WHT DO MARUTI,PEPSI & M And M Have In Common?? - CiteHR
Bala1
Sr Project Manager
Anchal
Management Consultancy

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WHAT DO MARUTI, EICHER CONSULTANCY, PEPSI AND MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA

HAVE IN COMMON, APART FROM BEING PROFITABLE MARKET-LEADING COMPANIES?

->>A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO THE MOST SIGNIFICANT & IMPACTABLE

RESOURCE — THEIR EMPLOYEES

...By Harveen Herr

Corporate organizations have always had profit as their sole

objective. A prerequisite for profit is getting maximum results at

the least cost of resources. The most profitable companies are the

ones which do this best. It is not surprising then that in the muddle

of conflicting priorities, the human resource is largely taken for

granted. In fact, in most organizations, the role of the human

resource development manager is more of a compensation

administrator, "body"-buyer and arbiter in case of conflict.

Development in real terms is largely confined to management

doublespeak. That really is myopic, considering that most people

working in the corporate sector spend practically all of their

waking, conscious, productive and creative hours in their offices.

Moreover, stress is increasingly exacting a heavy toll. Says Dr.

Bimal Chhajer, who runs the SAAOL heart program in Delhi,

India: "What multiplies stress hundred fold is the fact that today

executives are constantly working against time, creating an

information and time overload." Fortunately, market leaders are

beginning to get wise to the need to better utilize their existing

human resources.

In the new global, competitive scenario where the old rules of the

game have changed faster than field hockey, the rules by which human

resources have been looked after had to change, too. Clearly only

quality people can produce quality goods and services. To that end,

programs catering to the physical and mental well being of employees

are getting institutionalized. These include stress-buster plans,

personal growth programs and communication workshops.

This is obviously going a few steps beyond the standard medical

expense reimbursement and motivation workshops. Many of the new

meditation and personal growth workshops being tried out are New Age

in nature. In fact, Deepak Chopra, the USA based ayurveda proponent

and best-selling author, commented that the first signs of New Age

consciousness in India first appeared in the corporate sector.

Opinion on the pace of change, however, varies. Lt. Gen. S.S. Apte,

PVSM, a consultant who strongly endorses the direct relationship

between corporate health and employee well being, doubts whether the

corporate sector sees employees as a resource to be nurtured. In the

public sector specifically, Apte feels that frequent top management

changes hinder growth schemes from getting the required gestation

period to take root. Nurturing the employee takes many forms, for

example, worker empowerment, facilities for physical exercise,

counseling and new approaches to the worker management interface. The

single most critical factor affecting productivity of workers is

stress.

Corporations are increasingly acknowledging it. As expected, they are

looking to traditional Indian systems such as yoga and meditation for

inducing peace and relaxation. The erstwhile DCM Co. of India, which

is now trifurcated, has a long history of introducing programs to

tackle executive stress. Siddharth Shriram, CEO of SIEL, is bullish

about yoga—he turned an enthusiast over six years ago, and never

misses his daily yoga session. He is willing to sponsor his employees

for memberships to clubs that teach yoga.

More than the industry dowagers, however, it is the leading edge

electronics and telecommunications companies that are increasingly

adopting the new approach. Weston Electroniks chief Sundar T. Vachani

is not only personally committed to yoga, he had employed full time

yoga instructors for the staff at his Kalkaji Headquarters in Delhi,

India.

Amul Behl, CEO of Logic Control, who follows Swami Parthasarathi in

using Vedanta in management, generously shares his farm with his

employees, which is the venue for regular retreats and workshops,

open even to people from other companies such as Vam Organics.

Another transformed company is Himachal Futuristic Communications

Ltd. (HFCL), and not just because of the volume of team service

business it has bagged. As the company grew rapidly, so did the

quantum of employee stress. Three years ago, Vinay Maloo, a promoter

of HFCL, introduced the meditative technique of preksha dhyan,

devised by the Jain Guru Acharya Tulsi, in the company.

The results reported by the management; greater teamwork and improved

individual effectiveness. Meditation, once considered the preserve of

Himalayan yogis, has proved to be very successful in a number of

organizations. Some years ago, DCM Shriram organized a series of

workshops on meditation, beginning with a common session for

employees, followed up with individual sessions that taught

techniques of stress management. The response was tremendous. In

Bombay, employees of Benzer have been taking a 10-day break to learn

Vipassana meditation. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's transcendental

meditation too, is in demand because it is said to help boost

productivity, cut down absenteeism as well as medical bills. The

Maharishi Institute of Management (MIM), which teaches the technique,

has set up a separate cell to deal with corporate development

programs

Tata Tea and Tata Chemicals have got the full treatment from MIM.

Visiting professors from the Maharashi Vedic University in Holland,

conducted sessions at Tata Tea headquarters in Calcutta, and then

visited the company's tea gardens in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, two

Southern Indian states, for a repeat. ACC, the Oriental Bank, Indian

Petrochemcials Corporation and Reckitt and Colman are some other

companies that have called in MIM. Says N. Ramanathan, president TQM

and People Development, SRF Ltd. We chose the TM program to achieve

well balanced personality development. SRF conducted TM programmed in

its offices in Delhi, followed up with sessions at its plants in

Bhiwadi and Gwalior, other Indian towns. Its Chennai office, in

India, is next on the agenda. A preliminary session introduced

employees to the system, and they were invited to learn the technique

along with spouses and children.

