Self-made billionaire Gautam Adani, best known as the man behind Australia’s most controversial project—the $21-billion Carmichael coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee basin—stepped into the mining business in 2007, almost two decades after he started the business of commodity trading in 1988.
Unlike traditional mining companies, Adani’s firm follows a different model of mine developer and operator. It started its first project in 2009 to develop Parsa East and Kanta Basin coal blocks and later secured three more coal blocks.
According to the company, it extracted about 8.27 million tonnes of coal in 2016-17, an eight-fold increase in the past four years. “We aim to extract 200 MMT per annum by 2020, thereby making Adani mining one of the largest mining business in the world," it added.
There has been opposition by environment activists in India and Australia to its mining activities and Adani Enterprises - Mining has had to deal with them. But, internally, the company that employs 242 people on its rolls at present, up from 185 a year ago, has not seen much attrition since inception. “Our attrition rate has almost been negligible and it’s an outcome of the organization that we have built over a period of time. We follow the fundamental principles of providing growth opportunities to our employees with challenging assignments, create an environment whereby employees feel secure both at the family and personal level, and they get the opportunity to create a perfect balance between personal and family commitments. There is a strong belief amongst many of our employees that we were destined to come together as a winning team," said Vinay Prakash, chief executive officer.
One of the reasons for low attrition, said Prakash, was because the firm believes in nurturing talent and allowing workers to act like entrepreneurs and not just employees: “Our group’s values of courage, trust and commitment are embedded in our working environment. Our leaders have an owner’s mindset which fosters entrepreneurship and innovation. We give utmost importance to ensure that the people pursue their career in the areas in which they have interest in the organization."
The company’s business model also generates indirect employment in and around its mines. The project of Parsa East and Kente Basan has led to employment of more than 400 tribal people. And the company does not stop there. It has set up a school—Adani Vidya Mandir—to offer quality education to the children of these tribals, besides ensuring free medical assistance and health care via mobile medicare units and vocational training for women to make them financially independent.
“Our efforts in improving the employability of the communities have proved successful. Their economic conditions have also significantly improved by selling products like vegetables, papad, stitched uniforms etc in the market. The company has also established a football academy at Ambikapur to nurture and nourish the aspirations of tribal youth," said Amitabh Mishra, vice president and head (HR), Adani Enterprises (coal and mining business).
According to Mishra, the company’s has different initiatives to ensure employees’ aspirations are aligned with the company’s vision to ensure career growth for each and every employee of the company. “To ensure high quality of learning through this mode, the Adani mining business has obtained e-learning licenses for its employees for the Harvard Manage Mentor and Skill-Soft platform," said Mishra, adding that awarding employees for their work and initiatives helps the company’s overall growth.
For Adani Enterprises - Mining, employees are not ID numbers but part of the family, said Prakash. “We have collectively woven an organization wherein we are driven with the objective to ensure dignity and security of our workforce both at the individual and at the family level. There is nothing more liberating for an employee than this confidence and it brings about extraordinary degree of ownership from the employees. It creates a sense of belongingness in the employees and brings about alignment of personal goals and organization goals," said the CEO, adding that the company does not have any division called ‘human resources’; it has is “healthy human resources" focusing on the physical and emotional well-being of every employee.