December 20, 2011

Hide and Seek

As Chief Executive Officer of HCL Technologies, Vineet Nayar has had over 10,000 meetings over the past four weeks. Just that this time, they bar a completely different character. For, the primary aim is to address the concerns of his colleagues amid the economic slowdown.

The Rs. 28,000 crore company has given the programme a name: Directions. Aggression marks its mood, wherein the CEO and top management would speak to a group of employees during sessions spaning an average of four hours. This would be followed by questions and answers.

The HR section of the Noida headquartered company is upbeat about the matter. Sure, 1991, founded HCL is not the only one using communication as a tool. At Vodafone too, the senior leadership team, led by the company's CEO engaged with the employees across regions (north, east, south and west) on a quarterly basis. They are done through road shows and web-casts, in a bid to keep them abreast with the health of the business, latest developments and new initiatives.

HR Consultants say the tough times of today are prompting the companies to put into practice their learning from 2008-09 slowdown and going in for a transparent communication. "Faster communication happening between people on social networking sites than between employers and employees."

Tata Motors, too, realises these are tough times and has sensed the importance of communicating with its employees, given the volatile market. "It is important the employees do not read about their company through the media" points out Prabir Jha, Senior Vice President with Mumbai based company. There is a need to inform them about what is happening in their own companies. We are alert and vigilant. But we continue to think what is the right thing for employees. We must realise that people's engagement with a company is beyond just immediate anxiety. 

Mahindra & Mahindra, through its "Rise" initiative, is engaging its employees in a better manner. To ensure that the 100,000 - plus staffers are on the same page, the company has started detailed human resources exercises that include incorporating "Rise" in performance management systems. M&M has, for example, launched a new metric called employee promoter score, which would judge "how enthusiastic an employee is to recommend Mahindra products".

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