How happiness is important to businesses?

124322561In early nineties, when the IT industry was picking up and new IT businesses were mushrooming, one of my colleague jumped in the fray to start his own company in Hyderabad. The lure was primarily get into this sunshine business and make money. He raised a lot of money to get an office, computers, setup an office in US and hired a lot of people for the business he got.

The business started off very well. He could get a lot of good employees who in turn brought more business.
Things started changing in couple of years when he expanded second time and raised more capital. Pressure to maintain margins and get new business and face growing competition started taking a toll on him. He started putting pressure on his team members and lost his cool very often.

He was very quick to replace anyone who he felt was not aligned to his thinking or was expensive as per market trends. Very soon, attrition started hitting him in a big way. His mental stress started showing on his health. He was hospitalized for hypertension for a while and during this time, he lost more grip on his business. The growth of his business started tapering and it became negative. He never created his own backup and decisions were struck in his absence.

Having enough of all of this, he finally decided to sell off his business. With whatever money he could get, finally he sold off his company and took a sabbatical. When I met him few months after the sale of the company, he
appeared very easy and happy.

“ Unhappy and Disengaged employees are far less productive
than the happy ones“

I asked him how he felt after selling his company. He replied “ It appeared that I am in a jail and can never come out. It was getting too suffocating. I never enjoyed my business because I never liked what I was doing. I started it to make money, but soon realized that making money is only possible if you like what you do. I also realized that I am doing injustice to my staff. I hired them and I was unable to give them a career.

Selling off the company now gives them a better hope of a career which they could never get under me.”

When I asked, what he plans to do next, “I want to open a school where I can educate needy children. I will make far lesser money, but from inside my heart, I like doing it. I am sure, I will do better.”
Many years later I met him again in Delhi. He had come to receive an award for his NGO, which devoted for education of children from underprivileged society. He was happy & had done great. He created his mark in the field and was respected by his community.

An unhappy and stressed leader would not be able to give growth to his organization. In most cases, unhappy and stressed leaders end up bringing down their businesses impacting the future of several of their employees and

On the other hand, unhappy and disengaged employees are far less productive
than the happy ones. I would dedicate next few blogs to emphasize upon the need for every business to improve the happiness and engagement of their employees to get real financial benefits. I have been experimenting myself with
several methods to crack the code and have now a great deal of understanding on how this can be done.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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