Ad Here  
PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals When nations steal growth from one another… Delhi Chalo... An enemy’s enemy is a friend Plummeting profits of PSBs B H Kothari - a tribute Why land prices zoom in TN? Streamlining mandatory third party cover Polls and promises Secularism and anti-Hinduism The balancing act Mu Sigma – is no more Vibrant Gujarat TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Things happen by accident and not by design... Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... Small units prefers to remain small... New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Music happens Muffled voices for merit… All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Shale gas and its shallow future A professional at the helm of IRDA... Paytm karo... Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! ONGC at KG Basin Modi storms Silicon Valley Waning interest in public discussions… The rise and rise of KCP Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad The Jan Dhan bonanza Protest masters... Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... CII projects higher growth… Airlines in India: cost and space For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Breaththrough in malaria control Kudos to NDTV... Moily’s bold thrust A more liberated TN… L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… The power-full Hindujas Delhi is distant… A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Return to king coal for urea... Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu London, London Narayan L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Funding the un-funded Quality education through the PPP mode A friendly business group Russi Mody – a tribute The nuclear option Poor quality of university VCs A think tank for Chennai Roaring Ro-Ro facility Maximising the micro pricing … Parliament in paralysis... Alexa – Talking Wikipedia CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara …and of a popular trade leader The sea- saw battle continues... Medical costs hit the roof... Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel IPL type auction for VCs? The few handicaps... IAS invades NDDB... Engineering seats go abegging Solar thermal shines… A welcome initiative by the judiciary Multi-faceted Venkat The star of Spencers is no more Noble nonagenarians... Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Pharma – overdose of copying Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Put expensive assets created to use... Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health How Air-India loses customs... China invests in India Discoms deserve better… CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? Fuel for thought Rahman at CIC Gay abandon in pricing WTO Meet: resolved to meet again Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy More tributes to GR TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership IPL - no surprise this scam Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Boy, can you beat these? A yen for wastage… TIAM turns a full cycle Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Strengthen the base... An inexplicable neglect Tough task taking states together Banning booze... Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks When Ratan Tata visited SRM CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Welcome GST GM Technology at last! Shipping woes of Chennai companies Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated TELANGANA at last…BUT Tatas moving out of urea production... Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Permanent secretariat for TN GIM Which side are you, Montek? The Swadeshi Trump Where a state respects its litterateurs… The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform More Shakti to resource mobilisation... The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Tribute Convulsions in The Hindu A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Solar, solar everywhere … When online building permits work…. S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Tatas moving out of urea production... Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Delhi is distant Towards speedy justice Remembering Indira Sivasailam... Robber barons everywhere For whom the bell tolls? He continues the focus on social amelioration An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Tribute – UCAL Selvan… Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Building loyalty through the stomach Preserving for the future Align crops to agro climate endowments… Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing This scant respect for Law Sweet news for TN sugar mills PC’s preference for professionals Fortune for Indian Airlines Adharma of opposition politics Kulandai was a giant EEC at the National Media Centre Why this malaise in medical education? Revving up the manufacturing sector No engine for this car Editor's Notes Quality silica from Neyveli When the President was rendered homeless… TGS- The king storyteller The brown list of Venkitaramanan Sweeter prospects for sugar When small is no larger beautiful.. GNS - 100: our first subscriber More heat than light Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? West Bengal: mindless malignancy Tax agriculture MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Contrarian cousins Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW The rise and fall of Annamalai University The Gulf aviation boom Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Making ‘my Amaravati’... Computation of GDP – conundrums continue to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines SoA @ 80 Telangana in top gear… Make standards certification mandatory... Cutting the nose to spite the face Wise Presidents There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Fortune 500 review He saved millions from starvation... Kinetic Karnataka Cement prices continue to rise… Intellectual of rare qualities Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Readers' Mail Build close rapport with business leaders Five star activism stalls development activity Nuclear power at the nucleus No Maha Koottani in TN... Tribute – M V Murugappan Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL A glass full of corruption Come elections, come advertisements... Haul over the coal Mersal magnified Modi and the lady Silver Years of Madras Musings A proud Madrasi Sri Lanka votes for change Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more The why of tax incentives Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Welcome focus on core competence Valli, they are more marginalised Editor's Says Demise of a media baron... TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Another Indian music maestro at the UN Auto components surge… R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Recognition to role of NBFCs.... Road development slows down No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Gas is the way forward Where is Rajaji? Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Revive development banks... More Shakthi to Das’ elbow Delhi returns to BJP A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Should we change the official year? EVM is tamper-proof S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's Shanti and Sadhana through Music Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami
Building loyalty through the stomach

