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Forrester Awards Social Reach

Executive Summary

HCL ‘s path breaking strategy for brand impact creation– both internal and external,  had at its heart the social and digital fabric woven on their own innovative idea-led Intrapreneurship framework –Ideapreneurship .  At every stage of the employee life cycle, right from Pre-Hiring through to an Alumni, specific targeted campaigns were launched. Be it through pre-hiring campaigns like HIRAL, with an unprecedented 175 M impressions, 3,35,000+ video views and 11,400 application, or with Coolest Interview Ever (CIE), which pushed HCL’s Twitter follower base to more than 200,000, or the internal social platform MEME for employees, which is 90000 (90% of total base) employees strong and buzzing, or the first in kind campaign in India with 50 million global impressions, where an organization (especially IT/ITES) has facilitated employees to uninhibitedly discuss organization culture on social media, HCL has cracked the key to brand impact through effective social reach.

Initiative Summary

In today’s competitive corporate arena, the only differentiator for companies is the People and the heart they put into their roles. HCL management realized that at the heart of it all was Culture and that the key to cutting edge differentiation was to build the relevance of culture through the employee life cycle by creation of a strong Employer Brand, both internal and external; the internal being culture and the overall employment experience that a current employee has and the external being the brand image portrayed in front of prospective employees. The intent was to use ground breaking and non-conventional means to reach out to the majority that was young, spirited, had short attention span and lived comfortably in the cyber zone.

In order to build internal brand salience, HCL’s culture and employer value proposition - ‘ideapreneurship’ was the foundational framework. It is a unique innovation culture in which every employee at HCL is empowered with the ‘license to ideate’ for their customers via its belief in the values of Trust and Transparency, Employees First and Value Centricity. HCL’s culture of ‘Ideapreneurship’ currently has over 100,000 Ideapreneurs who have generated a value of over $ 633+ million for their customer by generating over 32,400 ideas through 4 service lines. 

Aimed at creating external salience for HCL’s Ideapreneurship culture via the employee advocacy route, encouraged by the success of Idea led intrapreneurs from within,  and keeping in mind the net-savvy and digitally hungry young working population, an internal and external Social/Digital ideapreneur campaign, across the entire employee lifecycle was developed.  This was brought alive in 4 stages:

Stage 1- Pre-Hire Stage: Developing disruptive recruitment marketing messaging with linkages to the EVP and initiatives to create employer brand awareness & salience in India.

Stage 2 - The Candidate Experience Stage: An end to end program to ensure the candidate goes beyond feeling like yet another employee code

Stage 3- The Employee Experience Stage: Culture immersion through unified messaging across all initiatives for employees – awareness, ambassadorship, advocacy

Stage 4 - Alumni Stage: Cultural proof point beyond work tenures


HCL went all disruptive and conceptualized and implemented specific programs: right from creating multi award winning social hiring campaigns like HIRAL, Coolest Interview Ever (CIE) to attract the talent pool in a language they were all-too comfortable with, and continue to spread the culture among the employees as well, through Internal Social engagement platforms MEME, MAD JAM, LeadGen, Value Portal, Good Practices Conference, and Alumni Engagement Portal for Alumni.

Business Problem / Problem statement

HCL, growing rapidly with a 13% YoY growth rate as compared to 2014, and expanding exponentially in the years to come, realised the need for HR to tailor Talent Strategies in New and Emerging Markets. The strategies for finding, hiring and developing talent that worked in the past didn’t translate as readily in these new and possibly more competitive environments.

Moreover, the current talent market consisted largely of Gen Y candidates, who do not resonate with traditional HR methods, hence the need to develop a strong employer brand that appealed to them and one which

  • helps HCL to attract and retain the right talent and have a healthy employee base/ pipeline
  • helps create a differentiator for themselves against their competitors and
  • helps build salience for the brand both internally and externally thereby enabling the employees to live up to the promise of delivering a relationship with the customer that goes beyond the contractual agreement.


HCL operates on the belief that putting the employees in the driver’s seat would help unleash their true potential. This belief, in fact, defines HCL’s business philosophy - Employees First, Customers Second (EFCS Video).

As part of this “employees first” principle, HCL strives to attract and foster employees who believe in something called “ideaprenuership”. Ideaprenuership is best defined as the attitude or ability to drive grassroots-based, business-driven and customer-focused innovation in an intrapreneurial environment. In order to make sure that the prospective job candidates and current employees embody this tenet, a lot of time was spent working on building and more importantly living the employee value proposition.

