Case studies

Sandeep Thapa, Chartered FCIPD, associate VP, HR for MARG Group

"The CIPD HR profession map is highly relevant to the Indian and Middle Eastern context"

It's hard for people in the UK to contemplate growth such as that experienced by Chennai-based engineering and construction company MARG. Founded only 20 years ago, its revenues have grown in the past six years from Rs 603 million (£8.6 million) to Rs 10 billion (£130 million) and it now employs about 3,000 people. Sandeep Thapa joined MARG a year ago with a brief to develop the organisational structure and systems to reflect its transformation into a large organisation. It has meant, for example, embedding core values and introducing leadership grades and a career progression model. “No one else in the construction sector in India has done this,” comments Thapa.

Before joining MARG, Thapa had spent two years in an organisational change role with Al Habib Group, a healthcare, pharmaceuticals and construction company, in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. “HR in 80 per cent of organisations in this region consists only of recruitment and compensation management. The chairman at Al Habib wanted me to create a performance-based work culture,” says Thapa. He led a programme to introduce competencies and an appraisal system that reflected them. Although there was resistance at first, he recalls, extensive training, including video training and customer focus groups, plus open communications, won most people over. “It came out clearly that if we didn’t change, the company wouldn’t stay in business,” he says.

It was during his time at Al Habib that Thapa took his first CIPD course – but he realised that the requirement to attend a module in the UK would prevent him from completing the traditional route to membership.

Having spent more than 15 years in HR and management roles, Thapa was well placed for the experience assessment route. “The CIPD HR profession map is highly relevant to the Indian and Middle Eastern context,” he says. “Many people here are interested in membership.”

This case study was published in People Management magazine on 10 February 2011.