Metro Rail News conducted an exclusive interview with Mr. Mukesh Gupta, Head of HR, Deutsche Bahn RRTS Operations India Private Limited.
Mr. Mukesh Gupta holds the distinguished position of heading the Human Resource Department at Deutsche Bahn RRTS Operations India Private Limited. With over a decade of versatile experience, he has led significant achievements in talent management and organizational growth. Notably, he swiftly assembled a team of over 300 professionals within just 6 months, showcasing his remarkable ability to deploy top talent across India. His extensive background includes contributions to renowned Metro Rolling Stock companies like CRRC, Alstom, Bombardier, and Scomi in various capacities.
Mr. Gupta’s expertise extends to spearheading Green Field Project such as CRRC Factory, notably the Scomi Engineering Mumbai Monorail. His international experience is evident in his pivotal role during the transfer of TOT from Malaysia to India for Monorail Rolling Stock.
In India, his accomplishments include the successful management of Delhi Metro RS 2, 5, 7 & 11 Projects, as well as his involvement in the Queensland Metro Project, Australia.
Holding a master’s degree in HR from Jaipur National University, Mr. Gupta’s commitment to continuous learning and professional growth is evident. He has cultivated an inclusive and forward-thinking workplace culture, elevating the talent pool and fostering excellence. Beyond talent acquisition, he instills confidence, nurtures excellence, and contributes strategically to organizational development, policy formulation, and business growth. His visionary approach and transformative impact reflect his dedication to driving unparalleled success. With strengths including business strategy, talent management, and industrial relations, Mr. Mukesh Gupta is a driving force behind the remarkable achievements of Deutsche Bahn RRTS Operations.
The interview delves into Mr. Gupta’s rapid workforce assembly, training strategies, and insights on the Indian metro industry’s recruitment future. Gupta’s role, challenges, and achievements in the Delhi-Meerut RRTS project are also discussed, emphasizing community commitment and skill development.
Here are some excerpts from the interview.
Can you describe the process you followed to hire a workforce of more than 300 employees in just six months for the DB RRTS project?
It was indeed a moment filled with immense pride for me to be a part of Deutsche Bahn, one of the world’s oldest and foremost rail networks. Moreover, leading the Human Resource team for India’s pioneering Delhi-Meerut RRTS project adds a special significance, considering I am the inaugural employee of the company. This role comes with high expectations that one must live up to.
Being the first employee also amplifies the challenges, particularly in ensuring a high-quality selection process for potential hires. This project holds unique importance, as it goes beyond merely connecting rural and urban areas. It also provides a remarkable opportunity for exceptionally talented final-year students from the region to become invaluable contributors to this prestigious venture.
Furthermore, my responsibility involves not only attracting top-tier talents from various metro and rail-related industries across the nation but also pouring confidence in them to excel within this esteemed project.
The first step in the hiring process was to identify the specific skill sets and expertise required for the DB RRTS project. We knew that this project would play a significant role in transforming lives, so we were determined to find individuals who were not only qualified but also deeply passionate about contributing to the development of their communities.
Understanding the human sentiments behind this endeavor, reached out to educational institutions and career centers in the Delhi Meerut region. We wanted to give the local youth a chance to showcase their potential and be a part of this groundbreaking initiative. The prospect of working on a project that directly impacted the lives of their fellow citizens resonated strongly with the young talent.
Throughout the recruitment process, we maintained a personal touch, recognizing that behind every resume and interview was a person with dreams, aspirations, and emotions. We took the time to understand each candidate’s background, aspirations, and personal stories, which helped us build a sense of empathy and connection with them.
In a span of merely six months, the accomplishment of establishing a workforce comprising over 300 employees, out of which more than 100 have proven their excellence in their respective domains, and successfully encouraging them to transition from the public sector, is undoubtedly a challenging feat for me.
