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How Tata Steel boosted employee engagement and productivity

214,100

unlocked productivity hours

2,500+

staffed projects

+10

point boost in employee engagement scores

214,100

unlocked hours of hidden capacity

2,500+

staffed projects

+10

point boost in employee engagement scores

 

With a workforce spread across five continents, Tata Steel wanted to break down silos and unleash the collective possibilities of their people. By rolling out Gloat’s talent marketplace, the leading steel manufacturer unlocked over 200,000 hours of hidden capacity and put skills at the center of every initiative.

Overview

  • Headquarters: Mumbai, India
  • Revenue: $21 billion
  • Company Size: 165,000 employees
  • Industry: Manufacturing
  • Founded: 1907
  • Website: www.tatasteel.com

We’ve been early adopters of various softwares, hardwares, and cloud platforms for awhile. But we had never really invested in anything which would digitally self-enable our people, and that was the very concept at the heart of our approach to careers.

Atrayee Sanyal VP Human Resources, Tata Steel

The company

Tata Steel Group is among the top global steel companies, with an annual crude steel capacity of 33 million tonnes per annum. It is one of the world’s most geographically diversified steel producers, with operations and a commercial presence across the world. Throughout Tata Steel’s 115-year history, their ongoing commitment to innovation and sustainability has earned the enterprise several awards, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse recognition and the Prime Minister’s Trophy for the best performing integrated steel plant.

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The challenges

With a track record for innovation that dates back more than a century, Tata Steel needed to unlock their workforce’s full potential to secure their status as global leaders for the next 100 years. As the enterprise’s headcount continued to grow and operations stretched across 5 continents, the pioneering steel manufacturer developed an all-encompassing strategy rooted in one core concept: unleashing the collective possibilities of their people.

“That happens to be the center thought around which everything needs to be designed,” explains Atrayee Sanyal, VP of Human Resources. After identifying this core concept two years ago, Tata Steel created four key elements to reimagine talent management and enable their people to achieve their fullest potential. These objectives included:

  • Ensuring that the company’s soul is rooted in its employees and stakeholders
  • Creating a visible difference in the lives of both customers and employees
  • Emphasizing growth to unlock limitless career possibilities
  • Prioritizing future-readiness and agility

Ensuring that the company’s soul is rooted in its employees and stakeholders

When describing what matters most to both employees and customers, Sanyal explains, “It’s that the company has a soul where the heart beats not only for the employer, but for the various stakeholders.” Tata Steel’s leadership team sought to cultivate a culture that empowers employees to take ownership of their careers and equip them with the tools needed to expand their skill sets and deepen their expertise.

Creating a visible difference in the lives of both customers and employees

Just as the products they manufacture make a real difference in the lives of the people who use them, Tata Steel wanted to ensure that their employees engaged in work that feels meaningful. As the enterprise reimagined their approach to talent management, making a measurable difference in every employee’s growth potential and their ability to learn new skills emerged as a top objective.

Emphasizing growth to unlock limitless career possibilities

The enterprise’s approach to growth goes beyond exceeding revenue goals. As Sanyal describes it, “We are an ever-growing company, as far as business is concerned, and therefore, we also need an ever-growing possibility of limitless careers for people.” As employees continued to deepen their knowledge and expand their skill sets, they would in turn need new and expansive opportunities to grow with the organization.

Prioritizing future-readiness and agility

Tata Steel may have a rich history that spans over 115 years, but the organization is anything but an “old steel company”, in Sanyal’s words. Since the enterprise sits at the forefront of manufacturing innovation, an agile, future-ready workforce would be absolutely essential for fueling Tata Steel’s ongoing growth. In a world of work that is hallmarked by disruption and ongoing change, the enterprise needed to equip their people with capabilities to stay ahead of the curve.

tata steal 3

The solution

Tata Steel’s mission to unleash the collective possibilities of their people inspired the enterprise to explore new technologies that would connect their employees to relevant and meaningful growth opportunities. While the concept of a talent marketplace may have been new to the organization, becoming an early adopter and harnessing game-changing innovations was already part of their DNA.

“We’ve been early adopters of various softwares, hardwares, and cloud platforms for awhile,” Sanyal notes. “But we had never really invested in anything which would digitally self-enable our people, and that was the very concept at the heart of our approach to careers.” Initially, when Tata Steel began searching for a partner to help them bring their vision for unlocking the full potential of their workforce to life, options appeared limited. In describing their search process, Sanyal explains, “When we started our journey, we didn’t find many people with such solutions. I knew [Gloat] was an early entrance to a market which has a whole lot of possibilities, and we are early adopters here too.”

When it comes to the crucial factors that solidified Tata Steel’s decision, Sanyal pinpoints the importance of leadership buy-in. “The key success factor, and what really clicked with us, was our ability to convince the top layer of management, which is the CEO and CFO and those like myself.” Leaders recognized that the traditional top-down approach, in which management tells employees what their next move will be, wasn’t working and that workers were growing dissatisfied.

Tata Steel heard these calls for change and set out to flip this model for career development on its head by putting employees at the center of their own professional development. In summarizing this mindset change, Sanyal explains, “The company will no longer owns your career. [Now], it is you who will be responsible for upgrading your skills and that should be visible to the world.”

Once leadership support was secured, the enterprise shifted their focus to creating a communications strategy that would maximize adoption and get employees excited about the career growth that they would soon be able to unlock. “We decided to brand it as stepUP,” Sanyal explains, because, “vertical movement will not happen so easily, so the employee needs to see it as stepping up.”

She concludes by noting,

Tata Steel is a huge place, it’s like 20 organizations built into one. So if you want to experience more, then you have to own your own future and market yourself well… It’s about not limiting yourself to any particular area, adding on to your currency of skills, and being available in the marketplace to be picked up by anybody.

Results

0 +

staffed projects

0

unlocked productivity hours

+ 0

point boost in employee engagement scores

2,500+

staffed projects

214,100

unlocked productivity hours

+10

point boost in employee engagement scores

“We only started in July, and we didn’t realize how much and how fast [the Talent Marketplace] would accelerate our approach,” Sanyal says of stepUP’s near-instantaneous success. “Leadership is still completely sold on this project today and they themselves are the ambassadors that speak of it every day.”

Given Tata Steel’s impressive initial success metrics, it’s easy to understand why leaders are quick to promote the platform. The enterprise’s comprehensive employee communications strategy paved the way for near-universal adoption, with more than eight out of ten employees leveraging the talent marketplace during the initial months after it debuted. In that time, almost 1,000 projects were posted, enabling Tata Steel to unlock more than 165,000 hours. Perhaps most notably, the enterprise has already seen a significant boost in engagement, as indicated by their most recent employee survey.

“There has been a huge jump in the career scores, and everywhere people go and talk about careers, stepUP is the one word that they don’t forget to mention,” Sanyal summarizes. The brand recognition not only speaks to Tata Steel’s exceptionally executed communications strategy, but also to the profound impact that their talent marketplace has on career development at large. stepUP aligns employees with relevant growth opportunities, enabling them to achieve their fullest potential, the very concept at the core of Tata Steel’s people strategy.

“It has been a pleasant experience for us. We’ve customized some parts of the product, so that it helps us further,” Sanyal says while reflecting on her journey with Gloat.

We’ve seen that HR leaders need to unshackle their minds a little bit, move away from policies from two or five years ago, and start seeing people as resources who are driven by curiosity and progress.

Atrayee Sanyal, VP Human Resources, Tata Steel

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