The recent 2009 Outlook Business – Hewitt Associates study (the 6th by Hewitt) on Best Employers highlights the importance of communication even in a downturn. Building a sense of urgency, having clearer channels of communication and motivating managers and support staff to give their best in trying times helped propel organizations such as HCL, Hindustan Zinc (second), Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces (third), Cisco Systems(fourth), ITC-Welcomegroup (fifth) to the top.
Strangely, the well known names – Infosys, Intel, Microsoft, IBM are absent from the list of 25 top names.
Maintaining a work friendly environment and climate seems to have sustained the organization as a best employer. Having an engaged workforce and value creation were considered to be vital.
Out of 1500 companies invited, 230 registered for the survey. The elements used to arrive at the best employers were an employee opinion survey, a people practices inventory and CEO questionnaire.
Some of the best practices include allocating time for ideation, contributing to CSR, leadership career planning, flexible work life options, voting people to employee councils for better representation and intensive training.
The survey report in the April 18 edition of Outlook Business summarizes the key themes which best employers practice.
a) Eye on long term success – understanding employees better
b) Seeing downturn as an opportunity – find and retain best talent
c) Using downtime to be more productive – high performing employees are treated with a different reward scheme. Also encouraging employees to cut costs using creative ideas (e.g., part time work, accrued leaves and flexible work options)
d) Increased attention to consistent regular communication – leveraging team leaders, creating a sense of urgency, increasing role of managers and involving contractors and support staff in regular messages.
e) Increasing investment in training – redeployment, leadership watching progress closely