Rajinder Gupta is a first-generation entrepreneur who is presently serving as the Chairman of Trident Limited, a USD one billion Indian business conglomerate and global player. Prior to this, he held the position of Managing Director at the company (1992 to 2012). Embracing integrity, commitment & dynamic leadership as core values, he has enabled the group to emerge as one of the best-governed companies in corporate India. Under his dynamic leadership, Trident Limited has achieved a compound annual growth rate of over 30%.
In an exclusive interaction with us, Rajinder Gupta throws light on Trident’s strategy and focus to tackle challenges posed by the uncertainty this year as well as its employee support programs.
The toughest time is looming for India as companies have to ensure business continuity and productive output while supporting their workers. How is Trident ensuring that?
At the outset, let me emphasize that business continuity / productive output and supporting members/employees cannot be mutually exclusive.
We are an organization that has always believed in being a great place to perform. The principle that has guided us in our journey even before the pandemic is to ensure the dignity of life for our members. Everything else follows.
Right at the onset of the pandemic, we were probably one of the early adaptors of the idea of work from anywhere. Where our blue-collar members, that is, our Karamyogis, we not only ensured advance salaries, rather we increased their earning capacity by about 30%. Trident family is more than 25,000 and growing. We have kept their safety and well-being at the forefront and have done and continue to do everything within the periphery of empathy, compassion, and care. I say this often – business is my occupation, adding value to life, is my passion and this has guided me well all along.
How should organizations rethink talent management amid all this uncertainty? What is Trident’s focus here?
In times of disruption, it is easy for organizations to become reactive to changes in the environment. While agility and adaptability are key, it is also important that organizations not lose focus of their purpose and values.
These elements continue to be the cornerstone of everything that a company stands for.
Yes, it’s possible that in the short term, the route towards reaching a goal could change but I believe it is important to not lose sight of who you really are and what you stand for.
For example, as an organization, Trident is committed to its 3 BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), which are: achieving Rs. 25,000 crores by the year 2025, making Trident a National Brand and spearheading Industry 4.0. Our talent strategy is aligned with what we have envisioned for ourselves. Our means are centered on what our customers and our nation needs.
India has an abundance of talent and our learning is, intelligence, diligence, and the right mindset can reside in any corner – organizations just need to keep their eyes and ears open and create ‘Opportunities Unlimited’.
How should organizations level up their employee support systems and work policies? What has Trident done in this regard?
Everything that an organization does has its roots in what it believes in. Before we speak about support systems and policies, we need to understand what is our core philosophy. A support system as the name suggests is to support that philosophy.
For example, at Trident, there are a few things that are a part of our DNA and therefore guide us to what policies and support systems we have. One of our earliest and flagship programs, called Takshashila is based on our philosophy of Earn, Learn and Grow. We believe in opportunities unlimited so our talent strategies are inclusive. We believe in performance, therefore we have policies that encourage wealth co-creation and wealth sharing courtesy OKRs and ESOPs.
How are you planning for the future amid predictions of phase three of the virus?
Member’s well-being and customer commitments will continue to drive our strategy.
The big change from the previous year to this year is that the responsibility of safety is on individuals as opposed to a national lockdown that happened last year.
Given this, our strategy will center on continuing to provide a safe environment for our members. We are witnessing geo-economic shifts in world business. In this context, we have envisaged ‘Project Lakshya’, wherein we are re-engineering our organization’s structure to face the innumerable challenges of the post-Covid world. Lastly, digital transformation is playing a pivotal role and we as an organization are committed to ensuring that we leverage it in every sphere of our business.
What is the strategy and focus for the leadership to tackle challenges posed by the third wave? Could you shed led light on the contingency plan for 2021 and Trident’s industry outlook for FY 2021-2022?
We are the middle of 2021 and the one thing we have learned is that there is no one playbook – the only constant in any organization’s strategy is agility and adaptability to the ‘shifting goalposts’ of the external environment.
We believe that organizations, such as Trident will be constantly thinking of creating resilience and imbed that in its strategy even if it has implications that may not have been a priority earlier. It’s definitely a point of inflection for the world and as an organization, we are seizing upon this opportunity to pivot the way we do business.