The Advisory Board Company is the leading provider of comprehensive performance improvement services to the health care and education sectors—including operational best practices and insights, business intelligence and analytic tools, management training, unbiased technology evaluation, and consulting support. Drawing on nearly three decades of experience, The Advisory Board Company is privileged to serve a membership of more than 2,800 organisations—including preeminent hospitals, health systems and universities as well as pharmaceutical and medical device companies and insurers—all sharing a charter “above commerce,” a commitment to best-practice standards, and an unyielding insistence on continual improvement. ABCO Advisory Services India Private Ltd in India, a group company of The Advisory Board Company Inc USA was set up in 2008 at Chennai.

The Hindu Opportunities spoke to Harikrishna Gaura who is heading the Human Resources Department for ABCO Advisory Services India Pvt. Ltd in Chennai and is in charge of entire gamut of HR activities for Advisory India office. The company has around 200 employees in its India division.

When asked about the recruiting practices at ABCO, Mr. Gaura said that the company has a stringent interview process where the candidates are tested on abstract thinking, logical and analytical abilities and communication skills. The company recruits from some of the best universities and colleges in the country.

One of the core ideas on employee development at ABCO is meritocracy, elaborating on this Mr. Gaura said that employees are given ownership driven opportunities. He said that such a policy allows for talented, motivated individuals to progress in their career quite fast without being bogged down by criteria like credentials, education or even how many hours they spend in the office.

Mr. Gaura mentioned the HR practices at ABCO which make it employee friendly. Some of these policies include:

Flexi Work timings

No Dress Code

It doesn't matter what time employees step in to the office and from where they work , if the given deliverables are met

Work from home options for employees

Quick career paths for employees

Learning culture

Merit based appraisal system and not tenure based system

He added that ABCO is an employee centric organisation and employees are equal stakeholders in key decisions and their feedbacks is given due respect. Speaking on the culture of the company he said that it had a value driven culture which embraces more open communication. He added that the company has a flat hierarchy where anyone can approach anyone through the Open Door Policy. Employees are encouraged to ask questions and the emphasis is on the company and employees being one instead of two separate entities. When asked on the key strengths of the HR initiatives at ABCO Advisory Services, Mr. Gaura said that the flexible work environment, encouraging employee to nurture and develop leadership qualities and the continuous appreciation of employees are some of them. He said that employees are given the freedom to take decisions at their level so that they develop a sense of ownership to the company. This helps them become an integral part of the decision making process. He added that employees are not micromanaged and are expected to understand and fulfil their responsibilities.

Speaking on employee growth he said that employees are promptly rewarded for their performance and are motivated to exceed expectations. They are mentored to exceed expectations. “The appraisal system at ABCO is based on meritocracy”, he said.

On employee engagement Mr. Gaura said, “To keep employees engaged we provide them with innovation challenges and the best ideas are rewarded and appreciated.” On employee training he said that they are given opportunities for learning and skill development.

The company also focuses on employee health and wellness. On this Mr. Gaura said, “We focus a lot on health and wellness of employees which is very important in IT Industry these days, we know the fact that they don't get time to focus on their health checkups. So we have an in house physician who visits our office on Tuesdays and Thursdays to do regular check ups for all the employees. Employees who have health issues, and want to talk to him privately also set up an appointment with him during these hours and they discuss their health issues.”

On the CSR initiatives he mentioned ABCO’s Community Impact, where employees act as volunteers and make use of their skills and knowledge to support NGO's and do pro bono projects to support the community in various ways and means. He added that in India ABCO is supporting various schools and a project called Shiksha which strives for quality education for children in the society ABCO Advisory Services helps.

The HR initiatives at ABCO have helped bring down the attrition rate, Mr. Gaura added, “Historically we have been having less attrition which is less than 5% and we hope to continue to include more HR initiatives that will help us in retaining employees and keep our attrition down.”

The progressive HR policies at ABCO have helped its growth as an organisation.

Hema Gopalakrishnan