The Delhi Meerut project became not only a means to connect people and places but also a symbol of hope, empowerment, and unity. In the end, the hiring process for the DB RRTS project wasn’t just about filling positions; it was about recognizing the human potential and ensuring that every employee was driven by a sense of purpose and commitment to their nation.
What strategies or methods did you employ to ensure proper training and placement of employees in their respective positions at the stations?
As Deutsche Bahn is one of the leaders of O&M business worldwide, In India, we initiated our market research to acquire best practices from other participants like DMRC, Hyderabad Metro & Lucknow Metro. We conducted 4 months O&M training in collaboration with Lucknow metro. This comprehensive training program comprises of classroom & OJT (On Job Training) with focus on General Rules of Railways. Based on skill sets, employees are deployed as per domain where competencies have been awarded.
In the initial six-month period, alongside recruiting seasoned professionals, I was tasked with the responsibility of selecting and preparing a group of 175 fresh graduates. These newcomers were sent to a special training at the Uttar Pradesh Metro’s Centre of Excellence and Training (CoET), situated in Lucknow. This aspect of my role became significantly more crucial as it involved carefully curating the finest candidates among our new recruits. The aim was to ensure that these individuals receive optimal and effective instruction on the latest technologies and train-oriented systems from a team of proficient experts at CoET.
The process began with extensive market research to learn from the experiences of these reputable entities. We valued the human angle in this research, recognizing that behind every successful O&M team were dedicated individuals working tirelessly to provide efficient and safe services to the public. Their stories, challenges, and achievements served as a guiding light for our own approach.
In collaboration with Lucknow Metro, we designed a comprehensive 4-month O&M training program. This was more than just a series of classroom sessions; it was an opportunity for our employees to gain practical experience through On-the-Job Training (OJT). We understood the importance of hands-on learning and the confidence it instilled in our workforce.
Throughout the training, a focus was placed on instilling the General Rules of Railways into the minds of our employees. Beyond technical skills, we emphasized the significance of safety protocols, customer service, and teamwork. We wanted to foster a sense of responsibility and ownership in each team member, knowing that their dedication would directly impact the millions of lives that would be touched by this mega project.
To ensure a successful deployment, we carefully assessed the skill sets of our employees and matched them with the domains where they excelled. Placing people in roles where their competencies were recognized and appreciated not only optimized performance but also fostered a sense of fulfillment in their professional journey.
Through this meticulous training and placement process, we cultivated a workforce that was not just proficient in their roles but driven by a shared purpose – to create a seamless and transformative transportation experience for the citizens of Delhi Meerut. Each employee’s contribution was a testament to their commitment to the project’s success, a reflection of the human spirit powering this technological revolution.
With a strong foundation of well-trained and well-placed employees, we stood poised to embrace the challenges and triumphs that lay ahead in the era of revolution and technology. It was the people, their dedication, and their willingness to learn and grow that truly made the difference in the success of the Delhi Meerut RAPIDX project.
Can you provide details about the training programs that were implemented to equip the employees with the necessary skills and knowledge for their roles in the DB project?
Certainly! The process of training and equipping 200 train operations and maintenance staff, many of whom were freshers, for the DB project was indeed a challenging endeavour. However, we have put in place a comprehensive training program that aims to provide our employees with the best knowledge and skills for their respective roles.
Our training program comprises both technical and non-technical training modules, ensuring a well-rounded development of our staff. We understand the importance of technical expertise in operating and maintaining the trains efficiently and safely. Therefore, our technical training focuses on imparting in-depth knowledge of the train systems, operations, and maintenance procedures.
In addition to technical training, we also emphasize non-technical aspects that are crucial for delivering excellent service. Soft skills such as effective communication, customer service, teamwork, and problem-solving are incorporated into the training program. We believe that these skills are essential for creating a positive and seamless experience for the passengers.
Understanding the human angle in this process, we recognize the potential and aspirations of our employees. Our training program is designed to empower them with the confidence and competence needed to excel in their roles. It is not just about filling positions; it is about investing in the growth and development of each individual as they contribute to the success of the DB project.
