Success has as many definitions as per personal preference. For some, it is materialistic like having a bungalow, a fleet of vehicles, an adequate bank balance etc.
For others, it is a destination where when one reaches, feels elated, delighted and powerful. However, the third category of true leaders feels that success is a journey of learning life’s lessons and then giving back to society.
This is the story of one of such powerful leaders in business, who has become the living definition of real success, the catalyst for Growth. We are talking about G. S. Ramesh, the Chairman and Founder of Layam Group, a company he started in 2007. This was the beginning of his second innings. His first innings, like his second one, have been equally successful.
Learning Life’s Lesson
Ramesh finished his management studies and joined TATA in the early 70s. He worked for this reputed brand for more than 20 years. This was his first job, and he says he was fortunate to be interviewed by the late Mr Russi Mody, a giant leader who was instrumental in building TATA iron and steel company.
Though Mr Mody expressed his doubts about G. S. Ramesh, who hailed from south India working in tough terrain like coal, Ramesh eventually proved his mettle with ample guidance and support from his colleagues and workers in the coal mines.
Later on, he moved to steel and then cement of TATA. After his tenure with TATA, Ramesh joined Hyundai, the auto giant and was involved in setting up the plant and served them for 12 years and retired from his first innings.
Working in coal mines, for instance, gave him an excellent experience-Difficult terrain but simple people. Ramesh says that he learnt a lot from them, the most important lesson being simplicity with common sense. Next came his stint at Hyundai as an HR person. He always tells people that HR for him is not Human Resources but Honesty in Relationships and to be a business partner. Honesty is a very powerful trait, and many people are unable to handle it.
Ramesh expresses that his advice is if you practice handling honesty, you can become the most successful person. Coming back to his professional journey, as he completed his first innings with Hyundai, he decided to achieve his passion. Ramesh reveals that his inner passion has always been to give back to society. He always believed that if he can help others achieve their dreams, it will make him a happy and enriched person. He started practising this. He created an institution with the intention to help school and college dropouts.
At Layam, Ramesh trains them, upskills them and helps them achieve career success. Today, he is proud to say that they have trained and placed over 15,000 people in various jobs across India, and there are many more who are coming into this fold.
Passion, Compassion and Inspiration
Ramesh says that his first inning with TATA and Hyundai was an elevating experience that helped him scale the career ladder and achieve success. His second-inning is more about realising his dream of giving back to society.
Ramesh adds that his passion for starting a company that will become a ‘catalyst for growth’ – Layam Group’s tagline – was so strong that no negative force could stop him.
Today, Layam stands true to its tagline by helping thousands of people achieve career success. This makes Ramesh very happy.
He shares that his role models are the great TATAs and their style of talking, fortitude and positive outlook. Their ideals and philosophy helped him achieve success both in his professional life and personal journey.
The Catalyst for Growth
Regarding Layam Group, Ramesh states that it is a 15-year-old organisation with workforce strength of 12,500+ people working across India. Its turnover has been Rs.200 crores and its services range from Staffing, Talent Acquisition, Contract manufacturing, Job Contract, Learning and Development and Business Consulting. Ramesh states that Layam is proud to be recognised as Human Capital Value Chain provider and trusted partner for Automobile, Manufacturing, Engineering Industry and many more.
They are also proud that their company fulfils the dreams of all those who want to join an MNC or large industry. Layam’s goal since inception has been to give job opportunities to ITIs and Diploma holders by training or upskilling them.
At Layam, the team identify such candidates and show them the relevant career path with a Business Model of Hire, Train and Deploy. Over 30000 youth have become employable because of the skill sets gained through Layam.
Three-dimensional Team Layam
When asked how he helped enhance the outreach and development of Layam Group, Ramesh said very humbly that a single person could not be credited with the success of an organisation. As a leader, he has always supported his people and motivated them to win. He gave them a free hand as far as fulfilling their work commitments was concerned.
Timeliness, discipline and commitment were most important to him and in a way, these traits have got imbibed into team Layam as well. This helped them achieve their targets year on year. They have invariably surpassed the expectations of their clients and candidates alike, probably because they see the quality of their work, which is unmatched in the industry.
Bouncing Back from the Challenges
To run a successful business is a challenge in itself, as Layam Group constantly has to rise above the expectations of its stakeholders. When the pandemic struck initially, it was terrifying, but finally, it got converted into an opportunity, and the group bounced back.
Working from home was an alien concept for a service-oriented industry like Layam Group; however, following the norms, it did stick to the protocol, slowly blending into the new normal.
In fact, it maintained a status quo and its employees rendered their full support like always. Their clients also stood by them, displaying their trust and loyalty to team Layam. Ramesh says this gesture was reassuring and motivated them to strive harder to achieve their goals.
Evolving in the Post-pandemic Era
Post-COVID, things are limping back to normal, and like Ramesh already said, during COVID, too, they were fortunate enough to stay afloat. He says that his people prefer to come to the office instead of working from home; a few have opted for hybrid mode, but that’s fine with him as long as they are committed to their work.
In terms of gaining new clients, Layam Group is overbooked. 2021 has been a profitable year for Layam and its associates, and Ramesh hopes that moving ahead, he sees excellent prospects as far as new client wins and expansion of their business are concerned.
Redefining Success and Accomplishment
Ramesh states that helping people achieve their dreams has been his biggest accomplishment. A successful career, according to him, is doing something which you are passionate about, and you need to believe in yourself and be honest always. Ramesh thinks that by doing so, he is sure happiness and success will follow you like a shadow!
Ramesh says that they strongly believe in quality and a high degree of professionalism in their approach and representation of services.
This commitment and dedication can be seen through many certificates, awards and accolades Layam Group has achieved.
- The Group has been certified by D&B and many international entities from Europe and Asia for its works and services.
- Layam Group is an ISO 9001:2015 certified organisation.
- It is also a NEEM agent, NAPS TPA and accredited ASDC partner by the Government.
- It has won several awards like Company of the Year (manpower services) and has been adjudged as one of India’s 10 most trusted HR Solution Providers.
Adapting to New Tech-Trends
Talking about COVID-19, Ramesh says that it has redefined many business operations and working fundamentals. As the pandemic set in, Layam Group, like all other companies, realised the enormity of the situation and quickly shifted its working style from offline to online as per COVID protocols.
Layam’s teams across India worked from the comfort of their homes, and the efficiency levels remained unchanged. Be it team meetings or celebrating a colleague’s birthday, everything happens online.
The group has always been way ahead in terms of technology, whether it comes to its processes, payroll or attendance. The same system continued in the virtual world as well. Instead of interacting face to face, Ramesh saw his team through zoom or ‘teams’ call. Business proceedings remained unaffected, much to the delight of Layam’s clients and candidates alike.
Future of Integrated Sustainable Management Solutions
Talking about Layam’s prospects, Ramesh says that their company’s mission is to increase stakeholders’ value by delivering integrated sustainable management solutions that help them achieve their goals and distinguish Layam as the performance and learning solution provider of choice.
Ramesh envisions his company to remain at the top position as a Human Capital Value Chain provider and trusted partner for the Automobile, Manufacturing, Engineering industries and many other sectors. The firm has already made inroads in the power sector, and it plans to make a foray into banking, the food industry etc.
The Success Mantra
Ramesh’s success Mantra for people aspiring to become influential business professionals is simple, ‘Be passionate about what you do and believe in yourself. Perseverance is the key to your accomplishment. More importantly, ethical work culture is crucial to an organisation’s success as it ushers in strong teamwork, high productivity and unswerving integrity with stakeholders. Hence, one should nurture it for a consistent growth trajectory.’