Employing systems with religious or spiritual overtones raises the

issue of values, not quite unwelcome. Says Anil Sachdev, Managing

Director, Eicher Consultancy Services (ECS): "The single biggest

conflict for employees is their personal values clashing with the

values dictated by business practices. Often, ECS has willingly

sacrificed the interest of the company for a set of principles—

something that every new recruit may not be comfortable with.

Humanity and ethics are the foundation of ERCS", says Sachdev.

He believes that if the leadership of any company is willing to walk

the talk, it inspires everyone concerned. Personal growth,

communication workshops, yoga, group activity and meditation are very

much in place in ECS but ethics remains paramount. Management guru

Mrityunjay B. Athreya is often described as having developed the

Vedic style of management. He recommends the universal principles

from the scriptures or principles that are consistent with our

culture and ethos.

Professor S.K. Chakraborty of the Indian Institute of Management,

Calcutta, is another guru who teaches a connection to Vedic

principles in management. He heads the Management Center for Human

Values, a research center of management through based on traditional

Indian ethos. He says that only after reading several Japanese books

on management did he realize that Indians could turn to the

scriptures for inspiration. The research center is supported by the

Tata Group , Union Trust of India, HDFC, the Bhilwara Group, and

Indian Oil. Like Athreya Chakraborty also points at a lack of

rootedness in the modern value system that leads to overwhelming

stress.

A number of organizations have been lining up for the programs based

on 18 years of research. A unique stress busting program developed by

him has been used by companies as diverse as TELCO, Shriram Fibres,

Salora and BHEL. The Japanese management principles, too, are finding

many takers in India. In today's push button existence, one is

reminded of the startling results of a study done by some Japanese

auto companies. In one plant, the assembly line system where one

worker put in one component, was changed. Instead, groups were formed

where one entire crew completed the assembly of one car.

The new system led to improved productivity, although logically this

should not have happened. It is well known that Maruti Udyog has

tried to copy the Japanese management ethos here. When it introduced

a common canteen a few years ago, it was considered revolutionary.

But today, argues R Vasudevan its DGM Personnel in a new company, the

same step would be received in a more matter of fact manner. The

standard uniform code (gray) also prevails, which makes the employees

equal and which is the first, external symbol of a flat organization.

The lower you are in an organization, the higher the sense of

satisfaction about commonality says Vasudevan. Similarly, everybody,

bar none, punches in the morning and punches out at the end of the

shift.

At the regular morning meetings, the supervisor or group leader also

leads the group for a few minutes of exercise. External faculty is

regularly called in to conduct stress management programs On the

first Wednesday of every month, the plant is stopped for one hour in

every shift for small group activity a total of 600 groups meet to

discuss changes, improvements and solutions, in their area of work.

Another company committed to worker empowerment is Belgaum-based

polyhedron, which manufactures hydraulic valves. Its managing

director, Suresh Kundre, was inspired by management books based on

Japanese principles.

Kundre tries to keep the company functioning totally transparent. The

120-odd employees do not have to be assigned task, as they set their

own targets, and handle functions such as placing purchase orders

without constant management vigil. Attitudes towards propriety,

personal and spiritual growth are changing widely. Earlier, the boss

had to be tough: the managers could not show that they were stressed

or worried. Says Swami Premananda of the Sivandanda Yoga Nataraja

Center in Delhi: They had to show that they were tigers in the filed.

And 10-15 years ago, if your boss revealed a spiritual side, or

talked about yoga, he was a weirdo.

Today, these qualities and extra value to the person. The Sivananda

Center has taught asanas, pranayama, and meditation to companies such

as NTPC and ABB. Swami Premananda recommends yoga as the more

holistic approach for, as he says. Allopathic medicine will cure the

headache, but not the stiff neck, not the root cause. You still wake

up with low energy levels. Another system, rarely heard of earlier in

corporate quarters, is reiki. To contain stress, the Bombay-based

Mahindra & Mahindra uses the Rational Emotive Therapy developed by

the US psychologist Albert Ellis. It works on the precept that a

small crisis engenders negative feelings stress and turmoil soon

balloon the incident out of proportion. The system requires that the

employees involved write down their negative feelings.

Then, a contrary statement is also written down, leading to

catharsis. Given the demand, seminar leaders, counselors and

consultants are moving in to work with the corporate sector. One

familiar names is Shiv Khera's who runs open house programs that have

proved popular. USA based Khera, who periodically visits India, has a

three pronged approach, to impact attitude, ambition, and action for

the transformation of people into Total Quality People in their

professional as well as private lives.

Dr. Salim Sharif and Dr. Shakuntala David, who run Sandarshan in

Delhi, started counseling the corporate entity with BHEL, Bhopal, as

their first client. They look at the holistic health of the

organization through counseling programs on personal growth,

interpersonal effectiveness, team building, and workshops in related

areas. They have worked with Escorts, Pepsi, Engineers India, DCM,

Max Page, Shriram Foods and Fertilizers, among others. Says Dr.

