1. What is your personal approach to making a Great Workplace?
I have been associated with the Adani group for 18 years now and the most fascinating aspect of my association has been the personal connections which the Chairman himself (fondly called as Gautam Bhai) and other founding members have established with me and leadership team.
We have tried to extend a similar warmth and care to our employees. The message that I have imbibed from Gautam bhai, is simple yet powerful, that the employees spend one-third of their overall life at work and if we do not make their workplace enjoyable, they will not put their heart & soul into the job. Our motto is not to make our workplace GREAT, but to make a workplace where everyone in the organization enjoys the work, feels valued and respected.
I keep saying this to my team that Great Workplace is not just a nomenclature but it is a unified culture, which marries the true purpose of organization & entrepreneurial mindset with collaboration and enjoyment. Different organizations adopt different initiatives and methods to engage with employees and we have taken various initiatives that work in the context of our business. The important thing is that none of those initiatives has been taken with the intent to be identified as Great Workplace, but with an intent to give a sense of warmth, belongingness, and empowerment to employees. This has done wonders for us.
Therefore, Great workplace happens to be a fruit that we are enjoying as an outcome of our approach. This recognition is the icing on the cake and a feather in our resume for the outside world.
2. What are the top 2 benefits you see of creating a Great Workplace?
This is an interesting one. See we started off, as a start-up in coal market for imported coal and went on to become the largest player in India for Integrated coal management that manages the entire supply chain starting from sourcing of coal, managing the voyage time, delivery of coal to the customers at their doorsteps for meeting the energy security of India.
Similar is the case for our Mining business. We were nowhere in the Mining industry 10 years ago. And, today we are the largest private sector MDO player in the country with the cumulative contracts in hand to produce more than 100 MMT per annum.
Our growth has not been incremental - rather we have leapfrogged others in the Industry. What made this possible is the sense of ownership that employees at the front line of projects have taken irrespective of their hierarchy. That sense of ownership came from the organization culture that we have built over the years.
It is not that we have had the best educated, most experienced or the most brilliant people working for us since we started. For us - every single time - ordinary people have delivered extraordinary results. They have continuously taken on larger challenges, which has given them a greater sense of empowerment, which in turn has given them a greater sense of ownership. Perhaps this is the biggest differentiator for us as compared with other Corporates.
Above all, this uniqueness fundamentally comes from the fact that everyone in the organization started to believe, right from the level of officer to the leadership team, that our success is not just the result of blood & sweat of our Chairman, the founding members & its CEO but every single person who has worked in the business over the years.
3. What are your top people priorities?
Over the next two to three years, our business volumes would be at-least three-fold the current levels and if one adds the projects in hand, we are surely going to be the first private sector player in the MDO industry to hit the 100 million production mark. Therefore, my key priority is to strengthen middle management across our locations.
Mining Industry has traditionally been considered a blue-collar job and, therefore, has been a second choice for the younger generation who has given preference to tech companies over the last two decades. An important point for us as a leading player in the private sector is to make the Mining industry attractive to young talent. The usual visuals of coal mining as shown in the movie ‘Kala Pathar’ back in the early 1980s no longer exists.
Technology has transformed the conventional mining practices associated with only shovels & dumpers to continuous mining methods, autonomous haulage systems, integrated command & control centers, Drone-based surveillance for land reclamation, etc. We need to show-case this and attract young people who are tech-savvy, data-savvy and design-savvy so as to have a perfect blend of experienced leadership team and exuberance of youth to take the baton forward.
4. How has your association with Great Place to Work® helped your business and strategic goals?
As I just mentioned, it is difficult to attract young talent to Mining Industry and being recognized, by Great Place to Work® in 2017 helped us to establish ourselves as one of the preferred employers in their eyes. We have observed that those who have worked in the Mining Industry have usually preferred us while switching jobs but there is a dearth of young talent joining the industry. This trend began to change for us and became more evident from 2017 onwards. This is very important for our expansion plans.
Over the last 4 to 5 years, we have focused on being a ‘Technology-driven Responsible Miner’ for meeting the Energy Security of India. Being recognized as one of the top 10 Great Places to work in 2017 and that too perhaps the only mining company in the entire list strengthened our brand & credibility for a wider set of stakeholders including Banks, media agencies. Our motto of being ‘Responsible Miners’ certainly got more voice and visibility and the endorsement by Great Place to Work® in 2017 is one of the important contributing factors.