APOLLO FIEGE Integrated Logistics Pvt Ltd. is a joint venture between Apollo LogiSolutions Ltd., India and FIEGE Logistics,
Germany. This partnership brings together the well-known expertise, efficiency and dependability of FIEGE in the field of contract logistics on one hand, and the keen insights, network and reach of the Apollo LogiSolutions team in the Indian logistics landscape on the other. With this synergy, APOLLO FIEGE hopes to extend the benefits of global reach and local resourcefulness to you as a customer. As part of the TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) research project, we recently met Ms. Ashita Jain, The Corporate Logistics HR lead at of Apollo Group conglomerate – to understand more about the best practices in the areas of employee engagement, positive work psychology and best HR practices. Here is an excerpt from the interview between Ms. Ashita Jain and Mr. Siddhartha Sharma.
How long have you been in the HR function?
Ms. Ashita Jain- I have been in the HR function from past 11 years, I had got opportunity through one of the IJP to start the ignitions journey in the arena of HR. It has been more than 10 years now in managing and having experience in entire gamut of Human Resource Management- Talent Management, Organisation Alignment, Learning & Development, Compensation & Benefits, Succession Planning, Performance Management and HR Operations.
Best practices for engagement quotient according to you?
Ms. Ashita Jain- In the logistics industry employee engagement is still at its very nascent stage due to the nature of the industry and the workforce. However, I believe that it is very important to maximize employee engagement or I should put it further as “If employees truly are a company’s best asset, then their care and support should be a priority.” To bring engagement to life, leaders must make engagement goals meaningful to employees’ in day-to-day experiences by utilizing some of ways as follows:
- Treat Your People like Business Partners- Treat your people like your business partners rather than as employees. They will go out of the way and work for the fulfilment of company objectives. Build a great people-culture in your organization.
- Organize Frequent Interactions with Management- I suggest that every business organization should organize regular discussion, interactive session or open house meeting once in a quarter between the leadership team and the workforce. The leadership gets to know their people’s expectation as employees are important assets of the organization and the employee get to know about the company’s vision & mission, how their work shall be contributing in organisations goals. The two way communication culture promotes harmony and engagement in the organization. This is the best way to connect and establish a long term trust with your people.
- Give Recognition to Employees-Every time you recognize your employees for the work they do, you add a strong strand of loyalty in the fabric of your relationship with them. Management and Managers should constantly ask themselves- ‘When was the last time I appreciated the anyone in my team or who work with me? Give all the recognition in public because then its impact gets magnified.
Do the engagement levels of people vary with gender?
It will be unfair to be bias and whatever I can say it will be only my personal observation. However, if you study you will find that women are far more engaged at workplaces than their male-counterparts. As I mentioned, I do not believe in generalizations but still women seek job for competitive job profile, respectable designation and engagement while men in addition to this also seek a lot of monetary rewards.
Before we step in organising & conducting engagement program, we should evaluate our organisation capabilities and our employees. Henceforth, we index our employee’s activities & potential in three segments.
Three types of employees: Highly Engaged, Not-Engaged and Actively-Disengaged.
- Highly – Engaged employees work with passion & feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation & contribute taking organisation way ahead.
- Not- Engaged employees are essentially ‘checked –out”. They are sleepwalking through their workday, putting time – but not energetic or passionate into their work.
- Actively – Disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work they are busy acting out their unhappiness. Everyday employees undermine what their engaged colleagues accomplish.
Engagement initiatives are important for leaders to weave employee engagement into performance expectations for managers and enable them to execute on those expectations. They successfully engage their employees benefit they increase talent attraction and retention, an enhanced customer experience, and stronger business performance. But many organizations fail to truly capitalize on the benefits of engagement.
3 ways of learning and growth opportunities for employees laterally with their Job
Ms. Ashita Jain–
- Job Enlargement & Enrichment – Each employee potential extends well beyond his or her job description. And tapping that potential means recognizing how an employee’s unique set of beliefs, talents, goals, can drives his or her performance, personal success, and well-being.
- Shadow Management-We also gives people the opportunity to move to larger projects and take up responsibilities by tagging them along with senior leaders. They get to work beyond their particular team with expert leaders. The learning and exposure is tremendous.
- Focus on Engagement & Empower your People-. Managers and employees must feel empowered to make a significant difference in their immediate environment. Leaders and managers should work with employees to identify barriers to engagement, learn & develop their team and opportunities to effect positive change.
- Job Rotation-People who are disengaged in their present profile are also given fair opportunity to move to other roles and improve their performance. A time window of 3-6 months is given to them to bring their performance up to acceptable levels.
Any Best Practices or examples that you would like to share from your decade long HR experience?
Ms. Ashita Jain- Yes, a couple of interesting examples I can share:
- In my HR reign with one of the elite organisation, the HR lead moved on from the organization with most of the team members. Yarns were there that the company is planning to outsource the HR function. I approached management and apprise them with the current scenario & yarns roaming around in the organisation. The management believed in my potential and give me 6 months to re-establish the HR function. I accepted the challenge and rejuvenated the HR function with the approach “HR function is not only for facilitating recruitment & payroll processing but HR aligns the corporate strategic objective to individual goals.”
We organized an offsite with all business leaders and shared the corporate goals received from CMD/CEO of the organisation. They were grouped in teams with different function leaders (strategy, marketing, operations, finance etc). & asked to articulate 5- 7 KRA/ KPI’s which can majorly contribute in achieving the corporate goals. Going forward we cascaded the HoDs goals to individual objectives which helped me to lead performance driven organisation & raised the EBITA in span of 6 months. HR function was among the one on CEO desk. This taught me the importance of believing in oneself, power of open communication and engagement.
- In another example, some information & data was pending from last 8 months for automating and effective implementation of HRMS & PMS because of some internal change. I took help from a management trainee and we managed to complete the 8 month pending work in matter of 2 days. We recognized the efforts of the management trainee in front of all people. Henceforth, also realized that day what powerful tool recognition is? Never fail to appreciate people for the good work they do.
- I personally have a habit of reaching 30 minutes early to plan my day & spend 15 minutes with my team to discuss the plan & prioritize our actions for the day. We articulate the initiatives & challenges to ease our tasks. Moreover we appreciate our team members y sharing a small token of appreciation in respect of any card or message. Likewise, at the close of the day we again get together to discuss the tasks achieved or the ones that need to be rolled forward. While practicing this: “Know your people well” concept allows us accomplish the entire task flawlessly.
It is very evident that organization offers great opportunity to its people and rewards merit. After associating with Apollo Group conglomerate as HR – playing the important role of “Voice Of Management” to the employees. While holding the major impact as influencing skills, the ability to link people strategies with business strategies, and the ability to prove the value that human capital add to the organization’s bottom line.
Moreover, it’s my primary responsibility to strategically align employee engagement efforts, ways to communicate engagement’s effect through best practices across the organization. We use every opportunity, touchpoint, and communication channel to reinforce and recognize the organization’s commitment to employee engagement. We integrate employee engagement fully into the business’ lexicon.
The most apparent example with in Apollo Group is – one of our most senior management had started his career with the group as a management trainee and as of now leading the organization.
We recently interviewed Ms. Ashita Jain, Head HR – Logistics at Apollo Group of conglomerate for the project- TGIM- Thank God It’s Monday, to understand best HR and employee engagement practices in her industry. She is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional, with more than 11 years of qualitative experience in Human Resource Management with elite organizations. She possesses expertise in aligning HR strategies to business and in managing the intact spectrum of human resource development. She has the expertise to motivate & reinvigorate personnel towards achieving organizational objectives as well as adhering industry best practices.