Friday Fact- Lessons from 26/11 terror attack

Did you know: None of the Taj Staffers fled during the 26/11 attacks?

The nation just marked 10 years of attacks in Mumbai on 26/11. In November 2008, India suffered a great loss due to a terrible attack caused by the terrorist at a well renowned 5-star hotel; TAJ MAHAL PALACE – Mumbai. The hotel was under siege for 3 days and 2 nights, held by the terrorist with automatic weapons who took few people as a hostage, killed rest of them and set the famous dome of the hotel on fire.

But by a report that came right after the attack, showed that none of the employee/staff that was present there in the hotel at that time fled. They all stood their right next to their customers and helped them with utmost possibilities to get them out safe. They made sure they saved almost every person they could find at a grave risk to their own lives.

There were even such employees who lost their family who lived in that hotel and yet chose to save the rest of the people. There were a lot of workers, waiters, busboys, and room cleaners who knew about the back exits and paths through the hotel. Yet they chose to stay in the building under siege until their they made sure their customers were safe. This was the very model of ethical, selfless behavior that was seen.

Although as a case, it was impossible to draw a conclusion, yet while this case was studied at Harvard, few conclusions were drawn to answer WHY.
It was deduced that it had to do something with the pattern of recruiting at Taj and the kind of people they recruit. And the manner they train and reward them. The hotel looked for recruiting people who are less motivated by money and highly determined by personal behavior.

The study showed the following major traits in recruitment & people policy at Taj:
They did not recruit from big cities and well-renowned business schools. Rather they opted to recruit from semi-urban areas and local schools.
They did not look for employees who have the highest grades. They were actually recruiting for personal characteristics, especially respect and empathy.
Also, they recruited personnel from second-tier business schools, on the basis of the theory that the people there will be less motivated by money.
If we draw the attention on training and rewarding system of Taj, it was designed to encourage kindness. If any guest compliments any employee, within 48 hours the hotel would reward the employee – ranging from gifts to job promotion.
Through this study, the reason behind that behavioral pattern was deciphered – which can help corporations to enable behaviors with selflessness and empathy!
Because it is the employees who represent your organization and will maintain relationships with the customers, on your behalf at the time of crisis.

Taj has been deploying it since 1903. Are you?

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