Taj Hotel terror attack has become a massive psychology case study in Harvard. Not ONE Taj employee abandoned the hotel and ran away, but stayed right through the attack. They helped the guests escape and, in the process, many employees died. It confounded psychologists!
Our studies show that the Taj employees’ actions weren’t prescribed in manuals; no official policies or procedures existed for an event such as 26/11. Some contextual factors could have had a bearing, such as India’s ancient culture of hospitality; the values of the House of Tata, which owns the Taj Group; and the Taj Mumbai’s historical roots in the patriotic movement for a free India.
Finally, they pinpointed 3 recruitment strategies:
- Taj did not recruit from big cities, they recruited from smaller cities where traditional culture still holds strong
- They did not recruit toppers, they spoke to school masters to find out who was most respectful of their parents, elders, teachers and others.
- They taught their employees to be ambassadors of their guests to the organisation not ambassadors of the company to their guests.
The results are stupefying!
Trainees are assured that the company’s leadership, right up to the CEO, will support any employee decision that puts guests front and center. The Taj Group prefers to go into the hinterland because that’s where traditional Indian values—such as respect for elders and teachers, humility, consideration of others, discipline, and honesty—still hold sway. In the cities, by contrast, youngsters are increasingly driven by money, are happy to cut corners, and are unlikely to be loyal to the company or empathetic with customers. The Taj Group doesn’t scout for the best English speakers or math whizzes; it will even recruit would-be dropouts. Its recruiters look for three character traits: respect for elders (how does he treat his teachers?); cheerfulness (does she perceive life positively even in adversity?); and neediness (how badly does his family need the income from a job?).
The above story was authored by Mr. Rohit Despande and I like to thank him for all his effort to gather all the information and for sharing these inspiring stories.
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