We believe in 'Appreciative Enquiry' core to engagement among employees, where people come together to create a positive workplace for each other
Inspired by the embedded tenets of trust, fairness and care, at Asian Paints, we strive to create shared value through inclusive growth, bringing about a measurable change in the lives of our employees and communities. We believe that a healthy working environment founded on principles of empathy and symbiosis can unleash the full potential of the employees. Over the years, we have steadily built a culture of empowerment and providing appropriate opportunities to support our employees’ aspirations. HR at Asian Paints has been about partnering the business through strategic initiatives. It translates into all people processes, from inviting new hires to join or helping our existing employees to design and develop their career.
Being an employer of choice
We have implemented a modern cloud-based HR platform, with improved analytical capabilities for better decision making, to cover all aspects of people management including employee life cycle, career development and succession planning, learning and growth, operational and performance management and employee collaboration across our operations. A crucial factor that determines our approach to talent management is the ever changing needs of the customer and society, where we constantly work towards providing a framework that is best suited towards delivering shared value to all our stakeholders. Insights from the current, past and potential employees has helped in evolving our HR approach.
We were among the first organisations in the country to absorb coaching across functions, where managers were trained as coaches. The transition from classroom sessions on general topics to lifecycle based programs, customised and delivered by line leaders happened early and is an established way of working, today. Over the last few years, facilitation as a method has gained wide-spread traction – in workshops, meetings, visioning and collaborating.
We have Sampark Policy Help Desk, a centralised helpdesk for time-bound resolution of queries related to Compliance, Payroll, Policies and Benefits. Through this mechanism, employees have a simple and robust communication platform to address their human resource policy related queries in a systematic manner. It also functions as a data bank that informs decision making during review and revision of HR policies and benefits.
Recruitment and retention
Recruitment and retention are critical to effective talent management and require strategic thought and planning. The goal of our hiring process is to attract and identify individuals with the best mix of skills and attributes for the desired positions. We recognise that the organisation stands to benefit from a work environment that facilitates the retention of all skilled, qualified workers through effective job accommodations with adequate avenues for personal and professional growth. Many employees who began their careers with Asian Paints have risen to spearhead leadership positions. We also encourage internal job postings providing existing employees with opportunities for horizontal and vertical mobility within the organisation. We continue to build on our key recruitment initiatives: CANVAS, Asian Paints Careers, Alma-Matters and IMPRINTS.
During the start of this year, we created a platform for our employees to gain cross-functional expertise and at the same time contribute to the development of the company. We initiated IJP, that focuses on addressing the job vacancies first through internal deployments and then from the external market.
Developing talent, broadening capabilities and inspiring excellence
Learning is the basis of personal and professional growth and forms an integral part of the culture at Asian Paints. There has been a concerted effort to build a team of internal trainers, coaches and facilitators and we have partnered with multiple organisations for training and skill development of select group of employees.
Our approach to training and development
- Need Assessment: to help employees (executives and above) bridge gaps between their existing skill-set, changing job requirements and adapting to newer technologies
- Skill Enhancement: FOR building capabilities through internal skill enhancement programs and creating grade specific learning inputs to ENable transition from one level to the next
- Succession Planning: an on-going effort of the leadership team Specifically for major critical positions, being reviewed annually
- People Review Process (PRP): Structured people development and review process that MAPS employee’s aspirations and development needs against specific opportunities within Asian paints
- Cultural Integration: one of our topmost priorities in newly acquired businesses to define cultural objectives, understanding differences to bridge a divide
The transition programme is for newly promoted/ joined Chief Managers and Senior Managers in the system and seeks to ease their transition into the new role. It follows a blended learning approach over 4-5 months through content sharing, conversations (with reporting manager, hierarchy, stakeholders etc.), e-Learning modules, classroom programme on identified important areas and on the job individual learning agenda.
For the mid-level Managers, we have tied up with premier B-Schools in the country to provide functional as well as general management inputs to help them prepare better for the current roles. This has classroom component as well as action learning projects as a part of curriculum which spans over 3-4 months.
Leadership Excellence at Asian Paints (LEAP) is specially designed for managerial trainees to help them take independent responsibilities through exposure to different functions across the company and participating in workshops to develop their skills and capabilities.
This covers specific agendas driven with functions/divisions/areas of work, that are contextual to the area of work/location, keeping in mind the business imperatives. Typically, these can either stem from the analysis of needs identified centrally through discussions with function leaders to understand key areas of focus. These interventions might be on the job, online, workshop based, or a combination of different learning platforms. Depending on the need, the impact and the context, these could be driven by internal facilitators or external. Some examples from the previous year include Negotiation Skills and Winnovation with Supply Chain, Crucial Conversations with Sales (West), Digital for Marketing, Channel Skills for IBU, Integration for Bath Division, Collaboration with PPGAP (Technology) and Stakeholder Management with R&T.
