What Are the HR Trends in India? Uflex Leader Weighs In

By Kathy Gurchiek Sep 8, 2016
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Chandan Chattaraj, president of India and global human resources for Uflex Group Ltd.

Globalization, digitization and Millennials dominating the workplace are three key trends that will impact the HR profession in India, according to Chandan Chattaraj, president of India and global human resources for Uflex Group Ltd.

Uflex is a global company specializing in flexible packaging. Its headquarters is in Noida, in the National Capital Region of Delhi, and it has a presence in more than 140 countries. Chattaraj has been with Uflex since February 2012, when he began his tenure as executive joint president of global HR and corporate affairs before taking on his current role in August 2015.

SHRM Online had the opportunity to interview Chattaraj via e-mail about the top HR trends he sees in India.

Chattaraj's executive-level experience prior to working at Uflex includes serving as chief of HR at Jubilant Organosys Ltd. in the Noida area of India for three years; as executive director of HR at Xerox India Ltd. in Gurgaon for a little more than three years; as executive vice president of HR for The Oberoi Group in the New Delhi area for several years; and as CHRO at Aircel in Gurgaon for nearly two years.

He has received multiple accolades for his work in HR. He was named HR Professional of the Year at Asia's Employer Brand Awards in 2011 when he was at Aircel and Best Transformational Coach in 2016. The World HRD Congress recognized him as HR Super Achiever of the Year in 2011 and in 2016 singled him out for its HR Leadership award.

CHRO Asia named Chattaraj to its list of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia in 2014 and the 100 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia in 2015. Aon Hewitt Associates recognized Jubilant (2004), The Oberoi Group (2009) and Aircel Ltd. (2011) as among the 25 Best Employers in India during Chattaraj's tenure at those companies.

SHRM Online: The drive to hire and retain more women at various levels is one top HR trend in India we have been hearing about. What role does HR play in attracting female job candidates at all levels of an organization?

Chattaraj: There are several policies that organizations these days adhere to for attracting and retaining female employees. At Uflex, we ensure that the basics are in place, and while attracting female candidates we ensure:Proactive recruitment efforts.

  • Providing career advancement opportunities.

  • Inclusive, safe and conducive work environment.

  • Leadership opportunities for women.

  • Effective communication and implementation of sexual harassment policy.

SHRM Online: Do you see workplace flexibility as being a top HR and business trend? If so, what is driving that?

Chattaraj: No doubt, workplace flexibility is becoming a top HR and business trend. Flexibility at work is becoming a necessity for employees and employers alike. Streamlined workforces, the technological shift and changing markets are just a few reasons why flexibility is the new norm for many organizations.
A multigenerational workforce, demand for skilled workers, global competition, economic downturn and other factors are contributing to change in the workplace. The need and desire for flexibility in the workplace will continue to grow as workforce needs become more diverse and complex. In order to gain an edge while recruiting and retaining talent, organizations need to offer flexible work and help employees achieve work/life balance.

SHRM Online: What impact, if any, does the retirement of Baby Boomers have on workplace/HR trends in India? 

Chattaraj: Business heads and HR managers are facing an impending mass exodus of senior workers, the likes of which have never before been seen. As we move forward, we will soon have to deal with the reality of the Baby Boomers retiring. HR and top management need to get together and plan the organization's future human resource and skill needs for the next five years, especially taking into consideration potential changes to the marketplace and the demographics of their current workforce.

Even if more Baby Boomers can be persuaded to stay around longer, many companies will feel vulnerable as they leave the workforce in droves over the next few years. Companies will need to manage the successful transfer of experience and knowledge to younger generations at the outset of their careers. If demand continues to outstrip supply for certain positions, companies will also need to rethink how to hire junior workers into positions requiring more tenure and experience, and determine what additional training will be necessary.

SHRM Online: What are some other top HR trends that you are seeing or expect to see?

Chattaraj: Three key factors which are going to impact HR in the coming times are globalization, digitization and Millennials storming the talent market. With regard to our industry sector, in addition to all of the above-mentioned factors, we need to have sharp focus on productivity, skill development, automation and manpower cost optimization.

Organizations are putting a lot of focus on Millennials, who are changing dramatically the workforce composition and the way work gets done. At Uflex, we have launched a program called "Takshila" to hire trainees [from the Industrial Training Institute], graduate engineer trainees, management trainees and strategy trainees across the spectrum.

While hiring high-potential Millennials, we are [competing] against modern-era service-sector companies, start-ups, consulting companies, and others that offer higher compensation and a glamorous lifestyle. Still, through our campus hiring program, we have been able to attract good talent. 

With respect to creating a leadership pipeline, it is again one of the most critical trends that organizations are going to face in the future. Development of the leadership pipeline is our topmost priority. Our focus at this level is to support them in the transition of their role as leaders to visionaries and we are running certain programs for this segment, such as the Leadership Effectiveness & Achievement Program, Next Gen Managers, Leadership Outbound and other leadership interventions.



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