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A Lecture by Mr. Gautam Chainani Chief People Officer, UltraTech Cement Limited Aditya Birla Group



BIMTECH had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Gautam Chainani, Chief People Officer, UltraTech Cement Limited, Aditya Birla Group, to address the HR batch of 2013-15 on the topic, “The Changing face of HR.”

In his role as Chief People Officer, Mr. Chainani is responsible for directing, leading, guiding Human Resources strategy and practices of UltraTech Cement. UltraTech is the single largest building materials company in India with operations across India, UAE, Bahrain, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with a workforce of over 30,000. The lecture started with Mr. Chainani giving an overview of how the area of Human Resources has evolved along with the economy over the years. He said that HR is the most important strategic partner in every sector with change management, employer branding, employee value proposition and business partnership being the key areas of focus today. The students raised pertinent questions which Mr. Chainani answered patiently and explained the nuances of the topics to the rapt attention of everyone present.

Mr. Chainani said that today the focus of HR is more long term; rather than looking for individual employee satisfaction, organizations are aiming to become the best places to work for.

This means a higher importance on employee engagement activity, which he stressed, has a direct correlation on discretionary work and productivity. Speaking about leadership development, he said that it is a risk that organizations have to take and a heavy investment they need to make, in order to create leaders and avoid remaining mediocre. Giving example of Aditya Birla Group, he stated that they continue to invest substantially in their leadership development programs and all of their top positions are successfully filled internally.

Mr. Chainani emphasized on the importance of strategic workforce planning especially during mergers and acquisitions. Due diligence before the acquisition process and after completion of the process, correct person-job fit according to the acquiring organization’s culture, is key to successfully getting the best out of both the organizations.

Addressing the topic of changing trends in HR, Mr. Chainani was of the opinion that HR technology and HR shared services has a huge scope and he sees a lot new roles emerging in these areas. Similarly, Employee Relations is also one such important HR function in organizations. The focus on employee relations is more important these days for the purpose of employer branding. Also, employees are seeking stability in organizations because of the new trend of uncertainty in the current economic conditions.

Lastly, Mr. Chainani talked about how, after a brief period of peace, burning issues of Industrial Relations are coming back to surface in the area of managing contract labour. He said that most contract labour is still being exploited and the future HR managers need to work towards resolving this issue. A possible solution could be to find out a pipeline to make contract labour into permanent employees. The
session concluded on the note that if the condition of contract labour needs to improve, then labour laws need to be seen in letter as well as in spirit.

The lecture was deeply educational and enriching for the students and faculty alike.

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