Poonam Chandok

The Cultural Transformation Journey @ L&T Energy – Hydrocarbon | Poonam Chandok | VP & HR Head | L&T Energy Hydrocarbon

Poonam ChandokThe genesis of the OD Journey / intervention began in early part of 2021, wherein L&T Energy Hydrocarbon (LTEH) was headed towards the next Lakshya (5-year plan made by all businesses at L&T level).

The Economical scenario was unpredictable as the world was recovering from the covid crisis and the Russia – Ukraine war began. Despite the challenges, we at LTEH decided not to lower our projections. While we focused on this growth trajectory, one thing was clear – “What got us here, wouldn’t get us there.” If we wanted to move from doing million to billion-dollar / multi-billion-dollar projects, move from operating in few countries to more countries, few clients to many more new clients, complex projects to even more complex projects, we needed to evaluate and change the way we operated. This included changes in the way we worked – the culture – the very fabric of the organisation. The aim was to bring alive the organization’s vision – Execution par Excellence.

Diagnostic phase

For any development or change management journey to start it is imperative that we start by understanding the current scenario within the organization i.e. our processes, problem areas, employee sentiments and any other identified or perceived issues.

We undertook a qualitative analysis, which included one-on-one conversations with leadership team and Focused Group Discussions across various strata of the organisation, to understand the current realities and derailers that our employees faced with respect to culture. One of our major concerns after covid was the high attrition that we were facing as an organization during the Great Resignation wave.

As a first step, the Leadership team of LTEH came together to reflect and ideate upon key areas of cultural change. This workshop gave us themes which were debilitators and definers of the current narrative on culture. The tenets of culture that emerged were captured in the acronym – ENERGY. Each of these tenets were carefully debated and deliberated on, to arrive at their definitions.

The Cultural Transformation

As a next step, the Member of the Board & Director In-charge (Energy), L&T – Mr. Sarma Subramanian unveiled the ENERGY framework at the company townhall. Once the framework was unveiled, he held multiple sessions across the organisation. He addressed over 1500 employees on the need for a cultural transformation, and why the ENERGY framework needed to be part of our DNA.

To further elaborate on the ENERGY framework, a menu card of behaviours (do’s & don’t’s) was created. This behavioural menu card would now shine the light on our actions within the organization.

Once the Ethos was made it was now a challenge to embed this across the organization and ensure that it becomes a part of the DNA of all our employees. To bring a strong focus on these few interventions were undertaken –

1. Creating Awareness – Standardized Branding was designed and put across sites and offices both domestic and internationally. This was intentionally done to increase the recall value. Additionally, a movie on the ENERGY tenets will be made available to all the employees to further drill home the message. Poster that has been put across all our offices / sites shared below.

The Cultural Transformation

2. Living the Values – It is not enough to simply set the norms; it is also important that we measure if the norms set are being practiced and felt by the employees. In an endeavour to take a dip stick of our employee sentiments, we worked on creating 270 feedback on ENERGY framework for our seniors and critical position holders.

Each leader had to undergo 270 feedback and had individual reports generated. “Charity begins at home”. The Leadership team becoming a role model of the key behaviours is a must to bring in overall change in the attitude of all the teams under them.

3. Dissemination of ENERGY Tenets – Customised ENERGY dissemination sessions were conducted for the businesses within LTEH. Multiple conversations were held with project managers to build business specific case studies that with bring out the tenets of the ENERGY framework. These are correlated with the behavioural menu card. The next and most vital step is to identify strategies on how these behaviours will be applied back at work and to commit to making that shift.

4. Measurement – An employee survey has been designed to check the organizations scores on each of the parameters. These scores will be tracked at intervals to check progress on the tenets of ENERGY.

Outcomes: ‘A journey of a thousand steps begins with the first step.’

1) Significant improvement in retention at LTEH, despite continued market pressures.

2) Survey outcome – We conducted an organization wide survey to understand where we stand on the tenets of the ENERGY framework. On each of the tenets we have scored above 3.5 out of 5 which is a good sign.

3) ENERGY Exemplars – We also launched the ENERGY Exemplars which helps us to identify our People Managers who demonstrate exemplary behaviours signifying the six tenets of ENERGY. We received over 5000 responses; this shows that the message of ENERGY has been percolated till the last mile.

4) Amantran Scheme – The Amantran scheme of L&T is where employees refer their friends and peers for openings at LTEH. Over 125+ offer letters were released to candidates recommended by our employees in last 90 days. The number has drastically increased, which shows that more and more employees are endorsing the company’s brand.

The transformational OD journey has taught me a lot:

– Vision of the head of the organisation shapes the journey.
– Don’t worry about next 5 or 10 steps too much – if the direction is right, just focus on the next step, complete it, reflect and decide the further step – Rome was not built in a day, nor is culture.
– Constant communication is the key to creating involvement and engagement.
– Customisation to various businesses helps localise the cultural aspects, and hence adoption is better.
– Multiplicity of approaches to reach the varied employees and string them into one sutra of culture.
Extremely excited to see the unfolding of this journey in years to come!