What: Employee first councils, or EFCs, constituted by information technology company HCL Technologies Ltd.
When: January 2008
D.K. Srivastava, Senior vice-president, corporate HR, HCL Technologies Ltd
Why: “Employee first, customer second” is the driving mantra at HCL ever since the company began its transformational journey in 2005. The company believes that only happy employees can keep customers happy.
EFC aims to strengthen employees’ bonds with the organization and encourage them to find a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.
“In this current global slowdown, the need for the employees and the employer to bond and work together to tide over the situation is crucial,” says D.K. Srivastava, senior vice-president, corporate human resources, HCL Technologies.
How the EFCs work: The EFCs are basically an effort to encourage employees to pursue hobbies even while they are at work. There are five councils—Grey Cells, Talent, Wellness, Sports and Community Service—which work towards goals that are of common interest to the employees.
About 1,900 activities, including sports competitions, blood donation camps, working with not-for-profit organizations such as Hope Foundation, Adhaar and Srijan, and conducting regular health check-ups and fitness classes for employees, have been organized since the inception of the project.
Some of the recent activities include the Wellness Week organized by the Wellness council in the first week of December. The council organized health check-ups across the country for employees and also competitions based on fitness. The Talent council held a singing, dancing and variety entertainment contest from 15-19 December.
Nurturing talent: EFCs aim to strengthen employees’ bonds with the organization.
The Sports council organized HCL Soccer Cup 2008 in the same month, while the Community Service council launched the Teach@office programme, an initiative to teach the security guards in the office in October. This council also has a school intervention programme for teaching senior secondary students from government schools.
“Even in this environment of tough economic challenges, the EFCs have been given complete independence, authority and budget to conduct their various activities,” says Srivastava.
Members of the five councils were elected by the 55,000 employees across the organization. From the 1,063 nominations received, 879 employees were elected to the councils. The elected members of the EFCs set up a common agenda, plan calendars and conduct the various initiatives across all facilities in India.
The results: Srivastava says the EFC project has changed the way employee freedom is perceived in the company. The five councils in action are an example of democracy at work. Such initiatives act as motivating and engaging factors and these councils have churned out performers, intellectuals, altruists and brilliant sportspersons. For example, the Talent council has nurtured music bands. Currently, there are four music bands in HCL Technologies—HCL Tech Tunes, Brahmaz Mistake, Hot Keys and Contraband—which have participated and won prizes in many competitions outside the company.
The council also conducts music classes (instrumental) across the organization in the Talent School. This talent is showcased during internal events as well as in inter-company competitions.
“The fact that our attrition levels have been declining consecutively from 17.7% in December 2006 to 14.2% as in September 2008 is a small victory,” says Srivastava. “What is more important to us is that we are successfully building an organization full of leaders and a workforce that is committed and focused to delivering value.”
Starting this week, Campaign profiles human resource initiatives by various companies.