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Industry & Academia should work closely to meet industry requirements says Piaggio Vehicles India HR Head

Pooja Bansal, Chief Human Resources Officer, Piaggio Vehicles India shares her views on how the company is attracting and retaining talent, challenges and 5 E’s of employee engagement framework among others. An interview by Nilesh Wadhwa.

What are the key general skills that you look to hire freshers?

At Piaggio Vehicles (PVPL), our program ‘Evolving Stars’ is focused on identifying and creating a young talent pipeline within the organisation. The process of hiring freshers under this program is quite robust beginning with the application of aptitude test, English language test, Pearson test (cognitive ability & reasoning test) and psychometric tool i.e. Predictive Index. 

The objective is to select the right young talent demonstrating skills like critical thinking, written & spoken communications, learnability & emotional intelligence amongst others ensuring better cultural fitment.

What skills or qualities do you look for in employees on the shop floor?

Critical skills for employees on the shopfloor involve people management, customer orientation, lean thinking, problem solving and agility.

Pooja Bansal, CHRO, PVPL

What are the challenges you face while hiring new talent?

Piaggio Vehicles is a certified great place to work and we have not faced any challenges in attracting talent. The company’s reputation and strong organisational values and culture make us a desired organisation for ambitious new talent. 

Do you think there is a gap between academia & industry? How can this be bridged?

Yes, I think there is a visible gap between academia and the industry. This gap can be reduced by ensuring that every academia has an industry partner. Academia must seek frequent feedback from the industry partners and update their course curriculum and pedagogy to meet industry expectations. 

Exchange programs between academia and industry must be encouraged to ensure relevant industry exposure to the students and parallelly the faculties must orient and update themselves with the changing industry needs and dynamics. 

Both the educator and industry experts must collaborate to impart knowledge together where the former teaches theoretical aspects while the latter trains practical aspects enabling students to relate theory and practice. 

What is PVPL doing to attract and train young professionals? 

We collaborate with various educational institutes across India to attract young professionals. Besides engaging the young talents in the form of a traineeship, we also connect with them through our initiative of ‘Emerging Stars’ and ‘Campus connect’. 

Two months of a full-time summer internship, live projects, guest lectures, webinars, and workshops are offered and conducted by Piaggio. 

Also, our multifaceted connect and collaboration with national and international institutes support in scouting the best talent and groom them further into young leaders.

Once the young talent is onboarded, we are fully committed to investing in our future leaders’ growth and development and helping young talent to realise their potential with expert knowledge sharing and mentoring. 

It is our constant endeavour to create an inclusive culture where employees can build engaging and rewarding careers. We focus on knowledge transfer and sharing, fostering cross-collaboration, and consider internal mobility and growth as necessary. 

Besides, we also involve young talent in innovative approaches like our Design Thinking War Room and Operational Excellence project resulting in tangible benefits to the organisation and providing opportunities for individual exposure.

How does Piaggio Vehicles India retain employees?

We are committed to improving employee engagement in the organisation through a robust employee engagement framework which focuses on the various enablers i.e. the 5E’s of empower, engage, enable, enthusiast and encourage. 

These enablers improve the overall employee effectiveness, thus enhancing employee commitment and improving organisation performance standards. High engagement reduces both turnover and hiring costs as disengaged employees are a major factor contributing to employee turnover.

Are there any additional training programs or courses that you have incorporated to upskill your existing workforce?

We believe in creating a continuous learning culture and encourage employees to seek knowledge and enhance their competencies. This approach has helped to keep our employees engaged and invested in Piaggio’s Learning Culture. Training and competency building are core pillars for people development at Piaggio India. 

We truly believe that a ‘One Size Fits All’ approach does not work and we focus on adopting various learning styles, and methodologies targeted toward individual learning preferences. Our interventions are customised to individual and business needs and curated for specific competencies achieving desired results and impact.

Our approach to every learning intervention has been guided by the 4Ds:

Diagnose 🡪 Design 🡪 Deploy 🡪 Develop

A review is conducted at an organisation level, individual level, and operational level. For certain business requirements, strategic interventions are designed for example, Lean Six Sigma and Design Thinking. We also have a powerful Executive Coaching program to help Leaders to leverage their leadership skills for maximising performance standards and drive their teams to enhanced performance levels thus driving the strategic business goals.

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