Insights into Schneider Electric’s hiring strategy, skills first approach and 50:40:30 D&I practice

Schneider Electric, a global energy management and automation company, recently inaugurated one of its largest employees globally, at Bagmane Solarium City, Bengaluru. The newBagmane campus with an investment of Rs 200 crore spans about 630,000 sq ft. The campus will accommodate over 2,000 R&D specialists, fostering an environment conducive to innovation and collaboration.

Centre, Skill Centre and Digital Hub, with the capacity to accommodate over 8,000 professionals. The Training Centre will feature interactive demonstrations, workshops and expert-led sessions that will train thousands of employees, partners and customers every year. For employees, the training facility focuses on leadership capability development, technologies and skills development and hands-on training. The training facility in this campus will serve not just this campus, but the employees across the country.

Schneider Electric has more than 37,000 employees in India. About 8,000 employees who are Bengaluru-based and from other offices will be consolidated into the newly inaugurated Bagmane campus. Binu Philip, CHRO, Greater India, Schneider Electric, says, “This campus s will be a big fulcrum for R&D and digital talent where a lot of R&D digital talent-hiring will happen and they will be moved to this campus s for its expansion. The teams organized here will also support developing products and solutions for markets all over the world. It caters to both India for India and India for the globe.”

The company is planning to increase its headcount by 20 per cent by adding over 6,500 employees to the workforce in the next three years. “We’ll invest about Rs 3,200 crore expanding our industry footprint by 2026. This is fundamental to support India’s mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat. India being one of the four large R&D digital hubs for Schneider, we’ll be adding far more employees in the coming years and further expansion may come up later. R&D digital will have a larger chunk of it because that’s where we probably invest a lot more in the talent base,” Philip says.

Schneider Electric is further planning to launch a similar state-of-the-art campus in Delhi next year. The organisation has 31 manufacturing sites across India and 5 smart factories in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. The Hyderabad smart factory is recognised as an advanced lighthouse factory by the World Economic Forum. The firm also opened a new cooling facility in Bengaluru on March 24. One of its subsidiary companies, Luminous, opened a fully automated solar panel in Uttarakhand.

Hiring strategy

Schneider Electric focuses on hiring people with an understanding of building a sustainable world, a deeper understanding of changing customer requirements, and strong digital skills acumen. The top priority for the firm is to grow India as a talent hub for the world by building talent in the three major spaces such as R&D, digital, software services and sustainability. “Buy, build and borrow are the talent strategies followed in attracting technology and digital talent. We hired 5,000 plus people last year of which 1300 people are young talent from campuses and we will continue to add that number of people in the coming years as well.”

“We are also significantly increasing our manufacturing units’ employee base as we are setting up new factories and facilities in the coming years. India is one of the largest employee bases of Schneider worldwide. We have the entire breadth of opportunities in this country and hire for a spectrum of roles such as sales & marketing, supply chain, AI specialist, factory management, etc.”

Talent mobility

Philip says, “We want to create an environment where experienced, mid-career and young talent can be put together. We have a very robust staffing engine that is connected to the market and sources people from the market in addition to the campus engine that runs campus programmes. We also have a very robust internal hiring process through our platform Open Talent Market (OTM). OTM creates an internal talent market by leveraging technology and Artificial Intelligence to match the supply and demand of talent throughout the organisation.”

“For example, if an HR person wants to understand finance, he/she can open up a project, partner, and learn that. Similarly, if a sales engineer wants to get into R&D, they can have the opportunity to work on projects, which will give them a deeper understanding of R&D. This (OTM) platform also provides enormous opportunities to find mentors across the globe with whom employees can learn about different domains,” explains Philip.

Skills first approach

“Last year, ET Future Skills ranked us as the company with the best learning culture. As we grow exponentially, building the leadership pipeline and investing in talent development will be a big focus for us. Skills first is the strategy of Schneider and constantly advancing skills and growing the capability of people with newer and future skills is a critical priority for us.”

Schneider Electric has various academies in the company globally and many customised local programmes in the country to enhance its employees’ management skills, digital skills and specific functional skills. The combinations of mastery, curiosity and innovations are the elements given the core focus in the skill development programmes.

According to Philip, innovation is highly valued and encouraged in the organisation. Employees are given the freedom to pick up ideas (innovative solutions to customer problems, process problems or employee problems), test pilot those, and get mentorship and investment to take those to the next level on its approval. “Even in my function, which is HR, we conduct hackathons where hundreds of HR folks in the country could come together in small groups and propose solutions that will enable great employee experience. Once the idea is recognised, the HR leadership comes forward and sponsors it.

Gurukul is an experiential learning programme to enhance Sales and Marketing capability. More than 300 employees have been covered since its launch this year. Digital Boost is a global programme, including India, to help build the digital capabilities of every employee in the company.

Beyond the internal training programmes, employees can also sign up for external courses free of cost. For instance, Schneider Electric has tied up with Coursera whose platform its employees can utilise to deepen their Al expertise under the company sponsorship.
Besides the training programmes, a holistic set of interventions through manager feedback, mentoring and support mechanisms in terms of building expertise in new areas or while doing hands-on projects are rigorously done to supplement the capability development.

“Being one of the top-line sustainable companies in the world, employees here are expected to understand deeper about sustainability by undergoing three levels of programmes in the sustainability school that offers certification on key topics like ESG fundamentals, circular economy, renewable energy, etc,”.

Leadership development programmes

For people aspiring to be in leadership, Schneider Electric has various management-level programmes like:

Tejas which is Schneider’s Exclusive Leadership Development Programme for Senior C-level and it is conducted in partnership with ISB, a premium B school. Every year, the batch includes 50 to 60 handpicked people.

Ojas is a Mid-Level Leadership Acceleration programme at Schneider Electric.

Champions Club is a gated programme where over 100 employees are enrolled every year. This is the oldest leadership programme for entry-
level leadership. The employees have to go through multiple levels to reach the final round and get certified.

And, the women-exclusive leadership programmes like URJA (an intense six-month development journey) have 1,000 employees till now and of them have escalated into leadership roles in the company.

Diversity & Inclusion

Schneider Electric has a gender diversity ratio of 30 per cent. The organisation follows a 50:40:30 approach in its D&I strategy. While hiring, the company aims for 50 per cent women to fill the external job roles, targets 40 per cent women as first-line managers, and 30 per cent women representation in the leadership team. The company has established ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ as a fundamental principle in its compensation philosophy.

Resource: GWFM Research & Study