The TATA Group gesture

26/11 is one of the blackest days in Indian History. Terror struck the elite, it devastated families and gave everyone a sense that no place in this world is safe.  Everything seemed dark yet the group  that became the target showed a lot of heroism. Yes, we are talking about the Tata Group. A lot of research has been going on how Tata Group employees were first trying to help their customers, even when their own lives was at risk when the devastation took place. The most interesting thing that came out from the research were the HR practices that were going on in the group, and still is.

Most of the researches have observed few common points about the tremendous structuring of Tata Group

  1. A recruitment system that hires for character and not for grades.
  2. Training programmes that not just mentor employees but also empower them to take decisions.
  3. A reward programme that recognises employees on a real-time basis.

The research is supported  with observed tales of employee heroism — a 20-something banquet manager helping guests escape; telephone operators staying at their posts and alerting guests to stay indoors; and staff forming a human shield to protect guests at the time of evacuation.

Not only this, there were certain amazing things done post the 26/11 by the Group to compensate for the loss of lives, damage and injuries

  • Relief and assistance to all those who were injured and killed
  • The relief and assistance was extended to all those who died at the railway station, surroundings including the “Pav-Bhaji” vendor and the pan shop owners
  • During the time the hotel was closed, the salaries were sent by money order
  • A psychiatric cell was established in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences to counsel those who needed such help
  • The thoughts and anxieties going on people’s mind was constantly tracked and where needed psychological help provided
  • Employee outreach centers were opened where all help, food, water, sanitation, first aid and counseling was provided. 1600 employees were covered by this facility
  • Every employee was assigned to one mentor and it was that person’s responsibility to act as a “single window” clearance for any help that the person required
  • Ratan Tata personally visited the families of all the 80 employees who in some manner – either through injury or death – were affected.
  • The dependents of the employees were flown from outside Mumbai to Mumbai and taken care of in terms of ensuring mental assurance and peace. They were all accommodated in Hotel President for 3 weeks
  • Ratan Tata himself asked the families and dependents – as to what they wanted him to do.
  • In a record time of 20 days, a new trust was created by the Tatas for the purpose of relief of employees.
  • What is unique is that even other people, the railway employees, the police staff, the pedestrians who had nothing to do with Tatas were covered by compensation. Each one of them was provided subsistence allowance of Rs. 10,000 per month for 6 months.
  • A 4 year old granddaughter of a vendor was struck by 4 bullets. She was taken to Bombay hospital and several lakhs were spent by the Tatas on her to get her fully recovered.
  • New hand carts were provided to several vendors who lost their carts.
  • Tata took responsibility of life education of 46 children of the victims of the terror.
  • This was the most trying period in the life of the organisation. Senior managers including Ratan Tata were attending funerals over the 3 days.
  • The settlement for every deceased member ranged from Rs.36 to 85 lacs in addition to the following benefits:
  1. Full salary for life for the family and dependents
  2. Complete responsibility of education of children and dependents
  3. Full Medical facility for the whole family and dependents for rest of their life
  4. All loans and advances were waived off – irrespective of the amount

The gestures by the Tata Group can act as a role model for all organisations proving that  integrity is above all. All organisations , no matter how big or small , should always remember that they are what they are because of their customers and employees.

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