HCL's Employees First Customer Second is more than shallow marketing slogan

I met up with HCL Technologies last Thursday and was left feeling that HCL is a bit different to many IT service providers I have met before.


Representatives weren’t preaching about contract successes, HCL’s financial results and customer wins speak for themselves, but it was talking about how its success over the last few years is the result of giving employees more power and making management transparent.


The company decided to change the way it operated five years ago when CEO Vineet Nayar, embarked on the company’s Employee First, Customer Second (EFCS) strategy. I have written about this before but now, following the meeting, I have a bit more to explain. I must admit when I was first told about it I thought it might be a shallow marketing slogan. But it turns out it is a huge transformational programme.


Read more about HCL’s Employee First.


Harvard press has published a book about the strategy, written by CEO Nayar. It is apparently selling like hot cakes. HCL kindly gave me a copy so when I finish it I will tell you more.


HCL believes this strategy has helped it prosper during the recent recession and now puts it in a very competitive position coming out of recession. This is because it didn’t make anyone redundant. It says its competitors might find themselves short on the right human resources.


And the company is doing well. HCL reported global revenue of $2.186bn in 2009 which was 27.6% more than the $1.713m in 2008. Almost 30% growth in a downturn. 

Datamonitor said HCL Technologies was number one in traditional IT outsourcing space 2009-10  in The Black Book of Outsourcing.


HCL says its success is down to its EFCS business transformation.


Some of the points of EFCS:


– The interface between the company and the customer, ie the employees, are seen as the most important parts of the company
– Workers are encouraged to use their own initiative and make decisions themselves
– In an employee’s annual review they get to score their managers. These scores are published on the internet and if they are low they may even be expected to resign.
-Complete transparency within the company


Other things that make HCL different:


– It grew its services business without Y2K
– Says it does not have the well known brand name but is doing well
– It has a Global Customer Meet where customers run the agenda and not HCL
– HCL didn’t make any redundancies during recession
– During the downturn it increased its European workforce by about 50%
– It is now the 60th biggest global player in revenue terms.
– 80 to 85% of its employees in Europe are locals