Friday, 25 October 2013

Visit of Brand Ambassador to Factory

A few days preceding the visit of the brand ambassador to our Chennai factory,the reactions were mixed. While it was excitement for the average employee, it was  "what is the big deal ?"He is anyway past his prime." kind of responses from the so called intellectual representatives of the population. It was surprising in a way that Shahrukh Khan who  had been the brand ambassador for Hyundai Motor India Ltd since the initial stages of production from 1998 was visiting the factory for the first time on 17th October 2013.

As for me I knew from experience that it is those who put on an air of not being impressed who tend to be overwhelmed by the occasion. My memories transported me back  to 1976 when the then matinee idol of Tamil cinema, MGR  was to visit & interact with the hostelers of  our AM Jain college, Meenambakkam, Chennai.Before the D day, some were critical of the invitee while others appreciated him openly or silently in their hearts  . What was interesting was that one person who was extremely vociferous in his   criticism was caught on camera on the day of the visit, his eyes unable to conceal the pleasure of standing near the celebrity  while all the thirty two teeth were visible in his smile.

As for our brand ambassador, as expected he not only floored the employees but also the press & the senior executives who were present during  interactive session..He spoke of how in 1998 both him and the company were in the initial stages of their journey and today both have come a long way. He shared his excitement at that time of bagging the assignment with a reputed auto major and how he had proudly announced this to his family members.

Shahrukh confessed about his soft corner for the santro, the first car he had promoted - how he was sentimental when newer cars like the I10 came from the Hyundai stable & was apprehensive as to whether the production of the Santro would be stopped.He expressed his happiness in  going round the world class facility and of being overwhelmed by the love & affection showered on him by Hyundai management & employees in general and the shop floor employees in particular.

The press also seemed to be in a holiday mood and when given the opportunity to shoot questions to the brand ambassador or to the top management of Hyundai chose inane questions to ask.As for example the first question to Sharukh was as to which of the Hyundai cars was his favorite? His answer of course was obvious. In fact a later question the reporter stated was being  addressed to Santrowala Sharukh Khan!

Another question asked was "With the general elections around the corner and the fever increasing by the day, whether you have any plans of joining a political party?" Sharukh replied that the only party he has intention of joining is his son's birthday party! Shahrukh went out of his way to graciously shake hands with a  number of employees. with a little more drive & gumption I also could have got to shake hands with him. Yet,it does not matter;even with a physical distance as between  the stage & the audience he had found a place in my heart by his sheer humbleness, wit & quick repartee. In her books"The Secret"and "The Power" Rhonda bryne advises us to look for things we appreciate  in other people.As we do this more often we are opening the window & the possibility of  attracting these qualities to ourselves.

I had devoted an entire post in this blog on the power of appreciation and the appreciative inquiry concept developed by David Cooper rider under the guidance of Suresh Srivastava. The key to its application is to focus on what we want rather than on what we don't want.This would mean that we focus on  enhancing the respect & regards for the gentler sex instead of on her harassment. During recession, instead of focusing & fretting  on the grim aspects, the focus can shift to enhancing the delight experience of customers.It is said that while most companies cut their training budgets at the first sign of difficult times, the Japanese increase their focus & expenditure on training & developing their employees. They use the opportunity to develop the skills of their employees who would have been in normal times very busy with their target achievement.

The present time of economic slowdown can be used by us to sharpen the saw so that many more trees can be cut effectively when the climate shifts to a more favourable  weather.We can attract better things in to our lives by shifting the thoughts & feelings from pessimism.doubts & apprehensions to optimism and positivism with the confidence that we are effectively  equipping  ourselves for the future.


  1. I still wonder why do companies cut their budgets in imparting training :( I have seen this fact in some good companies based at Ahmedabad, where completely gujarati culture is involved, and because of this, companies spend some money in training just for a name sake and show. We cannot grow further without polishing our skills. Its good to know that Japanese peoples are focused in increasing their training budget even in difficult times to train their employees.

  2. You have raised a very valid point Ankit. It is high time corp orates take cognizance of the important' matters & not just the 'urgent' matters. Training & development is an important matter that impacts the performance of a company in the long run.Yet there are examples in India of comparatively smaller enterprises when they started, which consistently believed in training and reaped its benefits as they grew- Vijay electricals & Engg works,Bangalore & Suguna Poultry farms,Udumalpet. More companies should take a cue from them....

