Talent acquisition, development and retention is always a huge challenge for cement industries in India. KJS Cement, though, has mastered the art of skill development and workforce empowerment at its plants.
KJS started commercial production on 12t July 2012 with a few skilled workmen and experienced engineers. As the company continued on its growth path, it started experiencing the dearth of skilled manpower. Retaining talent was a tough challenge and the recruitment cost too, was high. Since the technology applied in the plant is of an international level, the company decided to train fresh engineers and vocationally qualified workers from ITIs.
Head of Departments, in collaboration with the Human Resource Management Department, prepared a plan for 'On Job and Classroom Training.' The faculty was selected from a pool of experienced engineers from the plant itself. The recruitment process started with an online test of about 150 candidates, which was followed by technical tests and interviews. The company narrowed the list down to 20 engineers, based on their talent, academic technical knowledge and their potential. The candidates were then absorbed for one year of training and also offered an attractive stipend and hostel facilities.
Besides this, the company also conducted campus interviews at Jaypee Guna and at other regional engineering colleges. Engineers, cement technology diploma holders and chemical engineers were selected. Structured on-the-job and classroom training process was organised by the HR department and the HODs along with experienced managers who shared insights with the budding professionals.
To meet the requirement of skilled workmen, a large contingent of ITIs and diploma holders from the mechanical, electrical and instrumentation streams were appointed as trainees and the system and clauses for eligibility were informed to the candidates prior to their appointment, during the recruitment process itself. Six months after the extensive training, the experiment of training fresh candidates culminated into a successful venture. All the trainees started operating the shifts under the guidance of experienced employees. The maintenance department, being a new plant, did not face many breakdown problems but workshops were set up to look after periodical maintenance. Multi-skilling and job rotation was another technique leanred on the job.
The operators were trained for operating and maintaining the equipment. The exercise helped in improving organisational culture significantly; it was indeed, a revolution which cultivated a zest for learning and optimum utilisation of manpower. The company prepared an HR manual that detailed rules and entitlements for employees who joined operations within two months of commencing production.
A corporate booklet comprising detailed information on the growth of the company since its inception, along with a brief on the dynamic approach of the Chairman and Managing Director in setting up steel, power plant and iron ore mining businesses, as wellas cement manufacturing plants, was prepared. At the time of induction, a technical brochure with the specifications of each equipment, its capacity and skill requirements was handed over to the new trainee. Then, as the plant makes use of the latest technologies from FLSmith, Pyro technology, and Loesche Mills, specific training was imparted that prepared the trainees to work on such systems.
Gradually, this experiment of imparting vocational and on- the- job training led to complete capacity utilisation with no major breakdowns. The HR department played a pivotal role in imparting safety, disciplinary, attitudinal and motivational training, not only to the workmen but also to managers, officers and engineers. It was the exemplary performance of the HR division that lifted the work culture to international standards.
Pawan Ahluwalia, Managing Director, took up the task of motivating the team in his informal chats with the grassroot workers. He would go to the shop floors and apply the walk- and- talk method to understand and quickly resolve the problems of employees on the shop floor.
Since Satna is a hub for cement plants, the attrition rate was controlled through excellent welfare activities such as a good canteen, a clean and green workplace, and a humane approach by superiors while enforcing strict discipline. Besides this, the company worked towards developing a family culture, built a township and temple, school facilities and medical care centres. All these steps worked well and now the plant is in operation with excellent practices of multi-skill job rotations. Safety training is a continuous process and before any employee is inducted, he is given training by the safety department.. Third party audit of safety has also been conducted to ensure a safe workplace and to meet the zero accident target for the current year.
The Japanese 5S system was introduced about six months ago, and has yielded good results. This is a system whereby every employee is concerned about a clean and systematic workplace. An audit team checks all the concerned departments for implementation of the 5S system. Awards for its implementation have been introduced to motivate everyone to follow it. Now the company is planning to get accreditation for integrated management system comprising ISO 9000, ISO 14000 and ISO 18000.
A technical library with of over 3, 000 books, periodicals and magazines is in place to feed the continual need for learning in the company. Since learning and training is an ongoing process, an annual plan of national and external training, based upon PMS and TNA, has also been prepared.