David: When the company moved from the trader to an organization, a

lot of institutionalization had to be done, but does that mean that

you lose the organizational values that the Lala had?

Sandarshan recently held a family communication and problem solving

workshop with the employees of Bluestar, and a workshop on counseling

skills and human resources with senior rung management of DCM

Consolidated. The Company's brief was that it wished to break the

hierarchical style. Sandarshan also ran a program for Pepsi Foods at

its plant in Patiala, where the spouses of employees were involved in

the workshop. Dr. Vanit Nalwa, director, Empower-Counseling

Psychologists, who had worked in the UK, encourages companies to work

towards developing the full potential of their employees, even if it

means completely relocating them.

She has found employees most responsive to workshops on parenting

skills and communication, followed by programs on assertiveness

training. Says Dr Nalwa The increase in output is incidental. We

monitored whether the employee felt that he was personally benefited.

Programs to improve the physical health of employees have also gone

beyond providing for table tennis in the common room. Companies such

as NIIT and Cynamid have set up fully equipped gymnasiums at their

corporate offices and the facilities are available before and after

office hours without any membership chargers.

A&M magazine and the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of

India were quite open to the idea when employees asked if they could

run aerobics classes within office hours. A happy median was reached

when the space was made available, and employees in both

organizations decided to forego their lunch break in favor of an

aerobics workout. It appears that there are today more innovative and

progressive pro-happy median was reached when the space was made

available, and employees in both organizations decided to forego

their lunch break in favor of an aerobics workout. It appears that

there are today more innovative and progressive programs for

employees as the human resource function is given more teeth in the

organization.

Most of these programs are designed to improve the overall life of

the employee and not just to improve a certain set of skills. Most

companies do not see these as additional costs when they do cost

benefit analysis. Apart from this communication being so sharp these

days, if, an organization shows commitment to the all round

development of its employees, the good word spreads fast, good for

PR. What remains true, however, is that most of the new programs are

usually confined to the top brass in a company. It is always the top

management that decides whether employees at lower levels too should

under go the same training.

Admits Anant P. Dehadrai, country head of Sumitomo Corp: Yes this

movement has to be top down, but in some instances, the top has no

problem; it is the down that may not be ready just yet. He quotes

examples of companies where there is suspicion about such moves being

some sort of management drama, and the union has not been entirely

convinced of any benefits accruing to workers. In such cases, where

the management is committed, it will decide to start a program with

only union committee members; different kinds of stresses operate at

different levels of work. At the other end of the spectrum are some

companies like NIIT, which try to impact the life of the employees

way beyond the work area. The company has evolved a personal

effectiveness program that allows each individual to prioritize and

work on targets in all areas of life.

Says Sanjiv Kataria, vice President, corporate communications:

Feedback suggested that a major concern was balancing work and

personal life. The company has evolved such schemes as the Granny

Gratitude Day (because values are learnt from parents and

grandparents), since the stability of the individual at home is

important to functioning well in office. Unlike other companies, NIIT

encourages employees to find a marriage partner within the

organization (We attract the best people, and they should make the

best partners too) and offers the couple two months basic salary as

gift apart from interest-free loans. Undoubtedly, companies have to

become more sensitive to worker issues instead of just paying lip-

service. The momentum has to be sustained, and if the organization

takes a step in this direction, the employees have to ensure that it

is nurtured.

Growing the employee will grow the organization but, like Kaizen,

these cannot be one-time inputs, they have to become a normal way of

life.

Source : Life Positive, April 1997 Lifepositive.com Inc.

Hi Anchal,
Quite an informative article and thanks for sharing the same. I wuld like to pick up couple of controversial issues in this post which (may not apply to large corporates) could apply to mid sized companies.
They are:::::
[quote="anchal"]WHAT DO MARUTI, EICHER CONSULTANCY, PEPSI AND MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA
HAVE IN COMMON, APART FROM BEING PROFITABLE MARKET-LEADING COMPANIES?
->>A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO THE MOST SIGNIFICANT & IMPACTABLE
RESOURCE — THEIR EMPLOYEES
Corporate organizations have always had profit as their sole
objective. A prerequisite for profit is getting maximum results at
the least cost of resources.
Employing systems with religious or spiritual overtones raises the
issue of values, not quite unwelcome. Says Anil Sachdev, Managing
Director, Eicher Consultancy Services (ECS): "The single biggest
conflict for employees is their personal values clashing with the
values dictated by business practices. Often, ECS has willingly
sacrificed the interest of the company for a set of principles—
something that every new recruit may not be comfortable with.
Humanity and ethics are the foundation of ERCS", says Sachdev.
He believes that if the leadership of any company is willing to walk
the talk, it inspires everyone concerned.
[quote]
It is the leadership walking the talk which matters. Only lip service is what I have seen with totally subservient HR manager in place to make the whole look authentic.
This is damn good. If indeed this has been achieved, hats of to all concerned.
Thanks
bala

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