Being mobile is one of the cornerstones of our talent strategy

It is not surprising that BMW employees can move around the Group according to their interests, development requirements and business needs.

Based in Singapore, Vaishali Ahuja designs, defines and develops talent management concepts, guidelines and initiatives for its pan-continental operations. Starting his career in the automotive industry in 2000 with the world’s largest two-wheeler company, he joined BMW in 2006 and was most recently the Director of HR for Japan in Tokyo before assuming his current role in January 2022.

He will be speaking at the upcoming Accelerate HR 2023 conference on “Shifting from Designing Recognition Programs to Building Mindsets.”

In the interview HRO Lara Samson, Ahuya talks about the talent strategy that embraces diversity in all parts of the business worldwide, ensuring employees feel at home at any BMW location around the world.

Excerpts from the interview below:

Q What do you think are the main challenges and opportunities for leading HR in your sector and function?

My role includes leading HR for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA). As you can imagine, the area is very diverse. The mix of work culture, with evolving employee expectations, especially in the new world of hybrid work, makes the subject of people in general very complex. However, the common thread is that we are all part of the BMW Group.

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

Q With most organizations looking to recover and rebuild, where are you finding the right staff for your team and how are you dealing with talent shortages?

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Finding and nurturing talent is a bigger challenge than ever, and we need to innovate to stay ahead of the curve.

For us, it’s outsourcing as well as developing our own talent that is key to our business strategy. For example, last year we moved existing employees into new roles and transferred employees with specialized skills in the APAC market as well as globally.

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Q Brain drain is a real concern in Asia today. How are you and your team preparing to meet talent challenges during this labor shortage?

As a global company, being mobile is one of the cornerstones of our talent strategy. Employees move across the Group based on their interests, development requirements and our business needs. No matter where you’re from, how old you are or what you’re passionate about, we embrace diversity in all parts of our business around the world and our talent strategy ensures this. With a culture like this, you’re right at home at any BMW location around the world.

Q Looking ahead to 2023, what do you think will be the biggest change in HR?

While our efforts to source the world’s best talent continue to be challenging, ensuring the psychological safety of our existing employees is even more important.

In the past, the full focus was on productivity, and mental health was an afterthought. In a post-pandemic world, regardless of the country’s culture, it’s critical for HR to keep an ear and an eye open when it comes to employee health and well-being.

HR needs to support leaders at all levels in the organization to understand and embrace the topic and not use it as a crutch to keep employees from performing.


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Photo / HRO

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