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INTRODUCTION: The phenomenon of employee engagement is a major concern in the management circles across the globe. The concept is gaining increasing significance among managers and academic circles in India. In spite of its apparent importance, little research has been hitherto undertaken for identifying the antecedents of employee engagement. On the basis of existing literature, this conceptual paper attempts to define an engaged employee as the one who is optimistic, highly focused on his work, enthusiastic and willing to go an extra mile to contribute to sustainable organizational success on a long term basis. Employee engagement has been linked with an array of positive outcomes at the individual and organizational levels. Review of the academic literature on engagement clearly points out that employee engagement is a lever for business success. Engaged employees deliver higher productivity, lower absenteeism, less turnover intention, superior service quality, more satisfied and loyal customers, high job satisfaction, more commitment, increased organizational citizenship behavior and improved bottom-line business results. There are empirical evidences, which show positive association between employee engagement and performance. According to the Job Demands Resources Model, work engagement has a positive impact on job performance and employees who are engaged and perform well are able to create their own resources, which then foster engagement again over time and create a positive gain spiral.

Prevalence of employee engagement a global scenario: According to Blessing Whites 2011 research report, out of the 10,914 workers surveyed, only 31% are engaged and in all regions except Southeast Asia, more employees indicate there is no way they will stay with their employer in 2010 than compared to 2008. According to the report 37% of Indian workforce are engaged, which is the highest levels of engagement worldwide. However, it is disappointing to find that only 30% of the younger employees are engaged in their work. In

India HR or the training employees are least likely to engaged (27%) in contrast to other regions. The functions in India with highest number of engaged employees are with the most tangible priorities, sales (45%) and marketing (43%). The number of Indian employees determined to leave the organization in the next 12 months have increased from 5% (2008) to 10% (2010) which should be viewed with caution. 21% of the employees are ambivalent towards their long term commitment to the organization for which they work which should also be a matter of concern. Research has consistently shown that employee engagement is powerfully linked to a range of business success factors such as: 1. Employee performance/efficiency 2. Productivity 3. Safety 4. Attendance and retention 5. Customer service and satisfaction 6. Customer loyalty and retention 7. Profitability

During economic down turn, many organizations focused less on how to manage their talent and engage their employees, instead focusing on how to reduce costs by cutting salaries, bonuses, rewards and development costs. Some shortsighted leaders may even think that employee engagement no longer matters because their employees have fewer options and will stay because of their need for job security. However, smart leaders realize that while they may need to find short-term solutions to cut costs, they must also identify longer term talent management strategies to remain viable.

THE STUDY: In 2005, HCL had begun a series of experiments based upon a radical new management philosophy, "Employees First, Customers Second," which in many ways turned the traditional management hierarchy upside down. The aim of EFCS was to create trust grow through transparency, to make managers as accountable to employees as employees were to their bosses, to transfer the responsibility for change and value creation to front-line employees working in the value zone, where HCL and its customers interact. Systems and processes were put in place designed to achieve these goals.

Making Employee First, Customer Second Real: Four strategic objectives with the Employee First initiative: To provide a unique employee environment, to drive an inverted organizational structure, to create transparency and accountability in the organization, and to encourage a value-driven culture. The idea behind Employee First was that as a services business, the employee interface with the customer was critical. HCL had disengaged employees. The value-centric leadership goal could only be achieved with an engaged employee. The idea was to create an environment where employee development and empowerment was the most important thing because ultimately. It was about setting clear priorities, investing in employees development, and unleashing their potential to produce bottom-line results.

HCL AFTER Employees First, Customers Second HCLT grew at a CAGR of 24 % and increased its market capitalization by 186% in the last 3 years Doubled the number of $10 Mn, $20 Mn & $50 Mn customers and tripled the number of $100 Mn customers

HCLTs revenue per employee is amongst the highest in the Indian IT industry today HCLT was also featured as one of the most innovative companies globally - Included in the first ever Executive Dream Team published by Fortune - Emerged as the top ranking IT Services company in APAC, in Forbes Asias Fab 50 List - Ranked by TPI in the Top 6 Global Service Providers by TCV across ALL 3 geographies (Americas, EMEA, APAC). The Next Wave: EFCS 2.0 From Management Driven- Employee Embraced to Employee Driven, Management Embraced The Employees First story at HCLT is rapidly evolving with employees taking up the ownership of change from the management. HCLT is already witnessing instances of the blue ocean droplets producing big results.

MEME:A platform created by employees to go from official to social at work now boards over 59,000 members. POWER OF ONE: A social responsibility initiative to emphasize the power of every single employee to create a change not just in the organization but across the community. Through this program the employee spends a day with the community and donates a Rupee a day, which ultimately adds up to an avalanche of positive social activism. BY ROHINI, TERTIANA AMITY UNIVERSITY 9840236507, 9884437261