Sunday, April 26, 2009

No.8 LG Electronics


Industry: Consumer durables
Employees: 3,000
Workplace locations: 41
Business units: 1
Unique roles: 417

THE PREMISE for HR at LG is if the company takes care of its employees, its performance will improve. Yet, just five years ago, LG India was losing 35% of freshers within a year of them joining the company. That number is now down to 5% and not one employee earmarked as core talent or in the successor group has left in the last one year.

Behind this turnaround is a change in the basis of expectations from employees and the way they engage with the company. Activities were introduced and processes were reoriented towards increasing inter- and intra-departmental interaction, promoting fun at work, providing instant recognition and improving work-life balance. LG was considered a tough place to work, especially at the branch level.People were slogging even on Sundays to meet targets. This workaholism ended when the HR imposed a blanket ban on employees working on Sundays. Initially, workers accustomed to chasing targets at the expense of personal lives still flouted the diktat, but HR followed through—they called up employee homes on Sundays and holidays to confirm that employees were not working.

Touches like this make Dr Yasho V Verma, Director (HR and Marketing Sales), LG, say: “On paper, every HR team is strong, it is implementation that matters.” Small things, like the 30-minute freewheeling session with the boss, count. Team leaders managing less than 15 people have to do this once a month; those managing more than 15 people, once in two months. They also have to take their team out every month, at the company’s expense.The bonding and interaction improves trust and team spirit, and creates a better working environment. After these measures were introduced, late sitting in the office reduced by about 80%.

A similar concept exists at the blue-collar worker level too. An HR person takes line guardianship of 30-40 employees, and meets them once a month for at least 15-20 minutes to hear them out and understand their mindset. The onus of resolving employee issues lies with the HR person, and processes in place make them accountable.

For employees, professional growth is important. So, the HR team prepares a five-year plan for employees based on a three-day workshop with them, where behavioural and functional capabilities are assessed. A clear training plan is drawn up on how to achieve the goals. Two months back, this programme covered 1,250 employees. Every month, 40 more employees are added, with the eventual objective of covering all 3,400 employees at LG. Verma sees HR people as “psychologists” who can read employee minds and take quick action. LG’s numbers show they have been doing that.

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