In the ever changing and challenging business environment, a dedicated and loyal workforce is the backbone of a successful enterprise. This is one of the most important management fundamentals that I picked up early on. It is very important to spot and retain people who, apart from the skills, have the will (motivation, morale, passion) to sustain and grow a business.
When I started Sun in 1983, we were a team of five people. One of my first tasks was to hire the right talent and make them part of my vision. A relationship where people of similar nature come together lasts long. The same applies to organisations. I hired people who had the right persona and the passion to work towards the same goal and grow with the organisation. It was a matter of channelising their energy in the right direction and making them a part of the growth story. I believe the full potential of people comes out when you give them challenging assignments, empower them and give them the space to make mistakes and learn from them. This leads to a culture of trust and openness and an engaged workforce. Providing the right environment and culture to grow is required.
In my experience, putting faith and trust in people working for you is the key. While dealing with a workforce of thousands, respect their individuality and develop the ability to listen. Be accessible to them and open to feedback. Encourage them to speak their mind without fear. I have always encouraged open channels of communication with all my employees. In such an environment, people are excited to take responsibilities and develop confidence to challenge the status quo. A clogged channel can lead to demotivation and hamper productivity.
We have many employees who started their professional journey with Sun and have remained with us for more than 25-30 years. They have witnessed the growth & emergence of Sun as the number one pharmaceutical company in India and the fourth largest generic pharmaceutical company in the world. They are the DNA of Sun. Even though Sun has grown significantly in the last three decades, our ideologies - humility, integrity, passion & innovation - remain the same. I think there is always merit in doing more and talking less and this is strongly embedded in our cultural fabric.
My belief has always been of not just showing employees the bigger picture but making them a part of it. Every individual aims for growth, both personal and professional. In case of the millennial generation, this needs to happen within a short span of time. Earlier, employees used to spend their entire professional life in one pursuit. But today is the age of multi-tasking and multi-experiences. Employees are keen to explore other avenues if their passion for growth is not satiated. At Sun, we try to provide suitable opportunities of growth within the organisation to increase engagement and improve productivity. If such opportunities are not provided, people will look out. Many people who joined us as trainees and managers are now holding key portfolios. They had the passion to grow and we provided them a platform. It also helps that we enhance employee experience by providing learning opportunities and investing in updated tools and techniques.
Another critical factor in retaining talent in a global company is how far we are able to establish one global culture. This is another key driver that fosters the spirit of cooperation and team work. At Sun, we have more than 30,000 people from over 50 cultures, spread across continents. We all have different traditions, speak different languages, celebrate different festivals, but have one vision, one goal. Respecting local cultures and giving people the freedom to implement their ideas goes a long way in building trust. In organisations such as ours which have a multi-cultural workforce, it is essential that employees are trained and well-versed with different cultures.
At the end I will sum up by saying that only by recognising people's passion for growth, giving them a voice and empowering them can we earn their trust and build bonds.
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