Empowered Employees Lands Company on 'Most Democratic Workplaces' List

May 4, 2012
HCL Technologies 'Employees First, Customers Second' philosophy recognized as best practice in workforce management.

While empowering employees on the factory floor has become a best practice, empowering employees in other areas of the organization is coming into its own. One company that has achieved this is HCL Technologies, an IT solutions-provider to the manufacturing industry, which instituted a rather untraditional management style. Moving the sacrosanct customer to second place, the management system is called EFCS (Employees First, Customers Second.)

"We made management and managers, including those in enabling functions (such as finance, human resources, etc.) accountable to those who create value," explained CEO Vineet Nayar, in a recent IndustryWeek article. "The greatest impact of this EFCS is that it unleashes the power of the many and loosens the stranglehold of the few. It increases speed and quality of innovation and decision-making where it matters most -- in the value zone -- every day."

And this philosophy is part of the reason that the company has tripled revenues and income in the last 5 years, doubled its market cap and increased customer satisfaction by nearly 73%.

The company also recently announced it was adding 10,000 jobs over the next 5 years.
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Recognizing that this philosophy is an example of "democratic workplace practices contributing to high performance, engagement, innovation and profitability' the company was placed on the WorldBlu List of Democratic Workplaces 2012 on May 4.

"People want freedom rather than fear in the workplace," comments WorldBlu Founder and CEO, Traci Fenton. "WorldBlu-certified organizations model how democracy in the workplace unleashes human potential and builds highly successful organizations that change the world for the better."

The list is composed of only 48 organizations selected from a breadth of industries including technology, manufacturing, health care, retail, services and energy. The combined annual revenue of World Blu certified companies is more than $17 billion.

"This award is a testimony to the employee driven, management embraced culture that is followed at HCL," said Shami Khorana, president, HCL America. "In 2005, HCL embraced the strategy Employees First, Customer Second, and retooled the company to become this trusted, transparent and democratic organization as it stands today. Our 90,000 transformers view themselves as the fundamental source of companys value, constantly generating new ideas and becoming the drivers for new business growth."

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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