Take Care of Your People to Draw In Customers Premium

To read the article in full, become Privileged Subscriber or log in


No customer can come first without valuing and winning the engagement of employees. The Indian company HCLT, a veritable laboratory for employee motivation and engagement, unveils its iconoclastic methods

Taking care of employees is the best way to attract customers.
That, in a nutshell, is the management philosophy of Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies (India). In just a few years, Nayar has re-energized his company and led it back to two-digit growth. How? By bolstering and leveraging employee motivation. But this has involved fundamentally revising the definition of what management actually is!

The surest way to attract customers would be by enabling employees to first express their talents.

Are Indian companies inflexible?
That may be their reputation, but Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies in Noida (Uttar Pradesh), has demonstrated the opposite. Nayar’s excitingly innovative business model hands responsibility to frontline employees and highlights their competencies. Implemented since 2005, the scheme has turned the hierarchical pyramid upside down and fostered a return to double-digit growth.
His main principles :
• Build awareness of the need to change and and define an “Us First” strategy
• Foster trust by increasing transparency and Addressing the Four Dimensions of Trust (credibility, reliability, intimacy and altruism).
• Invert the hierarchical pyramid (and transfer responsibility for change to closer to the company value zone.)

Make way for a policy of trust and transparency.
Field experience has taught Chris Connors, head of HCLT France and Benelux, that the most critical components of any management policy are trust and transparency.
According to Connors, the notion of “employees first” initially threw people off balance, but the scheme has proven itself, successfully boosting employee engagement, employer image, and customer image.
2009, EADS received a harsh wake-up call in the form of highly disappointing responses to a detailed engagement survey. The Group therefore decided to make employee motivation its top priority. Kathrin Dahm reviews the core themes of EADS’s motivation-focused management policy: enthusiasm, trust, respect, sharing, and dialogue.

Read our dossier
Take Care of Your People to Draw In Customers

Business Digest no. 209, Septembre 2010.

Based on Employees First, Customers Secondby Vineet Nayar, Harvard Business Press, June 2010 and the interviews with Chris Connors, head of France and Benelux at HCL Technologies, and Kathrin Dahm, HR senior manager, EADS, August 2010.