In conversation with Anke Bollen - Head Career Management Africa, India, and Middle East at Michelin, India Private Limited
Almost a decade ago Michelin, a leading international tyre maker with its roots in France, came to India to set up shop and compete with domestic players. We spoke at length with Ms. Anke Bollen, Head Career Management Africa, India, and Middle East at Michelin, India Private Limited. Anke has more than 30 years of experience in the field of HR, Learning and Development, and Career Management across the globe.
Michelin's policy in an Indian context
Indians have a common drive to move up the ladder and be promoted to the next position every two years. They are eager for rapid career growth, to achieve their goals in a short time span. Interestingly Michelin's policy does not work like that, not even in India. Michelin hires employees for a long time career and at the initial recruitment stage the interviewers consider the potential of the candidate for the next position.
Michelin believes that good results are achieved with continuous and steady performance; the license to success is practice and implement the skills from the training. Once an employee performs well, doors will open for them. Michelin follows a structured and well-defined framework for career management globally. This includes periodical development talks enabling the employee to take ownership of their career development and to balance their personal aspirations with Michelin's organizational goals. The challenge in India lies in making professionals understand that a structured career management plan within one company works extremely well in the long run.
There is a need to break through the existing, fast-growth mindset among young professionals in India. Michelin emphasizes also to their employees that it is good practice to excel in their metier and thus to become a specialist by evolving in their path of expertise. Michelin adopted an intriguing strategy of conducting a roadshow, to clarify its career management policy to their people. It showcased how they can fulfil their dreams and ambitions within the same organization instead of job-hopping. A win-win situation.
Retaining our people
A key task for Anke is achieving Michelin's retention goal for increased effectiveness. The goal aims at retaining people for a minimum of 5 years. 'We invest a lot in our people in terms of training, coaching etc. We need to change the perception of our people. We need to enable them to look at the same situation from a different angle. The challenge is to breakthrough the common perception that one must look for another job every two years'.
In her experience it is common for Young Graduated Indians to go for an MBA after their first job, or look out for another job at a higher position if not promoted within the same company in a span of two years. The concept of consistent, personal development has not taken firm roots in India yet. People do not tend to think of how best they can grow and manage their career goals within the same company.
They need to understand the benefits that accrue by sticking to the same company and growing there. Michelin, continues to invest in its people and their mindsets, explaining the possibilities for growth. As Anke puts it 'We spend a lot of time showing our people that working across disciplines is a lot of fun, and a major investment, that helps build an impressive CV. It is far more lucrative than looking out for a new job'.
The mindset required for India
'We are counsellors. We need to control our emotions and constantly find a balance between being rational and empathizing. Making the right decisions without forgetting company values and what's best for your people is the constant balance we need to maintain.' This is what makes India fascinating for Anke. The speed with which one needs to anticipate in order to overcome possible hurdles, to let people adapt to India's fast moving business developments, and to translate Michelin's global strategies in India are elements that Anke thoroughly enjoys!