Chandra Bhattacharjee, CHRO, Grasim Industries, in a conversation with India Employer Forum on the focus points of HR in building an inclusive culture, tech adoption, and the most needed change in the world of HR.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Chandra Bhattacharjee. I am currently the CHRO for one of the lines of businesses of the Aditya Birla Group. As an HR professional, I have been in the industry for nearly 32 years, and I have travelled the entire gamut of HR services. My passion areas are, of course, overall HR strategy; how HR is helping businesses to grow and how we can make a difference to the talent, joining the organisation at various levels. I am passionate about developing young talent and mainly around diversity talent, employee engagement, etc. I am interested in social development and sustainability. I am a lot into meditation and spirituality, and I also do a lot of reading. I was born in Kolkata, brought up in Mumbai and did my graduation from Delhi University, after which I pursued my post graduation in personal management from XLRI Jamshedpur.
Q. What are the focus points for an HR Head while building an inclusive culture in an organisation, what has worked for you specifically?
For me, building diversity is one of the focus points, and what has really worked for me is trying to increase the numbers. We can build an inclusive culture, do a lot of training around unconscious biases primarily for women leaders and women engineers to work on the shop floor. We need to help them to prove that they are as good as the male engineers and then work with the culture and the mindset of the managers, who are working with them. So, the main thing that we drive towards is to hire the diversity talent, to make it attractive for them to join our organisation, and once they do, to enable them with an atmosphere to work with.
Q. DEI policies have been a topic of debate for some time. Some people say it takes away meritocracy while some say that it actually improves productivity and helps the company to tap into a wider talent pool. What has your experience been?
We have experienced any such feedback on our DEI hires. In fact, whenever we have hired women at prominent roles, we have only received positive feedback. They have been outstanding in the kind of work they have done, their ability to work with a team on the shop floor, their questioning analytical communication skills and writing ability. So, I have not received any feedback. In fact, my managers want more diverse talent to join their teams, but my challenge is that I’m not able to provide them the numbers, due to the lack of many women professionals, especially at senior roles.
Q. HR Tech is said to be the future of HR. To what extent has your organisation adopted Tech in your processes and are employers future ready to adopt Technology?
Our organisation does have HR Tech. We have an HRMS platform, where we use many HR processes, and these are all online and enabled. In fact, we have been in this space for nearly 10 years now. In a way, we have been leading in the HR Tech space. In all these years, we have learnt one thing: there is no limit to the amount of things that you can do in HR tech, and there are always waves and trends that come and go. For e.g. what started as proprietary HRMS systems, today it’s on the cloud and then there are app-based solutions. So, I think we can never say that we have reached the top in technology. I think technology is always evolving and we have to let it grow and adapt to newer technology.
Q. What do you think is the most needed change in the world of HR today?
In today’s HR world, we have to become talent champions. These days, when any young person starts their career or is even in the middle of their career, they should know that this organisation will be a value addition to my resume. That’s where HR will come in. How are we helping our employees skill themselves? How are we helping them to add value to their profiles? I think what should be the most needed change in HR should be focusing on the future. As we know, today these skills that are being used and developed by employees are not going to be the skills for tomorrow. So, keeping employees agile, making them learning focused, are the things which would be HR’s contribution, and that’s where we all will have to make a difference.
Watch the full interview here: In Conversation with Chandra Bhattacharjee | CHRO | Grasim Industries
About Chandra Bhattacharjee
Mrs. Chandra Bhattacharjee is currently the CHRO of Chemical, Fashion Yarn and Insulators business of Aditya Birla Group. She has an experience of 28 years in the field of Human Resource Management. Her Human Resource experience includes working in IT enabled HR domain, wherein she was responsible for implementing Peoplesoft HRMS software in Aditya Birla Group. Mrs. Chandra Bhattacharjee also has experience in the domain of leadership development and learning. She was program director in Gyanodaya, the Management Development Institute of ABG. Over the last 3 years, she has been leading the Human Resource functions in the CFI sector and heads a team of around 200 HR/ER professionals in the CFI sector. Her interest areas are in HR Strategy and Leadership Development.