Godrej is developing its leadership to take on global markets

Priyanka Sangani, Economic Times, 03 October 2014

Over the last few years, there's been a clear shift underway at the $4 billion Godrej Group. Once a staid India-focused business it has now firmly established itself as an Indian MNC to watch out for.

From 15 per cent in 2009-10, almost 50 per cent of flagship company Godrej Consumer Products' revenues now come from international markets. At the group level, it has a stated 10x10 strategy, to grow ten times in ten years both organically and inorganically, and international business is an important focus area.

Further, GCPL's 3x3 strategy which is focused on growing business in three segments in emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa means that the demand for a more global manager will only increase.
"Leadership development is critical for us to achieve our ambitious Vision 2020. We try and ensure wholesome people development by aligning employees with the Godrej capability factors that are based on tenets of leading self, others and business," says chairman Adi Godrej.

The Godrej capability factor (GCF) is a set of key capabilities evolved internally towards building a future-ready Godrej. "GCF defines the critical capabilities and expected behaviours for people at different levels within the organisation and are a key part of the annual talent management process. We use the GCF and feedback on performance to identify the high performers whose careers we then actively manage," says Sumit Mitra, Head, HR & Corporate Services, Godrej Group.

The group has put in place a well-defined job rotation policy which allows employees to be a part of new and challenging roles both within in India as well as internationally.

While managers may recommend employees for internal rotations, all vacancies are posted on the group intranet and anyone who has been in the organisation for over 18 months is eligible to apply for these.

"This kind of expansion has meant that new roles are created across businesses and countries, which are offered as challenging international assignments. Today, over two-thirds of our team members are based outside India. We are very mindful of the needs of our global consumers. We ensure that our talent pipeline and skills are aligned with the demands of our growing global customers," says Mitra.
Handling a global profile also requires a change in thinking and the group routinely conducts workshops with global faculty like Bharat Anand of Harvard Business School who takes senior leaders through a workshop on business strategy.

"At a functional level, we have global councils that inculcate a global mindset backed by our leadership team who actively facilitate exchange of information. Our management trainees and summer interns can explore opportunities across our businesses in the geographies that we operate in," says Mitra.

The shift in mindset is also visible in how its recruitment policies have changed. Campus recruitments now happen through LOUD (Live Out Ur Dream), a unique initiative where students are invited to share their unfulfilled personal dreams and a handful get a chance to make them happen, along with being offered a pre-placement summer offer at Godrej.

The belief is that passionate, well rounded individuals make for better employees. The senior management plays an active role in mentoring talent, with managers above the vice-president level being measured on the 'people asset scorecard', or how well they manage their team's progress. All these initiatives are aimed at creating an inspiring workplace with an agile, high performance culture.