Why Defining Hiring Policy is a Specialist Job – Learning from Taj Terror Attack!

“Hiring & designing hiring policy is a specialist job”

We all know this, but then we know a lot of others things too, and don’t remember when it actually matters. Sometimes we know it, we even remember it but at the time of execution we say “No this particular Behavior/ Policy/ Ground-rule doesn’t apply to me or my organization”. Reasons also keep changing based on our situations, we are either too small or too big, we are in developed city or not in one, in growth phase or consolidation and most common of all we can’t afford it without realizing the actual cost of not getting it. I have seen this happening with a lot of not just early stage entrepreneurs and HR leaders but established ones as well.

Below is the must read case study for all of us; though in Harvard Library it is tagged under psychology, but I see this as a massive case study of Human Resource and Policy making:

At the time of Taj terror attack Not ONE and I emphasize not even a single Taj employee left the under attack burning hotel and ran right through, even when probably all of them knew the escape routes and exit plans of the hotel. All of them helped guests escape and safe guarded them and unfortunately many of them (17 to be exact) sacrificed their life doing this. Irrespective of their age, gender, education, financial status, designation, role in organization, work experience, experience with Taj group and experience in hospitality sector, none simply none flee away from site, even when few of their colleagues also lost lives in-front of their eyes. Unfortunate but amazing isn’t it. Surprisingly none of them were ever trained for this (barring few may be who were from Army background). These protocols were never a part of employee handbooks or induction training, still all of them reacted the way they reacted. Even higher Management at Tata group including Ratan Tata seemed to be unaware how and why this happened.

Psychologists and experts across have done some deep research on this and have zeroed down on three things from Taj’s recruitment strategies which may have actually impacted this astonishing behavior towards client’s service shown by all hoteliers.

– One, Taj recruited for culture and nature, they do not recruit from big cities, not from Metros but from tier 2, tier 3 cities, recruitment from such cities where traditional culture still holds strong and people are proud of their culture.

– Secondly, they did not recruit for marks or grades, they collected feedback and recruited students who were most respectful of their seniors, elders, teachers and parents. This specific trait itself makes them best fitting for hospitality service industry than any grade in any hotel management paper.

– Third, which is little too counter-intuitive for most of us, they didn’t teach their employees to be ambassador of the Taj to all the guest but to be the ambassadors of their guests to the hotel, this resulted in getting all the empathy in all the employees. The results of such simple nuances in hiring are in-front of us and are simply stupefying.

This is just one of the case study, but similar pattern is seen in other organizations too, Indian army too does not recruit toppers, they recruit people through intensive psychological testing, perhaps that is why they have one of the most effective govt organisations in the country.

You may want to hear the complete Tedx Talk on Employees reaction in Taj Mumbai Attack here.

In nutshell, each and every step you take to build your Startup today will have a long lasting impact on your organization. Choose wisely!

The Post has been contributed by Divya Kumar Gupta, Director at Focus Infosoft Pvt. Ltd.

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