What makes a normal human being a hero? The challenge at work requires human beings to emerge with acumen and decision making powers often superior to others. In an environment where a majority of people may react differently, few of them come very strong. Their prowess over the subject, their influence over the people and the way they manage dire situations make them a hero. They may not lay their lives down for others, but their quick-wit and magnanimity empowers them over others.
At the primary level, human nature remains unique. There are triggers beyond our understanding. At times even when we are unaware, we act on it and get re-instated by the reinforcements. When these re-enforcements are positive, this trigger evolves into a behaviour, deep rooted in our value systems.
In work-environment, it’s most likely for a human being to act on those triggers. We are groomed with our education and by our professional environment. We gradually learn to refine our reactions and respond to the stimulus. We do train our employees for time management and professional excellence course. But they tend to return to their old behavioural patterns. Its only with a continued support and mentoring that these individuals can re-model their behaviours.
Though this remains the normal case, there are few exceptions to these rules. There are employees who show exceptional maturity in managing difficult situations. They remain composed and place their words in the manner which brings in synergy or sometimes the results desired by all, achieved by few. These situations can be standing strong for an employee to provide the right justice or taking the pragmatic approach to balance the role as an HR Business partner managing and optimizing returns and staying empathetic to the employees through the employee champions’ role.
Few HR Heroes that I have met had handled situations which created new avenues for the company. Here I share about of one of my HR Champions. An HR Head, with exceptional leadership qualities, who made a mark while managing a large offshore development centre through difficult times. This centre faced a challenge towards employee satisfaction. It was a growing organization and had started a large facility in a new city. Hence faced challenges with lagging and leading factors. Internally, there was a challenge to ramp-up at a large scale in a short span of time. External challenges were from the competitors to the company who were starting their centres in the same IT Park. This was difficult as the talent required by all these companies were identical. Furthermore, the E-Sat survey showed a diminishing result which deepened the concerns on the leadership of the company. Here’s what she did to leverage the situation and bring in a turnaround:
- She implemented an ’employee single-point-of-contact’ system for every team. These individuals who were selected as SPOC, from every team used to coordinate on collecting feedback on every aspect including the job environment, Production, HR, Infrastructure, Logistics and the Cafeteria. This created a robust feedback system. Every employee knew their voices would be heard. The turn-around-time for each feedback was maintained with zero-tolerance to any non-adherence to the service level agreement.
- She used to take focus group meetings with every team and speak to the employee about the issues on the production floor. This was attended by non-reporting members. This allowed the employees to speak up about the sensitive issues such as disparity in the team or even any concern related to their leaderships. Through this meeting she established an open culture, where everyone was respected and valued. She set the decorum for all uniformly.
- She arranged for culture based training for the company which was made mandatory for everyone. These trainings were arranged away from the company vicinity. The content of these programs primarily focussed on the behavioural training breaking silos and enhancing personal excellence.
- She funnelled the talent base and planned for off-location hiring. The company coordinated with recruitment consultancies across the nation and hired from every city in the north to far east including Shillong and Nagaland . This robust hiring from other cities brought the best of talents. It further created a dependable talent base within the company as these candidates took planned leaves once or twice a year to visit their hometowns. She further re-skilled few roles and created a longer career path within the company.
- The compensation remained a challenge as every firm hired some amount extra than others to close on their hiring targets. Here she strategized it into an employee friendly package. She created a tax friendly salary structure which ensured that the employees receive the highest take-home salary possible within those bands. This became a deal breaker later, as the other companies who were paying more, had a higher tax. This implied that though the employee would get a higher CTC, with those employers, the take home would be lesser due to the in-efficient salary structure.
These efforts established the company as an industry leader. These practices are repeatedly implemented by different companies. But the way these initiatives were lead in this organization, it created an entirely different result. She remains my Champion as her initiatives had established a trust among employees. I consider that quotient as one of the highest parameters as that leads to respect, loyalty and productivity. It takes a lot for a company to be loved and valued by its employees. Though we all know, its a two-way route. Yet building that takes an effort of a lifetime. Inspiring employees enough to keep them motivated takes a continuous corroboration. Its during her effort I realised this humongous progression and what it takes to build a ‘Most Respected Employer brand .
Tell us who is your HR Hero or Champion. What about them inspired you and how did they do things differently that they left an indelible mark on your mind. We wait to read your story of being professionally inspired.