Managing People

How New Generation Corporate Leaders See People Management

  • Vidushi Rana, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Kiran Shoes Manufacturers Pvt. Ltd, the makers of Goldstar shoes, says that a hierarchical system does not exist in her company and every employee is given a fair chance to speak their minds.
  • Vishal Gadia, Executive Director at MAW Engineering Pvt. Ltd. has been observing an increase in the overall productivity of employees following the introduction of people management tools and software as the tools mention the visions and targets to the company’s staff.
  • Seema Golchha, Director at Him Electronics Pvt. Ltd, says that as the leader of the company she listens to everyone and implements the suggestions accordingly to make employees feel the ownership of the company.
  • Rohit Gupta, Vice Chairman at Ramesh Corp., says that his group is working to create a culture wherein people come and thrive and leave the group only to start their own entrepreneurial journey.

These are some examples that show how new generation members of corporate houses are giving importance to the modern-day people management practices.
With the gradual increase in the participation of new generation members, many family-run business houses in the country have started to give priority to people management empowering HR departments of their groups, investing more in advanced technologies for managing human resources and more importantly started coming out of the stereotypical mindset of the ‘boss is everything in the company’.

Recently, the HRM talked to some new generation leaders of some major business houses to know about how their organizations are changing with time making strides in people management and impacting the overall productivity and performance of employees.

The ‘No Boss Culture’
In some organizations, gone are the days when people followed the stereotypical mindset that the decisions of the owners need to be followed by all the employees. The new generation corporate leaders believe that the voices of the employees should be heard and that their expertise must be used to increase productivity.
According to Seema Golchha, Director at Him Electronics, a Golchha Group company, the notion that the boss is the only one in the organization to take important decisions has changed lately. “For the growth of the organization, a collective effort where employers and employees can come together to forge new ideas and vision is a necessary element,” she said. Presenting the example of her own company, she shares that the ‘boss culture’ is absent in Him Electronics. “The company’s management listens to suggestions of all employees. It is not like employees have to follow every decision without any objections. They can make comments and suggest new ideas. This is how every employee feels their ownership in the company.” Golchha stresses that the feeling ‘I belong to the company’ motivates employees and this has a direct impact on their overall performance.

According to Vidhusi Rana, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Kiran Shoes Manufacturers, a Universal Group company, the leadership of her company is always open to suggestions and discussions. “There is nothing like a hierarchical system in our company. I believe that rooms of leaders should be open for all employees,” she mentions.

While owners used to have all the say in the organizations in the past, the new generation members in business houses are open to inviting new ideas and suggestions which reflect the  leadership’s willingness to work for collaborative efforts and grow as a team. According to Rana, every staff member is a part of the Goldstar family. “Goldstar Shoes has over 3,000 employees and we work as a team.”

Rohit Gupta, Vice Chairman of Ramesh Corp. observes the major difference in people management between the old and the new generation leaders is the openness in work culture. “If I am running an organization, the kind of people I would want around me, or the kind of boss people would want around them is someone who can demonstrate clarity of thoughts that will lead to the success of business plans,” he expressed, adding, “Nothing should be under the carpet. Issues should be discussed openly and widely so that people know the real situation and contribute accordingly.”

He said that until some two decades ago, a lot of things used to be confined to owners, and employees would have access to only a little information. “This situation has changed now which has helped evolve the entire people management ecosystem in the corporate sector. The leaders have started to listen to suggestions from employees,” he mentioned.

Empowering HR Departments
In today’s competitive world, managing people effectively can be both a challenge and an opportunity for organizations. Realizing the importance of human resources (HR) systems and processes, Nepali corporate houses in recent years have started to invest in HR departments of their organizations.

“In the last 7 years, MAW Engineering has been working to empower HR professionals in the company,” says Vishal Gadia, Executive Director at MAW Engineering, a MAW Enterprises company.

“Until a decade ago, the HR department was seen as a division to manage administrative works only. Now, HR has become an integral part and the backbone of any organization,” he said adding that the HR department can add to the values in organizations.

According to him, the HR department of MAW Engineering can make and act on its decisions on its own. “We have clearly defined the roles of the HR department. Lately, the department has been making decisions based on its values and roles. HR officials in our company do not have to come up to the high-level management for something that is already defined in the roles,” said Gadia. “In today’s world, it is not the owner but the visions and policies of organizations that need to speak.” According to corporate leaders, defining policies properly and empowering the HR department will lead to efficient people management in organizations.

The HR department, according to Golchha, is the soul and backbone of any company. “The higher-level management is not able to handle all the problems, and this is where the role of HR comes in. The department collects all the issues, problems, and suggestions from employees, and passes them to the higher management. In this regard, empowering HR departments has a big importance,” she said adding that the HR department also acts as a mediator and a bridge between employees and employers.

