August 03, 2013

Generating Four Cups of Tea for Your Employer - The CRISIL Employee Credo

The "work ethic/culture" of initial employees at a startup is often a crucial determinant of the success of the
venture. I have also often wondered how much of work ethic/culture of an employee is determined by "nature" (i.e., individual specific) versus "nurture" (organizational level stuff like vision & mission, work culture, etc.). Personally, at my first (and so far last) job, I used to break down my salary to a "per working day" number - to be used to ask "Have I done justice to that number?" at day end. And, if the answer was No, to try harder.

I therefore found it quite interesting to read about the employee credo at ratings & research firm Crisil in the book "Doing what is right: The CRISIL Story".

Extract from Page 92-93 (describing a pre placement talk at an MBA school by early employees of the firm):

    "What is the work culture at CRISIL? What is your management philosophy?" It was a bespectaled youngster in the second row who was taking down some notes.

    "Our philosophy is that if the employer gives you one cup of tea, you should generate four cups of tea for the employer." It was Rao now, in his inimitable style.

    As the nonplussed youngster looked on, Rao continued.

    "One cup is paid as tax. The second cup of tea is given to the promoters and stakeholders as dividend. The third cup of tea is reserves. The fourth cup is again given back to you as reward."

    A quiet buzz went around the packed auditorium as Rao soldiered on, enjoying the effect he was generating.

    "If you generate five cups of tea, you will get the fifth cup as an extra reward. As long as you can produce four cups of tea for your employer you will  never find it difficult to maintain your job. That's CRISIL. That's our philosophy." 
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.