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. KALCO Alu-Systems, one of India’s fastest growing architectural companies, has embraced a new strategy – Employee First – that places the needs of employees before the needs of customers. This seemingly counter intuitive 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. So, how does a company attract the talent necessary to meet that challenge? At KALCO, 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.
It’s about creating a new kind of corporation. It’s about empowering extra-ordinary individuals. It’s about you.