Sunil Kulwal, a former executive president of the chemical division of Grasim Industries at Nagda in Madhya Pradesh, is in a different territory now. In another continent, Down Under. In fact, as chief executive officer of Aditya Birla Minerals, which handles the group's mining business in Australia.
ABM, which has extensive copper operatons in the Mt Gordon area and Nifty, is owned by another group company, Hindalco. Santrupt Misra, the head of global human resources at the group, says that the biggest attraction for Grasim employees is the integrated approach of the Aditya Birla Group, and talks about Kulwal as an example of what "systematic talent management" can do to a person's career. Kulwal, by the way, is neither a chemical engineer nor a miner: He is a chartered accountant by training.
"Our integrated value proposition takes care of personal development, career development and family development," Misra says. "Our HR processes are always trying to find the best opportunities for an employee. Even within Grasim where we have four businesses, employees are provided a wide exposure," he adds.
Nagda is a location that has also seen a new effort to provide access to top doctors to the employees through telemedicine. However, Khor in the same state saw something more interesting. Vikram Cement, which is still a part of the cement business of the company, has built a spanking new Young Managers Accommodation with a very modern design with new gadgetry at hand. The message is clearly that you need not give up the luxuries of city life if you work for Grasim in a remote location. All this, Misra explains, is achieved by not focussing on innovation but rather on the needs. "We find the needs of the employees first and then we meet them innovatively," he says.
Misra points out that the company did not cut jobs during the downturn. "We see productivity as a continuous process. We never take short-term measures like cutting jobs. Instead, we decided that all directors of the group will stop flying business class."