Salute To Ratan Tata.


India’s 26/11 at Mumbai needs no special mention to my readers. The Taj Hotel, too is too well known for me to write about, What may not be known to many of my readers is that the Taj group of hotels in India is run by the Tatas. Yes the same Tata group that launched the Nano, the people’s car.

After what happened at the Taj Hotel on 26/11, what Ratan Tata, the current CEO of the Tata Group and his team did is what this post is all about.

All category of employees including those who had completed even 1 day as casuals were treated as being on duty during the time that the hotel was closed.

Relief and assistance was extended to all those who were injured and killed during the attack.

Relief and assistance was extended to all those who died at the railway station surroundings, just behind the Taj, including the “Pav- Bha jiâ” vendor and the paan shop owners.

During the time that the hotel was closed, full salaries were sent by money order to all employees who were at home.

A psychiatric cell was established in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences to counsel those who needed such help.

The thoughts and anxieties going on in people’s minds was constantly tracked and where needed psychological help provided.

Employee outreach centers were opened where all help, food, water, sanitation, first aid and counseling was provided. 1600 employees were covered by this facility.

Every employee was assigned to one mentor and it was that person’s responsibility to act as a “single window” clearance for any help that the person required.

Ratan Tata personally visited the families of all the 80 employees who in some manner “either through injury or getting killed“ were affected.

The dependents of the employees were flown from outside Mumbai to Mumbai and taken care of in terms of ensuring mental assurance and peace. They were all accommodated in Hotel President for 3 weeks.

Ratan Tata himself asked the families and dependents as to what they wanted him to do.

In a record time of 20 days, a new trust was created by the Tatas for the purpose of relief of employees.

What is unique is that even the other people, the railway employees, the police staff, the pedestrians who had nothing to do with Tatas were covered by compensation. Each one of them was provided subsistence allowance of Rs. 10K per month for 6 months.

A 4 year old granddaughter of a vendor got 4 bullets in her and only one was removed in the Government hospital. She was taken to Bombay hospital and a fortune was spent by the Tatas on her to ensure full recovery.

New hand carts were provided to several vendors who lost their carts.

The Tatas will take responsibility for the education of 46 children of the victims of the terror.

This was the most trying period in the life of the organization. Senior managers including Ratan Tata were visiting funeral to funeral over the 3 days that were most horrible.

The settlement for every deceased member ranged from Rs. 36 to 85 lacs [One lakh rupees translates to approx 2200 US $ ] in addition to the following benefits:

a. Full last salary for life for the family and dependents;

b. Complete responsibility of education of children and dependents anywhere in the world.

c. Full Medical facility for the whole family and dependents for rest of their lives.

d. All loans and advances were waived off irrespective of the amount.

e. Counselor facility at Tata’s cost for life for each person

B. Epilogue

How was such passion created among the employees? How and why did they behave the way they did?

The organization is clear that it is not something that someone can take credit for. It is not some training and development that created such behaviour. If someone suggests that everyone laughs

It has to do with the DNA of the organization, with the way Tata culture exists and above all with the situation that prevailed that time. The organisation has always been telling that customers and guests are #1 priority

The hotel business was started by Jamshedji Tata when he was insulted in one of the British hotels and not allowed to stay there.

He created several institutions which later became icons of progress, culture and modernity. IISc is one such institute. He was told by the rulers that time that he can acquire land for IISc to the extent he could fence the same. He could afford fencing for only 400 acres.

When the HR function hesitatingly made the very high cost proposal to Ratan he asked “do you think we are doing enough?”

The whole approach was that the organization would spend several hundred crores in re-building the property. Why not spend equally on the employees who gave their lives?

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