M Lakshmanan

M Lakshmanan, The Chief Human Resources Officer, L&T Technology Services speaks about the company’s hiring process, improving efficiency, motivating workforce, and importance of taking care of high-potential employees to meet the organisational and individual growth path. 

What are the key skills you look for while hiring freshers?

While qualifications and degrees are an important part of our hiring process, here at L&T Technology Services (LTTS), we also place a great deal of importance on soft skills such as innovation, inquisitiveness, passion to deliver, efficiency and attitude in the workplace.

Engineering and innovation are embedded in our DNA. As an organisation focused on ER&D services and technology-based innovations, our focus is to tap into promising and passionate talent who can bring about breakthrough disruptions.

We are always looking for innovators and skilled engineers who can solve industry-specific problems, especially in the healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and telecommunications fields.

What skills and qualities do you look for in shopfloor employees?

LTTS is a leader in Plant Engineering services and solutions and works with leading global manufacturers by offering end-to-end solutions in the areas of design, engineering, project management, and handover operation and maintenance. 

Our team of engineers also offer custom digital solutions over the plant lifecycle. Consequently, we look for best-in-class engineers with experience and expertise in varied areas of the shop floor such as automated project lifecycle management, plant simulation services, plant sustenance, machine safety and digital engineering services to name a few key areas.

We offer digital training on organisational needs, covering aspects such as their vision, mission, philosophy, management expectation, and on-time production. In addition, we offer technical training relevant to the manufacturing industry.

When hiring new talent, what are the various streams of education or qualifications that apply to your company?

At LTTS, we consider a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in engineering since engineers make up most of our workforce. Advancement in digital technologies along with expertise in healthcare and genomics have been helpful in boosting business productivity.

These advancements redefine how services are delivered and contribute to better living standards for millions of people and our global customers. 

There is an increasing demand for professionals skilled in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), natural language processing, robotics, and blockchain in the last five years alone.

We encourage and assist in prepping our engineers to be skilled gen-next professionals. Our employees can access research in advanced technology and its implementations, anytime and from anywhere. 

What are the challenges you face when hiring new talent?

The industry is currently faced with the dual issues of talent shortage and attrition. Since we are an ER&D Services provider, the talent we look for is often distinct and different from regular IT Services.  Given our multi-vertical presence, we typically look for skilled engineers in domains as varied as VLSI, Autosar, ML, NLP, Embedded frameworks, Asset Lifecycle Management and many others. 

We need to make sure that the candidate has the required experience and technical skills for the role. Moreover, the dual issues of talent shortage and attrition are something that the industry is addressing and coming to terms with.

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

Thanks to academia, interdisciplinary courses are being introduced in the curriculum now- a-days. These courses are well-designed for the talent pool to assist corporates in meeting their business requirements. 

There is also scope for the industry to contribute more to the academia community. Partnerships and co-operation in areas of strategic importance are the need of the hour. Upskilling professionals in digital engineering will also be a welcome step to ensure India’s position as a leading hub for talent.

Stronger collaboration between industries, and educational institutions through initiatives such as internships and faculty training programs, can bridge the current gap. 

An ecosystem of excellence must be created where tech companies, industry bodies, and academia come together to create disruptive future-facing technologies.

At LTTS, we recently partnered with several premiere academic institutions such as IIT-Madras, IIT-Gandhinagar and Pandit Deen Dayal University for various programs in advanced technologies. For example, we signed an MoU with IIT Madras to provide technical and financial support for IIT Madras’ Hyperloop project. LTTS will help the students at IIT Madras develop innovations in the Hyperloop landscape.

L&T Tech

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

LTTS’ Global Engineering Academy (GEA) is an institution that has made its mark as an integral part of our engineer fraternity’s growth. The GEA, a one-of-its-kind initiative, trains and equips our young workforce with the latest technologies and skills to prepare them for critical customer projects across the world.

Through the GEA we have created a platform where young engineers can expect an early engagement and continuous online training (prior to the induction training), and then a three-month intensive classroom session, taught in batches.

Created in 2020, GEA’s objective is to create a technology education ecosystem and to develop LTTS as a continuous ‘Learning Organisation’. So far, the 25-member team has trained over 3,000 freshers and facilitated more than 9,800 cross-skilling programs for experienced engineers.

