“H-A-L-O-L-E-D with Aditya Birla Group”#MyInternshipStory
Internship in Aditya Birla Group Leadership Program is one of the most coveted internships in the campus. Selected for one of the prestigious conglomerates in the HR profile, my joys knew no bounds.
Eagerly waiting for my project and posting in March, I was completely taken aback when the fateful email read “Aditya Birla Insulators, Halol”. “H-A-L-O-L”. I quickly googled Halol, Gujarat. It was a municipality (tehsil) in Panchmahal district in Gujarat. The nearest city was Baroda (Vadodara) which was 44 k.m. away. Anxiety gripped me as I hailed from the comfort of the I.T. sector of the services industry. Condolence messages were sketched across the faces of my classmates as our senior who interned with ABG was posted in a posh factory in South Korea.
But I was surprised with the email from my assigned “buddy” who welcomed me to the ABG family and made me feel at home instantly. With her past experience in the same business and domain, she geared me up for the exciting world of insulators.
I packed my bags for Mumbai for the induction process at Mumbai. Interns from all elite business school gathered at Gyanodyaya, the Institute of Management Learning of the Aditya Birla Group. From a chauffeur driven car for the pickup from home to the airport to a posh accommodation, the interns were pampered beyond imagination. The interns across all elite business schools of India gathered under one roof. The next two days we were introduced to the different sectors of business of ABG, met with few senior leaders and previous winners of PPO/PPI and gelled with other interns through team building activities including an experiential learning session through music. The induction ended with a grand party.
I arrived early morning in Baroda and a car took me and a fellow intern to Aditya Birla Insulators Staff Colony. A completely furnished room with all modern amenities was tucked in a corner of a lush green cosy campus which was home to a variety of birds (read peacocks) and animals. I reached the factory premises to kick-start my internship officially. I was introduced to a warm and friendly team, followed a shop floor visit and a detailed workflow explanation.
For the first time in my life, I stood amazed to watch the manufacturing process in which simple raw materials like clay, feldspar and quartz metamorphosed into life size, high voltage insulators transported to 58 countries. Blue collared workers sweltered in the summer heat of Gujarat to delivered high quality world class products. It was India’s largest and the fourth largest manufacturer of electrical insulators. I was smitten by the sheer difference the insulators make in our daily lives.
Aditya Birla Group gives a voice to its employees through its annual survey “VIBES” to understand grass root levels. The results are carefully analysed and action plan is formulated to tackle such problems. To develop a high performance driven culture, role clarity was essential in Aditya Birla Insulators. This was the outcome of focussed group discussions on VIBES result 2014 and gave birth to my project. My project revolved around establishing role clarity in the different levels of the manufacturing function through accountability and decision making matrix.
I studied the existing job descriptions and current goals for each department and brainstormed with my team on the type of accountability matrix. I developed a questionnaire to understand the task duties, responsibilities and accountabilities for each level. But little did I realize that how reluctant people were to fill in questionnaires in a factory setup. Then I had to individually set up meetings with each person in the different levels, i.e. ‘Shift Supervisor’, ‘Front Line Engineers’, ‘Area Heads’, ‘Section Heads’ and ‘Department Heads’ and mine information through interview methods. Later I organized the information into different headings with respect to accountabilities, such as Production, Defect Resolution, Process Improvement, Quality, Safety, People development etc. and sent it for review to the Area Head and got his approval and feedback. Consequently I iterated the same process with Section Heads and Department Heads. Through multiple iterations, the final accountability matrix was in sync with the lower and upper rungs of the management. I followed the standard template for the matrices and at several steps took help from my mentor and my buddy.
I also got a chance to analyse the trends among absenteeism and overtime of permanent workers in the factory. To tackle the issues of absenteeism and overtime I had to present a detailed analysis of a pilot project in a certain section of the factory with all their demographic data. This gave me a first-hand experience of interacting with the union leaders, workers and their families in the worker’s colony.
Aditya Birla Insulators had a plethora of engagement activities for its staff. I had a chance to participate (and win the second position) in the “World Health Day Quiz”, participated in the tree plantation drive for “Safety Week” ,attended a session on “Stress Management” and was a part of the grand success party in Lakshmi Vilas Palace, Baroda.
The Young Talent Management Team was a pillar of support throughout the sixty days of internship. They seamlessly managed the administrative details and logistics and also kept us engaged through different competitions on the social media.
This internship gave me the first hand understanding of importance of role clarity and how it affects performance in an organization. It gave me innumerable insights about the interdependency of IR and HR aspects in an industrial setup. I spent considerable amount of time comprehending grass root level problems of absenteeism and overtime in the manufacturing unit. This gave me a real time experience to apply academic knowledge and past professional skills in unfamiliar scenarios.
For the first time, I was exposed to the manufacturing process and frequent visits to the shop floor ensured the importance of safety practices, world class manufacturing processes and legal compliances in an industrial setup.
I learnt to build collaborative relationships overcoming the pace and language barriers and how interpersonal awareness is a key for building trust and understand the underlying issues in an organization.
Aditya Birla Group is a truly a dream company to work for and provided a world of opportunities. Firstly, it has a well-designed program for interns to take up challenging roles which add value to the intern as well as the business. Moreover the cross functional exposure to different areas of business, functions and organisational life stages helps to develop a holistic approach towards problem solving and the chance to grow and learn under senior leaders and mentors. Lastly, it introduced me to colleagues who are now friends for life. This internship will be always memorable professionally and personally.
Human Resource Management 2014- 2016
Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar
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