WHAT MAKES 'EM ROCK
| » They
view talent management as an important investment, not cost
» They focus
on building a high performance work environment
» They clearly
articulate the elements of their organisation's culture
» They use
rewards as a differentiating tool, and build leaders at all
before we actually join the workforce, most of us begin the process
of shortlisting dream employers. We'll talk to family members, ask
friends, surf the net and, of course, devour every word written
in a special issue like this one. And every time we are ready to
switch jobs, we will do that all over again. But that's only to
be expected. Not only do we spend half our lives inside glass and
concrete offices, but our choice of jobs and employers also determines
our social success, emotional happiness and indeed, our very being.
Flip to the other side-the employer's, that
is-and you will find a similar obsession among the talent warriors.
After all, these are the guys who put down crores of rupees on the
table and whose stakes are much higher than yours. Therefore, their
biggest concern is to get the kind of people who can multiply their
wealth. And how do you attract the best and the most appropriate
talent? By being the Best Employer.
But just who is a best employer? Is it a company
that pampers its employees, pays them top-dollar salaries, and helps
strike the perfect balance between work and life? We don't think
so. An organisation could do all of those without getting any commensurate
economic value in return. And as we all know, a company that does
not consistently create value will stop being a best employer sooner
than later. Instead, a best employer is an organisation that helps
its employees realise their true potential. It does so by creating
a work environment that is fair, motivated and transparent. Which
is why the objective of BT-Hewitt Best Employers survey, in its
third year now, goes beyond mere short-listing of great places to
work. Rather, this study is designed to reveal how people practices
are aligned to meet employee needs; how employee friendliness ties
in with superior business performance; and what differentiates the
best from the rest (See Selecting the
Best Employers in India 2003).
|At No. 3: Most NTPC GMs like I.S. Parswal
(first left) have stayed on for more than two decades because
of growth opportunities
|Engaged employees have a desire to be part
of the company in the future, and contribute effectively towards
The Best And The Rest
Sifting through qualitative and quantitative
data of 220 organisations that participated in the survey this year
revealed several things. For starters, the best employers have more
engaged employees-76 per cent compared to 62 per cent of the rest.
But make no mistake. Engaged does not mean either satisfied or committed.
There is a big, fundamental difference between being engaged and
being merely satisfied or committed. And it often means the difference
between an organisation's success and failure.
Engaged employees, as the survey found out,
speak positively about their company, have a desire to be part of
its future, and contribute effectively towards its success. Satisfaction,
on the other hand, is merely a reflection of how much people like
working in an organisation. Commitment, a measure of how much they
want to contribute to its success. But engagement is a barometer
of how much employees want to and actually do improve business results.
Therefore, higher the employee engagement, better the organisation's
Typically, there are six drivers of employee
engagement. These are: People, work, opportunities, quality of life,
procedures, and compensation. The people part is about senior leadership,
co-workers, and culture and values. Work, about motivation, nature
of work and the availability and quality of resources. Opportunities
reflect career growth, training and recognition, and procedures,
policies and hr. Pay, benefits and rewards are part of the compensation
driver, while quality of life is very obviously about balance between
personal life and work.
These six drivers impact engagement either
positively or negatively, but all allow prioritisation for a higher
investment return. The driver with the highest potential positive
impact on employee engagement in India-where the best employer engagement
level at 76 per cent is lower than Asia's 90 per cent-is career
opportunities, which is the employee's perception of personal and
professional development opportunities within the organisation.
The driver with the highest potential of negative impact on employee
engagement is intrinsic motivation, which is the value employees
derive from their work and how they feel about this value.
|At No. 19: Wipro Spectramind's Raman
Roy personally creates the bonhomie that makes the BPO a best
|The best employers are not necessarily the
best paymasters. In fact, in most cases, they only pay marginally
The question, therefore, is what is it that
the best employers do that heightens their employee engagement?
The study throws up five broad themes that are common to them. They
view talent management as an important investment; they proactively
create a high performance work environment; they clearly spell out
their organisational culture; they use rewards as a differentiating
tool; and they develop leaders at all levels of the organisation.
For example, the CEOs of best employers spend an average of 46 per
cent of their time on people-related issues such as development
and learning, compared to 40 per cent of the non-best. A high 84
per cent of the best have a succession and replacement planning
versus 67 per cent of the rest. Here are some more nuggets of data
from the best employers:
- 96 per cent offer job enrichment or redesign,
compared to 77 per cent of the rest
- 82 per cent view talent management as a
CEO, and not hr, agenda (53 per cent)
- 88 per cent of the CEOs felt that their
managers understand their organisation's key performance measures
(77 per cent)
- 96 per cent consult people broadly before
implementing major organisational changes (83 per cent)
- 24 per cent pay more than three times differential
in increment between a high performer and an average performer
(17 per cent)
- 82 per cent of the employees have complete
confidence in the integrity of leaders in their organisation (73
- 44 per cent provide broad-based stock options
to encourage ownership among employees (16 per cent)
|At No. 16: Microsoft India MD Rajiv Kaul
(gesturing) chats up his colleagues regularly to know the pulse
of the organisation
|Best employers have a lower employee churn,
attract a bigger talent pool, and also perform better on the
There are many other attributes common to best
employers. These include focus on multi-dimensional development
rather than only training; faster hiring-cycle time, multiple staffing
strategies and more rigorous staffing practices; emphasis on culture
and values and their alignment to organisational programmes; the
use of a variety of compensation components to share the company's
financial success; and development of organisational leaders from
within rather than through lateral recruitment. But here's the most
surprising bit: the best employers are not necessarily the best
paymasters. In fact, in most cases, they only pay marginally better.
