Rohit Manucha, Head Compensation & Benefits and HR Business Partner – Finance & IT, Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Company (ACCBC)

Rohit ManuchaRohit in his current role heads the Total Rewards practice for the 12 countries that ACCBC operates out of in the MEA region and also double hat’s at the HR BP for Finance & IT wherein he has been instrumental in driving the ‘Shared Services’ construct and organization-wide SAP implementation. Since his recent joining, he has worked on a host of strategic cost-saving initiatives and innovative rewards plans. He has also successfully, launched the region’s first employee wellness linked bonus plan in partnership with healthcare agencies, insurance providers, and our multi-country offices. He is also a Board member at the Change & Transformative Collaborative, UK (2016 – present).

In his earlier role, as the Head of Compensation & Benefits at Dunia Group (Dunia Finance LLC & Dunia Services FZ LLC) he reported to the CEO and Board level sub-committee (RNC) on all Rewards related initiatives and managed the ‘Shared Services Function’ (which included HR operations, payroll, HR business partners, etc.). In Pepsi, Oman (ORC), as the Head of Organization Development & Total Rewards he advised the Board level sub-committee (REMCO) and the CEO on all organizational initiatives and managed the ‘Centre of Excellence Function’ (which included organization development, change management, talent management, learning & development, total rewards and performance management).

Rohit has an extensive experience in working with CEOs and C-suite leaders; in driving end-to-end organizational transformation across nineteen countries (such as China, Japan, Malaysia, India, Vietnam and the MEA region). He has worked towards aligning organizations with their strategic agenda, managing change and driving sustainable performance.

He has worked across a diverse range of sectors, covering organizations (including Fortune 100/ 500 companies) with varying ownership models and at different stages of business life-cycle (e.g. Walmart, Kraft, Bharti Group, Pepsi, etc.). His core expertise is in ‘Organizational Transformation & Effectiveness’ and his focus areas include executive visioning & strategy articulation, organization structuring & role profiling, change management & communication, coaching, job family modelling & job evaluation, talent management & behavioural competency, learning & development, total rewards and manpower planning linked to business process re-engineering.

He has written a white paper on ‘linking digital cultures with leadership and organizational models’, 2017. He has developed a case study ‘The new weapon in our armory’ for the book titled ‘ Business of Staffing: A Talent Agenda”, 2016. He has authored the white paper titled ‘HR as a key to growth and sustainability in the Indian power sector’, 2011. He developed the PoV and co-authored the HR roundtable research publication for the ‘Indian HR Leadership Conclave’, 2009 & 2010, and is quoted in a number of leading HR magazines on a host of HR related topics.

He won the “Compensation & Benefits Leadership Award”, at the World HRD Congress, India, 2017 and was awarded the ‘HR’s Rising Star’ at the MENA region’s largest HR Summit & Expo, UAE,2016. He was conferred the title of the ‘100 Most Influential Global HR Professionals’, by the World HRD Congress, India, 2016; Led the Dunia Group team to win the ‘GCC Best Employer Brand Award’, conferred at the Employer Branding Awards, UAE, 2016. He won the ‘HR Leadership Award’, conferred by the Asian HR Leadership Awards, UAE, 2015.

He was a speaker at the  ‘Financial Sector Compensation & Benefits Forum’, London 2018 and the ‘ConneTech Asia Summit’, Singapore 2018. He was a speaker at the ‘Compensation & Benefits Forum’, UAE 2017. He is a member of the advisory council to the World HRD Congress, India, 2016 – present. He was one of the 50 chosen invitees to Asia’s most prestigious ‘HR Leadership Summit’, Thailand, 2015. Furthermore, he was a keynote speaker at the ‘Employee Benefits Asia’, Singapore, 2015. He was the chairperson and speaker for the ‘HR Excellence’ global conference, Dubai 2015. He was also the chairperson, speaker and member of the advisory panel for the ‘3rd Annual Global HR Excellence’, Singapore 2014.

In the course of his career, Rohit has worked in Human Capital Consulting at KPMG (2008-2011), Hay Group (2011-2013), Pepsi – ORC (2013-2016); Dunia Group (2016 – 2018); ACCBC (2018 – present). He is also a visiting faculty at IMT-Dubai (2017 – present) and Newstead Lab UK, UAE (2018)

He has received a scholarship based on ‘academic excellence and ‘National Cadet Corps’ activities and has won a host of national and international accolades in the course of his education & NCC tenure. He holds a Bachelors of Commerce (Honors) from Delhi University and a Masters in Human Resource Management (PGD – PM&IR) from XLRI, Jamshedpur. He has attended the Executive Leadership Development course at the Chicago Booth School of Business, London.


