Article: The E-Factor Enables Extra Productivity: Susir Kumar


The E-Factor Enables Extra Productivity: Susir Kumar

Susir Kumar, Executive Chairman designate - Global Services, Serco

Being in a people business, our raw material is our people and our service to clients is defined by what our people deliver. Therefore, people’s capabilities, attitude and integrity, are critical in defining what we deliver to clients and the end customer. While there are defined KROs for people, there are also many factors that are responsible for employee productivity that remain undefined. In the last few years, we have been working towards deriving benefits from these undefined factors that I refer to as the ‘E-factor’ (Employee factor). The ‘E-factor’ enables extra productivity because of the personal love for the jobs, personal concern for the end customers, personal concerns about the assets they are dealing with, which in turn defines their passion at work. We believe that productivity is a by-product of our investments in people, and the focus is mainly to encourage passion and teamwork, in turn making people happy. Talent building is not just about retention of talent; the best way to retain talent would be to encourage them, so that they go the extra mile and look at being in the company for a long time.

A talent challenge we face is, keeping employees motivated. There is a limit to the number of promotions or amount of increments that one can use to motivate people. Therefore, the challenge is for companies to keep motivation levels high without paying higher compensation. This can be done only through connecting with the employee’s individual aspirations and help the employee achieve what he/she strives for in life.

Given this backdrop, as a leader, my role is to involve myself in demonstrating a culture of care for employees. When inculcating the required culture for the organization, there are multiple things I do which are reflected in how I react to problems of employees, and how I take proactive actions for the development and care for the employee. I would not like to define the amount of time I spend on people-related activities, as for me, investing in people is a way of life. In everything I do, there is an element of care and value creation to employees that is built in.

While my investment in people-related activities does not translate into direct measures on my scorecard, we have seen great value creation from the same to the overall business. We are the only company that has not seen any attrition at the senior management level over the last 10-12 years. And this has an indirect impact on business, as many clients tell me that they like doing business with us because of the passion and commitment of the team. Even investors are drawn towards our organization because of the team and the culture. Serco has publicly acknowledged that the biggest attraction for them to invest in Intelenet was the kind of people working with it.

A critical talent challenge, however, is in maintaining the culture as we grow, not only in size but in different dimensions, as multiple citizens, residents and nationals become part of the company. Along with maintaining the required culture in a growing environment, it is also critical to maintain the culture in the context of the fact that people are working in different time zones, they are far away from each other, and not communicating with each other directly, yet we must have a sense of one team and one unit.

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Topics: C-Suite, Strategic HR, #ExpertViews

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