According to Gupta, modern HR practices have been implemented in Ramesh Corp. with the main objective create a better work environment in the organization. “We have provided the best office space so that employees come and enjoy the work,” he said.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of the HR department was felt the most, according to Gupta. “As there was a big shortage of oxygen cylinders and hospital beds, the HR department worked tirelessly to make the arrangements for the infected employees. The department officials were in constant touch with those employees who were hospitalized after testing positive for Covid-19. At Ramesh Corp., we always think of our people first,” he said.

Gadia of MAW Engineering observes that the HR department plays an important role in the overall development of organizations. “An organization needs both blue and white-collar staff. But blue-collar staff are not directly connected to the top-level management. This is where the role of HR comes into play. The department talks to the blue-collar staff and collects their grievances. This way, the blue-collar staff feel connected with top-level management,” he said, adding, “These steps help to increase the overall employee productivity.”

Keeping the right person in the right place is another major role of HR department which has benefitted business houses.
Corporate groups in Nepal operate businesses in multiple verticals and the staffs of the companies perform equally hard. “Here while some businesses may achieve good results, others may not. In this case, the growth to two staffs working in two companies of a group may not go parallelly. So, the group HR identifies such issues and places the right staff in the right place,” said Gadia, adding that there should be transfers so that employees don’t find their job monotonous.

Prioritizing New Tools and Technologies in People Management
The new generation leaders of business houses are tech-savvy, and which has helped their organizations to introduce new software and technologies in order to bring efficiency to work and to reduce hassle in monitoring and evaluation.

Similarly, many organizations nowadays use evaluation tools such as 360-degree feedback and evaluation and key performance indicators (KPIs), among others.
“With the introduction of people management tools, employees are becoming clear in what they are supposed to do. They are clear about how to perform and what to perform. Employees know that if they perform better, they will get benefits from the company in terms of salary growth, promotion and retention,” said Gadia, adding that people management tools have increased the retention and performance of employees. “The mission, vision, values, and targets are clearly mentioned in the tools themselves. This is key for every organization.”

According to Golchha, investing in new technologies is also a must for organizations these days. “We have introduced software to keep track of the performance of employees,” she said, also adding that tools like appraisal forms have also helped keep track of the performance.

Rana of Kiran Shoes Manufacturers shares that her company has been investing Rs 2 million annually to purchase and renew people management software. The company has introduced advanced evaluation tools such as a 360-degree feedback survey, new employee experience survey, and job satisfaction survey, among others.

“Had there been no software system, the evaluation would be only handled by a few people in our company. But the introduction of software and tools has ensured everybody is involved in the evaluation process. Employees also feel like they are engaged in the whole process,” she said.

Supporting Employee Development
The new generation members of corporate houses who talked to the HRM agree that learning and development (L&D) programs are essential for the growth of the organizations.

They say that organizations will eventually suffer if employees are not functioning to their full potential or are dissatisfied with their jobs. Lately, realizing how overall development and growth of employees are important for producing leaders, organizations are spending a hefty sum of money on L&D programs. Nowadays, many corporate houses are sending their employees abroad for L&D. They are also bringing experienced corporate leaders and trainers to Nepal to conduct training sessions.

According to corporate leaders, training and development programs help both employers and employees. Such programs enhance employee performance, boost productivity, benefitting the growth of both employers and employees, they say.

“Until a decade ago, L&D used to be the least priority area for a majority of business groups. Employees had limited skills, and they used to stay in the same position for long,” said Gadia. “A lot has changed in a decade. Today, employers and employees are more than ready for L&D activities as people now are looking for fast growth. L&D programs also help to avoid the dearth of skilled workforce in the market,” he added.

According to Gadia, MAW Engineering has seen an increase in the overall performance and productivity of staffs after conducting L&D sessions and sending employees for training. “What we have realized is that employees tend to learn faster when we organize training sessions. So, it is all about developing and learning together. This is why MAW Engineering has been sending its employees abroad every year irrespective of the cost associated with such programs,” he informed.
Golchha of Him Electronics thinks that learning from the global practices and trends is also important while the corporate sector is investing in employees. “Training is an integral part of employee development. This makes the core of the company strong. Employees who have received training bring knowledge and skills, and all the new learnings are implemented in the company itself,” she said.

With the number of college graduates increasing every year, business houses are partnering with educational institutions to help nurture new talents. According to Gupta, Ramesh Corp. is tying up with leading b-schools and technical institutes to provide opportunities to their graduates as interns. “We are always looking forward to helping them grow their career,” he said. He informed that the group is also planning to tie up with the Indian School of Business, Apex College, and Kathmandu College of Management (KCM) and initiate leadership management courses and training for managers and develop them as future leaders.

“At Ramesh Corp., our priority is to hire good people and support them in development. We create a culture wherein people come and thrive and leave us only to start their own entrepreneurial journey,” said Gupta.

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