• October 10, 2023
  • We believe the key to satisfied and happy employees is giving them a voice

The automobile sector has endured big difficulties in the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. As one of the major business groups in Nepal, Sipradi Trading Pvt Ltd has faced challenges tactfully in areas including business, people management, operation, among others.  Sharda Rana is the General Manager, HR at Sipradi Trading. In a conversation with the HRM, she shares experiences in managing management in the last two years and changes in organizational management. Excerpts:

  • What major challenges has Sipradi Trading faced in terms of human resources management in the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic? 

There are two aspects of human resource management in times like these. One is the physical aspect where we can see the direct impact. We had to move into shifts and remote working and had to ensure a smooth transition. Despite following all necessary health safety protocols in the workplace, employees were still getting infected. This made operational management for HR quite challenging. Even more challenging is maintaining the mental and emotional aspect of employee wellbeing. Social distancing and remote working did create a gap in employee interaction and socializing, making employees feel left out. Also, since Covid-19 took a toll on the employees as well as their near ones, HR did face difficulties in aligning the emotional and operational aspects of the company.

  • What changes in people management has the pandemic brought into the automobile sector? 

Managing people when they are sick, managing operations with limited manpower, managing employee well-being while continuing with business targets, keeping employees connected while working remotely are some changes in people management warranted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the automobile sector.

  • How has Sipradi Trading responded to these changes?

I believe that the pandemic has made Sipradi more agile. Efficient manpower utilization, remote working, work shift management has become a norm which has brought positive changes in the company’s overall operation. To ensure the engagement and productivity of employees amidst the lockdown due to the pandemic, alternative review and monitoring mechanisms were put into place. A digital platform was established to connect employees. Employees at home were being engaged in various online training. Employees got together on the “Life at Sipradi” FB page to socialize and refresh, where several activities were carried out for them. Also, I think HR has become more empathetic and people-focused than before.

  • How do you see the prospect of human resources management in the automobile sector post-Covid?

The automobile sector is still volatile and hasn’t fully recovered from the pandemic. As we have to provide uninterrupted services to our customers, we still have to follow stringent safety measures to ensure a healthy working environment. Tactfulness followed by empathy is a way forward for us in HR. Business seems to be picking up, but we are careful not to overexpose our staff to any health hazards. Upskilling is also a key task we are now focusing on to help employees outgrow the pandemic hiatus.

  • What is the availability of human resources in the sector at present? How is Sipradi fulfilling its workforce needs?

Job-ready manpower is not readily available in every sector and Sipradi too is facing the same issue. Apart from regular talent acquisitions, we have been conducting traineeship programs for most of our key positions in sales and service. This on-the-job training platform helps us to develop job-ready future employees. We also run various auto mechanic and auto electrician courses for technicians to fulfill our technical manpower requirements.

  • How is Sipradi partnering with business schools and engineering colleges in this respect?

We are in close contact with b-schools, engineering colleges, as well as technical schools. As I mentioned earlier, we conduct various trainee programs all year round and we directly carry out college hiring for these positions. We also conduct regular college visits and have knowledge-sharing sessions with the students. Also, we try and attend as many job fairs as possible. Sipradi also has a close connection with technical schools and we partner with them providing OJT placement to students and vehicle aggregates from the training center to conduct practical classes.

  • What specific set of skills does Sipradi seek while recruiting employees?

One of the major attributes that we look for in our prospective employees is their attitude and willingness to learn. All the other criteria are secondary as we believe they can be learned and enhanced on the job.

  • How is your company working to enhance the skills of employees? How much priority is given to training and capacity enhancement programs?

In today’s global workspace, we want our employees to be competent enough to tackle any challenge that may arise, and we prepare them for the same by providing various L&D inputs throughout their association with the company. We have a designated Training Function (Sipradi Training Center) to cater to all the L&D needs of our employees. Sipradi Training Center develops an annual training calendar to which employees are enrolled with recommendations from their HOD.
We have a Library at the Training Center along with a virtual Knowledge Center where you can find learning material varying from technical workbooks, management books to literature books.

Senior executives in vital positions are considered for executive training in various renowned institutions such as HBS, AIT, IIM and XLRI to ready them for the leadership roles. Similarly, our principal companies also impart training at their facilities to prepare our employees on their upcoming technology as well as enhance their functional capabilities.

  • How many and what type of training and development programs does Sipradi conduct in a year? 

As said earlier, we have a dedicated annual training calendar that encompasses technical, behavioral, skill development, and leadership training/programs that are conducted throughout the year. We have been conducting more than 200 trainings in a year. On-the-job training is also given high value in employee learning and development in Sipradi.

  • What challenges have you encountered in staff retention?

Not only in Sipradi but I believe employee retention is a major challenge throughout the private sector in Nepal. The charm of abroad studies/employment is the major challenge. Today’s generation wants a fast-changing work-life and growth and is quick in switching jobs. These are the two main challenges we have encountered so far.

  • How does Sipradi ensure that its employees are happy and satisfied?

Being “Employee’s first choice” is one of the mission statements of Sipradi. We completely adhere to our mission and make sure we provide the best possible work experience to the employees. We believe the key to satisfied and happy employees is giving them a voice and creating an environment where everyone has a say in the company’s operation and achievement. This is followed by handsome remuneration packages, benefits, infrastructure, and a cordial working environment.

Source: https://thehrmnepal.com/managing-people/we-believe-the-key-to-satisfied-and-happy-employees-is-giving-them-a-voice/