How Leyland engaged over 9,000 of its employees and families during the lockdown

Vinay Kamath Chennai | Updated on May 15, 2020

NV Balachandar, President, HR, Ashok Leyland, says the company ensured the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ message was drilled into the staff

Leadership talks, intense learning sessions as well as clubs to engage families was the focus

Photography clubs, book clubs, cooking clubs, yoga and fitness, quiz, orators and art and crafts club. Truck maker Ashok Leyland’s HR department has been pulling out all the stops to keep its huge workforce engaged during the enforced lockdown with a plethora of clubs, tapping into the hidden talents of its employees.

But, it isn’t just fun and games. There’s been a huge learning and development component as well.

Using various tech platforms, it has also assigned well curated learning programmes at all levels across the organisation. It has used gamification and simulations for junior and middle-level employees and video-based learning for senior management. It unveiled what it calls 30 ML – 30 minute learning where senior industry leaders as well as SME leaders who supply to Leyland, deliver learning bytes to employees. Then, there’s the leaders talk series where the managing director Vipin Sondhi and other senior leaders talk to groups of employees. That apart it signed up with virtual learning provider, Coursera, for ‘self-paced learning’ for employees.

As a Leyland spokesperson says, “We have covered 72 per cent of the executive population already in various learning and engagement programmes. So far, we have had 4,950 unique learners in at least one or more virtual learning engagements and put various employees through 179 different certifications.” In parallel, HR teams across its various plants also got families of the Leyland community engaged in the various clubs.

Coursera course

Says Rajesh Sharadchandrababu, Manager, Parts, “I work in the parts analytics department. Working with big data is a challenge, but the way the Coursera course is designed we can apply these concepts with various different scenarios. I can access the course on my mobile anywhere and anytime which gives flexibility. This course with simple examples of concepts helped me to understand, learn and expand my skills which I will apply in my day to day work of analysis.”

NV Balachandar, President, HR, Ashok Leyland, said they had to productively use the time of lockdown while the company first ensured that the stay home, stay safe message was drilled in. “So, this was the time to effectively get training going on two specific things. One is the modular business programme for our trucks and buses (a new platform of trucks being launched where the customer can build his own truck based on his requirements of load, application, road type) and the whole BS-VI training. We used the opportunity to get them get them all geared to make top of mind, especially the tech and the sale processes behind it,” he explains. The courses conducted also covered topics like industry 4.0, block chain, AI and machine learning.

Using MS Teams, which Balachandar describes as a brilliant tool, it got its leaders to talk to each other. “A slew of DGMs and GMs, almost every day interacted on business or domain-oriented topics as well as on leadership and what trials and tribulations they faced. Around 600-700 people line up every day for the leadership series.” Altogether Leyland used MS Teams audio for 1.82 lakh hours and 0.76 lakh of video time during one month, indicating the high involement.

During the lockdown phase, the engagement at various official and social levels encompassed over 9,000 of its employees and their families. “We, at Ashok Leyland, strongly believe that high levels of engagement promote retention of talent, foster customer loyalty and improve organisational performance and stakeholder value,” says Balachandar.

Published on May 15, 2020

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