How about makingthe organizationACCOUNTABLEto EMPLOYEES?Inverting the pyramid through EMPLOYEES FIRST
In an industry that has long lived by the mantra that focus on the customer is the only thingthat brings results, we beg to differ. At HCL, we focus on employees first. We believe thatemployees bring strategic value to an organization and are critical to its success in the globalmarketplace. The future growth and competitiveness of any organization depends more thanever before on attracting the best talent and engaging and empowering them to achievetheir own, and the organization’s goals. Towards this, we practice Employees First – the firstof its kind of articulation, which is at the core of our efforts to provide our employees a workenvironment and culture that they can take pride in. And it is lived everyday at HCL.What is Employees First?Around five years ago, we initiated a unique employee-focused program that places the needsof employees before that of customers. The Employees First philosophy is based on the beliefthat people want to be treated like people, not resources. They need to be part of your overallvision and direction. They need to be the drivers of your sustenance and growth. Happyand passionate employees offer better value in engagements and directly impact customersatisfaction. This can bring a sea-change at the company level, and in turn, greater customerloyalty, better engagements and growth. By treating employees as partners and participantsin the company’s success, every individual becomes responsible for transforming, thinkingand providing value to customers and all concerned.Inverting the Value Pyramid through Employees FirstRealizing that customers buy value from employees who are delivering services to them, wehave created an uncontested market space by focusing on internal transformation rather thanexternal innovation, through Employees First• We believe that the maximum value is created at the employee-customer interface.Therefore we empower our employees to generate delight for our customers, every step ofthe way• It is about the individual taking charge - proactively creating space for growth, expansionand enrichment. We urge our people to create a change in the organization, bring abouta revolution and create an ecosystem that exudes brilliance and superiority in everythingthey do• Employees First is our means of getting into the very core of the individual and decodingtheir individuality and diversity, unleashing their potential and equipping them with thenecessary tools to enhance the value zone - the employee-customer interface, allowing usmaximize the “wow” delivered to our customers
In accordance with these tenets, many initiatives have been introduced at HCL tokeep the employees first culture alive• Smart Service Desk, where employees can raise SLA-bound tickets on any internalservice provider, and only employees can close these tickets, if satisfied. This brings in aculture of reverse accountability• CEO Connect through U&I, where the CEO is personally available online to everyemployee, tours every location and holds interactive discussions complemented by a fullyfunctional President’s blog. This infuses a culture of transparency and open communicationbetween the CEO and the employeeThe 5 core valuesof Employees FirstThese core values represent the deeprooted beliefs that guide our actions andthoughts every day.1. Honesty: honest and righteous inbehavior, actions and practices2. Transparency: open and clearcommunications; simplicity in relayingour objectives and motives3. Accountability: completely liable andresponsible for our actions, decisionsand performance4. Individuality: appreciate theuniqueness of each individual and tapinto their potential; high respect andregard for originality5. Collaboration: strong team spiritand fostering an environment that isconducive for free sharing and learningThe 4 tenets of Employees First[emerge from our core values]1. Mirror Mirror: Creating the impetusfor change - accepting imperfectionsas catalysts for transformation2. Trust through Transparency:Creating a culture of change -seeding trust by stretching theenvelope of transparency3. Inverting the OrganizationalPyramid: Building a structure forchange by reversing accountability i.e.making management accountable toemployees in the value zone4. Recasting the role of the CEO:Transferring the responsibility forchange from the CEO to employees bydecentralizing decision-making
• Employees First Governing Council, comprising Function Heads who hold Town HallMeetings and collectively address all employee questions and issues. This empowersemployees to question management and become owners of change• Open 360 Degree FeedbackTM, where employees can rate their managers, even theCEO, and the feedback/rating is made public across the organization. This inverts thepyramid and makes the employee a part of the development journey of the manager andalso the CEO• Talent Transformation, is designed to build behavior based competencies in individuals• Employees First Academy, comprising three levels: Employees First Lifestyle,Employees First Leadership, and Harvard Emerging Leader Program, to initiate and nurtureeffective leaders• Employee Passion Indicative Count™ [EPIC], assists employees in introspecting toidentify their unique passion drivers that determine their performance and behavior at work• Directions, an annual event where the CEO and senior management conduct aface-to-face meeting with all employees to discuss company strategy and direction. It is a‘mirror, mirror’ exercise between the employees and senior managementWhat has it resulted in?In 2005, HCL commenced its transformation journey based on the foundation of EmployeesFirst. Today, this unique management philosophy has been recognized worldwide forempowering employees to become the drivers of growth.In 2008-2009, many companies survived by making difficult personnel and financial decisions- laying off employees and trying to find more creative ways to cut costs. But at HCL, byusing the principle of Employees First, we not only survived but grew fastest compared toany other IT Company during this time. Empowering our employees gave us the edge whileour competitors were losing people in the value zone. Our leadership team continued to betransparent with our employees, and even created a new institution called Smart Response,where we asked 10,000 employees what actions they thought our company should take toweather the turbulence. By reaching out to employees, the management team helped reducefears about job loss and helped employees understand their real value to the company.Partly resulting from ideas generated by Smart Response, HCL over the past five yearshas experienced• Tripling of revenue and operating profit• Twenty percent year-on-year growth in market share• Seventy percent of deals being won against the Big Four international IT companies• Fivefold increase in the number of large ($20mn+) customers• Nearly fifty percent decline in employee attrition rates• Seventy percent increase in employee satisfaction scoresNot only this, our customers now vouch that Employees First actually brings tremendousvalue for them. These numbers speak for themselves and show that Employees First did trulyimprove our company’s performance while providing value to customers.
HCL’s Employees First is a new and radical management philosophy whichwill catch on with the world sooner or laterHarvard Business School teaches about HCL as a case study on businesstransformation highlighting the Employees First initiativeBest Employer in India – Hewitt Study 2009One of Britain’s Top Employers for the 4thConsecutive YearHCL’s Employees First and ‘democratization’ of management conceptcould ‘bring about a corporate renaissance’Darden School of Business has done a case study on the impact created byHCL through its “Employees First Customers Second” practiceWorld’s most Innovative Company for its workforce practicesWorldBlu lists HCL as one of the 44 Most Democratic Workplaces inthe WorldEmployees First, Customers Second is now a book published byHarvard Press. Admired by many global thought leaders Tom Peters,Tony Hsieh, Gary Hamel, Judy McGrath, Ram Charan, Victor K. FungThe world is noticing something unique about HCLEmployees First is the concept for today“Perhaps there are many ways to misunderstand what Employees First really means and whatit can do for a company. What is important to remember, however, is that the concept canactually help during a recession, can increase productivity of an already successful company,and earn the respect of customers. Remember also that implementing such a policy doesnot require a company to develop any complicated technological innovation or long, detailedplans. It merely requires small adjustments to already existing institutions, and the courageand creativity to experiment with different options until finding one that works. Human capitalhas virtually endless potential to increase in quality and service, and the only way to increasethis human capital is to put employees first. It is the key to continuing corporate growth.”- Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Technologies
Hello, I’m from HCL! We work behind the scenes, helping our customers to shift paradigms and start revolutions. We usedigital engineering to build superhuman capabilities. We make sure that the rate of progress far exceeds the price. Andright now, 88,000 of us bright sparks are busy developing solutions for 500 customers in 31 countries across the world.How can I help you?www.hcltech.com