“An employee’s trust in the management today is the lowest”

Publication: The Times Of India Mumbai;Date: Apr 24, 2013;Section: Times Ascent;Page: 41

“An employee’s trust in the management today is the lowest” Can a philosophy that reads, ‘Employees First, Customers Second’ ever help a company’s revenue to increase fivefold? Vineet Nayar, vice-chairman and joint MD of HCL Technologies Ltd who architected this unconventional strategy tells Viren Naidu why the time now is right to put the ‘human’ back in ‘human resource’
Q. ‘EMPLOYEES FIRST, CUSTOMERS SECOND’HAS BECOME A GLOBAL PHENOMENON AND SET A BENCHMARK FOR GOOD PEOPLEMANAGEMENT PRACTICES.WHAT WAS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THIS? High-performance individuals just want an opportunity. A painter seeks an opportunity to paint, a singer to sing and a football player to play. In that opportunity, they find the inner strength to ignore all that is wrong around them and focus on that one thing that they are passionate about. Highperformance organisations are those that help you discover what you are passionate about and then give you the opportunity and support to excel in that one thing that matters the most. The questions we asked ourselves in 2005 were: Could we create such an organisation? Could we excite our employees by openly sharing with them challenges and problems and not instructions and tasks? Could we invert the organisational pyramid and make the management equally accountable to the employees as they are to the management? The answers to these questions took shape as a series of experiments we undertook, which eventually evolved into an idea called ‘Employees First, Customers Second’ (EFCS). Q. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT COMPANIES FACE WHILE MAKING THE SHIFT FROM ‘CUSTOMERS FIRST’TO ‘EMPLOYEES FIRST’? In today’s MBA-dominated world, ‘strategy’ is often about looking out of the window for opportunities rather than focusing on the inside and building aligned teams. Irrespective of how smart you are, you are irrelevant unless your team is enthused enough to give their 200 per cent to make even an average strategy look great. The other challenge is to recognise the centrality of the frontline employees. It may seem intuitive, but you’ll be surprised at the level to which this obvious truth is ignored across the world. The solution lies in creating an environment where employees contribute with innovative ideas every day to grow the company, which they believe to be theirs. Q. WHICH ARE THE REDUNDANT MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICES THAT STILL PREVAIL? Many. The ‘CEO’ today is symbolical of the alpha power that has become embedded in the senior management of companies, despite the fact that they are farthest away from the ‘value zone’. The most effective organisational cultures I have witnessed have been those where leaders have inverted the management pyramid and ceased to think of themselves as the only source of change. They try hard to transfer the ownership of the organisational change and growth to the next generation of leaders. An organisation that takes 50 small decisions at the front will always be more effective than the one that takes five big decisions at the top. Q. YOU BELIEVE THAT MANAGERIAL STRUCTURES MUST BE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN IN ORDER TO FOCUS ON THE VALUE ZONE. DO YOU THINK INDIAN ORGANISATIONS ARE READY TO ADAPT TO THIS CHANGE? Indian companies and leaders are amongst the sharpest and smartest in the world. Once they realise that there is a better way, they will go for it. The traditional family-run companies had all the values that I have talked about till they became big and stopped seeing their company as a ‘family’. But I’m sure they will rectify it, as that is the core ethos of being an Indian. Q. WILL NEW PHILOSOPHIES LIKE ‘EFCS’HELP COMPANIES IN RECESSION-PROOFING? The employee’s trust in his/her management today is at its lowest point ever. If your employees believe in you, they will work harder to turn the tide around. I have always believed that recession is an opportunity for some teams to pull ahead at the
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asp?Style=OliveXLib:LowLevelEntityToPrint_TOINEW&Type=text/html&Locale=english-skin-custom&Path=T… 2/2 . viren. the organisation runs on steroids for a long. And he will exclusively answer them! Your answers will be carried in Ascent.timesofindia. long time. TODAY.4/25/13 “An employee’s trust in the management today is the lowest” expense of others. Can you inspire. mentor and enable them to create the magic they are capable of creating in life? These people ignite the organisation and set it on fire and then.com epaper. I have never believed in the concept of ‘employer of choice’.WHAT GOES IN THE MAKING OF AN ‘EMPLOYER OF CHOICE’? I have always believed that ask the mentor! HAVE A QUERY? We have onboard Vineet Nayar as your corporate guru and mentor for a fortnight! Post your queries on any subject pertaining to your career. Q.com/Repository/getFiles. who each day want to change the world by pursuing their passion. organisations should attract the ‘transformers’.naidu@timesgroup. organisation and corporate India.

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