Employees generate ideas worth $500 million, HCL Technologies says

NEW DELHI: India's fourth largest IT firm HCL Technologies is now focussing on "ideapreneurship" to encourage employees to come up with innovative solutions to customers' business challenges.

Under the initiative, the Noida-based firm has generated over 32,000 innovative ideas since 2008 to deliver approximately $500 million of value to customers.

"It is a platform where our employees can share, collaborate and shape ideas in a structured manner to deliver value to our customers. It is at the heart of grassroots' ideas led revolution we are experiencing," HCL Technologies chief human resources officer Prithvi Shergill said.

This culture is a key enabler of the company's strategy, he added.

"In a growth-constrained, post-recession world where many traditional sources of advantage are not as relevant, the best investment to succeed is the power of ideas," he said.

In 2005, HCL Technologies had introduced a new management model — Employees First, Customers Second (EFCS) — aimed at making managers accountable to employees as employees were to their bosses and transfer responsibility for change and value creation to front-line employees.

HCL acknowledges that putting the employee first and engaging and empowering remains vital in today's environment, Shergill added.

"The ideas we see emerging could be something that helps solve a business problem, brings in a new way of doing business, or helps create competitive differentiation, it can be anything that adds value to the client," he said.

Shergill added that by channelizing the energies of 95,000 employees, innovation is happening across teams.

"By giving them the right tools, and creating the right environment, HCL is enabling employees to collaborate, communicate and create value freely across teams and across boundaries," Shergill said.

He said the EFCS management model continues to attract the attention of academics (with Harvard Business School doing a case study) as well as analysts who continue to highlight the customer benefits emerging given the adoption of the tenets of this model.

"HCL is working with Cornell University to further enhance the yield of the ideas as they see this delivering to the promise they make to client of building 'relationships beyond the contract'," he said.

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