Employees First, Customers Second By Vineet Nayar

Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

We always hear about the old adage that “customers always come first.” Vineet Nayar – at one time, CEO of a $6.5 billion company – says he doesn’t think so. Employees of a company must come first and the customers come second.

If you keep employees happy, they would treat customers right and should have a pleasant and fruitful understanding with them turning into more sales and thus more money.

Employees First, Customers Second By Vineet Nayar

  • Up until now…

    In business administration schools, the idea of customers always come first is ingrained in the minds of students.

    The idea of putting employees first and customers second might seem counter-intuitive to our beliefs but Vineet Nayar of HCL which originally stood for Hindustan Computers Ltd. argues that the aptitude, ingenuity, and enthusiasm of employees can lead directly to greater value for customers, and thus to better performance.

    In his book Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down, Nayar tells a compelling story about turning around the company’s fortunes in the mid-2000s. HCL – which sells IT-related services – is known for its technical strengths.

    But because the company puts employees first, it has developed an uncommon focus on internal transparency and employee engagement in the business.

  • In the U.S…

    Here, in the U.S., the tendencies among companies is that employees do not have to know the detailed finances of the company and the different departments therein.

    Inside HCL, detailed financial performance data are broken out by business unit and are delivered regularly to employees’ desktops.

    This has stimulated employees to ask more questions, volunteer more ideas, and challenge their managers more often.

    In other words, Nayar believes it’s in the interest of the company that employees should share in the information.

    Nayar believes that has given the employees a better understanding of what’s going on and has stimulated employees to ask more questions, volunteer more ideas, and challenge their managers more often.

    In turn, everyone is making better decisions. The idea of engaging employees resonates with the company’s innovation strategy as well.

  • If implemented in the U.S…

    If the idea held up in companies across the country, it would change the mindset of the employees as well as students that are enrolled in Business Administration curriculum.

    It would be an extremely big change in mindset of managers of all levels and the teaching personnel across the nation.

    It could be career demise for managers or a ladder for faster advancement in their career.

In a Nutshell
For us here in the U.S., it’s a novel idea that has seemingly worked for HCL.

The problem in America is that, except for fashion, everything else takes time to turn around and to learn new ideas and new ways of working.

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