HCL Technologies, a global IT services provider, has long been known for its 'Employees First, Customers Second' (EFCS) mantra. That mantra helped HCL become one of the top players in the world of IT services and outsourcing, making it a US$5 billion company.

The EFCS philosophy of HCL Tech was in operation for six years internally before the company started talking about it outside of the company," said Krishnan Chatterjee, Global Head of Strategic Marketing, HCL Technologies. Once out in the public, EFCS became the defining mantra of the company.

"Because of the huge cultural transformation inside the company, we found that the whole EFCS concept started manifesting itself very interestingly in both employees and customers," he told CIO Asia.

The whole thrust of the EFCS campaign was to highlight the significance of empowering HCL's employees. Empowerment leads to ideation, and ideation leads to innovation, which finally helps the businesses of HCL's customers. "The whole DNA of the technology industry today is what I call the startup mindset," said Chatterjee. "With EFCS, employees got empowered and they began ideating. Ideas are fascinating to people in this domain."

When an academic visited HCL HQ in India to research its workings, to find out what made the company different, he found something startling, said Chatterjee. "Your employees don't behave like nine to fivers," he pointed out. "Your employees are highly engaged."

Relationship beyond the contract

According to Chatterjee, today's buyers in the IT market are Generation Two (Gen 2) buyers. Unlike their predecessors (Gen One buyers of technology), they don't see technology as a means to offset or save cost (cost arbitrage principle). Rather, they see technology as a competitive advantage.

That outlook of Gen Two, to Chatterjee, is a game changer.

"A contract you sign today may become irrelevant one week later," he said. "Your business environment or the compliance environment may change tomorrow. So, even though the contract becomes irrelevant, the business needs remain. We thought if you marry the innovation quotient to the trust and transparency values that HCL has (which is once we have signed a contract, we are committed to the business outcome which you desire), you get what we call a relationship beyond the contract."

Chatterjee said that this philosophy of "relationship beyond the contract" is HCL Tech's new mantra.

The company has launched a series of videos on social media to illustrate this new mantra. HCL has a strong presence across social media channels with over 500,000 fans on Facebook and more than 200,000 Twitter followers.

A LinkedIn app

In May, the company announced its partnership with LinkedIn to launch an application aimed at encouraging users to go above and beyond the scope of their existing contracts.

The application, which will be available globally in English, German and French, will highlight the changing nature of business engagements as part of the first stage of a global campaign aimed at encouraging more employees and businesses to build a 'Relationship Beyond the Contract', said Chatterjee.

The web-based application, which is accessible via LinkedIn's APIs and InMail feature, is aimed at encouraging users to go the extra mile by allowing them to log in and acknowledge professional relationships that they feel have gone beyond the contract. Users can access the app to add a personalized note of appreciation to their contacts which the recipient can then view, download and print.

According to Chatterjee, HCL Tech is launching the new campaign with a view to underlining its belief that social tools such as LinkedIn will form the basis of the next stage of B2B engagement across the global industry.

"At HCL, the way we do business is premised on deeply rooted principles of trust and transparency, flexibility, and value centricity," he said. "The Relationship Beyond the Contract digital campaign is an outcome of behaviours and the Employees First, Customer Second business model we believe in, developed from the work HCL has done to seek a deeper understanding and foster clearer, more open dialogue among technology companies, vendors and partners globally."