Entertaining Employees: The Vineet Nayar Way

DQI Bureau
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India is a young country. IT industry is younger. While a young

workforce brings in a lot of enthusiasm and energy, it also gets bored

a little too quickly. It is no surprise that IT firms go out of their

way to make work life quite fun for the employees.

HCL Technologies CEO Vineet Nayar, whose book, Employees First,
Customers Second, has attracted a lot of attention globally, apparently

thinks creating a fun environment for employees is too important a job

to be delegated. And guess what. On a Town Hall meeting recently, he

actually made his appearance on the stage in a filmi

way—dancing to the tune of Salman Khan's famous number mera

hi jalwa. And the thunderous applause meant he achieved what he

intended to: to entertain employees.


HCL, under Nayar, has, of late been trying hard to project its employee
friendly image. While neither Nayar nor HCL is first to attach

importance to employees, Nayar stunned everyone, when he explicitly put

the customer after the employee in his book. No one had crossed that

line, so far.

HCL's realization of the importance of an employee-friendly image
actually comes at a time when most Indian IT companies, including

Infosys—which made the Indian way of feel-good HR a serious

globally accepted HR strategy—are quite subdued in their tone

about their employee practices, after the recession.

Interestingly, when most other companies were quite vocal about their
HR practices, it was not on HCL'a agenda. For example, HCL Tech hardly

ever participated in employee surveys, even though sister company, HCL

Infosystems regularly participates in most such surveys and usually

fares quite well. HCL Infosystem topped the DQ-IDC Best Employer

Survey, the only employee survey that is specific to IT industry, a

couple of years back and has been among the top three employers in the

last five years. HCL Technologies has not participated in the survey in

that period.

While no one knows for sure the sudden thrust on employee first, HCL
Technologies has always been a rebel, treading a different path than

its peers. Be it in choosing the strategy, getting into service areas

or verticals, it has always tried to be what some critics call

Desperate Differentiation. More often than not, it has worked. But

there are exceptions like BPO as well.

Only time will tell if this will succeed. Meanwhile, Chandra, Suresh,
Girish and Krish—can you match it?