Brand building to attract talent

Brand building to attract talent

E. Balaji, president, TVS Logistics, explains to the audience at Brand Owners’ Summit, a few strategies to build a brand to attract talent

DIVYA M. CHANDRAMOULI

E. BALAJI, PRESIDENT, TVS LOGISTICS

Let me be honest here, as a woman, I wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of writing about a session on attracting talent in the third-party logistics space (the industry employs very few women). Then again, E. Balaji, president, TVS Logistics, was just as honest. He opened his presentation with how it’s difficult to sell logistics as ‘cool’. Warehouses are well, warehouses, and that’s not much fun but here are some fun facts about the industry in India; it is currently a US $17 billion industry, poised to grow at 21 per cent (CAGR) over the next five years. In short, it’s going to be huge.

And that’s the first thing TVS Logistics looks to sell to young graduates at engineering and management colleges across the country. The added advantage in this space is that several of these jobs come with an in-built transfer option to some of the exciting parts of the world. As Balaji puts it, these factors do catch the attention of Gen-Y and they certainly put “interesting” back in the warehouse.

Leveraging the TVS brand

In the Indian context, brand TVS commands a lot of respect and admiration for its committed approach to business. This holds true for TVS Logistics as well and plays its part in attracting and retaining talent for the company. TVS apart, one of the differentiators for the company when it comes to hiring, is its honest approach. Balaji stresses on the fact that most prospective employees appreciate a realistic tour of what’s to come and this goes a long way in aligning expectations.

Best of both worlds

I spoke of the power and pull of the TVS brand but there are times when a younger audience could perceive it to be conservative. And in this regard, TVS Logistics offers the best of both worlds, stability from being under the TVS umbrella and a freshness in terms of the way it does business. In fact, the company, which was established in 2004, is the first in the group to receive private equity funding (Goldman Sachs and KKR are investors). It runs joint ventures across Asia, Europe and the U.S. and has a global footprint with operations in 15 countries. At a glance, TVS Logistics closed 2014 with revenues of US $100 million and currently has a 10,000 strong workforce. While there are few women who opt to work in this industry, TVS Logistics is taking steps to correct the gender inequality that is present by addressing issues such as safety and travel.

Getting them to stay

What’s most impressive is how invested TVS Logistics is in growing its employees’ career graphs alongside its own ambitions. Its iGrow initiative allows employees to apply for internal promotions and since its inception, close to 88 employees have seen a climb up the ladder. BlueLEAP is another initiative that helps the company identify and groom promising leaders within its ranks. The programme selects 30 senior executives and takes them through a three-year period of 13 modules and includes action-learning post each module. Through BlueLEAP, TVS Logistics develops its bench strength for the future, an aspect that many old-timers in the logistics space struggle with.


Key Takeaway

What’s most impressive is how invested TVS Logistics is in growing its employees’ career graphs alongside its own ambitions. Its iGrow initiative allows employees to apply for internal promotions and since its inception, close to 88 employees have seen a climb up the ladder.

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Poornima Kavlekar has been associated with The Smart CEO since the time of launch and is the Consulting Editor of the magazine. She has been writing for almost 20 years on a cross section of topics including stocks and personal finance and now, on entrepreneurship and growth enterprises. She is a trained Yoga Teacher, an avid endurance Cyclist and a Veena player.