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Case Study: Creating Value through Employee Empowerment

Human Resources

HEC Professor and Holder of the Webhelp Chair ‘Human Capital & Performance’ Charles-Henri Besseyre des Horts, has written a case study on the Indian IT Company ‘HCL Technologies’ whose former CEO, Vineet Nayar, has developed the ‘Employees First, Customers Second’(EFCS) philosophy. The case study highlights HCL’s journey from EFCS to ‘ideapreneurship’ and mentions employee culture at HCL as a key catalyst for its healthy performance.

HEC Prof. Charles-Henri Besseyre des Horts

"HCL Technologies since the Global 2008-2009 Crisis: Creating Value through Employee Empowerment" is HEC Professor Charles-Henri Besseyre des Horts’ most emblematic case study so far in his research for the ‘Human Capital and Performance Chair’. In this study, the professor shows how "management's focus on employee culture as a competitive differentiator has led to a remarkable turnaround in HCL’s market share and mind share, over a period starting from 2005 till date."

HCL’s ‘transformation journey’ began in 2005 with the definition and implementation of the ‘Employees First, Customers Second’ (EFCS) model, a new radical management philosophy driven by the charismatic Vineet Nayar. Charles-Henri Besseyre des Horts describes the key tenets of the ‘Employees First’ philosophy - which became a core value for HCL - and also explains how EFCS’ approach has led to the implementation of a number of systems and processes.

This concept of EFCS in turn led to the notion of ‘ideapreneurship’: "the culture of grass-roots, business-driven, customer-focused innovation, in which each employee has the license to ideate. It encourages employees to become idea-led entrepreneurs, who think of new ideas and also drive them to fruition". Charles-Henri Besseyre des Horts explained that: "It was during the tough times of 2008-2009 when HCL was able to outperform its peers in the IT industry, led by the right kind of employee empowerment.’ A noticeable pattern started to emerge in employee behavior, right at the grassroots level. This was being driven by HCL’s ‘Employees First’ values, which collectively empower and encourage individual employees to come up with innovative solutions to operational and customer challenges. Today, HCL employees are ‘ideapreneurs’ working in an entrepreneurial environment.

Charles-Henri Besseyre des Horts concluded that "Vineet’s ground-breaking vision seeded the idea that value creation does not occur in the managerial ranks but mostly through employees who are in daily contact with the customers." Vineet Nayar stepped down from his position on January 17th 2013, and many challenges await his successor, Anant Gupta, who will have "to keep the momentum of the ‘ideapreneurship’ model in order to deal with some critical issues such as the general slowdown of business opportunities, the global economic crisis, and growing competition in India and abroad."

Download the complete case study

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