M Lakshmanan is Chief Human Resource Officer of L&T Technology Services (LTTS) and responsible for the entire gamut of people & culture of the organization globally.
He is a senior HR Leader having close to 3 decades of HR experience with a strong understanding of the Business environment in Engineering, IT, Defence, and Telecom sectors, with global exposure.
Lakshmanan joined L&T Group as Vice President & Head – HR – L&T Defence in 2013 and subsequently, he become CHRO of LTTS in 2019.
Prior to joining L&T Group, he was associated with Capgemini as Senior Vice President-Human Resources for 5 years and earlier has worked with companies like Mphasis, Hexaware Technologies, and Tata Communications.
He holds a master’s degree in human resources from the University of Madras in 1992.
Q- What are the biggest challenges CHRO’s face when it comes to Employee Engagement?
Despite the overall adverse effects left by the pandemic, we must all agree that we have collectively evolved and learnt a lot. Leaders across the globe had to step up and adapt to the new way of working. Leaders had to learn on how to build trust and engage with employees so that they can deal effectively with the ‘new normal’.
A big challenge was in engaging the minds and hearts of employees, especially, when they are geographically distributed, due to remote working. In addition, new employees can feel isolated and unhappy as they may find it difficult to bring in a feeling of belongingness or finding common purpose or in general not feeling the connection with a Company’s brand and its identity.
In such a situation, it is the overall company culture and consistent leadership behaviors that act as a glue that binds the employees together. Culture is leadership behavior in action and the CHRO is the custodian of consistent leadership behavior across the organization that enables employees to identify with the company and create a sense of belongingness.
Q- What does LTTS do to engage employees in the current work scenario?
To reap the benefits of a distributed workforce an organization needs to empower its employees to not only be highly productive but also deeply engaged.
With disruption sweeping across our homes, workplaces, and communities, the primary thing that leaders can do is to lean in and tune in:
- Keeping an open channel of communication and Listening to employees
- Empathizing with employee’s worries
- Provide a flexible and supportive work environment to employees
At LTTS, we have initiated several programs, during the pandemic:
- Anytime Doctor on Call, a Medical Teleconsultation program whereby employees and family members are eligible to receive counselling from certified Medical professionals.
- Doctor’s Day, a virtual session with Medical experts who talked to LTTS’ employees and their family members and addressed concerns surrounding physical health, mental health, and well-being.
- Career Discovery Program, in association with Mentoria that provided career counselling platform to the children of LTTS’ employees.
- Globally Empowering Mental Health (GEMS) program enabled employees and their families to identify and address any mental issues without judgments and fears.
- We also started a #14DayChallenge with our employees, which is a series of extracurricular activities such as Sudoku, Puzzles, Cooking, Engineering Waste, Painting, Story Writing, and Quarantine Testimonials (Home Sweet Home) to help employees stay engaged.
Q- How do you nurture inclusive cultures for talent attraction & retention?
At L&T Technology Services we see diversity as an opportunity to learn from each other, expand horizons and appreciate different points of view. Our initiative WINGS maximizes the power of gender diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and business growth.
Our workforce currently comprises 22% women and our target is to achieve 30% by 2026. The aim is to help women realize their potential and fuel them with the energy and drive to develop and grow.
Some of the key initiatives to improve Gender Diversity includes:
- Ex-Employee Recall Program – Providing opportunities for women ex-LTTSites to rejoin the organization.
- Exclusive Women Referral Programs – For lateral hiring, we conduct exclusive women referral programs, to include women candidates
- Women Recruitment Drives – We have earmarked 2-3 exclusive women campuses for fresher level hiring
- Sabbatical Policy – Enabling work-life balance and provide personal & professional development for female employees
- Part-Time Working Policy – Facilitating employees who are unable to undertake full-time work
- Flexible Working Hours Policy – Allowing flexibility in work timings for our employees for a definitive period to attend to certain personal exigencies.
Q- What are your practices to improve the employee experience?
L&T Technology Services has been forced to change our ways of working, embrace new technologies and rethink internal communications. At LTTS, we are working collaboratively to deliver a positive employee experience to keep our workforce happy and productive during these unprecedented times.
- We established a robust virtual onboarding process that supports rapid onboarding of new joiners and which also focuses on creating a feeling of connectedness with their team and the broader company culture.
- We launched the WFX (Work from Anywhere) program, which envisions greater flexibility at work with a combination of physical and virtual team collaboration. Under the WFX program, LTTS enabled a smooth transition of the workforce from ‘office desk’ to ‘home desk’, and in the process redefined the concept of ‘physical workspace.’
- To ensure health and well-being of all LTTS employees, LTTS developed and launched the weCare mobile app to track and monitor safety and health of employees and their immediate family members, while ensuring protection of employee and customer data.
- We facilitated Secured HomeLabs for our employees where entire lab setups were done at homes, including hardware infrastructure & workstations, while maintaining all security guidelines.
Q- How do you ensure employee well-being?
When the pandemic hit, we were faced with the situation where our global workforce of 17,000+ employees, distributed geographically, needed to adjust to remote working completely.
In addition to initiatives that I have spoken about earlier viz. Any Time Doctor, Doctor’s Day, etc, we launched several programs for our overseas employees and India-based employees, viz. iCall Online Counsellors, Mindful Meditation sessions in U.S., Europe, and India, a series of fitness programs, and Laughter on Calls programs for employees. We also, trained our Leaders to demonstrate empathy, resilience, kindness, and compassion to help with employee well-being.
While all the activities were done virtually, it was due to the power of technology and the strong communication chain that bound together all members of LTTS spread across various geographies, as part of one family to enable employee Well-Being.
Q- Any concluding comments?
In times like these, when crisis strikes, every organization should ask themselves what their culture is, what is the value system and what do they stand for. At L&T Technology Services, we asked these questions to the leadership team and we are driving a project to redefine our LTTS Vision and Values under an initiative called Project Avatar. We intend to define our culture manifesto in our journey to building a stronger and more sustainable organization.
Similarly, through our annual employees engagement survey, we collected feedback and inputs from our employees and we launched another initiative called Project Rendezvous, through which we will action on several inputs from our employees.
We will finally converge these two projects to launch a brand-new vision and value statement for the company and create an LTTS that will be stronger and ready to scale newer heights and for a bright future for our employees and L&T Technology Services.
Thank You, M Lakshmanan!