3 Steps to Empower Your Employees
Digital disruption has made organizational transformation a must for business success—and the best way to make that jump is by empowering employees.
That’s according to Vineet Nayar, founder and chairman of Sampark Foundation and former CEO of HCL Technologies, whose organizational transformation he ushered in by upending the company’s approach to workforce management. Nayar shared HCL’s journey with attendees Tuesday at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference in Las Vegas.
In 2005, Nayar began the process that transformed the IT-services company from a $.7 billion venture to a $4.7 billion global enterprise, with more than 85,000 employees in 32 countries. When he came on board, Nayar recognized that HCL’s workforce was stuck in the past; employees weren’t unhappy necessarily, he said, but rather were happy with the status quo, and with incremental change—neither of which could enable true business growth.
To confront those obstacles, Nayar said, he undertook a three-step, employee-centered strategy:
Create a need for change: “That can only be created if you’re honest and put out all of your dirty linen so people don’t have a choice,” Nayar said. To that end, Nayar said he made all of the company’s financial data available to the workforce, to show them the company’s pain points, and establish a case for change.
Create a vision of tomorrow: “You want a vision so compelling that people will jump out of bed and climb Mount Everest for you every day,” he said. Nayar told his workers that, in five years, he envisioned them telling people where they worked and, not being met with questions about what the company did, but rather with a “wow”—an idea that, he said, motivated workers to want to be part of an organization that could engender such a response.
Don’t launch initiatives—launch experiments: In the scientific world, Nayar noted, researchers begin with a hypothesis and then work diligently to prove it. The same should apply to business: Instead of the CEO thinking up a plan and implementing it, any new idea should be treated instead as an experiment, with workers striving to prove—or disprove—it.