Now Loading

From Onboarding to Success: Insights into Holcims Holistic Talent Management Strategy

New Delhi: In today’s dynamic business landscape, effective talent strategy and hiring practices play a pivotal role in shaping the success of organizations. As businesses strive to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving workforce, there is a growing emphasis on cultivating a workforce that not only meets the current demands but is also equipped to address future needs.

Recognizing the importance of employee well-being and career growth has become a cornerstone in attracting and retaining top talent. Moreover, fostering diversity and inclusion is now a crucial aspect of hiring practices, with a specific focus on embracing the unique skill sets and experiences of veteran professionals and women returning to the workforce. This holistic approach to talent management ensures not only the immediate strength of the team but also its resilience and adaptability for the challenges that lie ahead. In this regard Falguni Bisht, ObserveNow interacted with Swaminathan Iyer, Head HR Admin and Communications (AVP), Holcim Global Hub Business Services.

Here are a few excerpts from the Interview:

What’s your organization’s approach to talent strategy and hiring? Is there a perfect recipe to get it all right or is it always a balanced view?

While we have a structured approach to talent strategy, we understand the need for flexibility and adaptability. The perfect recipe for talent management is an evolving concept, and we continuously reassess our practices to align with industry trends, technological advancements, and the changing needs of our business. We have developed a comprehensive talent strategy that aligns with our organizational goals and objectives. This strategy encompasses various elements, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, talent development, and succession planning. We analyze current and future business needs to identify the skills and competencies required for success. This enables us to build a talent pipeline that is well-equipped to meet both current and future challenges from an internal set of employees and also external hires. Our hiring practices are designed to promote diversity and ensure that our team reflects a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. By taking a holistic approach, we ensure that our talent strategy is not only reactive to immediate needs but also proactive in anticipating future skill requirements.

As an HR leader, how do you ensure that the workforce you have today is the one you need tomorrow? What is your master plan for the skills update of the team?

As an HR leader, ensuring that the workforce aligns with future needs involves strategic planning, ongoing assessment, and a commitment to continuous learning and development plans. One of the instrumental pillars of our Group strategy is to focus on nurturing in-house talent and accommodating incumbents in various roles through internal movement.

We closely align with business leaders to understand the long-term goals by being cognizant of volatile business scenarios. We conduct regular skills assessments within the existing workforce and categorize our talent into five talent categories Grow in Role, Cross function, Function, P&L roles, and performance improvement. This involves evaluating current skill sets against future needs. Through surveys, performance reviews, and 360 feedback, we identify skill gaps and focus areas. Every team member is encouraged to have an Individual Development Plan (IDP). These plans are crafted collaboratively between employees and their managers. We ensure that these plans align with both individual career aspirations and organizational needs. We foster a culture of continuous learning by providing a range of learning opportunities. This includes access to online courses, workshops, seminars, and journey programs.

What innovative approaches are businesses adopting to retain top talent in an increasingly competitive market? How are they prioritizing employee well-being and career growth?

Apart from adopting the best compensation practices like retention bonus, Off-cycle increments, and fast-track career paths for critical talent employees, GCC is capitalizing on various innovative employee retention techniques. Many businesses are embracing flexible work arrangements including remote working, flexible schedules, and comprehensive well-being programs that go beyond traditional health benefits. These programs may include mental health support, fitness initiatives, stress management resources, and access to wellness apps. At GHBS, we offer 24×7 medical consultations in addition to financial and legal consulting with support from Employee Benefits partners and also organize monthly health webinars for all employees.


Companies are leveraging technology to enhance employee engagement. This includes using employee engagement platforms, pulse surveys, and feedback tools to understand and respond to the needs and sentiments of the workforce. We use the Gallup platform for engagement feedback and active action planning on the employee feedback. Being a global brand, we provide opportunities for employees to explore different roles across the Group enhancing engagement and career growth of employees.  Our Talent mobility programs support the development of diverse skills and experiences.

How do you approach diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices, particularly in the context of hiring veteran workforce or Women returning to work?

Diversity and Inclusion is a key strategic pillar of Holcim. The design of the candidate evaluation process aims to focus on the skills and competencies required for the role irrespective of gender. We also avoid language that may inadvertently create barriers. Interview panels are diverse and interviewers are trained to avoid biases and stereotypes. We are proud to maintain healthy 58:42 diversity at GHBS. In addition, we offer flexible working days for women returning to work after a career break or long leave to ensure they get back to work stream seamlessly.

In what ways can your organization support and empower freshers to understand work life, chart a path for them, and find their sense of purpose in alignment with the company’s vision?

Supporting and empowering freshers is crucial for their successful integration into the workplace and fostering a sense of purpose aligned with the company’s vision. We offer a comprehensive onboarding programme. This programme is designed to provide newbies with a comprehensive understanding of our organization’s values and key objectives. We believe in providing regular feedback to them and help understand their strengths and areas for opportunities. Performance reviews are conducted at regular intervals through continuous performance tool supported by success factors, offering constructive insights and actionable steps for career development. Through open communication, we encourage them to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas. Regular town hall meetings and open-door policies facilitate transparent communication between employees at all levels.

Is there any advice you would like to give to the new HR Professionals entering the industry?

Business Orientation: Talk business language! The more you know about the Company and its Operations, the better you can align HR strategies with overall business objectives.

Embrace Technology: HR technology is rapidly evolving, offering tools for recruitment, performance management, and employee engagement. Familiarize yourself with HR software and platforms to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

Stay Adaptable: The HR landscape is subject to change, whether due to industry shifts, legal updates or organizational restructuring. Stay adaptable and embrace change, using it as an opportunity for growth and development.

Balance Empathy with Objectivity: While empathy is crucial, HR professionals must also maintain objectivity. Striking a balance to make fair and unbiased decisions is key to being an effective HR Professional / Leader

Stay Passionate and Curious: Maintain your passion for HR and stay curious about the evolving nature of the field. A genuine interest in people and organizational dynamics will drive your success in the professional journey.

Tags: Technology