Vandana Sharma of EFY Bureau caught up with Surinder Bhagat, country manager-human resources (HR), Freescale Semiconductor, India, to know more about the HR practices that help Freescale to select the right talent from college campuses and make them productive in no time
Surinder Bhagat, Country Manager-Human Resources (HR), Freescale Semiconductor, India
Many firms avoid freshers, but Freescale seems to recruit them. Why?
We have been recruiting freshers from campuses for over 15 years and there is a specific reason to it. We are looking for diversity. When it comes to hiring, we have an internal measurement of diversity too, like how many female employees we must have, how many freshers and so on.
Besides this, there is a business reason too. Invariably, freshers bring with them a very fresh perspective on how the new generation thinks. We leverage this trait for building products for the new generation. Besides, it is critical to think ahead of the curve and innovate when you are building products. This is where these young minds prove to be a great asset.
Many of our product groups are working on products that will hit the market in the next three to four years. Hence it works best if we combine all the technical acumen of our seniors’ talent and the fresh thinking and passion that these youngsters bring into the process of building products.
What’s the key to identify the right talent?
We don’t hire freshers from just about anywhere. We have identified a few colleges which we have tried and tested over time.
How do you make the freshers productive?
We make freshers go through a classroom training where we touch upon various aspects that would help them settle down and become productive and contribute to the company.
First of all, we assign one buddy and one mentor to each fresher. The buddy helps them settle down. Apart from this, the senior management team goes to personally greet each fresher.
The mentor helps the freshers in building their knowhow about the company and guides them on aspects like what they should know about the company’s products and projects. They are also guided on aspects like communicating with seniors in the organisation. During this process, they get to know how the campus is different from the realtime work environment and how they can channelise their energies to contribute to the organisation and grow.
Then starts on-the-job training. We are proud of the fact that our teams often have complete ownership of the products that they are working on. Some of the products that they are building are for the Indian market. Because of the open culture, the young folks too are offered to work on these projects. There have been many occasions when our employees have gone to other companies and come back as they miss the Freescale culture.
What kind of environment does Freescale offer to these youngsters?
Like I said, we believe in an open culture. Open culture is about innovation.
Typically, in most companies, new joinees can’t approach business heads directly. There are protocols. You have to take appointments. But it is not so at Freescale. We have a framework and culture where the youngsters feel that they ‘belong’ and can grow. The person who heads the Automotive and Industrial Solutions Group (AISG) was hired from the Delhi College of Engineering campus. And this is not the only example. We have many freshers who have grown to head our product divisions.
However, for setting up such an atmosphere at the management level, you have to let go of certain things. At the employee level, if somebody is not able to perform, adapt or adjust, the appraisal system takes its own course.
What’s the attrition rate at Freescale?
Most of our freshers don’t leave for other jobs. They leave mostly to pursue higher studies to join institutes like the IIM. Very often, they complete their study and come back.
Freescale gives its employees the opportunity to work across projects. Once an employee gets bored of working on some project or feels excited by some other product or project, he can approach the respective manager and discuss on the next steps of working on these projects.
Is there any bond system to prevent freshers from leaving in the first one or two years of joining?
We trust our culture. We do realise that people leave either for money or for the want of a better profile. If you get both things inside, then why would you?