Posted by: Matthew Molinari | March 23, 2011

HCL Technologies (Blog #9)

The most important thing any company could realize is that the employees are the most valuable asset in creating success. Having lots of customers can ensure success for a company in the short-term, but no matter how good your product is, people won’t come back if your employees are giving them reasons not to.

Vineet Nayar, president of HCL, realized this and based the entire transformation of the company on the employees. The name of the program, “Employees first – Customers second” may have had a controversial name, but the results were so overwhelmingly positive, that over time people were able to look past their initial doubts.

Vineet noticed that the problem with HCL was that it had become stagnant as a company and because of that, the employees had lost interest and their desire to perform at a high level vanished. The previous president had run the company in a way that promoted staying the course and not evolving so the employees had no reason to strive for excellence. Vineet decided that in order to be successful, the employees needed to feel like they could bring new ideas to customers and know that the resources of the company would be there to support the promises made to customers.

This idea lights a fire under the employees by saying, the company is in the business of winning so the employees need to be competitive to achieve that desired growth. If the company isn’t interested in growing into new areas, there is no urgency on the behalf of the employee to achieve anything beyond the status quo.

Employees who are motivated and interested in the work they are doing are more likely to work harder and bring better ideas to the table. There also need to be specific goals along the way to keep employees focused. One of the more interesting ideas that Vineet brought to the table was Trust Pay. The employees were told there were no more incentive pay scales but that they would receive that money in full upfront.

By doing this, the employees weren’t being forced to focus constantly on whether they would be able to get that monthly bonus. Everyone already had the money in the bank so the focus was on getting work done. If you are able to set clear goals and expectations for the employees there should not be a need to constantly remind them of what is expected. The employee is being trusted to do a job and, assuming they are given the proper tools, they need to come through. If they don’t they can expect to not be with the company for very long.

In the end, the company should be taking care of the employees so the employee can focus on the customer and not whether they are satisfied with their jobs. Happy employees create happy customers which creates a successful business which can than continue to improve how the employees are treated. Over time, word spreads about how employees are treated by the company and good reviews will attract the best new employees. The best employees will bring the cutting edge ideas which will attract new customers, retain old ones, and grow the company.

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