Mr. Arun Leslie George who was part of the Murugappa Group since 1990 currently heads the HR function of the Farm Inputs Business i.e. Coromandel Fertilizers Ltd. and GFCL of the Murugappa Group. Mr. P. Padmakumar who also earlier worked with the Murugappa Group, is currently responsible for HR in the Flat Glass Business of Saint Gobain India Ltd.
They started off the session stressing on the importance of the Human Resource, touted as the most important asset of the company, which could make or break a company. HR has been going through different phases as the differentiating resources have changed over time starting with land long ago to people in the current day scenario.
Mr. Arun’s spirited speech interspersed with the right amount of humor, addressed how an Indian management could make a difference in foreign organizations. He started it by giving a concrete example aptly named ‘the Foskor Experience’, a strategic investment in a South African company. While elucidating responses from the audience, he spoke about how crucial showcasing capabilities and institutionalizing the knowledge process was. He also spoke about the various approaches to preparing the organization for such an event, managing the various stages of adaptation the executives undergo and also constantly monitoring the employees in order to minimize cultural shocks and maximize performance of employees. Mr. Padmakumar spoke on the HR aspect of creating a ‘World Glass Complex’ and how it was important to project India as a force to reckon with and showcase its blend of heritage and modernity. He elaborated on the role of HR across the organization in areas such as structuring, developing skills and culture etc through various frameworks. He concluded his presentation with an animation that chalked out the ‘Journey of Saint Gobain’ in India.
(Prof. Anantharaman (left) presenting mementos to Mr. Arun Leslie George (right) and Mr. P. Padmakumar (centre). )
This was followed by a Q&A session which brought out the merits of HR as a career option and also the importance of having a sound knowledge of the conceptual aspects and the correct application of this knowledge. All in all, this engaging session portrayed HR as a lucrative career option and one that would make students look at HR from a new perspective challenging their earlier beliefs.