Being mobile is one of the cornerstones of our talent strategy

It is not surprising that BMW’s employees can move across the Group based on their interests, development requirements, and business needs.

Based in Singapore, Vaishali Ahuja designs, defines and develops talent management concepts, policies, and initiatives for pan-continental outsourcing. Starting his career in the automobile industry in 2000 with the world’s largest two-wheeler company, he then joined BMW in 2006, and most recently was the country’s HR director for Japan in Tokyo before taking up his current role in January 2022.

He will be speaking at the upcoming Accelerate HR 2023 conference, on the theme ‘Transition from strategy reviews to manufacturing mindsets’.

In conversation with HRO’s Lara Samson, Ahuja talks about the strategic talent that embraces diversity in all parts of the business around the world, ensuring employees are at home in any location in the BMW world.

Interview excerpts below:

Q What, in your view, are the biggest challenges and opportunities for HR leadership in your area and beyond?

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My role involves leading HR across Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (APMEA). The region, as you can imagine, is very diverse. The mix of working cultures, along with evolving employee expectations, especially in the new world of hybrid work, makes the whole people complex. But the common thread is that we are all part of the BMW Group.

As the world of work is changing at an unprecedented pace, with external global factors, all of us in HR live in exciting times that pose both challenges and opportunities.

Q With more organizations looking to recover and rebound, where do you find the ecosystem your team needs, and how do you cope with the talent shortage?

Finding and nurturing talent is a bigger challenge than ever before, and we need to stay ahead of others.

For us, outside of hiring and developing our talent, that’s relevant to our business strategy. For example, last year, we converted existing employees into new functions and placed them across markets in APAC and globally with specialized skills.

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Q Brain drain is a real concern in Asia at the moment. In this time of manpower shortage, how are you and your team preparing to manage these talent-related challenges?

As a global company, that’s mobile from the corners of our strategy. Employees move across the Group based on their interests, development requirements, and our business needs. No matter where you are, how old you are, or what you like, we embrace diversity in all parts of the business world, and this policy guarantees our talent. With such a culture – you are at home at any location in the BMW world.

Q Looking to 2023, what is the biggest change you believe needs to happen in HR?

While the effort to find the best talent around the world continues to be a challenge, a bigger challenge is dealing with the psychological well-being of our existing employees.

Once the full focus was on performance, when mental health was nearly withdrawn. In a post-pandemic world, regardless of the country’s culture, it is critical that HR keep their ears and eyes open when it comes to employee health and safety.

HR needs to ensure that leaders at all levels within the organization understand the issue, embrace it, and encourage employees to stand up against users in the workforce for non-performance.


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Photo / HRO

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