A problem affecting the IT sector relates to the high rate of attrition. In India even top companies in this sector like TCS and Infosys struggle to tackle this issue. They try to crack this issue by recruiting new hands in large numbers continuously and keep supplies in abundance that will not affect work in progress.

I understand from Bala Swaminathan at Chicago that such a problem is of concern to Silicon Valley as well. He refers to the offer by several top software companies in San Francisco to offer for free or at highly subsidised rates a variety of food as part of the service package. He says it seems to be working well in improving the retention rate.

I travel back six decades. I notice the effectiveness of building loyalty through the stomach.

S Anantharamakrishnan (SA), who pioneered setting up the auto component sector, effectively adopted this practice. SA built his empire after the acquisition of Simpson & Co. Addisons Paints and Chemicals and India Pistons promoted by Simpsons were set up within a couple of years of independence. SA continued with his spree of acquiring a number of companies from the British who were packing up and were in a hurry to dispose off their businesses. In quick time he acquired over a dozen of these that ranged from Addison & Company to George Oakes, Stanes Tyres, Stanes Coffee, SRVS, The Mail… which came under the umbrella of Amalgamations Ltd. In the late 1960s the group had 26 companies that employed over 16,000.

I remember a few factors that contributed to harmonious industrial relations and growth of this conglomerate. One was the ability of SA to spot, encourage and retain highly dedicated business managers. Till the demise of SA in 1964 the group had such leaders in profuse and these were picked across nationalities and states.  If WW Ladden was the initial inspiration and supporter, SA continued to retain and benefit out of the brilliance of other managers like H B Stanford, R K Stanford, E O Austin, V A Watts, M V Venkatraman,  P L Kumar, A K Bose, J V P Rao, M K Raju… who helped not just to expand production and the range of services but, more importantly, in setting up new companies.

The second factor of great value related to the sumptuous bonus offered for the employees. Of course wage levels were low and a bonus of a few months on basic wages did not make a deep dent in the overall earnings of the companies concerned. But this was an important factor to attract and retain workers. This was helped by progressive trade union leaders - R Venkataraman and K Gurumurti.

Yet another factor in this regard relates to the company providing sumptuous food to all employees. This proved to be another big attraction in building loyalty and retaining the workforce. This became the trend and has been practised by other industrial units. The TVS group entered into manufacturing in a big way in 1962. I remember the focus on providing quality food here as well. Same quality of food was served from the chief executive to workers down the line. I remember enjoying such food with Suresh Krishna at Sundram Fasteners, Hosur.

The Hindu canteen also earned a reputation for offering food cheap and an incentive to call on your friend at Kasturi Building.

With increasing costs and pressures on top line, such practices of free food or food at heavy subsidy are under strain. Srihari Balakrishnan of the KG Group of companies in Coimbatore mentions that his companies do not offer free transport or subsidised food and that it does not suffer any disadvantage. With wages no longer low or modest in companies of comparable sizes, such benefits are bound to be under threat. In a way this should be welcome as a corporate can focus on its core activity and not spend energies on managing canteens.


Author :
Reported On :
Sector :
Shoulder :
IE, the business magazine from south was launched in 1968 and pioneered business journalism in south. Through the 45 years IE has been focusing on well-presented and well-researched articles. When giants in the industry stumbled to keep pace with the digital revolution, IE stayed affixed embracing technology.
Read more
Economist Communications Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected.
Read more
You agree that your use of this Website and the purchase of the magazine will be governed by these terms and conditions.
Read more
S-15, Industrial Estate,
Chennai - 600 032.
PHONE: +91 44 22501236