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Home > Business > Special


Tips to energise your staff

Shamni Pande | October 19, 2006

In the US, South West Airlines has used the concept successfully. Ford Motor and Boeing have tried it too. And in this age of employee empowerment, it was inevitable that the bottom up approach to creating and articulating a company's vision would come to India too.

Wipro's 'Spirit of Wipro' initiative earlier this year, for example, involved asking 28,000 employees to articulate the values of the company, and telling the organisation what 'Wipro stands for and should represent'. Of course, this was not the first such initiative. There was 'Wipro Promise' in 1998.

"But, since the last eight years a lot has changed. We have grown much bigger, the demographic has changed with over 45,000 people...it was appropriate that our people tell us what our values and vision should be, and, most importantly, what Wipro means to them," says Pratik Kumar, the company's executive vice-president, HR.

The survey revealed that employees thought the organisation represented and should stand for three core values: Intensity to win, act with sensitivity and unyielding integrity.

Why such a song-and-dance about a simple vision? Prasenjit Bhattacharya, executive vice-president, consulting service, at Grow Talent Company, says the accent is on 'shared vision', as opposed to management's unilateral vision.

"Organisations today realise that it is not enough to have just an inspiring tagline or vision statement that can bring about ownership and alignment. It's a big challenge for companies today to keep people focused towards a more inspiring long-term goal and, in the process, inculcate long-term value within," says Bhattacharya, who is also the
CEO of Great Place to Work Institute, India (a tie-up with the San Francisco-based institute of similar name that researches on what makes organisations great places to work).

He believes the 'bottom up' approach is paying off for companies in vision creation and many progressive firms have taken help from specialists to involve employees in 'co-creation' of vision.

Bhattacharya cites the case of Bharat Petroleum, saying that such 'large scale interactive processes' are initiatives where, typically, huge numbers of people are roped in to articulate vision.

He cites the oft-quoted case of South West Airlines that popularised this style of involvement. "However, it actually can be credited to Kathie Dannemiller. She pioneered this concept. And companies such as Ford and Boeing have famously worked on its principle," he says.

Back home, Wipro is already tasting success. Kumar says the "workforce-led introspection has brought in a new energy and discussion about how we should be doing things."


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