Jnan Prakash Jena


Transformative Leadership

Jnan Prakash Jena

Sr. Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer,

Electrosteel Group

Success for HR professionals today hinges on a delicate interplay of factors— embracing digital transformation, fostering innovation, maintaining agility, and placing a distinct emphasis on employee wellbeing and engagement. As we contemplate these essential success factors in the present, the forward-looking lens naturally prompts us to consider the trajectory of HR, which is set against a backdrop of technological advancements, shifting demographics, and evolving employee expectations.
At the helm of Electrosteel Group, Jnan Prakash Jena, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, navigates the complex landscape of human capital management. With a career spanning more than three & half decades, Jnan is a pragmatic guide, evolving from a Personnel Officer (Trainee) at Patheja Forgings & Auto Parts Manufactures Ltd. in 1987 to Senior Manager, HR & IR at Reliance Industries Limited, and Deputy General Manager, HR at Hindalco Industries Limited. Jnan also had small stints with Adani Port & SEZ Ltd. (2015-2017) and a small tenure with Vedanta Group (2018-2019).
His journey prompts reflection on essential qualities for navigating HR complexities. Currently steering HR initiatives at Electrosteel Group, Jnan emphasises adaptability, strategic foresight, and a nuanced understanding of human dynamics. This journey serves as a catalyst for contemplating the evolving role of HR professionals in fostering sustainable organisational growth and employee wellbeing amid perpetual change.
TradeFlock delves into Jnan’s insights, exploring his journey and strategies to fortify Electrosteel Group’s HR function.

What initially led you to choose a smaller organisation?

My deliberate choice to join a medium core organisation was rooted in the belief that it would offer me a unique opportunity to delve deep into HR functions on a larger scale. By joining a medium entity, I anticipated a more hands-on experience where I could directly contribute to and witness the impact of HR policies and practices. I aimed to avoid the risk of losing my identity within a larger group and instead, focus on understanding the core aspects of HR in a more intimate organisational setting, where my contributions could be more readily recognised and valued.

How did your career evolve, and what challenges did you face at Jindal Stainless Limited?

Transitioning from campus projects to Patheja Forgings marked a pivotal turning point, providing hands-on experience in HR and industrial relations. Moving to Reliance, starting as an Assistant Manager, expanded my professional horizons. Roles at Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited involved diverse responsibilities, including heading industrial relations and leading the Hirakud unit. At Jindal Stainless Limited, challenges like location constraints and political interventions were overcome successfully, highlighting the significance of adaptability and resilience in navigating complex organisational dynamics.

Can you share your role at Electrosteel Group reasons for rejoining, and current responsibilities and achievements?

At Electrosteel Castings Limited, I assumed a leadership role, leveraging HR management expertise to drive organisational growth and success. Responsibilities ranged from overseeing multilocational plant operations to managing stakeholder relationships, requiring strategic thinking and effective execution. The decision to rejoin the company stemmed from a shared vision for organisational excellence and a commitment to driving positive change. In my current role, I oversee functions such as HR, industrial relations, government liaison, safety, administration, and security. Through strategic leadership, I’ve led initiatives propelling the organisation to global recognition as a leading manufacturer of ductile iron pipes and fittings, fostering a culture of innovation and excellence for long-term growth and sustainability.

In your HR journey, what stands out as your most significant learning?

My most significant learning as an HR professional has been the importance of fostering an environment of acceptance and inclusivity. Throughout my career, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of inclusive leadership in driving organisational success and fostering employee engagement. By embracing diversity and championing inclusivity, organisations can unlock the full potential of their workforce and drive innovation and growth. This foundational principle has guided my approach to HR management and continues to shape my leadership philosophy.

Share a key HR challenge you faced and how you overcame it.

One of the most significant challenges I faced in my HR career was navigating legal matters related to the regularisation of contract labour. This complex issue required strategic thinking and effective stakeholder management to achieve a positive outcome. By leveraging my expertise in HR management and legal compliance, I was able to develop a comprehensive strategy that addressed the underlying issues and secured a favourable outcome for the organisation. This experience underscored the importance of adaptability and resilience in navigating complex organisational challenges.

What future plans and contributions do you aspire to make in your current role?

Looking ahead, I am committed to driving positive change and fostering a culture of innovation and excellence in my current role. My future plans include leveraging emerging technologies to enhance HR processes, driving diversity and inclusion initiatives, and championing employee well-being and engagement. By prioritising continuous learning and professional development, I aim to stay ahead of emerging trends and contribute to the long-term success and sustainability of the organisation. Ultimately, my goal is to create a workplace where all employees can thrive and reach their full potential, driving organisational performance and success.
















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