That said, we also found that the best paid better than the rest
at the junior management level. Even a public sector unit such as
the Indian Oil Corporation pays its officer trainees Rs 6 lakh per
Becoming The Best: Lessons From Around The
For the last four years, Hewitt Associates
has periodically been conducting Best Employers studies across the
globe. Covering 1,200 organisations in Asia-Pacific, Australia,
Brazil, Canada, India and Europe, the studies have yielded rich
insights into what makes a best employer be it India or the US.
Apparently, 80 per cent of what goes into the making of a best employer
in one country are also the things that make one in any other country.
For example, there seems to be consensus among the employees of
best employers that the factors that have the highest impact on
their engagement are: relationship with the immediate supervisor,
development opportunities, work-life balance, and reward and recognition.
The senior leadership, on its part, is committed to employees, encouraging
interaction and investing time in addressing people issues and concerns.
It also adheres to strong values, creating a positive organisational
|TEAM HEWITT: (From left) Sumer Datta,
CEO, Hewitt India, Smita Anand, Head (Talent & Organisation
Consulting, Dhruv Prakash, Head (Leadership Consulting), Purva
Misra & Madhavi Misra Wadhwa, Lead Consultants (Best Employers),
So is there a "magic formula" for
becoming a best employer? No. But going by the evidence from the
best employers in India and elsewhere, there does seem to be a route
to becoming one. And that route starts with the top leadership committing
itself to the goal of becoming a best employer. Then, it must attract
people who are not just talented but fit in with the organisation's
values, and aim for a full employee engagement. That done, it must
align people management practices to create the right environment.
Finally, the organisation must measure the impact of the changes.
If the results are good, keep at it. If not, fix it and go again.
Does being a best employer pay? You bet. As
Hewitt's global studies reveal, best employers have lower employee
turnover. In the US, best employers have half the churn compared
to others; in India it is 45 per cent lower. Best employers also
attract a larger pool of talent, and their performance on stockmarkets
is better. In India, best employers outperform comparable indices
and industry-related performance metrics by 15 per cent. Besides,
best employers have better organisational morale.
The bottomline, as it emerges, is that being
a best employer is not merely an hr issue. It's a strategic issue
best championed by the CEO himself. For he's not just the chief
employer, but the most important employee too.
-Purva Misra and Madhavi Misra Wadhwa
are Lead Consultants (Best Employers), Hewitt Associates
| Selecting the Best Employers in India 2003
| The best employers
survey is part of Hewitt Associates' global initiative and goes
beyond shortlisting top employers. Its purpose is to:
- Depict how people practices are aligned to meet employee
- Identify linkages to business results
- Provide insights on what HR practices differentiate Best
- Identify emerging workplace trends for the future, and
- Share learnings to continuously raise the bar in employment
Two hundred and twenty organisations participated in the
Best Employers in India 2003 study, representing a distinct
increase of 30 per cent since the introduction of the study
in the Indian market three years ago. Across the globe, this
is the highest figure represented in a single geography. Last
year, there were 204 participants. All organisations in the
country were invited to participate, as in the previous year,
via invitation to their CEO and hr head, and media announcements.
All the 220 companies met two eligibility criteria: they represented
a minimum white-collar employee strength of 100 full-time
employees, and had been operational in India for at least
three years. The scope of the study was limited to white-collar
The Best Employers in India were selected on the basis of
their performance in three phases. The entire process from
participation to selection took approximately eight months.
Phase I: Initial screening for minimum acceptable standards
Proprietary Hewitt tools were deployed to measure the effectiveness
of all participating organisations. The comprehensive coverage
across the People Practices Inventory(tm), Employee Survey,
and CEO Survey assisted in the understanding of an organisation
based on four perspectives: Of leadership, employees, people
practices, and business alignment. Total respondent set was
based on the organisation's size. For example, an organisation
with 5,000 employees was required to provide at least 1,000
Two filters were applied on scores obtained from all organisations:
First, did the organisation meet the minimum acceptable norms
on each of the four perspectives, keeping in mind trend data
available on Best Employers from around the world in current
and past studies and, second, did the organisation fall at
least in the top 50 per cent of the total participant list.
Based on the above, 67 organisations in India, or approximately
30 per cent of the total participant size, were selected to
proceed to Phase II of the study, which involved onsite audit
for data validation and a deeper understanding of employment
practices and philosophy. Organisations were requested to
present their viewpoints on key drivers such as their approach
to managing change, technology leverage, knowledge management,
employee issues faced in their industries, and their views
on dealing with these issues.
Unless an organisation did not pass data validation (that
is, data presented in Phase I did not match that in the onsite
audit), all shortlisted organisations were eligible for Phase
III, where a panel of 10 independent judges-none from either
BT or Hewitt-picked the final list of 25 Best Employers.