The Employer Brand creation followed a two-pronged approach:

1.The Prelude: Evolution of Ideapreneurship:  HCL embarked on an all-out effort to transform the company into a high-performing organization with ‘Ideapreneruship’ as the employee value proposition and culture, based on the integral HCL philosophy ‘Employee First Customer Second’. With the evolution of Ideapreneurship, a framework based on the beliefs, behaviors and idea-oriented platforms such as LeadGen, Value Portal, MAD JAM and Good practices conference was developed to help employees innovate and collaborate with each other and customers to seed, nurture and harvest ideas.   

  1. The Solution: Creation of a unified Corporate Brand in line with the EVP:  This was achieved through building the relevance of culture through employee lifecycle, thereby leading to a stronger employer brand by leveraging social media through an internal networking Site ‘Meme’ that helps employees connect, collaborate and ideate.


The Prelude: Evolution of Ideapreneurship

The first phase of the transformation journey was “management-driven and employee embraced”. During this time the value system that would drive HCL’s culture going forward started spreading across the organization. As business forces outside started changing, the culture too started evolving within HCL. This created an intrapreneurial environment where employees were starting to take charge of change. This was clearly the next phase of HCL’s transformation journey from ‘employee driven and management embraced’ to what is called ideapreneurship -

The Ideapreneurship Framework started with validating beliefs, to clarifying and promoting the desired behaviours, reinforcing them through aligned programs, thereby leading to the desired business outcome – ‘Relationship Beyond the ContractTM ( Ideapreneurship™ puts employees at the forefront of innovation where they innovate and collaborate with each other and with customers to seed, nurture and harvest ideas. 


There were multiple initiatives which were launched in order to build a culture that engages with employees internally and externally. It allowed HCL to keep collaboration at the heart of its practices.

The First Step: Becoming an Ideapreneur - The Ideapreneur Profiles

Self-discovery social tools such as the ideapreneurship assessment tool help an individual employee discover their ideapreneurial profile. It measures their ideapreneurship quotient and suggests steps to jumpstart elevate their performance.

At HCL, over 80,000 ideapreneurs have undertaken the non-mandatory ideapreneurship assessment — a tool that had helped ideapreneurs identify their individual “ideapreneurial” profile. Post the assessment, the employees were taken through Learning Programs based on their profile to help sharpen their Ideapreneurship skills and competencies. 


The Second Step: Enabling Ideapreneurship through Collaboration: MEME – the Internal Social Route

The next step was to bring the employees to collaborate and make it possible for their ideas to become a reality. There was a need for tools and programmes that enabled different generations to work together and share knowledge so as to meet clients’ goals. To this end, HCL launched an internal social and professional networking site, MEME, in 2011, where all employees across the globe could connect, collaborate and share their thoughts and ideas.


The struggle these days is to manage communications for the new-age workforce. Gen Y today is very technology savvy and creative. They not only create very strong informal connects, speak their minds out, have a digital form of expression but also despise archaic systems and traditional modes of communication at workplace. Organizations are quickly realizing that in order to yield benefits from close collaboration at workplace, they have to look at the newer ways to engage these young employees and create an organization of tomorrow.

With a similar aim to establish strong communication channels with Gen Y and to harness their energies efficiently, HCL looked at creating a social collaborative tool which was dynamic and interactive in nature. With a fair representation from Gen Y within the organization, HCL leaders came up with a fresh new platform on “Business to Employee” model to quench the “Y” thirst. And this is how a new platform called MEME ( was born.

Built on the concept of “Decoding Individuality” through Connect, Learn ,Share and Grow, this platform featured a flurry of standard applications like network of friends and colleagues, tech forums, posts/comments, pictures, tags, document share and group conversations.


Today MEME engages around 90000 employees through 2764 groups, 349 pages and 53,9701 posts. Looking at the powerful employee contribution to this platform, it would be right to say that this platform is certainly succeeding in helping HCL employees meet the challenge of building effective relationships which are vital to working in large, distributed enterprises.

Some of the unique features and benefits driven from MEME initiative are:


The Third Step: Facilitating Innovation -Channels to Innovate

With such an atmosphere that fosters Intrapreneurship, ideapreneurs are constantly engaged in generating and evolving ideas which are harvested using our various idea-oriented platforms and practices which are Value portal, lead Gen, Mad Jam and good practices conference, thereby helping unleash the true power of ideapreneurship:


Exhibit Exhibit

The Solution:

Inside – Out: Employer Branding - How HCL Technologies build the relevance of culture through the employee life cycle

Looking at the immense success of MEME within HCL, we anticipated that the social collaboration tools will play a crucial role in changing the face of organizational structure in the coming years. Every company wanting to kindle open communication with its new –age workforce will need to create a platform that allows free flow of knowledge and communication as Gen Y are used to, in their daily lives. HR therefore needed to Tailor Talent Strategies in New and Emerging Markets since the strategies for finding, hiring and developing talent that worked in the past don’t translate as readily in these new and possibly more competitive environments. HCL also took into account the rising popularity of social media forums like Facebook and Twitter.

