20 Dec 2018 14:16 IST

Job creation and worker welfare are paramount: Suresh Krishna

Founder of Great Lakes, Bala V Balachandran with Suresh Krishna, Chairman, Sundram Fasteners Ltd.

Sundram Fasteners Chairman addresses Great Lakes students on the importance of a productive workforce

“Your job is to create jobs,” Suresh Krishna, Chairman, Sundram Fasteners Ltd, told the students of Great Lakes Institute of Management, quite bluntly. Delivering a special address at the inaugural of the annual global convention 2018 of Entrepreneur Café, a two-day event, Krishna said that it’s important to create jobs to keep the millions at the bottom of the pyramid gainfully employed. That’s India’s crying need. “India can be built only by Indians; you can get technology and ideas from abroad but hard work can only be ours,” he said.

And, it isn’t enough just to create jobs but one has to be conscious of the welfare of the workforce. Krishna pointed out that one can buy property, technology, get funding and so on, but one cannot buy an efficient and productive manpower. It is incumbent on a management to foster the right environment for its manpower. “B-schoolers are taught HR, about mergers, marketing, but this is just the cream. The bottom of the pyramid is labour, who sustain the vision of the founder. How do you continuously maintain and sustain the sense of belonging of people who toil for you,” he elaborated.

There are a few ways of doing it, Krishna went on to explain. The vision of the company can’t be the individual vision of the CEO, but should be a shared vision, distributed among all employees. The onus is on the founder to communicate this vision and this forges harmony and unity in the company. “You must communicate, and when you get tired of it, you communicate more,” he stressed. “I have headed Sundram Fasteners for 55 years; we have 17 plants. I address all workers from the President down, two to three times a year so that they get to hear directly from the Chairman what’s happening around the world and in their company,” he elaborated.

Krishna said it’s important to speak the truth always and a tenuous bond develops between labour and management. “This cannot be mandated or brought, but you have to earn this trust; we share all balance sheets with the workers and also explain the global situation,” he added. The most under estimated role is how to create a productive workforce which totally identifies itself with the welfare of the company. “My dharma as a businessman is not just to make money but elevate a large number of Indians to a reasonable standard of living. The TVS group employs over a lakh people who have sustainable incomes; machinists in SFL are today VPs. Our dharma is to create a society to which you have directly contributed to betterment of society,” elaborated Krishna.

The two day conclave also featured a 24-hour non-stop conference on campus where students got to interact with various entrepreneurs. The theme of conference was ‘Disruptive Entrepreneurship in Amazing India (AI)’ in collaboration with TiE, FICCI and Ivy Next.

The chief guest, MK Pandiarajan, Minister of Tamil Language, Tamil Culture and Archaeology, Government of Tamil Nadu and Founder, Mafoi Management Consultants delivered the keynote address. He spoke to the students on the power of disruption. In the political sphere he spoke on how Kamaraj, a former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, created the TN Schemes of Education, with very less resources. He said every day, ‘I will open two schools.’ He started 15,000 government-aided schools all over the state and gross enrollment ratio went up to 80 per cent in 1963 while India had 30 per cent. “He did some innovation to the college sector and raised the number of colleges in TN. This is the kind of disruption power policies can have,” the Minister explained.

MK Pandiarajan, Minister of Tamil Language, Tamil Culture and Archaeology, Government of Tamil Nadu


For entrepreneurs, disruptions provides a great opportunity. “A successful entrepreneur is one who can see the unseen, one who can articulate the unarticulated and can work with which others have withheld. It’s a huge risk to follow with a window of opportunities closing on you,” said Pandiarajan. But, for students stepping out of B-school, it’s a great time to step into the entrepreneurial world.