Hyderabad: Sierra Atlantic, the fully owned subsidiary of Sierra Atlantic, a Silicon Valley-based application networks company, has come out with an HR Declaration for overall development of the organisation.
Founded in 1993, Sierra Atlantic is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Chicago, New York, Singapore, Indonesia, and India. Sierra Atlantic has over 275 customers, including Fortune 1000 companies.
Col (Retd) R Gowrishankar, director - training and human resources, shares his views on the company's HR policy in an exclusive interview with T Radhakrishna.
What are the key initiatives taken up by Sierra in effective HR management?
The most important initiative is the HR Declaration. The HR Declaration is the "Corporeal Bible" of Sierra Atlantic and the Centres of Excellence (CoEs). Its main objective is to provide equal learning opportunities for all employees in order to hone their skills, both materially and intellectually.
Sierra believes that HR is at the centre of all CoEs, providing the basic inspiration and motivation spirit for all employees. The declaration places the HR department at par with all other divisions and departments.
In Sierra, there is no such thing as a ''first among equals''. All are well and truly equal.
How does the higher importance for HR translate into action?
Sierra offers a 10-day training programme each year for all employees and reviews their assessment every three months. The company's programmes, which are mandatory, aim at strengthening the skills of all employees. This way, we encourage all to associate with the company's vision for the overall development.
The company also has several perks for employees, including Mediclaim, free dinner, holiday packages, company-sponsored movies, mobile and laptops, and special offers / packages for long-standing employees.
We believe that an organisation means a collection of people. The people provide the body, structure and soul to the organisation, while the organisation looks after their needs such as security, stability and support.
What are the parameters that Sierra follows to develop an HR policy or blueprint?
The parameters that govern the formulation of HR policies are the HR Declaration, interpreted with the other important commitment of the company - the Quality Policy. The department treats all employees as its customers, and constantly tries to provide an "assured and sustained quality of service". The HR policies of the company were formulated a while ago, but get fine-tuned as new inputs come in.
What are the key features of the HR policy? How do they benefit the organisation?
Our HR features are centred on all-round growth. All HR initiatives spring forth from this. We believe that a happy employee is a productive employee. We care for their corporeal and spiritual growth. Our mentoring philosophy addresses this fact.
We believe in:
- Nurturing, personal attention, and help from superiors in learning and problem solving.
- Acceptance of an individual as an extension of oneself in a family-like network of affiliations. The relationship is more personal than contractual. It accepts the prestige and position of an individual in a team.
- Reward for commitment and efficiency
- Regard for personal confidence and trust
How many employees quality for your policy?
Is Sierra using the services of any management institutions like IIM, Ahmedabad or HR consultants?
Is your company implementing any contemporary HR management tools to build strategic and facilitative leadership skills for its employees?
We do not use any management tools for building strategic and facilitative leadership. We do so by our commitment to growth of individuals within the organisation. Our in-house training programmes form an excellent platform for grooming employees to shoulder higher responsibilities.
Many people have cut HR initiatives and given out pink slips following the global slowdown. What is the secret behind Sierra's adoption of HR initiatives?
Manpower planning and provisioning is a factor of business planning and operational requirements. It would be incorrect to say that we have not trimmed our work force in tune with our business plans. But we have neither cut nor diluted our HR initiatives. We cannot treat human resources differently at different times, though we may tighten our belts a bit in difficult times. Also, any deviation from accepted norms and practices is done with the full knowledge and acceptance of all employees.
Do you believe employees are an asset to the organisation?
No. We don't. We think they form the soul of the organisation. Without them, or if they are not happy, vibrant, enthusiastic and motivated, the corporate soul will be dead.
Any new initiatives like Esops?
ESOPs are an existing initiative. We are planning a few new ones. We will share these with you soon.