And thus emerged the exercise to create the relevance of the Ideapreneurship culture through the four stages of the employee lifecycle namely:

  • Pre-hire
  • Candidate experience through to joining
  • Employee stage
  • Alumni


1. Ideapreneurship through the Employee Lifecycle: Stage 1: Pre-hire

To attract new talent the HCL talent acquisition group decided to tap into social media in an effort to increase its reach across talented job-seekers.

1.1 Start-app

An outcome of the ideapreneurship within HCL was the app called Start-app, which was launched in March 2013. It acted as a one-stop shop for the prospective hires on Facebook to go through all the job openings in HCL and share or apply for the jobs. This was a new automated way for all employees, including recruiters and hiring managers, to dramatically increase the audience and reach passive candidates.


1.2 LinkedIn

HCL also had a career page on LinkedIn (a social media site used by recruiters and for individuals to display their professional profiles and to connect with other professionals around the world) -, which allowed HCL to take the employer brand message to the talent network and showcase their employee value proposition through customized experiences. On the LinkedIn’s career page, jobs, company images, employee testimonials and more were shared to showcase the brand of HCL as an employer of choice.


1.3 Slide Share

The Ideapreneurship Culture Deck has been published on Slideshare (in Aug’14) The Presentation has attracted over 12,000+   views in an organic manner.

We leveraged the presentation for 2nd time and conceptualized a contest around it to increase the number of views of the culture code and to gauge the understanding of Ideapreneurship for the external audiences. The deck has been made available to build external salience for the brand. The Social Reach numbers for the Slide Share Culture Deck are:

  • No. of downloads – 92 (Since 20th August’2014)
  • No. of LinkedIn shares – 249
  • No. of Twitter shares – 223
  • No. of Facebook shares – 73
  • No. of likes – 38


1.3 Twitter - #CoolestInterviewEver



Given that most companies had already started tapping into Facebook and LinkedIn for reaching out to the talent pool, the existing efforts were still not seen as enough to bolster the employer brand of HCL. Thus was born a campaign called the coolest interview ever involved an end to end hiring of a candidate on Twitter from a global talent pool for a one-year assignment. The campaign was launched in multiple languages to engage the maximum number of people. The search, interviews and shortlisting were to be done using the Twitter platform. Five roles would be on offer, one of which would be the winner with a twelve-month contract that carried a US$25,000 one-time cash prize and US$50,000 annual compensation.



The campaign supported the mission of improving the employer brand of HCL and portraying the internal culture of ideapreneurship to the Gen Y candidate – it got media coverage from more than 60 international and national media outlets worth a commercial value of one million USD. The campaign also pushed HCL’s Twitter follower base to more than 200,000, which placed it well ahead of other global companies including IBM, Accenture and established Indian companies like TCS and Infosys. The campaign trended across 19 cities and across the nation for four days, drawing people’s attention to the employee-centric and innovative culture of HCL.


1.4 YouTube – #HIRALVIDEOS

HIRAL (Video ) was the first of its kind recruitment marketing campaign to:

  • Convert written job descriptions to video format and create a hiring collateral of it
  • Be targeted to non-target audience (viral video watching friends of candidate who are too busy to watch viral videos)
  • Utilize social media, affiliate marketing, email marketing, recruitment channels, search and display advertising for a single campaign.
  • Use creative strategy to ride on the popularity of viral videos in India to create unexpected hiring pitch

The Campaign achieved unprecedented 175 M impressions, 3,35,000+ video views and 11,400 application with a CPA of  $4.93. After Coolestinterviewever, #HIRALVIDEO helped build salience of HCL as an innovative employer in India. 



2. Ideapreneurship through the Employee Lifecycle: Stage 2: Candidate Experience

Throughout the phases, we have devised multiple campaigns to target the challenges at hand and deliver an experience to the candidates


2.1          Awareness Phase – This is the period when the candidate is searching for a job

a.Social Media Campaign – Digital advertising through disruptive messaging – 175K impressions achieved in 35 days

b.Career site content revamp to cater to the millennials

2.2          Interest Phase – This is the period between the application and the offer rollout

a.Development of a comprehensive recruiter’s guide with responses to FAQs

b.Featuring success stories to showcase fast career growth within HCL

2.3          Pre-Joining - This is the period between the offer acceptance and the pre-induction

a.Gamified Learning – Sharing content on the company’s culture and history delivered through a game thereby resulting in a high SoM. Each candidate was presented with a series of individualized tasks tailored to a predetermined goal. After completing a task, the candidate was rewarded with a new learning opportunity: the ability to ‘level-up’ and unlock the next level of content. The game mechanics such as points, leader board and medals enhanced participation and learner motivation. The efforts of the candidate were rewarded with achievement badges as per the proficiency demonstrated by learner in the interactive quiz assessments that followed each level of content.