The GEA has also played a key role in facilitating several tie-ups with leading global and national universities and operates several customer-focused academies within LTTS. The training provided by our GEA is a key attraction for engineering talent and the continuous learning opportunity that LTTS is known for is a significant retention driver for young professionals.   

What is your hiring target for FY23?

As is the trend within the industry, freshers make up the bulk of our overall hires. We hired over 3,000 freshers last year and we are expected to hire similar numbers in FY2023.

Our goal is to expand our talent pool, while ensuring that we on-board the brightest minds and train them to excel at their roles and responsibilities here at LTTS. 

Is there a possibility for engineering professionals working in segments like two-wheeler and component makers to switch to passenger/commercial vehicle manufacturing companies and vice versa?

One of LTTS’ essential value propositions is Crosspollinovation or the ability to leverage skills of one segment in another. The essence of Crosspollinovation is supported by the multi-vertical technical training provided by the GEA which paves the way for our high potential engineers to be assigned in different client projects.

Along with cross-skilling, we have addressed a range of complex business challenges, offering professionals and their customers the best value proposition. These steps have helped capable engineers to migrate to different sectors with the relevant skills needed to make the move. 

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

Our GEA offers every employee a chance to upskill or cross-skill, and to train further to achieve their potential. Apart from our GEA, our Organisation Development & Effectiveness (OD&E) offers employees strategic programs to hone their managerial skills and become leaders of the future. 

The OD&E team strives to – Provide role-based training to develop competencies to enhance employee performance and organisational productivity. 

The Leaders League program promotes leadership development and succession planning to ensure creation of a leadership pipeline, and development of internal talent.

This is done by strategising competency-based development journeys based on career stages and promoting and leveraging technology to improve and enhance individual and organizational learning, performance, and growth. 

Building managerial capability to enhance effectiveness through role-based training aligned to different business units.

How do you guarantee that you can retain your hardworking employees? Are fiscal incentives the only way to motivate employees? 

In my experience of over 3 decades in the HR Field, what really motivates an employee to stay is if he can find his calling and inspiration through the organisation. It is the responsibility of the organisation and HR to chart a long-term career path for promising employees so that their long term aspirations are suitable addressed.

LTTS has a rigorous engagement plan to retain high-potential employees. By creating an action plan to retain employees, we connect with heads of our organisation to fast-track individual employees’ career development plans. Next, we engage with our highly valued employees to find out how they view their career growth, and what they need to excel in their profession, so career development of their potential is fast tracked.

This helps us map a relevant and employee-specific action plan that assists them in their career aspirations, addressing and potentially solving any issues they may have. The last step of the employee-retention process involves engaging with Delivery Unit teams to craft, deploy, and track the progress and status of the process. 

While monetary incentives are important, we believe in an overall career development. This is why we value creating a holistic environment for our employees, with a focus on helping them achieve their career goals. 

What are the policies you have in place to ensure a healthy work-life balance for your employees?

Our world is speeding up as connectivity improves and grows. Hectic work schedules and personal lifestyles make the need for a healthy work-life balance more pertinent now than ever before. Making time for family and personal growth results in the successful professional growth of our employees. LTTS’ policies and initiatives are designed to rejuvenate employees both personally and professionally.

Leave Policy: We encourage employees to utilise 50% of their earned leave within the same calendar year, especially during the Covid-19 period, mandatory usage of leaves was increased to 75% utilisation to combat the pandemic, and the subsequent stress it caused.

Flexi Working: We have introduced a Flexi-Time Working Policy to provide our employees with flexible work timings. This allows our employees to choose their work hours to accommodate personal situations without impacting work.

The pandemic has illustrated that human health and organisational success go hand in hand. We realised that the traditional modes of working, for example, a ‘strict 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday’ job will no longer work. We understand that strategic agility is critical in ensuring overall organisational success during these times of crises.

We adopted and optimised with the changing times to develop a Work from Anywhere (WFX) framework. With multiple offices across multiple cities, LTTS’ employees now have the option to work from any LTTS office in any location, as per work requirements.

With the flexibility and agility offered by this hybrid model, we have been able to ensure not just the wellbeing of our employees, but also high levels of productivity to meet client deliverables.

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