RPG tweaks culture to attract talent

MUMBAI: RPG Enterprises has embarked upon what the conglomerate calls a journey to bring about a culture change, which it hopes will help retain top talent and attract high potentials. The drive is being led by group chairman Harsh Goenka, who spends a lot of his time and interest in human resource activities and “culture building” that he says is an important pivot for the group. “For greater productivity, you need a good environment and the quality of the workplace is crucial to retain and attract top talent,” Goenka told ET in an interaction at the newly designed office of Raychem RPG, located on the ground floor of RPG House in Mumbai.

The old-style maker of transformers and energy products has transformed into an open office, designed aesthetically with artwork and quaint wooden furniture. The initiatives include creative workspaces, flexi work options, five-day week for white collar staff in factory locations and encouragement to open communication. It has empowered a team called the young executive board to come up with innovative business ideas. “We have broken our office from a cabin system to an open system making it look almost like an art gallery with breakout spaces, open air areas where people can go, and lot of conference rooms. The whole idea was facilitating people to start communicating with each other,” said Goenka.

The feel is more of an ad agency creative hot shop rather than a typical office. This was taken a level further at Raychem RPG, a joint venture with TE Connectivity, where even the CEO has no cabin. “The idea was to have a fun layout with a homely feel. It reflects the changing mindset, better transparency, giving them a workspace where they can think more creatively,” said Goenka. The group, which includes Ceat, KEC International, Zensar Technologies NSE 2.64 % , RPG Lifesciences and RPG Raychem, has introduced a flexi-work-hours policy across its companies and is heavily using technology to connect with people at remote locations.

There is also a One RPG taskforce to ensure a uniform policy across the group. “The younger generations are not looking for what is it in there for me but how can I make a difference. They want respect and a culture of open communication apart from career growth,” said Goenka. According to the RPG boss, technology will play a big role in this transformation as every company will have to get in for robotic process automation and mundane and repetitive tasks will be taken over by automation. “The new age industry will throw up a lot of jobs which require human brain, creativity, imagination,” he said. “A lot of people think with robots, jobs will disappear, but according to me people will have to reskill themselves,” he added. As a part of the digitisation drive, RPG has hired a chief digital officer in each of its main companies. The role is different from that of the chief information officer.

“In KEC International, we have started through drones putting the wires on the transmission towers in difficult areas. In Nagpur, we have automated our factory into one of the few digitally enabled factories in India,” Goenka said. Also, with the rising cost of labour, in all its new factories, RPG has done away with the whole layer of supervisors and has self-managed teams where workers are the supervisors, Goenka said.