The war for talent is getting intense in the financial services sector. Consequently, UTI Mutual Fund has recently initiated an aggressive reengineering of its people strategy to attract the best. The fund aims to be among the among the top three asset management companies (AMCs) in the next two years. Priya Ranjan, Group President and Head - HR, UTI Mutual Fund, speaks to Shamni Pande of Business Today about how the AMC is galvanizing its 1300-strong workforce to become more competitive and stay engaged. Edited excerpts.
Q- What triggered this need for change?
A- UTI has a very strong legacy and brand in the AMC market place and its strengths are a large distribution footprint and strong trust reposed by the customers.
We, of course, needed to improve our position further, but the real trigger is the need to establish UTI as an attractive employer in the market place and engage and motivate our existing employees.
We also realized that the effectiveness of some of the HR processes had reduced over the past years and this was not good for the morale and motivation of our employees. Further, there was a room for improvement in employee communication and employee development.
Q- What are the changes initiated this year?
A- This year, we launched a program called HR Transformation in UTI that aims to provide a new architecture and thinking on how human resource will be managed.
The initiatives are anchored around four themes called CARD, that stands for Communication & Culture, Attraction, Retention and Development.
All initiatives under the four themes are being designed and implemented for the first time in the history of UTI. We also took note of our gap area around communication and introduced focus group discussion, skip level meetings and an increased usage of the company intranet to disseminate information. These are an attempt to break hierarchy between employees.
The other big gap area for UTI, was a strong branding for a structured and career development plan. We have now an exercise to create a new banding structure for UTI.
We are also creating a clean and distinct career growth path for our employees. With performance being the sole criteria for promotion, an employee can now have complete visibility on potential career growth paths and what will be required to grow. That aside, we also have a management development programme that is open to all employees.
Senior employees will be screened and nominated to attend leadership programs in India and foreign learning institutes. Hence, for the first time, there is a strategy and a structure to support the development initiative.
Q- What are the attrition levels and your plans to bring it down?
A- We have a low attrition of 5 per cent per annum. However, we were not market-aligned and now and we have done a complete review and revamp of our compensation & benefit (C&B) structure and policies.
The objective was to look at our current positioning in the AMC industry besides streamlining the structure. Our aim is to position UTI competitively in the AMC space and we are very happy that in some of the benefits like medical, we are the best in the industry.
We have initiated a new recognition programme called STAR. This is a new programme covering all employees and will be a critical component of our retention strategy.
Under this program, employees will get recognition certificates, monetary awards, opportunities for lunch meetings with the managing director or leadership team when they go beyond their normal call of duty and contribute more than the normal expectation.
Q- What is your fresh hiring plan and target?
A- We are hiring employees in the sales and marketing function wherever required. We would be looking at hiring fresh business schools graduates starting the year 2015.
In fact, we have initiated campus contact programme with business schools and we expect to hire five fresh graduates in the year 2015. We are looking for MBAs from business schools like IIMs, XLRI, etc. for people to join our investment function and management graduates from other schools to join our sales and other functions.
The objective is to offer a proposition to the students so that they can look forward to a good career in UTI.