HCL Technologies is empowering its employees and pointing the way to the future of business.
“I have seen the future of management, and it is Indian“, says David Kirkpatrick, Fortune senior editor.
Vineet Nayar, president of India’s 30,000-employee HCL Technologies, is creating an IT outsourcing firm where, he says, employees come first and customers second.
Every employee rates their boss, their boss’ boss, and any three other company managers they choose, on 18 questions using a 1-5 scale. Such 360-degree evaluations are not uncommon, but at HCL all results are posted online for every employee to see.
And that’s not all. Every HCL employee can at any time create an electronic “ticket” to flag anything they think requires action in the company. Explains Nayar, “It can be ‘I have a problem with my bonus,’ or ‘My seat is not working,’ or ‘My boss sucks.'”
The ticket is routed to a manager for resolution. In addition, every employee can post a question or comment on any subject in a public process called “U and I.” About 400 come in each month, and questions and answers are all posted on the intranet.
You can’t become a manager at HCL until you’ve passed a group of courses that include negotiation skills, presentation skills, account management, and what they call “expectation management” – dealing with the expectations of both customers and employees.
Nayar is also looking to solve a problem that looms large for Indian IT companies these days: Attrition.
The best employees are increasingly the hardest to retain. Nayar wants anyone who leaves for a job elsewhere to end up frustrated. Early signs suggest his bold strategy is working.
Nayar has only been president for a year, a tumultuous one in which most of these innovations have been implemented. But in that time the attrition rate has dropped in half, he says; the stock more than doubled – HCL Technologies’ market cap is $4.2 billion. (The company is mostly owned by a holding company which also owns HCL Infosystems, India’s largest PC-maker.) Revenues last year grew 34 percent to $764 million. HCL’s innovations are not only managerial. The company aims to become a strategic partner with customers by also working with them on business process management and by managing infrastructure remotely, a business it pioneered in India, says Nayar. It has succeeded with AMD, a marquee customer for which it does all those things.In engineering all this innovation, Nayar’s humility appears to be a potent managerial asset. A few weeks back, he wrote a letter to the company’s employees marking the anniversary of his taking the job (He worked his way up over 21 years.). “Please excuse me if I stepped on any toes or hurt any feelings in trying to hurry the transformation agenda,” he wrote. “I am here as long as I have your support and confidence.”
Don’t you wish more managers had the strength to speak like that?
Source: The Fortune Magazine