team spirit and the support I have received has had a great influence on my development. My advice to other young females in Birla Carbon: do not restrict yourselves, accept a challenge, venture into new areas and be prepared to take on additional accountabilities.”

Priyanka Baheti is Company Secretary and Attorney at Birla Carbon in India

“During my 10 years working at Birla Carbon, I have been lucky to be part of many changes. We have set up the Human Resources function in China and made great progress in developing training and talent management. As the Weifang plant has expanded, we have recruited many people and, by now, most of them have grown to be key personnel, both in management level and positions. They have played an integral role in setting up our new plant in Jining. More recently, we have focused on standardizing Human Resources between the three locations in China under the leadership of China Head of HR – Ben Wang – while also enhancing communication. I feel very lucky to have been part of such a strong team since my graduation. We make the Weifang plant team full of cooperation and fun. Young engineers like to work with us and we have a very low turnover we can be proud of as a result.”

Jingjing Geng is HR Manager at our Weifang Plant in China

  • Diversity

Decent work and economic growth

We offer employment and career development opportunities across all regions.

Partnerships for the goals

We help achieve the goals by working closely with our stakeholders, including community groups, universities, NGOs and the Aditya Birla Group.

Over 80 interns gained work experience at Birla Carbon in FY2018.