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The service industry, from fast food to business consulting, has long lived by the mantra that serving the customer is the only thing that matters. As a result, customer need is placed above all others – often at the sacrifice of employees, managers and administrators. HCL Technologies, one of India’s fastest growing IT services companies, has embraced a new strategy – Employee First – that places the needs of employees before the needs of customers. This seemingly counterintuitive strategy has provoked a sea-change at the company, and, believe it or not, greater customer loyalty, better engagements and higher revenues.

Given the pace of industry growth and its dependency on headcount, attracting, retaining and motivating talent is the top challenge for the industry. The traditional approach viewed employees as commodities and placed emphasis deploying entry-level talent and a factory-like approach for project execution. There were no unique engagement strategies centered on the employee.

While the industry growth rate is impressive, and most analysts do not project a down-turn, the question of whether this demand will sustain and business will continue as usual is beginning to become a concern. New automation-based technologies have emerged to challenge the need for mass labor and, as the outsourcing market has matured, both suppliers and customers are seeking ways to achieve innovative and transformational value that goes beyond simple cost savings. In many cases, outsourcing customers no longer view IT service providers as mere vendors, but as business partners whose work is intimately tied to the customer’s success.

That shift in working relationship requires a new kind of IT service organization – one focused on value and innovation, not just warm bodies to fill seats. So, how does a company attract the talent necessary to meet that challenge? At HCL, the company embraced a program designed to turn the traditional “customer above all else” model on its head. Called Employee First, the strategy encompasses a variety of elements with the objective of providing a truly unique environment to employees. By treating employees as partners and participants in the company’s success, every individual within the company becomes responsible for transforming, thinking and providing value to customers.

To make the Employee First concept work, HCL launched a variety of internal initiatives designed to both give employees more personally responsibility for the company’s service offerings and a voice with upper management. HCL’s enlightened approach to employee development focus on giving people whatever they need to succeed: be it a virtual assistant or talent transformation sabbaticals; expert guidance or fast track growth; inner peace or democratic empowerment. At HCL, what we have is Five Fold Path to Individual Enlightenment. This ensures they are given Support, Knowledge, Recognition, Empowerment, and Transformation.

It’s about creating a new kind of corporation. It’s about empowering extra-ordinary individuals. It’s about you.


HCL Enterprise awarded in 6 categories in the Asia Pacific HRD Congress - Global HR Excellence Awards including Employer Brand of the Year, Organization with Innovative HR Practices, Contribution to the Field of Global Training & Development.


HCL Technologies wins the prestigious “Workforce Optimas Awards” in the Innovation category for Employee First Philosophy. HCL is the only India based company receiving this award this year.

3. Economic Times Smart Work Places Award 2008
HCL wins the ‘Smart Work Place’ award by Economic Times Smart Work Places Award 2008. HCL received the award in the Professional Services category. This award is a designed framework incorporating the technologically advanced processes that have been implemented in organizations

4. Employee First Philosophy has been taught as a case study in Harvard Business School for more than 76 times by now.