Workplace Units: 41
Business units: 11
Unique roles: 76
EMPLOYEES FIRST! WHEN HCL TECHNOLOGIES CEO VINEET NAYAR unveiled this concept at the company’s 2005 ‘global customer’ meet, it left everyone stunned. No one could believe that the company was putting its employees before customers. The shock was even more pronounced as HCL was struggling to find its feet when other Indian IT companies were taking leadership positions in the global IT market.
The Employee First programme was part of HCL’s transformational blue-ocean strategy. Not only was it going aft er newer markets and segments in which other Indian IT companies had a minimal presence, it was also searching for differentiators that would put it six to eight months ahead of the competition. The focus was to consolidate business lines, invest in sales, internal IT processes and services, pursue big-ticket deals and raise bills on output-based pricing. However, all this meant a lot of pressure on the workforce, which was already dealing with high attrition rates.
The new strategy positioned employees as the biggest differentiator. The premise of employee first and customer second is that delighted employees will create delighted customers, thereby sustaining business success. The company was not chasing volume deals, but high-value deals. Nayar says value is created at the point of interface with the client, and this is done by employees. This, in turn, produces business results. “Though it was a transparent concept, it took time to sink in. But we were serious about it, we believed in it and we had the will to implement it,” says Dilip Kumar rivastava, Global Head (HR), HCL Technologies.
HCL’s entire HR policy was revisited to bring in a qualitative shift towards employees. Exposure was increased and skills were updated to enhance knowledge. Employees were empowered to have views about the company and given opportunities to express them. This was done through 360-degree appraisals, surveys and opinion polls. The transformation of employees happened through coaching and mentoring programmes. A reward and recognition system was also put in place. The growth in the business reflects employee and customer acceptance of the programme.
“Change is the only thing that is constant here. I became multi-skilled and started believing in myself. HCL helped me to grow,” says Rajani Kapani, who joined the company in 1998 as a front-office executive. Today, his designation is Deputy Manager, Employee HR Services.
The initiative to put the spotlight on employees has made a huge difference. This, perhaps, is the prime reason for employees being confident about the steps being taken by the management to negotiate difficult times.
Good news or bad, employees get to hear first from the CEO or the leadership team. For instance, in September 2008, Vineet Nayar personally addressed employees across centres and explained the rationale behind the Axon acquisition, and what it meant for the company and the workforce. He also spoke about the economic situation and what it meant for HCL’s business.
Employees learnt that the organisation was not looking at layoffs or salary cuts as part of its efforts to minimise costs. This reassured the employees and also made them work harder. HCL Technologies is already known as the CEO factory for India, with almost 100 of its former employees now holding chief executive posts in the corporate world.
Today, it is evolving into a global company, where nationalities and region dissolve into just one thing: being an HCLite.
Source : outlook business