Value for Talent

Hughes Software Systems is in the thick of the war for talent. A look at its
policies to retain its star performers is startling. Quarterly staff meetings
where everyone gets to know the company’s plans and question senior
management; an adventure club which manages to get sponsors for a trip up
Friendship Peak, Himachal Pradesh; and popular awards where employees can judge
and vote on others’ leadership behavior.

For those interested in a career in the company, HSS has a gentle way of
putting it across: a page on its Web site helps potential candidates do an
analysis vis-à-vis their potential career at HSS! So it may sound like it’s
retaining those who actually join that HSS is really interested in. But Aadesh
Goyal, VP, HSS, says, "We still have to work hard to hire the right people.
We continue to look at why are we able to attract the people that we are able to
attract. What is the current brand attraction of the company."

And on retaining staff, from time to time, HSS does surveys on relationship
development, training and organizational behavior along the company strategy. It
also conducts retention surveys of people who have stayed in the company long
enough to learn what has worked right for them. Goyal says, "The question
to be asked is how is the employee behavior changing–it is changing now and
then–and what is the market forces. What’s new, what’s changed and how we
as a company have fared."

One of the things that has worked well for HSS in building the
"right" environment is its business ethics program. This is
implemented by all Hughes companies worldwide. The focus of the program is how
to grow business ethically, both within the company and outside. All new
employees go through an ethics workshop within four weeks of joining and a
refresher program within the year. "This is a simple thing but goes a long
way to creating the right atmosphere," comments Goyal.

A performance yardstick for all employees is based on the six values that HSS
stands for. Each employee does an assessment once in a year. They get feedback
from the supervisor and manager to raise the emphasis of goal review and
performance review when stock options are given. Then, there is the popular
awards, the purpose of which is to build culture. HSS has taken 12 leadership
behaviors. Every employee has one vote each for one behavior, for instance,
there can be the best leader, best member or best reviewer. Every employee who
gets a vote automatically gets an e-mail from the system saying, "Somebody
voted for you for being a best mentor and here’s what he has to say about

Managers go through a leadership development inventory program every year.
They get feedback from supervisors, subordinates and peers. All these go to
build a "team" within the organization, as Goyal says, "This
motivates people. Peer recognition is the best recognition in the world; it is
the most credible recognition."


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