PRP is a process for discussions around targeted development for employees. Development is recognised as a function of individual and line hierarchy ownership of creating structured experiences. PRP dialogues results in creating a market place to match individual aspirations and developmental needs with business opportunities. One of the outcome for PRP is preparing individuals for leadership positions in alignment with future business imperatives thus aiding succession planning (both functional and organisational leadership pipelines). A shared template has been evolved, keeping in mind the desired changes, the timelines and the understood vocabulary within the organisation. PRP Panel comprising of functional leaders review their functional talent through this process for potential areas of development, possible job rotations and any structured or unstructured development actions. Feedback to employees is integral part of this process. It aptly compliments the ‘My Development Aim (MDA)’ process of the organisation where career development conversations happens between manager and employee.
Creating an inclusive and supportive workplace
We promote an inclusive culture where merit is rewarded, openness is fostered, diversity is valued and individuals’ opinions are respected. Open, effective communication, as well as clear channels for feedback are provided to all employees to optimise the opportunities for discussion on issues related to inclusion and discrimination. In March 2014, we began exploring 'Diversity & Inclusion' as a focus area to create an enabling work environment where there is appreciation, acknowledgement and acceptance of differences. A benchmarking study conducted across 20 industry peers on best practices that can be replicated, combined with Senior Management interventions led to a concerted focus on gender diversity. The women’s network ‘Swara’ inaugurated in the previous year continues to provide a platform to the women to voice their opinions on gaps in the systems, structures and processes. We are proud of the fact that Asian Paints was one of the first companies in India to provide a six month maternity leave to our employees, even when it was not mandatory. To secure individual rights and safety at the workplace, we have designed an internal module to apprise employees on the provisions of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act 2013 (POSH) and redressal mechanisms. All executive level employees have been sensitised through workshops. An Internal Complaints Committee has been constituted at all locations with an empaneled external expert. During the reporting period we received four complaints on sexual harassment and took necessary steps to resolve and close three of them in accordance with applicable laws and guidelines. One complaint is still under investigation.
We conducted a gender readiness audit across our operations to understand the status of gender gender equality within Asian Paints, create a baseline for collective discussion and analysis and develop a participatory process for gender action planning involving amendments in infrastructure, policies and procedures and organisational culture.
To make the entire process of D&I at Asian Paints participatory and to identify the different themes of inclusion, we conducted five half-day D&I diagnostic workshops with a cross section of employees spanning across offices and plants. This year the following four themes emerged: Gender, Generations, Functional Rhythm and Working/ Personal Styles. We created forum theatre scenarios around these themes to sensitise employees. The outcome of these roundtables was also shared for review of the EC members. We will use the outcomes to create new D&I programs and further strengthen existing ones.
We have an ambitious plan of enrolling more women employees at the plant level. We plan to build on this by creating a gender neutral work environment. The initial phase for this plan was to develop a diversity blueprint for the manufacturing operations with a specific focus on greenfield plants. We started by seeking more clarity on the role requirements at the plant level. We then identified roles that were more suitable to women based on pre-set parameters to determine relative suitability of the roles. The parameters included timing (general / shift), hazardous/ chemical exposure, lifting of heavy weights, standing for long hours and climbing height / ladders.
In order to facilitate better communication and interaction between an expecting / new mother and her reporting manager, we created a maternity conversation guide. This guide was envisaged to bridge the understanding gap between employees and bring everyone on a common platform. The idea was to empathise the supervisors on dealing with pregnant women and helping new mothers to efficiently return to work. To create these guides, we conversed with employees who had returned to work from their maternity leave, employees who were expecting mothers, reporting manager and HR representatives.
Fostering robust industrial relations
At Asian Paints, union settlements have always been linked with productivity improvements. The robust grievance redressal system across the organisation means that ‘justice is done, but also seen to be done’. There has been a focus on growth and inclusive participation for all cadres in the plant, which has seen operators take up supervisory roles and grow in their careers. This has translated into a new outcome based approach to labor settlements replacing the traditional activity based model.
We work towards ensuring fair treatment and safeguarding interests of our contract workforce. Contract labour is deployed at our manufacturing facilities and in other functions like sales & marketing. Each facility maintains suitable checks and balances to ensure that wage payments, statutory contributions, provision of safety equipment and other such obligations are met by the contractor. We provide welfare facilities like subsidised food, rest rooms, medical check-up and medical facilities to all contract employees working at plants.
A limited number of women are present in our contract workforce and there is no discrimination between men and women with regard to working conditions and payment of wages. Our terms of contract clearly stipulate statutory requirements for contractors and they undergo stringent selection criteria and screening.
We prohibit all forms of child labour or involuntary labour. There are recognised trade unions at the Company’s manufacturing locations and certain sales units are affiliated to various trade union bodies. Approximately 29% of permanent employees are members of recognised employee unions.
'5S' for better employee relations
We have created ‘Sambandh’ - a ‘5S’ approach to employee relations encompassing communication, welfare, growth, inclusive participation enables us to ensure sustainable industrial relations.
While we have initiated several activities and programmes under Sambandh, following are some of the key highlights of 2015-16: