HR Business Synergy

Nov 20, 2023 13 min read

HR Business Synergy


The human revolution evolved over the ages and has been driven by the aspiring human mind to constantly grow and inspire generations for the all-round development of our civilization. The indomitable spirit of inspired individuals over the ages has led us to the much-developed world where we live today.

As per our general understanding, Human Resource Management is the management of people to help them perform to the best of their abilities and as a result achieve better performance for the organization. Human Resources plays a critical role in harnessing the power of the workforce which is the key driver to the success of any organisation. To stay ahead of the curve, corporates are required to adapt to change quickly and constantly upgrade and motivate their employees. 

Changes in the energy industry accelerated over the past decade have led to new initiatives undertaken by oil marketing Companies including the use of digitalisation and artificial intelligence in a few cases. Every corporation must have a clear strategy and goal in place that it would like to achieve and, at the same time, be prepared for dynamic changes with quick response time. The critical role of HR comes in here to create synergy between various divisions and departments through a transparent and robust mechanism to achieve the highest performance levels for the company.

Need for synergy in business with HR

Indian Oil today is the largest corporation in our country and placed at 94th rank in the Global Fortune 500 listing.  With a total strength of more than 32000 employees across divisions in the petroleum sector, the business is driven by ever-growing demand and intense competition. Hence, it is of prime importance for IOC to continue to maintain the leadership position it occupies in the years to come.

The sales function especially Retail, IB, Lubes, LPG, LNG, and Petrochemicals are in competition with many OMCs including MNCs and private players. Digitalizing of sales activities is happening due to increased customer demand and new business opportunities. Lubes is facing the maximum competition due to free market pricing(no govt control in pricing) and unlimited private and MNC operators who have flooded the Indian market.

Our Servo brand of lubricants was launched in 1972 to support the cause of localization against MNC products especially for the Defence Sector which was controlling the Indian lube market during that period.  Over more than 50 years, Servo established itself as the homegrown brand replacing many international grades from Mobil, Shell, and other players to be no. 1 brand of lubricants in India.  Today, Servo the Masterbrand commands a market share of about 27% and is the leading supplier in the industrial and retail market.  Due to intense competition from MNC players and major PSU companies in India, Lubes Marketing teams must constantly engage with customers and all stakeholders which requires regular upgradation of knowledge of lubricants and the dynamic market and the latest technologies available in various fields.  Technical Services team at Head Office along with L&D and Retail Academy organise regular training for updation of knowledge of field officers to equip them to face the very competitive market and customers.

Due to the above-mentioned factors specialisation in domain knowledge is very much desired for the marketing and technical services teams in Lubes where the quality of specialised manpower can help the company to retain the high market share and high profitability currently being recorded in Lubes through sales of Servo lubricants. In this regard, business synergy with HR is the need of the hour as HR can play a stellar role in identifying the right candidates for key lube positions in Technical Services and Lube Marketing.  Training and development of such specialised teams can be taken up as per the need for domain expertise.

Domain expertise is used to evaluate the inputs, guide the process, and evaluate the end products within the context of value and validity. The following segments are required to be investigated while we focus on domain knowledge:

  1. Organizational Knowledge – “Understanding how your company really works,” gained through tenure.

  2. Product Knowledge – “Knowing the ins and outs of your product,” which can help build empathy and trust between you, your team, and your end-users.

  3. Industry Knowledge – “The most important of these three areas of knowledge because it represents a deep and thorough understanding of customer problems that remain unsolved,” Also, competitor information on products and technologies being updated globally are key points in this context.

Process of HR and Business Synergy

To develop a synergistic HR strategy in the company for implementation the following points need to be taken care of:

  • Involve the Junior most employee with engagement and seeking his / her feedback.

  • Getting Real-time feedback from all stakeholders. Including customers, institutions, Dealers, and competitors 

  • Getting feedback from select officers in leadership positions in the company after connecting to the HOD of each department.

  • Online feedback from all employees regarding existing HR practices in the company and grievances if any.

  • Running a mentorship programme in the company for non-performing employees.

Challenges envisaged

However, there will be some potential people-related challenges for the implementation of a renewed HR Strategy programme:

  • Screening suitable employees in the recruitment process with the proper aptitude and positive attitude..

  • Identifying potential high-performing employees in each department.

  • Filling up key expert positions, especially upon transfer or retirement of employees.

  • Sharing of relevant knowledge and valuable inputs across the company. (Swadhyay is in place already)

  • Developing existing employees by training -building relevant skills and competencies across the company. (L&D process)

  • Keeping a high level of engagement with all employees.

  • Dealing with various generations in the company, especially millennials.

  • Motivating higher potential employees.

  • Onboarding new employees in the company after recruitment and guiding them through mentors in the initial phase.

  • Identifying suitable mentors for select employees. (Especially non-performers)

  • Managing resistance from collectives in case of allotment of new profiles to some employees who are resistant to change.

However, after a necessary brainstorming process and deliberations with various departments, HR may design a new template for HR business synergy.

This can be implemented across divisions through Corporate HR and further fine tuning can be done based on real-time feedback which can be documented.

Smart Recruitment

Having identified key positions for specialisation in various departments the existing recruitment policy can be updated to have additional requirements in terms of quality and attitude of the desirous candidates for the new vacancies that will be published. Apart from having a professional degree like B.Tech or MBA, a candidate who is desirous of joining IOC needs to qualify in a psychometric test which can check his / her attitude and sincerity. This can go a long way in ensuring that the right candidates are recruited who will take the company forward in earnest. This is more important because in a PSU company a candidate once recruited cannot be shown the door due to his inefficiency or poor attitude. Hence, the recruitment of the right candidates is key to the performance of the company.

Recruiting the best talent available for the industry and retaining them is a big challenge for any HR department today as new opportunities have come up in various streams for all professions be it Engineers, MBAs, or other degree holders. The following factors are typically evaluated by an applicant for recruitment into IOC or any other company.

  • Salary and perks

  • Job profile

  • Initial place of posting

  • Career prospects

  • Opportunities for upgrading skills and competencies.

  • Working conditions and leave-facility.

  • Options for working from home in some cases

After recruitment, proper training and on boarding of the employees needs to be done as per the new HR template established in IOC. Their career path may be structured as per departments and needs identified in the template. With such a synergistic approach in HR with business requirements in place, we can be confident that the IOC will continue to be in a leadership position not only in India but also will be a force to reckon with as a strategic global company in times to come.


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