Sunday, 17 January 2016

From the Notes of Yesteryears- 2 Human Asset: The Key Differentiator in Service Industry

This is the gist of a talk I listened to some time back of Mr Jagadish Kini, then Executive Director of Airtel. The speaker started out by reminding the significance of the service industry that contributes to 40% of the GDP of the country.He said that in the service industry, more than in any other industry 'customer delight' is paramount.In this connection 'IDEA'  and constant ideation of the employees to make the customer experience better and better is the key.The idea ( I do every action)  also needs to be translated into action to be of value. Any small idea is a big idea if implemented!

Building up on the concept of IDEA , the speaker suggested providing opportunities to ideate, away from the mobile, laptop and the 'madding crowd'-  A think tank room to dream, to ideate and to wait...There is a need for all of us  to take time out to dream; for it is dreams that generate passion. Mr Kini recommended dreaming in colour;when you dream in colour you look for details.He said that in Airtel, they are seeking to develop a culture of dreaming.

As the human assets are the key differentiators, we need to ensure their motivation and energy levels.After they have gone home in the evening after work, the next morning should seem exciting and motivating with  employees happy to remain with the organization.Do we respect our employees? We do pooja to the machines on Ayudha pooja day; similar pooja and devotion needs to be shown to employees. These people who make 'customer delight' possible should be given customized attention to ensure high motivation levels.

Towards the above intention there is a need for honest, forward looking, inspiring and competent leadership  at the top with clarity of  goal and a vision. The key to success is value added competence or in other words having a new way or outlook for looking at anything.Another important requirement in this connection is 'Fun at work' with people really enjoying their work.Performance management that includes talent management  and crossfunctional exposure is also important.

Today aspirational management is a big challenge with attrition levels ranging from 25-30 % in the service industry.It is here that the concepts discussed in the earlier paragraphs would help considerably.Customizing development plans for each employee and working on their strengths rather than the weaknesses would yield good results.


  1. What a wonderful concept IDEA - I Do Every Action - is! Airtel incidentally chose a professional rival's name as its concept and that is strategically brilliant to also keep the employees constantly reminded of the competition! Really what an IDEA Sir ji! For me personally, A R Rehman's Airtel signature tune itself is the greatest differentiator (Though I am still a Idea user!!!) !

    The aspect of respecting those who are responsible in the organization for Customer Delight - the employees - is great. Would have benefited more if the actual steps taken by the organization for rewarding such employees had been elaborated upon for greater clarity. Indeed, cross-functional exposure facilitates and promotes greater understanding of roles within the organization. Dreaming in colours too seems a great idea - but realizing those dreams ... how...? Would have loved to know more about that!

    As usual Rajeev, a fantastic KSS displayed by you! Kudos and respects.

  2. Thank you so much Padmaja for your detailed analysis with that dash of humour! Although I am the first person to ask for the 'How?' as against ' What?', this article to my mind has given sufficient fodder for readers to apply their mind in their own work areas. As for example, if they develop the 'Think tank' suggested, they could come up with novel and relevant ideas suited to their own work situation.
    Similarly companies can come up with innovative ideas to show ' respect' and 'care' instead of the same old 'cake cutting' for Birthdays which seemes to have lost steam.

    Thank you Paddy for your spontaneous thoughts that can tickle other readers to come up innovative ideas for encouraging the service providers to be looking for new ways to delight their customers and also keep themselves at high motivational levels...

  3. Very informative post. And also wonderful concept - IDEA. But I wonder how a telecom company will be able to achieve this. :)

  4. Thank you Ranjani for reading and sharing your thoughs on this post!