In first three months of the roll out, 62% of the new hires participated voluntarily in the training program. The probability of a candidate dropping was found to be 9X lower among the cohort who participated vs. those who did not. As a result, HCL was able to cut down pre-join churn by ~90%.

b.Communication mailers – Redesigned and Automated – For candidates and managers to address challenges identified during research

2.4          Post-Joining – These are the initial days ranging from Induction to the initial 30 days


•The avg. candidate just wants to “get done” with his induction

• All inductions are perceived as boring and standard

The new and revamped Induction will be launching soon- creating an experience to remember with information that is useful and will be remembered by him throughout his tenure at HCL and beyond. Our metrics for this phase include feedback forms that will be distributed to employees after their experience at ‘Fare Well Day’ to receive their feedback

Themed Induction - The theme for the Induction Ceremony is ‘Fare Well’. The ‘Fare Well’ ceremony acts as a powerful marketing initiative for HCL among the job-seeking community, as it is not only disruptive in terms of communication but also positions HCL as one of the ‘Great Places to Work’.

First 30 days: | Initial 30 day handholding program

Structure of the communication on this important yet delicate phase can make or break the experience for any candidate. We hand hold him through his first 30 days through initiatives and experience enhancers that will make his fondness of HCL grow leaps and bounds, so that he focusses his time and energy on productive work and every information he seeks is pre-thought of and provided to him before he can ask anyone for it! At the end of 30 days, asking all joiners to give us a formidable rating of 4/5 or more for their 30 days experience

3. Ideapreneurship through the Employee Lifecycle: Stage 3: Employee Empowerment and Engagement

The ideapreneurship culture immersion has been done through unified messaging approach across all initiatives for employees by building awareness, ambassadorship and advocacy.

3.1 Awareness – The facilities branding project has been taken up by the team to brand multiple facilities across the globe to create a unified messaging approach through the creative deployment of impactful branding creatives across facilities.

3.2 Ambassadorship – The four platforms namely LeadGen, Value Portal, Mad JAM and Good Practices Conference have been created to institutionalize the culture of Ideapreneurship and engage employees in the organization.

Various initiatives have been undertaken to celebrate the contribution of employees beyond rewards to motivate and inspire other employees.

To recognize the efforts of HCL’s Ideapreneurs and inspire others, HCL launched the first volume of, “The Chronicles of Ideapreneurs Volume1”– a graphic novel containing true stories about ten motivated HCL Ideapreneurs, and how their stories reflect the true spirit of Ideapreneurship. This is not only beautiful collateral for employee recognition but also becomes a proof point for HCL’s differentiated approach and its brand promise to the clients.

HCL envisions to launch many more such volumes to celebrate the contribution and success of its Ideapreneurs.


In addition to this HCL also created and compiled crowd sourced 100 Success stories for Ideapreneurs across the organization and leveraged the same on the HCL technologies page to celebrate the success of these ideapreneurs and also build external salience for them.


3.3 Advocacy -  Various digital campaigns such as the digital Ideapreneur have been launched to  Facilitate engagements with Ideapreneurs and to build external audiences with tweet chats and generate user content in terms of Blog posts and to create proof points for the culture of Ideapreneurship. The objective of the campaign was to achieve the following:

  • Selection of top digital Ideapreneurs, active on digital channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.
  • Conduct digital media training sessions with ideapreneurs through webinars
  • Facilitate engagement between ideapreneurs and external audience through Tweet chats


4. Ideapreneurship through the Employee Lifecycle: Stage 4: Alumni Engagement

We introduced our alumni to the alumni program ‘ I-alum Program’ and communicated the positioning of ‘Once an Ideapreneur always an Ideapreneur’, invited them to join our portal, regularly communicated to them of the current happenings and growth of HCLT, invited them to participate in hiring and other marketing campaigns etc. This was all done via emailer campaigns in the beginning. We even created an email helpline for any queries they had for the HCLT HR team.


Once we started receiving good response via mail and also increased registration requests on our portal, we launched our LinkedIn group. Within a span of 3 months we are at a membership of 2000+. Our portal membership has gone to 7000+.


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