  3. Rajeev sir, I completely agree with you. More companies should take initiative to implement L&D interventions at their premises to grow further.

    In practical, If we become careless regarding to our health, it won't get much affected at initial stage, but later on we will only suffer with lots of health problems.

    Similarly, If companies don't take care in developing the skill set of employees through training, they will not realize the value of training at present, but later on they have to pay a lot because of ignorance of this important part.

    "TRAINING must be considered as HEART of any organisation, if you fail to take care this "HEART", then to grow further in a long run, will be a dream of any corporate :)

  4. Nice, By Doing this we should also ensure we don't miss the wood for the trees !!!

  5. Valid points brought out by Ankit & Rajiv.My thanks to both of them for sharing their thoughts

  6. Nice thoughts sir. Being an academic person I would say that in future we may not have HR and HRD dept, instead we may be having Learning and Development department. Also now the people are talking about SHRD. In India SHRD has wider scope than HRD .

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Mr. Murugan : Somewhat my opinion is different with your opinion. The point which you have raised ("In future we may not have HR and HRD dept, instead we may be having L&D department" ) will result to an endless discussion.

      In regard to your views, I would like to throw light on following points :

      1) It is good for companies to keep L&D as a part of HR ?


      2) Along with HR department, companies must have different L&D department ?

      I personally feel that, L&D is completely a different ball game from HR operations. It should be separated from HR department, BUT, as you said HR department must get replaced by L & D in future, sounds differently. It should not.

      The purpose of L&D is very clear and differs from HR operations and learning continously to improve skills is common to every department of organisation including HR too.

      L&D department should exists in any organisation with a sole purpose of helping people perform well in their current jobs and prepare them to face more challenging job responsibilities in future in an organisation.

      But L&D is facing problems from the management of organisation itself. Companies normally cut their training budgets, employees are not taking training part so seriously. If an organisation believes that people development is key to future growth of an organisation, then I can see there is no better way to organize this important function in creating a different department apart from HR with stable L&d management structure. Organisation structure must include (Manager - L&D, Senior Manager - L&D, AGM-L&D, GM-L&D, Director - L&D, AVP-L&D, VP-L&D, Sr. VP-L&D, CLO (Cheif Learning officer - L&D) etc.

      I know, cost is involved in creating a different L&D department from HR department, but above views are my own understanding views. My views might be different from others and suggestions are always welcome.

      Best Regards,
      Ankit Sharma

  8. At the outset I would like to thank Mr Murugan of an academic background for evincing interest to read & posting his views.In our company, L&D is a separate department although it comes under the overall HR umbrella with the team leaders of L&D. HR, ER and admin reporting to the vice president (HR & admin).At the global level, we have two separate heads for HR and HRD ( pertaining to learning).So Ankit's dream ,in a way is already happening.. It is hoped that in the near future this approach will increase so that an important area of developing employees gets its due attention as a priority of management.

  9. I completely agree with Rajiv sir. Management of any organisation must understand the importance of training & development for long term growth of the company.

  10. Dear Ankit Sharma and Rajeev sir

    I agree with your opinion and comments. Also I want to share some of my views on ankit sharma question.
    1) It is good for companies to keep L&D as a part of HR ?
    No sir. According to my perception and your opinion L & D department should not function under HR department. Because it should be established at the CEO level. Learning and Development is required at all levels of the management. If L & D comes under the HR department they will be focusing only on the functional level executives and bottom level employees. It should not be like that.
    In the present scenario the corporate people are interested to establish SHRD instead HRD. Because HRD does not have the capacity to influence corporate mission and strategy. Whereas SHRD has the ability to influence and reshape the corporate strategy and mission.
    This are all my personal opinions based on some recent revolution in HRD.
    If you are interested you can see this article

    Thank you sir for the valuable posting and knowledge sharing.
    With regards
    Murugan. P

  11. Dear Mr. Murugan,


    I do agree with your inputs. L&D should not be a part of HR, but again it depends from company to company. As very rightly said by Rajeev Sir in his views that approach of keeping L&D as a separate department will increase in future, so that management of the company must must show the complete interest and attention to this important part.

    Best Regards,
    Ankit Sharma