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HCL Technologies, a major Indian IT services company, rolled out a radical new strategy, "Employee First, Customer Second" (EFCS) in 2005. The strategic goals for EFCS were to create a unique employee organization, drive an inverted organizational structure, create transparency and accountability within the organization, and encourage a value-driven culture. The case describes the different aspects of this program, and its impact on employee engagement, customer experience, financial performance, and innovation in 2005-08.
The case serves several learning objectives. It facilitates discussion of major organizational transformation, from a traditional, highly hierarchical organizational culture to a transparent and flat organization. The case provides a great backdrop for a discussion of how a company’s culture needs to be aligned with its strategic goals. In the new millennium, Indian IT services companies faced a stiff climate for hiring and retaining employees. They were also starting to find that in order to break the direct linear relationship between company growth and growth in number of employees, they needed to take on higher value-added contracts with their clients. The case allows for a discussion of how and to what extent the EFCS strategy might create a value-driven culture, and enable innovation. Importantly, the case examines transformation at a very large organization with employees spread across the globe. It provides a nice vehicle for a discussion of the extent to which a large organization can espouse a flat and spontaneous culture.