‘New Managers need to be trained in Disaster Management’ – Knowledge from IIM Indore – Interview with Anupam Bhasin, Hero Group

Anupam Bhasin has worked as a whole time director of Hero Corporate Services Limited and Director (HR & TQM) for the Hero group ($4.2 billion revenue). He led teams responsible for conceptualizing and starting new businesses, growing existing businesses and turning around closure of loss making business units of the group.

Here is a brief interaction that we had with him.

Q1. Tell us something about your 19 years of journey with the Hero group?

At Hero it has been a journey full of challenges and joy. I have made an effort to create Hero as one of the best companies of the world. When I joined the company in 1995 it had a turnover of 600 crores, today the turnover is more than 40000 crores. I have seen the company scale new heights each year. In short, the journey has been very satisfying and exciting.


Q2. How did you handle the daily challenges when you had the responsibility of whole group with varied business from manufacturing to services?

I have always looked at Hero’s business putting it into two buckets manufacturing and services business. All the businesses like Hero BPO, Hero Mindmine, Hero Realty are services business. Now, one key thing I did during my stay at the company was I followed a proactive approach, I would try to foresee the problem and take measures to avoid the problem. Second thing I did was I used to delegate the work, develop capabilities in the company so that they are able to perform and deliver the things as required. There is a concept which I term as positive delegation wherein I build skill set in my work force, so I don’t have to micro manage. The workforce is self-equipped and they come to me only when they need guidance, some strategy orientation or some other support. This made management easy and goals attainable.


Q3. In your career you have been around when businesses were merging or were being divested, so in such a situation what used to be your approach with respect to human resources?

See for any business people are very important, so what we did with our workforce so they are not adversely affected in events of merging or divesting business was to make sure that jobs didn’t go immediately. Forecasting and action plans were made in such a way that if there is a cut happening we migrate our employees to other Hero group companies. So we took care of them in terms of their jobs and their career progression. All these issues are very important and we don’t keep people as commodities, when you don’t need them you may throw them out. We nurture them as resource. Most importantly these are group ethos and not my ethos that have carved this ideology.


Q4. One lesson of life,  that you would like to share with us?

In the very early stages of Hero BPO we were providing services to one of our US clients. It was December time and the business services had to be carried out uninterruptedly.  As a part of my KRA I had to also overlook the operational part of the business. The goal of providing uninterrupted services seemed difficult as there were some issues with the electricity supply. We immediately ordered generators from nearby areas and ensured uninterrupted power supply was ensured for service provision and the operations were carried out smoothly.  That day taught me specifically that in events of a disaster occurrence, especially in a general management role, it becomes necessary that you should have a disaster recovery plan always ready. You shouldn’t be at the mercy of destiny and fate. This business lesson we have applied in all HERO group businesses. So if there is a transport strike, we know what to do, in power cuts we know what to do.


Q5. How urgent is the need for change in labour laws?

Labour laws have been the greatest impediment in the growth of our business specially manufacturing businesses.  So we need to have amendments to our factories act, industrial distribution act and we should also be able to change some of our Bonus act. There is a need to change them in order to increase the productivity and our working hours. With these amendments it can also be ensured that Inspector Raj comes to an end.


Q6. What new things you would like to see in the incoming HR managers to the industry?

The first thing that has been felt is that the incoming generation is not well versed with the ideology to have sustainability and green ecology, they do not understand disaster recovery and some of the key things in labour laws – in what situation what law will be applicable is not known by them.  Some of the basic laws that will be used by them on day to day basis like the corporate taxation laws, employees salary structuring are also not clear to the incoming managers.  They should be trained in such a way that they have a disaster management and recovery plan for all sorts of situations.


– As told to Barleen Kaur

Barleen Kaur graduates from IIM Indore in March 2015. All stories by Barleen can be found here : barleen.insideiim.com