What does employee engagement mean to you?

Employee Engagement Ever so often a new buzzword comes to the fore in management and grabs all the attention, but one such jargon which till date has not lost its sheen and ends up returning periodically as seasons do is “Employee Engagement”.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that it is an important aspect that needs to be addressed by organizations but then decades have passed by and only a few organizations can boast to have cracked the code on this, and even after that we have seemed behemoths fall. Ironically, till date, we have organizations that spend more time in selecting consultants to undertake the engagement survey that in analyzing the results and developing course corrections thereof. Or worse still are those organizations that use it as a ‘one-time exercise’, with the findings often relegated to some dark corner of the HR shared drives.

Now, the way I see it, organizations need to look at engagement in totality, rather than breaking it into varying silos such as that of employee/ brand/ product, etc. This concept of ‘totality’ is not new, rather it requires organizations to go back to basics and realize the one fundamental truth that all engagement boils down to the same ‘population pool’, thereby implying that employees too come from the same pool of consumers. Similarly, engagement too does not begin once an individual becomes an employee rather it’s a journey which has begun much earlier when a person aspires to join a brand/ an organization known for a particular product/ set of environment-people friendly policies/ or its talent pool.

Anyhow for the topic at hand let’s break Employee Engagement into three major aspects, assuming the ‘why’ is clear to an organization engaging in this:

Data Gathering: Employee engagement needs to move away from the archaic dip stick survey or the employee lifecycle based assessment into an ongoing ‘subconscious’data gathering and analyzing exercise. Also, it’s pertinent that we understand the difference between ‘feelings’, ‘moods’, and ‘engagement’. It’s appalling to note the number of low-reliability engagement tools that are flooding the market which do nothing more than measuring the ‘on-spot’ mood/ feeling of an employee and base their entire hypothesis of engagement on something as flimsy and invalid as that. However, as their user interface seems to be attractive I have known of many organizations falling victim to their charm.

Now, the reason I focus on the subconscious (with privacy controls built in) is that on an average day each one of us faces multiple instances/ interfaces where people/ organizations are trying to obtain feedback from us, this results in ‘survey fatigue’, hence this approach is proposed to control the bias therein. Thus, I propose that organizations to evolve from the ‘pro-active’ to the ‘constant’ state of data gathering wherein the organizational engagement with the employees is at par with that of its consumer. With this, the onus of data gathering moves from the employee to the employer and focus moves from ‘participation volumes to ‘participation value’. This also prevents an organization from gaming the results by doing away with ‘timing’ of such exercises (i.e. conducting employee engagement right before the bonus cycle, etc.)

Data Analysis: The next hurdle which needs to be tackled is – what organizations need to do with all the data. With the advent of big data processing capability in our day to day life, this has become easier to do. However, a number of organizations still grapple with ‘coming to terms’ with the results and hence are unable to

determine what insights to derive/ hypothesis to test (which ideally should have preceded the engagement survey initiation).

This is a crucial step, and the organizations need to go through the S-A-R-A phase fast, in order to arrive at third steps. Now, I will stay away from critiquing the organizations that in the pretext of customizing the reports to the competency framework of their client organizations, end up doing nothing more than adding/ deleting questions or every so marginally modifies their scoring which doesn’t provide any real impact. My focus here will be on organizations which are yet to adopt a No-SQL, dynamic ‘free text’ based analytics framework which could be modified based on a host of parameters rather than relying on static SQL based databases which are seldom updated based on new input parameters. In simple words, outdated-irrelevant benchmarks with hardly any customization capabilities in the way data are benchmarked and analyzed/ presented, need to be done away with. Also, focus group discussions to further validate the data sets is a sheer waste of resources which needs to be shelved unless you lack the conviction of the results that surface.

Action & Implementation: This phase is the ‘make or break’ stage but seldom do organizations successfully navigate beyond ‘paralysis by analysis’ stage. While one cause of this is the lack of hypothesis testing the other two arising out of the same is the insignificant budget allocation and insufficient business ownership. These can, however, be adequately addressed with organizations budgeting not just for the engagement survey but also for the actions that would succeed the survey. Additionally, a pre-planned set up of cross-function project teams must be encouraged rather than position this as an ‘HR’ exercise alone. The objectives of this team (i.e. to develop an action plan and drive execution for each hypothesis), must be made clear with linkages to their performance management, and total rewards plan and this should be tracked as part of the organization scorecard.

Now with this, I gather one aspect of employee engagement may have been addressed however it needs to be an ongoing exercise given that organizations need to continuously ‘engage’ with the constantly evolving talent pool across all the touchpoints.


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