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Aroon PurieAs we step into the dawn of the new millennium (the real new millennium, as the purists would say), it is evident that the way we live and work will change to a script that's still being written. In some ways, the nature of work in the future is a fall-back to pre-industrial times. Then, commerce was driven by expert artisans; in the future, it will increasingly be driven by knowledge workers. Accept that fundamental premise and everything else follows. The workplace, styles of management and leadership, work processes, and everything else related to work will undergo a change. We've tried to capture a unique blend of that possible transformation: the theories and practices we've written about are global; the organisations, local.

There's nothing local about the people policies of the companies that have emerged as the winners in the first-ever Business Today-Hewitt Associates study on The Best Employers in India: these can stand up to any global benchmark. The range of industries that the top 10 belong to-software services to soaps; hardware to financial services; consumer durables to petroleum-shows that it is possible for any company to follow the same kind of people policies that these companies do. At the core of their efforts is the realisation that the employee is their most valuable asset. Maybe, if more companies were to accept that fact, we could turn the numerical edge India enjoys in terms of its people into a competitive advantage.

Stories about the efforts of leading companies to sustain their competitive advantage dominated our coverage during the year that was: from the Murugappa Group to HLL, Zee to HFCL, and HDFC to Rediff. I'm tempted to say the stockmarket will be the eventual judge of these efforts, but the irrational exuberance of the Sensex at the beginning of the year that was, and its inexplicable despondency at the end prevents me from doing so.

The year also saw the boom and doom of many dotcoms although the relentless advance of the internet continued. We live truly in an age where we are flooded with information not only from all directions, but in various forms. It is with this environment in mind that BT underwent some change in styling and design itself. The product you hold in your hands is and has been, since April last, more contemporary and a snappier read than its earlier avatar. That's a good note to end on. Here's wishing you a prosperous (real) new millennium!

(Aroon Purie)


India Today Group Online


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