Padmakar K, HR Director, BPCL on iPassion – employee talent development portal based on multiple intelligences theory

It is 2020 and what better way to kickstart it than by showcasing a brilliant way an organisation went about in building passion-based communities for all its employees, taking the concept of work-life balance to a different level altogether. And this, Our very own Bharat Petroleum Corporation !

Here’s presenting a lovely conversation Sunayana Nair had with Mr. Padmakar Kappagantula, HR Director at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. on setting up talent-based employee communities for inspiring employees, enhancing ease of communication across ranks, job functions and team building. 

Part 1/6 – Establishing talent-based employee communities for inspiration & bonding

In this first segment, Padmakar shares how the idea of building passion-based communities within BPCL as an attempt to motivate and inspire employees, cutting ranks, divisions areas of expertise and location came about.

Padmakar shares how scourging through several surveys and his own experience made him initiate conversations with people across levels to understand what got them going especially when the going got tough and how pursuing that passion might actually assist them get over performance blocks that people experience differently and at various points in time. Thus sprung the idea of developing individuals from the Howard Gardners multiple intelligence theory perspective.

iPassion was rolled out over a year ago to let the 12000 employees at BPCL across ranks, gender, location know that their passion matters as much to the organisation they worked for as much as it should matter to them! Isn’t that wonderful. He shares how solitary operators in the company primarily in sales, who had no one to connect to or appreciate their finer aspects, now do! And how it resulted in ease of communication between employees, fellow colleagues who discovered similar interests cutting across hierarchies to form the now 700-plus members of iPassion.

Padmakar also shares the challenges that his team grappled with initially and how it is now about getting more and more people onboarded as they look forward to take this platform to everyone’s smartphone so that it is more accessible and convenient to connect, share and bond!

Part 2/6 – iPassion: Multiple-intelligences-theory based employee talent program by BPCL

In this segment Padmakar states how iPassion, run by his team at the Bharat Petroleum Learning Centre stationed at Sewri and where this interview took place, mainly comprises seven groups of interests. The Wordsmart Linguistic, Picture smart, Nature smart, Musical Smart, Body Smart, Number Smart, Multi – intelligence groups.

Of these groups, the most popular interests of the 700 members so far are poetry, photography, traveling, gardening, singing, instrumentalists, dancers, puzzle solvers, yoga and meditation enthusiasts.

He speaks of his team’s first brush with organising an iPassion night wherein they also invited participation from other fellow oil companies like Indian Oil Corporation, HPCL whilst they exhibited and roped in external judges to review the best works put by employees in the photography section and also the singing and dancing performances.

Padmakar shares how this initiative, even within such a short span, opened an entirely different perspective and dimension of viewing and bonding with their fellow colleagues whilst also introducing the concept to their industry members, which they took to, rather spontaneously and enthusiastically.   

Part 3/6 – Inspiring, Showcasing, Rewarding Talent & its Impact on Employee Productivity

In this segment, Padmakar shares some of the renewed insights and attitudinal changes he witnessed across BPCL post the iPassion rollout. He recounts a particularly significant instance when an employee approached him and thanked him for ‘bringing me back into my world’ – to put it in his own words – powerful words there isn’t it, which must stay with one forever?

Padmakar also shares how quite a few of his senior colleagues were surprised to see talent of their own team members, most of whom they had known for years. We also discuss the initiatives BPCL is currently undertaking to showcase the talent of their employees, encourage other employees to come aboard, ways of rewarding employees who show sustained interest in developing their talent, and ways of studying and showcasing behavioural evolution whilst unravelling aspects of functional learning.

Part 4/6 – Developing Employee Self-Awareness & Self-sustainable Talent Communities

In this segment, Padmakar shares how the primary vision of iPassion is to make employees understand themselves better, make them more self-aware and thereby generate more confidence, by showcasing talent through multiple spaces. He shares how communities can be build up in an organization, around such individual creative pursuits. The industry subsequently and therein become, a self-sustaining thriving activity in itself. He also discussed the representation of women in this program.

Part 5/6 – Correlating Leadership Potential & Commitment to Overall Self-Development

In this segment, listen to Padmakar speak on time management, the work culture at BPCL the weightage accorded to a wholesome personality when it comes to recognising leadership potential and the benefits of pursuing and learning new skills and interests. we also speak about Padmakar’s perspectives on how developing a personal interest can be of tremendous help to a CXO. Happy listening.

Part 6/6 – Staying Relevant amidst Disruption - Confidence Building, Multiskilling & Versatility

In this concluding segment, Padmakar shares benefits and challenges one perceives in nurturing and promoting talent, given the technological advances and how confidence building might just prove to be the game changer in this ever-dynamic world where disruption is the order of the day. The ability then to quickly adapt and reinvent ourselves will be of paramount importance and therefore multiskilling and versatility will be the most valuable employee attributes. Though it won’t be easy to build upon, we discussed. We conclude on a keynote – the importance of staying committed and the simultaneous creation of abilities at an individual level which will eventually prove to add real and subsequent long-term value to an organization. Stay Tuned.


This is the highlights section of our conversation with Padmakar Kappagantula, Director HR at BPCL.

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