Sharing ONGC’s tailored approach to engage its diverse workforce, Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal said that ‘Different folks, different strokes’ applies to managing the talent of its employees. Speaking during a panel discussion on “Retaining and Motivating Key Talents” at the Talent Management Conclave organized by SHRM Edge, Dr Mittal said that, while ONGC has a broad mix of talents from diverse fields. ONGC, from the very beginning, has been tailoring appropriate talent management strategies for each segment of employees.
“Right from recruitment, induction, training, grooming and succession planning of our employees are administered with unique management strategies, so that they get motivated to stay engaged,” said Dr Mittal. “We make them feel that their involvement with the Energy Maharatna is much beyond their pay-checks, it’s a collective effort towards nation-building.”
The session at the Talent Management Conclave, organized digitally on 29 July 2020 by SHRM Edge, focused on “Return to work: Balancing employee safety, cost and productivity in an reboot”. Apart from Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal, the session was also attended by IOCL Director (HR) Mr Ranjan Mohapatra and EVP & Head HR of ITC Ltd. Hotels Division Mr Sanjay Bose and was moderated by GM South and Associate Director – Advisory Services SHRM India Ms Dedeepya Ajith John.
Speaking on the key drivers for workforce, Dr Mittal noted that the safety and well-being of employees are of paramount importance to the organization since they are ONGC’s ‘bread and butter’. “ONGC has special focus on the field-going employees. They are the Energy Soldiers of the country. Even during the pandemic restrictions, our on-field workforce voluntarily worked on extended shifts to maintain continuity of essential operations. ONGC Executive Committee was in constant touch with them through video-conferencing to keep them motivated and also ensured that the employees can regularly connect with their families too.”
Director (HR) also stated that the HR teams of respective work centers were also effective in catering to all needs, including medical requirements, of the field staff. She also mentioned that ONGC also ensured to empower other employees to work from home, with availability of laptops and safe digital operations provided by Team Infocom. “While the field staff continued uninterrupted operations at offshore and onshore bases, our officials ensured smooth operations from the office front.”
Dr Mittal further mentioned that ONGC also kept its young employees motivated and engaged through several learning opportunities and mentoring. “It was a mutual learning for the mentors and senior employees too. These trust-building exercises among employees keep the ONGC family together.”
Dr Mittal said that ONGC has been putting efforts towards keeping the employees engaged since the inception. She noted that the energy major has always been unbiased on the gender front, from recruitment to posting of employees in remote installations. She mentioned that, even during the COVID-19 lockdown, there were nine woman employees at offshore locations and 13 woman ONGCians at onshore bases. “We were in constant touch with the all offshore personnel, including the women employees and they kept assuring that they are comfortable working in extended shift during the crisis. This proves that the roles have become more generic, replacing the old stereotypes.”
Director (HR) Dr Mittal also mentioned that during the lockdown, ONGC has organized several online learning opportunities for the employees. She stated that ONGC tied with the IHRDC to acquire 1000 licenses for 13,000 hours of on training/learning for employees, to further enhance productivity.
“Also, through these online trainings, we were able to identify young leaders who will be taking more challenging assignments in the future. This came as a blessing in disguise for use,” said Dr Mittal.
“Our endeavor is to make each employee realize that they are a valued member of the organization and their role is not just to work at shifts but to take the organization to a sustainable future. Employees are part of the organization for a lifetime; to make them realize that we value them is the biggest motivation,” she added.
Speaking at the session, IOCL Director (HR) Mr Ranjan Mohapatra said that it is necessary to re-recognize strategies to retain and motivate employees. He noted that despite disruptions in operations due to the pandemic crisis, the fundamentals have to be maintained. He also cited how IOCL, during the lockdown, took several former woman convicts, to train and appoint them to run an entire petrol pump. “The focus should be on giving back to the society in a sustainable manner while keeping the business going.”
EVP & Head HR of ITC Ltd. Hotels Division Mr Sanjay Bose said that the real test of an organization’s management skills comes during crisis scenarios like pandemic. He noted that, though lack of business travels and tourism hit the hotel industry severely during the pandemic, to keep the employees motivated ITC catered to all basic requirements of employees like steady flow of salary, keeping the employees mental health stable through digital communication, etc.