Aditya Birla Group’s new HR trends: Less hiring, more productivity

Aditya Birla Group is looking to add approximately 30,000 people in the next two decades, according to HR head


All the new trends point to the rising cost of employees, and at the Aditya Birla Group the challenge would be to ensure the cost of employees does not exceed 6-7% of the revenue. Photo: AFP
All the new trends point to the rising cost of employees, and at the Aditya Birla Group the challenge would be to ensure the cost of employees does not exceed 6-7% of the revenue. Photo: AFP

Mumbai: Less hiring but more productivity is the way forward at the Aditya Birla Group as technology and specialization kick in to change HR trends across the industry.

The group is looking to add approximately 30,000 people in the next two decades or so to its current workforce of 120,000 people, or a 1.25-fold growth, which is nearly the same seen in the last 20 years, according to its human resources head.

This contrasts with the 26-fold revenue growth to $41 billion at present from 20 years ago.

“Going forward there will always be fewer number of people, not just with us but in every organisation,” says Santrupt Misra, CEO, carbon black business, and director, group HR, Aditya Birla Group.

“People cost will continue to grow. People’s preferences about what they want to do will continue to change. And there will be more cost advantage and more consistency in applying technology. So all of these will drive to lesser number of people.”

The third largest conglomerate of India, handling its traditional manufacturing business of metals, chemicals and fertilizers, cement and fabric along with services business of telecom, retail and money, has identified employee care as one of its five guiding points for the future.

“Just like new-age businesses are forcing us to re-look HR structure and processes, the traditional industrial businesses are also in need of special focus on their own HR structure and processes for the future,” says Sandeep Chaudhary, chief executive officer, Aon Hewitt.

The group has so far hired 20% of its senior managers from outside, the rest being home grown, but going forward, it may hire 30% from outside with the main aim of bringing in specialists, says Misra.

That said, it also announced a hiring freeze earlier at several senior levels so that the lower level employees could move up.

“Today as the business environment changes it is important to realise that to combat growth and innovation, organizations have to bring in alternative perspective and thinking from outside,” Chaudhary said.

“It helps in challenging the status quo and adds to the agility,” Chaudhary added.

Looking ahead, Misra expects segmented HR policies and higher spend in building skills in people.

“There will be a lot of customization for different segments of employees therefore there will be different kind of policies for different segments,” Misra says.

The customised policies would be targeted at different life stages of employees such as employees with young children, employees with old parents, employees with children taking high school education and so on.

Technology will not just be harnessed for ideas and innovation but will be used on employees themselves for engaging with them such as the mobile phones.

All the new trends point to the rising cost of employees, and at the Aditya Birla Group the challenge would be to ensure the cost of employees does not exceed 6-7% of the revenue.

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