Workers aren’t ID numbers: Vinay Prakash
Vinay Prakash, chief executive officer (mining and trading, Adani Enterprises Ltd) says for an organization which is into resources business, it’s obvious that the most important resource of all is people. In an interview, he talks about the practices followed to ensure a productive happy workplace at the firm.
How important are people and why?
At the outset, I must point out that one of the most important lessons I learnt is that major investments should be made by organizations in the selection, training and development of people. While hard assets provide businesses return on capital employed, it’s the soft assets which make the businesses sustainable for decades. Our chairman Shri Gautambhai (Adani) once told me that your employees would be as loyal to you as you are to them and you have to build trust, credibility and confidence in your team. It’s the principle that I have personally followed over the last decade in our business and the results have been invaluable. For an organization which is into resources business, it’s obvious that the most important resource of all is people.
What does being a great workplace mean to you and the people you work with?
Great workplace is neither a nomenclature which is used by us in the organization nor have we been trying to build a great workplace for the sake of anything. We have created a culture over a period of time wherein individual is just not an ID number but a part of the family. We have collectively woven an organization wherein we are driven with the objective to ensure dignity and security of our workforce both at the individual and at the family level. Every job that is dutifully done with honesty and sincerity is appreciated and our organization and its processes have been designed to include this aspect of recognition. For us it’s about being heard in the organization through a two-way communication channel, 360-degree feedback mechanism and other forums. We have changed the term HR to HHR, which stands for healthy human resources. We focus not only on the physical well-being of employees but also their emotional well-being.
Share your experience of managing people issues at the company, and how much time do these things take?
One of the most difficult aspects of being a CEO is managing people issues at the workplace. I spend about 35-40% of my time getting the right team in place. At the end of day, it makes my job easy. The fun of this business is that I don’t lead followers, I lead leaders. I actually prefer recognizing and working with someone smarter than me in the business. It means that it’s not only the leaders who are driving and deciding everything, with the rest of the team simply following. It means a lot of the ideas come from within the team. What can be accomplished together lies at the core of our core leadership team.
How different is it compared to other workplaces you might have worked in during your career?
Our DNA is about encouraging people to be entrepreneurs, have an owner’s/promoter’s mindset; in our organization people focus has an entirely different connotation. We give our people time to settle down, allow them to take risks, make mistakes and give them a second chance. This generosity to allow people to settle down and take risks is less heard of in many corporates but for us, it is perhaps one of most effective strengths.
The biggest difference I have observed compared to my last workplace is the personal connect that the promoter family has established with us and the biggest strength of the group perhaps flows from the family values which holds all of us together as “one big family”.