Hindustan Unilever runs innovation-centred employee programme

​Hindustan Unilever (HUL) aims to foster innovation in its business through a technology- and future-focused employee programme.

HUL aims to foster innovation in its business through a technology and future focused employee programme - Unilever- Facebook

HUL, the parent company of Dove India and a wide range of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, is looking to make its business operations more future-facing. One way the business hopes to achieve this is with its new employee programme where company employees can go to work for other companies in order to gain new experiences and skills.

Companies that employees are encouraged to work with include start-ups and businesses in other industries to see the business problems they face and latest technologies. Some employees will also be able to do secondments abroad or work with government organisations. A particular area of focus is AI and robotics which is becoming an increasingly large part of Indian retail.

Another aspect of the programme allows employees from various sectors to work on a number of special projects run by the business’ managing director, Sanjiv Mehta. HUL will use these “external immersions” to develop its employees and mould the next generation of company leaders.

“We want our people to go out there, experiment and work on things that are not part of their regular day job, but part of a larger ecosystem that is gearing up for the future,” HUL’s executive director for human resources, BP Biddappa, told the Economic Times. “Secondly, we are giving our managers experiences outside HUL while working here. It could be experiences of working with customers, digital companies, [and] organisations that could play an important and strategic role in the future.”

Biddappa stated that many involved in the new programme are young managers, many of whom recent graduates. “It’s now taken as par for the course that people get internationalised in one way or the other,” said Biddappa. “Learning exposure is key. We screen the projects to ensure that employees can contribute and help us solve a live business problem.”

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