Henkel India’s Rishma Alagh says collaborating and bringing new ideas is their main mantra while looking for talent

Head of Talent Culture and Organization at Henkel India, Rishma Alagh, shares her perspective on what the German multinational looks for when hiring new candidates, the challenges involved and the availability of talent in relatively remote manufacturing sites.

Rishma Alagh: “At Henkel, we are constantly looking for opportunities to grow our business in India and expand our portfolio footprint. This will lead to a higher number of hires than in previous years.

What are the main soft skills you look for when hiring freshmen?

We love to see our freshmen fully engaged, regardless of location and function, taking on projects and responsibilities from the start. When hiring newbies, some of Henkel’s key attributes are a can-do attitude, learning and curiosity, entrepreneurial spirit, digital awareness, agility and a bold attitude!

What skills and qualities are you looking for in workshop employees?

Technical and functional skills as well as behavioral safety mindset and leadership are essential for any workshop employee. Being part of Henkel also means taking responsibility from the start, collaborating and bringing new ideas to life.

When hiring new talent, what are the different training/qualification pathways your company is looking for?
In general, for technical roles, we are looking for engineer profiles with various specializations. For sales and general management positions, a master’s degree with specialization in relevant areas such as marketing, finance, human resources, operations, SCM and IT is preferred.

What challenges do you face when hiring new talent?

The two main challenges we face are:

  • Availability of diversity in business and technical roles.
  • Availability of talent in relatively remote manufacturing sites.

Do you think there is a gap between academia and industry? How can this be filled?

Yes, preparing talent is a potential challenge facing the automotive and chemical industries, especially in innovation and technical-commercial functions. This could be addressed through better collaboration between universities and industry to train talent and improve the employability of the workforce in general. Initiatives such as industry exposure at the start of the program and mandatory industry internship during the graduation period will certainly help.

What are you doing to attract, train and retain young professionals?

Our integrated approach to talent management supports multiple career management programs such as mentoring, coaching, educational assistance, in addition to short and long-term global exposure early in the career to help young professionals hone and develop skills for the future.

What is your recruitment target for FY2023?

India is expected to be one of the growth engines of the global economy in this decade. At Henkel, we are constantly looking for opportunities to grow our business in India and expand our portfolio footprint. This will lead to a higher number of hires than in previous years.

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

At Henkel, we believe in embedding learning into our culture by enabling learning through experiences, reflections and peer groups, in addition to formally defined trainings for each role in all geographic areas.

We also focus on related themes such as employee well-being, emotional awareness, creativity, among others.

On top of all of this, we drive positive mindset shifts across the organization through initiatives that harness the power of unity by unlocking successful positive change to accelerate performance.

How do you ensure you retain your hard-working employees? Are tax incentives the only way to motivate employees?

Ours is a culture where we develop people with passion, tax incentives are just part of the holistic offering we use to motivate our employees. We support talent in developing a diverse portfolio by enabling global opportunities, cross-functional projects, enhanced visibility, and more. creating an impact in the wider ecosystem.

Henkel India believes that a positive work-life balance goes beyond simple tax incentives. Equally important is the well-being of mental and physical health.

We also support higher education, provide platforms to participate in CSR engagements, run frequent employee engagement campaigns on multiple topics, and encourage concepts of work-life flexibility to foster a culture of trust.

By aiming for a combination of mobile and desktop working, we are laying the foundation for a productive work environment of the future, where employees own their results. We believe mobile working may be possible up to 40% of working time for hybrid roles. Our offices have played and will always play a crucial role in our corporate culture – they enable collaboration, innovation, knowledge exchange and are a place of belonging and community that shapes the Henkel spirit. We have flexible working hours and smart working guidelines covering all of our locations allowing employees to work in the way that works best for them.

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