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The Making of a Leader

Amit Aggarwal Senior Vice President, Training
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Genpact's GOLD: Generating Excellence in Leadership

September 28, 2016 - Some people are undoubtedly born leaders, but is it also possible to create a leader? I think so. Today, across the industry, operating leaders groomed by Genpact are running extremely successful operations and Genpact has come to be known as a factory for producing truly proficient operating leaders. One of the ways we do this is through our Global Operations Leadership Development (GOLD) program. From global clients to competitive organizations to hungry head hunters – word is out that GOLD graduates are truly worth their weight in gold. But what prompted the creation of GOLD in the first place?

Why GOLD?

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I feel nowhere is that more true than in the story behind GOLD. When Genpact was formed from GE many years ago, its aim was to be the largest and most successful global supplier of business process management services to the world's best known companies across diverse industries and geographies. In order to do so, Genpact's leadership realized that it needed a gene pool of talent that could operate anywhere in the world, for any client or business and under any circumstances, while delivering the operations excellence that was required and expected of Genpact. The need of the hour was a talent engine that could generate a powerful, multi-functional leadership pipeline – and so, with the help of the relevant financial investment, GOLD was born.

Teething problems – and solutions

When it was launched in 2006, GOLD did face a lot of teething problems. Team leaders did not want to let go of their operations experts for the period they would need to be away, the program itself was not inspiring and impactful enough, most days were just filled with one Power Point presentation after another, there was no guarantee of what job the participants would come back to, and the program hadn't managed to create enough branding for itself in order to a make employees genuinely want to be a part of it. That's when Genpact's leadership team was pulled in to co-own the program. They committed their own time and involvement, made it far more well-rounded and interactive, the selection process became tougher and more challenging, and GOLD was branded far more effectively.

Better and bigger

With each subsequent year, GOLD improved. It became more simulation-based, more competitive, more intense. It incorporated physical, behavioral, and knowledge-based training modules. Individual preferences and competencies started being matched with opportunities. One-on-one mentoring by Genpact's senior management and the introduction of personal development plans also added immense value to the program.

In addition, GOLD's unique Self-Directed Teams (SDTs) allowed participants to chart their own career paths and gave them a chance to actually be the change they wanted to see in the company. These SDTs have had a significant impact on the GOLD brand, the business brand and the Genpact brand.

The practice of Job Rotations, both within the current business and outside of the business function or geography, and in addition to the participant's existing job function, has also contributed in a big way to the success of the program.

There are two 14-day interventions and one 4-day intervention, which involve case studies and role plays that are based on actual scenarios from relevant industries, while simulations provide a very practical platform on which the participant's project management, operations management and business skills can be put to the test.

GOLD's evaluation process is rigorous, and is based not only on a participant's performance, but also on their ability to adapt and perform in an entirely new and different job environment. Out of 800 employees who apply each year, only 80 get past the grueling selection process, and after 18 months of intense and rigorous assignments , evaluations and reviews, participants still need to get the nod from Genpact's leadership team, before they make it to the graduation ceremony!

GOLD: So much more than just a training program

What GOLD does reasonably well is to help participants understand and feel good about their own worth, their true potential. It empowers them with the desire to do more than just 'a job', it inspires them to dig deep in order to truly add value to what they do for the company. A 'Badge of Honor' – a unique GOLD card worn exclusively by GOLD participants – helps showcase them as leaders and unites them across offices across the world. Long after the program, GOLD graduates tend to work well together, understanding the needs of the company and how best to deliver them – to form a genuinely robust and dynamic leadership pipeline that connects people and brings together skills and resources from multiple regions. This is a very valuable asset in an organization that is the size and scale of Genpact.

Does GOLD actually work?

An ROI Study by Linkage, Inc. & Noel M Tichy (University of Michigan) determined that there is a 131 percent return on investment. The study also suggested that a GOLD graduate brings in an average of $323K more revenue than the comparison group. Additionally, only 4% of GOLD's graduates leave the organization, compared to industry attrition rates of up to 20%. The program has also been a contributor to the increased number of women in leadership roles at Genpact. 40%+ of GOLD participants are now women and 40%+ of GOLD participants are from our global regions.

GOLD wins Gold!

Genpact's GOLD program has won the Gold Award for Leadership Development (2016), the GOLD award for Best Advance in High Potential in 2015, the Silver award for Best Result of Learning program in 2013, and the GOLD award for Best Integration of Learning & Talent Management at the prestigious Brandon Hall awards. It has also been recognized as an “Ideal case study for developing top talent" by CEB in 2014.

Particpant Speak

Rishab, a graduate from GOLD's first batch, says: "As much as the program transformed all of us, the program itself has undergone tremendous transformation and gets bigger and better each year! I constantly hear new graduates talk about how GOLD has opened up their view of things and has taught them how to work with different cultures, make new friends and build a network that they are able to leverage when in need."

Genpact's GOLD Graduates. Ready to Lead the World!

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I can only hope that the learning never stops and that we continue to improve. We would love to get your thoughts on how we can make it even better for tomorrow's world. Thoughts?

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