Why Employees Should Bring Their Interests to the Office

Why Employees Should Bring Their Interests to the Office

by
Aadesh Goyal

CHRO, Tata Communications

What is the benefit of encouraging employees to be entrepreneurial and to follow their interests? Tata Communications’ Chief Human Resources Officer shares the programmes and benefits that have been borne out of this mind-set.

What happens when employees embrace their entrepreneurial spirit

The world as we know it is changing at an accelerated pace. The reality of today is being disrupted in real time and being replaced with a new paradigm across verticals, sectors, and all walks of life. In order to stay aligned to this dynamic and new normal, everyone needs to have a new response mechanic in place to ensure that employees feel empowered to thrive in this new environment.

Technology is enabling folks to reimagine their competitive advantage irrespective of how the world economy pans out. We are looking at how to accelerate the pace of convergence. For example, we experimented with Internet of Things (IoT) and serverless computing. This led to our  IoT programme being rolled out across 38 cities with over 35 concepts and several commercial roll-outs.

To further streamline collaboration and build future skills across our organisation, we have an internal platform called Project Marketplace, which helps business units and teams internally crowdsource talent from our global set of employees. This platform gives employees the opportunity to work on projects that may span different regions and disciplines from which they may currently work, and provides them with the opportunity to grow their expertise and their personal networks within the company.

Encouraging collaboration and innovation

At Tata Communications, we believe that it is essential to have a culture where we recognise the value of many, not the power of a few. Companies don’t always get this right, and the ramifications can be far-reaching in today’s digital world. Words and action both matter; they set the tone and allow your culture to breathe life into your strategy.

Here are our key focus areas for employee growth and management:

  1. Encourage diversity and collaboration. Diversity is key to creating a culture in which employees can thrive. Thanks to the global nature of our business, our people have an incredible network of talent to collaborate with on various projects at their fingertips. Our people come from all walks of life, bringing with them different cultures, skills, and perspectives. What they have in common is a passion for innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit that enables us to stay ahead of the game.
  2. Drive entrepreneurial spirit. In recent years the needs of the global workforce have shifted. Our future leaders are fuelled by a drive to influence the direction of their organisation and to make a difference in the world. As employers, it is our responsibility to embrace and promote their passion. If we want the business to succeed, we must provide the platforms and support that are needed. It was this belief that led to our flagship innovation programme, Shape the Future.
  3. Flexibility for employees. For a company employing people from different geographies, demographics, and sensibilities, it is crucial to offer flexibility to employees not just to motivate them but to empower them as well. It is a natural progression in this 'glocal' world we are living in. To meet the needs of an increasingly complex business environment across a diverse set of regions, flexibility at the workplace is not just important, but also unavoidable. It is no more a question of choice but is a necessity.

Company culture

In recent years the values and needs of the global workforce have shifted. Our future leaders are fuelled by a drive to influence the direction of their organisation – to make a difference in the world. As employers it is our responsibility to embrace and promote their passion. If we want the business to succeed we must give them the platforms and support they need.

As employers it is our responsibility to embrace and promote their passion.

We have already seen how an incubator can create some fantastic opportunities. For example, NetFoundry, a business that reinvents networking for the hyper-connected era, began as an idea at Shape the Future. NetFoundry was selected by the programme, and the team was given the tools and time they needed to see through the formation and launch of the business. The end result was a well-received debut at this year’s Mobile World Congress, and has already won the Innovation Leader Award at Net Event’s Summit.

This illustrates the transformational change that we endeavour to deliver for our business, and for our customers’ businesses.

It is this strong sense of purpose that is then brought to life through our values – our way of living and leading, of delivering for our customers and our company. The bedrocks of our culture are to be:

  • Daring
  • Responsive
  • Inclusive
  • Venturing
  • Ethical

These values were built on the core values of the Tata group.

Creating a culture where employees follow their interests and passions

Our Managing Director is a strong proponent of Peter Drucker’s phrase, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. We know that our organisation is only as strong as our employees. The kind of transformational change that we need to undertake to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive, fast-paced industry depends on our ability to facilitate transformational change for our employees.

We also recognise that innovation is a prerequisite for any successful business today irrespective of size, whether it is large enterprises or start-ups. We understand and acknowledge the value of entrepreneurial spirit amongst our employees. Shape the Future not only enables us to identify the next big idea that can take the communication technology industry to a new level, but also creates a drive for innovation amongst the employees. This motivates them to apply innovative methodologies in their day-to-day work and also functions as a retention measure.

The success of Shape the Future and Project Marketplace shows that investing in programmes where employees can contribute and excel is the key to unlocking the full potential of our talent pool and accelerating the future reach of our organisation.

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