We are committed to providing the best-in-class training and support to our employees, ensuring that they are well-prepared to meet the challenges and responsibilities that come with their roles. Our aim is to build a workforce that takes pride in their work and is driven by the desire to deliver exceptional service in the era of revolutionary advancements in technology.
What is your opinion on the future of the Indian metro’s industry in terms of recruitment and placement?
The future of the Indian metro’s industry in terms of recruitment and placement appears promising. With the ongoing expansion of metro networks and the development of new projects in various cities, there is a considerable demand for skilled and qualified professionals in this sector. The metro industry’s boom has opened numerous opportunities for both experienced professionals and fresh graduates to find suitable positions in this field.
The growth of the metro industry also means an increase in the need for specialized talent across various domains, such as engineering, operations, maintenance, project management, customer service, and administration. As a result, the industry is likely to attract a diverse pool of candidates with different skill sets and qualifications.
To harness this talent pool effectively, metro authorities and organizations will likely implement various human resources (HR) interventions. These could include comprehensive training programs, internships, job fairs, campus placements, and skill development initiatives. The aim is to identify and nurture the potential of fresh minds, providing them with the necessary skills and exposure to thrive in the dynamic metro environment.
Additionally, as technology advances, the metro industry may witness a shift towards automation and integrating smart systems. This could create a demand for professionals with expertise in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and data analytics.
However, it’s important to note that the future of any industry can be influenced by various factors, including economic conditions, government policies, technological advancements, and societal changes. While the outlook for the Indian metro industry is positive, stakeholders must also be mindful of adapting to future challenges and ensuring a sustainable and inclusive growth trajectory.
How did you manage to maintain a high level of efficiency and productivity during the recruitment process to meet the tight timeline?
“Embarking on a new venture is a journey where experience becomes a priceless guide. The task of launching a system from scratch requires immense dedication and effort, and the process of assembling a team of experts adds a unique chapter to this narrative.”
Understanding the project’s requirements in every facet is akin to possessing a long-range perspective, which is crucial for meeting the foundational needs. Yet, it’s strong management skills that ultimately execute the essential tasks. This confluence of experience, dedication, team building, and sharp management forms the foundation upon which the success of any pioneering endeavour is built.
Also, the best way to meet the timelines is to have a projected vision approach based on our internal workforce planning. This approach ensures that deliverables are met within the Turn Around Time (TAT). Periodic reviews with teams and management meetings also play a crucial role in ensuring efficiency and productivity. As a result, deployment has been successfully completed at various stations without any delays.
Here are a few necessary points that I would like to add, which help maintain a high level of efficiency and productivity in the recruitment process:
Clear Job Descriptions: This will help attract the right candidates and reduce the chances of having to restart the hiring process due to mismatched expectations.
Streamlined Recruitment Process: Optimize the recruitment process by identifying potential bottlenecks and minimizing unnecessary steps and paperwork. Focus on the essential stages to keep the process moving swiftly.
Dedicated Recruitment Team: Assign a specialized team to handle the recruitment process. This ensures they are solely focused on finding the right candidates, managing interviews, and completing the hiring process within the designated time frame.
Use of Technology: Leverage recruitment software, applicant tracking systems (ATS), and other technological tools to automate specific tasks and streamline communication between the recruitment team, hiring managers, and candidates.
Proactive Sourcing: Don’t solely rely on traditional job postings. Use proactive sourcing techniques like networking, employee referrals, and engaging with potential candidates on social media or professional networks to create a pool of qualified candidates even before positions become available.
Apart from the above, a collaborative approach, effective interviewing, quick decision-making, and onboarding preparedness are key points that are very important during the recruitment process. By combining these strategies and continually monitoring the recruitment progress, organizations can improve efficiency and productivity during the hiring process, enabling them to meet tight timelines and find the best candidates for the positions.