In Conversation with Manish Sinha, SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer, M&M Automotive Business on HR Priorities and Trends for 2022
Manish Sinha is a globally experienced HR Leader in the Automotive, Energy, FMCG, and Pharma industry, with demonstrated ability to lead multicultural teams across geographies.
Manish has distinctive competency and experience in high-impact senior leadership roles for more than 2 decades. He currently leads HR for Mahindra & Mahindra Auto business. He has earlier been associated with PepsiCo and General Electric.
Manish is an alumnus of BHU Varanasi, Delhi University, and XLRI Jamshedpur. He is an avid reader and keen learner of human behavior and leadership challenges. He likes Hindi poetry, listening to music, and connecting with people of diverse interests.
Q- What are the biggest challenges CHRO’s face in current times especially in the manufacturing industry?
Out of various challenges, I would like to point out a few of them.
- Availability of skilled manpower.
- Speed of upskilling and reskilling to fulfill the skill gap.
- Talent gaps in digital/ specialized engineering domains.
- Creating and sustaining an agile ecosystem.
- Managing employee morale in the face of constant structural and directional churn, etc.
Q- Do you think, skills shortage is the biggest concern in automotive industry? How are you managing it?
Yes, it is one of the biggest concerns in the automotive industry. With the advancements in digital manufacturing and SCM, new-age competencies related to Industry 4.0, IoT, AR/VR, AI/ML & data analytics have taken center stage. The skill requirements, therefore, have changed phenomenally.
Similarly, the customer experience is no longer limited to a one-time buying decision or service needs. Organizations are going all out to create a WOW customer experience. Right from customer acquisition to retention to making them a brand advocate, organizations are exploring the customer journey from their lens. CX, as never before, has more of an emotive appeal than a logical and rationale-based approach. The use of technology, in this space, has gained momentum to create a breakthrough and personalized experience.
Having a digital mindset is a prerequisite irrespective of role or domain. The ability to visualize and implement digital solutions to a problem is a critical success factor in any function. A flawless human-machine interface is deeply required in the changing paradigm of the auto industry.
We are driving capability building in all the above-mentioned areas. With plenty of internal and external learning opportunities, common purpose teams involved in high-end technical and customer experience initiatives, we are building the skill set of our workforce.
Q- How do you see workforce trends in 2022 in the automotive industry?
I foresee below workforce trends in 2022
- Enhanced hybrid and remote workspaces.
- Employees to exercise greater choice of organisations that they want to work for.
- Personalized and customized employee experience.
- Investments in up-skilling on digital/ technical domain.
- Virtual employee lifecycle management.
- Greater focus on outcomes than job descriptions.
- Autonomy and empowerment as compared to prescriptive leadership.
Q- What are your hiring plans for both freshers and experienced people in 2022?
We intend to hire both freshers and laterals for various roles in the organization. We see huge demand for digital, engineering, HR, and marketing talent. For all our entry-level programs, we will continue to visit campuses as before.
Lateral hiring in areas of digital/ tech domains will continue. Given the talent gaps and need for experienced professionals, mid to senior-level roles would continue to grow. This will be filled with internal fast trackers and exceptional talent from the market.
Q- What will be the Top 5 HR priorities in 2022?
I think HR priorities for 2020 should be-
- Turbocharge workplace flexibility and inclusivity to attract and retain talent.
- Speed up diverse staffing models like GIG and remote workers to fill the talent gap.
- Lead innovation in personalized and curated employee experience with the help of technology and employee insights.
- Help employees upgrade their domain expertise and digital skills to stay relevant.
- Creating an outcome-based reward structure for the phygital workforce.
Q- Any concluding remarks?
The role of HR has never been as challenging and pivotal as now. CEOs are looking forward to HR leaders to help shape new organisational culture in an era of phygital workplaces.
Instilling organisational values and ways of working with a bunch of freelancers and Gig workers is an interesting problem to solve.
Organisations must revisit their EVP in the wake of the Great Resignation spree. The congruence between what we brand ourselves as and who we truly are, has never been tested as much.
Additionally, organizations must transition from ensuring wellness to wellbeing of employees. It no longer is good to do things but has a long-term business impact.
Talent attraction and retention will be tested like never before. Inspirational and authentic leaders will see their followership grow. Employees will gravitate towards human-centered leadership.
Understanding human emotions and their linkage to the decision-making process will become extremely important.
Drawing insights from each such conversation and customizing individual offerings shall differentiate great HR teams from the rest.
Thank you, Manish!