Organization Development – A Journey Towards Organization Excellence
-A Journey Towards Organization Excellence
Face to Face Conversation with Mr. Guruvayurappan, VP- HR at Omega Healthcare
“If Everyone Is Moving Forward Then Success Takes Care of Itself”
1) Your 25 year rich career has been mostly in the field of OD. Can you share a few highlights about your OD experience and the initiatives that you have taken up at Omega?
The first few years of my career were in the manufacturing sector, after which I joined Omega. Though the transition from manufacturing to the BPO sector brought new and different experiences, it was truly a cultural shock for me. There was a marked difference in the way manufacturing companies dealt with OD and the way BPOs looked at OD and development of their employees.
In manufacturing, experience was all that counted for promotions. However, in a BPO, a new employee would start looking at progression of his career just one year into the job. Apart from career, youngsters today are also concerned about the feedback given by the managers-they want to know whether they are progressing or need to improve. Frequent informal acquaintances with the younger generation at Omega helped me gain these kinds of insights. This inspired my team and me to put in a robust feedback and review mechanism at Omega.
At Omega, I also had the opportunity to undertake three major structuring initiatives and was also a part of many Strategic Organization Development initiatives, Technological Organizational Developmental initiatives and other short term Change management initiatives. There was much more complexity in implementing any OD intervention with a 9000 strong employee workforce. Hence, many of these initiatives were anchored with help from external OD consultants.
With the assistance of these OD consultants, we focused on the following 3 areas of work:
Creating The Right Structure
Few years back, Omega decided that it would build leadership internally as hiring from outside brought with itself many challenges in terms of domain knowledge and getting the right cultural fit.
Hence, it was decided that Omega would promote people from within. Employees who joined as an associate could go on to become a Team Lead and thereafter get promoted to the position of manager. However, building leaders from within had its own downside. We became highly domain oriented and were basking in our past success. It also questioned our company’s scalability. This is when we decided that we will forcefully bring in 20% of our employees externally.
We created different positions for our senior managers by creating 3 BU’s. This helped us verticalize the organization and manage our surplus talent. The selling point of this initiative was the effective utilization of the current talent.
Transitioning from a ‘domain’ to a ‘service’ oriented organization
The next challenge for us after creating the 3 Business Units, was to manage the existing work and talent. We realized that hand-holding between the three units was taking place through the clients and not within the teams. We hired and trained new Business Heads on US Healthcare systems as part of their orientation to the organization.
These new business leaders identified certain % of jobs that can be delegated. This lead to the creation of a Work Force Management team, which helped us look into issues of workplace productivity. As capacity planning takes place separately, looking at the levers of productivity was a challenge. The workforce management team helped Omega manage shrinkages and leakages in the organization. However, to aid this we needed to analyze the data which in-turn led to forming an Analytics team from IIM. The team helped us look at different perspectives of delivery and quality. Based on their recommendations, we created quality heads who would handle inspection quality as well as assurance quality.
We invested in ERP and modified the governance structure which aided in keeping our talent intact.
This entire initiative enabled us to move from a domain service delivery organization to a highly service-oriented organization.
Every month or every year we have brought in changes and modifications which have helped us reach where we are today.
Post the “Obama Care Act”, Omega decided to set up health care facilities in Manila. In order to get the necessary talent for this new facility, we hired locally from Manila and also promoted existing Omega employees. A few months into the business, we started realizing that managers were leading their teams in very different ways. Hence, aligning their thoughts and culture was a major challenge in front of us.
Our Behavioral Training team based out of India pitched in and conducted programs like “First Time Leaders Program”, Lead the Leader program etc. at Manila.
This helped employees move up the value chain and contribute to beyond their regular work, resulting in better cultural alignment between India and Manila.
Being a veteran in the people management space, Guru was instrumental in attracting senior professionals for the growth of Omega Healthcare over so many years. He is a strong believer in taking up challenging tasks with constant up gradation of skill sets and strives to establish the same attitude amongst employees at the work place. He played a key role in putting in place good HR practices, which have led the organization to have a 9,000 strong workforce. Guru specializes in Organizational Development and Organizational Behavior and has launched key change management initiatives in various roles of his 25 year long career in this field. Guru holds a post graduate degree in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management and a Diploma in Training & Development from ISTD. He started his career with the BPL Group where he directed people strategies across their various manufacturing plants and also BPL’s corporate office at Bangalore. In his decade long stint in the BPO/KPO industry, Guru was instrumental in winning prestigious awards for Allsec Technologies Ltd, and for setting up benchmark HR processes for Paramount Airways. Guru is a life member of Bangalore Management Association (BMA), National Institute of Personnel Management (NIPM), Indian Society for Training & Development (ISTD), and the National HRD Network (NHRD).