E-Newsletter from
Vol 3, Issue 01, Feb 2021
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Human Resource Mgmt.
In 2018, US-based multinational information technology company International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) faced a series of lawsuits filed by former employees. These lawsuits accused IBM of discriminating against the employees who were over 40 years old, in order to make way for new talent and tech-savvy millennials in the workforce. IBM was credited with several firsts in ensuring employee diversity. It was the first company to employ disabled people and black salesmen, promote a woman to the post of vice president, pay equal wages to men and women, and guarantee lifetime employment. The company had cultivated an employee-friendly culture, which provided each and every employee an opportunity to thrive. The case explains the different ways that IBM used to target the old employees and how it discriminated against them. With many employees approaching the courts and senior personnel testifying to the deep rooted age-discrimination prevailing in the company, IBM’s future course of action remained uncertain. The verdict in these cases would have wider repercussions for the aging employees and age related discrimination not only in the US but across the world.

IBM’s Desperate Bid to Create Younger Organization - Big Blue’s Woes with Age Discrimination
The case focuses on the interests of contract workers who are part of the alternative work arrangements being increasingly adopted by companies. The case first describes the objectives of Indian Railways and its arm, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), to hire contract employees as part of their operations plan. The case then talks about the common reasons given by these employers for terminating the contract workers. The case touches on the concerns raised by the contract workers with regard to their termination. It ends with a look at a few policy initiatives taken up by Indian Railways to safeguard the interests of contract workers and the future plans of the railway operator to privatize operations.

IRCTC Announces Termination of Contract Workers – A Step in the Right Direction?
The case describes the holistic initiative of the Kerala government to create a win-win scenario for the government, businesses, and employees at large during the COVID-19 pandemic. The case first describes the idea behind the ‘work near home’ (WNH) model that arose after the government found that employee productivity had dropped after two-three months of the employees working from home. The case then looks at how the government with support from IT Parks-Kerala designed and implemented a network of virtual and physical WNH co-working spaces across the state. The case also looks at how this model offered an alternate ecosystem to people through effective utilization of physical assets like hotels, engineering colleges, tourist homes and resorts, commercial buildings, and unoccupied houseboats which were lying idle owing to the pandemic. The case ends with a brief focus on the government’s Fiber Optic Network (K-FON) project and how the WNH model could be a first step toward discovering the nature of the new office space in post-COVID times.

Kerala Government’s ‘Work Near Home’ Model: Reimagining the Workspace
The case describes Tata Steel’s initiative to implement an ‘Agile Working Model’ policy for its employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company initially rolled out the initiative for a year beginning with select roles from digital marketing, IT support, sales and HR, strategy and planning, and quality management. The employees could also opt to work from any location (work-from-anywhere) of their choice across India once normalcy returned. The case then looks at how this model benefited both the company and the employees. The work from anywhere policy helped the company to cut down on the huge cost of real estate and to bring down its attrition rate. Employees also benefited as it helped them to maintain a work-life balance and also ensured more opportunities to employees with disabilities. The case also touches upon other initiatives of Tata Steel for its employees including the introduction of a five-day week and a policy allowing employees from the LGBTQ+ community to declare their partners and avail of all HR benefits permissible under the law. The case ends with the steel maker’s vision for the HR team to implement various tools and technologies quickly enough to tackle the unprecedented changes in the work environment coming its way on a daily basis.

Tata Steel Adopts New Agile Working Model
Every year, thousands of men and women who are released from prison re-enter society. These individuals need to be integrated into society and one way to do that is through employment. The stigma of having a criminal background makes it difficult for many of them to find and keep a job. This case is about how, Dave’s Killer Bread (DKB), a family bakery business in the US which made organic bread, hired people with a criminal background. The former owner of DKB, Dave Dahl, had himself been in prison a few times before he got his ‘Second Chance’ in life. To the company, second chance employment was a commitment to hiring prisoners and treating them equally so that they would be able to reintegrate into society and break the vicious circle of crime and poverty. The case describes how DKB’s employees felt valued and privileged to come to work.

Dave’s Killer Bread – Second Chance Employment to Ex-Felons
The case describes TCS’s focus on creating a happy, healthy, inclusive, and vibrant work culture. To create such a work culture, its HR team introduced employee engagement activities from time to time. The case touches upon employee engagement activities that encompassed various facets of the work culture and included regularly appreciating the performance of the employees, ensuring continuous communication and feedback to them, and offering them learning and development opportunities. TCS introduced the ‘Star of the Month’ program to recognize and appreciate the efforts of its employees on a regular basis. The company rolled out the ‘Pulse’ survey which provided an opportunity for the employees to grade their satisfaction levels across all aspects of the business. Employees at TCS could choose how, where, and when they learned through a range of different classroom sessions and options made available via a fully functional online learning portal iEvolve. TCS created its own social network, Knome, which encouraged the employees to connect with their colleagues from other countries to share ideas, socialize, and learn.

Employee Happiness at TCS
The case describes Tata Sky’s HR initiatives that helped it get the best out of its employees and also contributed to its business objectives. The case initially focuses on Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal’s initiative ‘Be your own CEO’, where CEO stood for Collaboration-Experimentation-Ownership at work. The objective of the initiative was to bring about ownership and accountability among employees at work. The case then looks at how Tata Sky implemented a reward and recognition program, ‘SPOTS of the month’, as part of the ‘Be Your Own CEO’ initiative. The company recognized those employees for their exemplary performance and winners from across functions were shortlisted and selected for ‘CEOs of the quarter’ where they had a face to face interaction with the CEO who listened to their innovative ideas.

Tata Sky’s Innovative Human Resource Management Practices and Work Culture

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