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Organizational Growth: Integrating Business and HR at MD Solutions*

CASE STUDY, HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ET Cases - GSMC, 11 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Shashank Mittal, Anuj Gupta and Amit Kumar Pandey, Doctoral Students, Indian Institute of Management, Raipur

Case Preview

Organizational growth: Integrating Business and HR at MD Solutions

 

“Growth itself is a big problem but a good problem to have”

- Manish Bhasin, Founder and CEO of MD Solutions



Sandeep Kapoor (Sandeep), Head-HR at MD Solutions, came from a long meeting with the top management of the company – Manish Bhasin (Manish), Co-Founder and CEO, Avneet Gupta (Avneet), Co-Founder and Head-Business Development, Jatin Das (Jatin), Co-Founder and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, and Renu Bhasin (Renu), Co-Founder and COO. The meeting was called to discuss the growth path of the company. There were two primary agendas – challenges which lie ahead in terms of sustaining the remarkable growth; and making preparations to handle the growth.

The management was primarily concerned with loss of some of the clients in the past and was seriously contemplating on what went wrong – was it in their control or it comes with growth. The issue was not of losing the customers alone but also of scaling up by inclusion of new customers and maintaining existing customers. Manish was very much concerned about scaling but not at the cost of quality and profitability. This meant, he was very serious about issues related to maintaining customers.

The other primary concern was to prepare the organization for handling very high growth. Management wanted seamless integration between functional and people processes and stressed on human capital as primary resource as a key enabler of growth without compromising on the quality. This required the HR function to play a more strategic and central role.

How would Sandeep be able to integrate, align and prepare human resources to meet the growth demands of the business? Would he be able to create value for the business by equipping HR for better customer service, even at the times when organization was witnessing more than hundred percent growth (Exhibit I)?..........

MD Solutions: About the Company

MD Solutions, a young company headquartered in Noida, operated in the niche area of providing a structured curriculum on physical education and sports to the schools. This was in line with the existing system of academic education in schools. The current focus of schools in India was almost entirely on academic education resulting in the negligence of physical education among children............

Market and Industry

In India, a school’s focus is almost entirely on academics and there was very little attention to sports. But slowly, this attitude was changing as all the stakeholders in primary and secondary education, be it parents, teachers and children themselves started stressing on the importance of sports. There was ever growing need for sports curriculum in schools in line with academic curriculum. Though schools understood the dire need for structured sports curriculum in the overall education of children.............

Offering for the Schools

MD Solutions offered products and services under eight different heads covering pre-school children, primary school children and middle school children (Exhibit IV). The offerings were tailor made to meet the physical requirements and interests of the age group of children. Offerings were scientific in nature, based on extensive research data of thousands of students across hundreds of schools in India..............

Journey of MD Solutions

The journey of MD Solutions began in January 2008. Founders realized that schools and all the stakeholders (students, teachers and parents) understand the importance of sports. However, due to constrains and nonavailability of any product or service they were not able to fulfil this demand. MD Solutions which understood the problem, took this challenge as an opportunity to provide products and services catering to the demand for sports curriculum in line with academic curriculum in the schools...........

Business Strategy for Growth

MD Solutions was primarily a service-based marketing company backed by product innovation. The company was in tremendous growth path and happy to grow at a very fast pace. But, at the same time founders always strived to create.............

Marketing

Way back in 2009, MD Solutions gained large scale attention it was looking for, from schools, parents and children when it released its first ever survey of sports activities in Indian schools. The survey covered 3000 children, aged between 5 and 14 years pan India. Subsequently, the company published surveys on fitness every year with each passing year increased the scale of participants covered. The 5th edition of MD Solutions’ survey of sports activities in Indian schools..............

Customer Service and Responsiveness

At MD Solutions, Head of Customer Service and Delivery believed that superior service quality was reflected in happy and less dissatisfied customers. The company was operating in the service space; therefore, rendering superior service quality was necessary for retaining customers. He further observed that customer expectations would increase over time. Customer service no longer included only what was promised but a faster response to customer’s ever evolving requirements was the key...........

Product and Service Innovations

At MD Solutions, the product and service innovations were based on two aspects, first was on the use of technology and customer expectations and feedback to develop new products and improving existing ones and second was on improving through quality standards in sports products and services according to the best practices in the world............

Sustaining Growth – Balancing Quantity and Quality

MD Solutions considered growth as the positive change to their business which also boosted their confidence and shareholders’ trust in the business model of the company. The company at the same time believed in sustainable growth which stressed on no compromises on the core business value of superior quality...........

HUMAN RESOURCE – AS AN EVOLVING STRATEGIC BUSINESS PARTNER

The entire senior management in MD Solutions believed that HR had had an important role to play in the implementation of above business strategy based on the simple assumption that retaining customers through..............

Organizational Culture and Values - An Entrepreneurial Organization

The culture at MD Solutions bore the founders’ blueprint about the organization. Manish believed in the healthy culture of co-operation and teamwork with minimum aristocratic structures. This was reflected in the organizational structure which had minimum hierarchies. He believed in empowerment of the employees through freedom to take decision, experimentation and open culture of communication............

Talent Acquisition

The company faced challenging situation of hiring. When asked about the biggest impact of growth, the manager said, “In our industry it is hiring. You have no other option but to add people. If you add people first of all you need to add right people.”............

Talent Management and Development

There are mainly three types of talent required by the company – technical executives, techno-managerial executives and business support like marketing and sales. Initially, HR made promotions for techno-managerial positions based solely on performance. Immediate supervisor’s rating and feedback was the basis of performance appraisal. The performance appraisal system focused mainly on technical aspects of the role............

Triple E Model of Engaged, Enabled and Energized Employees for Empowered Decision Making

Earlier the company faced some quality problems at the customer-end. There were complaints regarding service delivery. Company started making them the instances of cases and figured out that the exact reason for such behaviours is employee disengagement. If the purpose is not aligned then what will happen that employee will get disengaged. This is difficult to handle. In the growth stage, organization should be more focused in getting people who remains engaged and motivated................

Way forward

Accepting the challenges of growth, MD Solutions look to maintain and grow its customer base and employee base. Five years down the line, company aims to more than triple its customer base. Founders know that.............

Assignment Questions

1. What are the challenges faced by MD Solutions ?
2. How MD Solutions plan to manage its growth?
3. What is the role of HR as strategic business partner and hence partnering in managing business growth?
4. In what way HR strives to achieve a) horizontal fit, Inter-HRM area fit b) vertical fit, Strategy-HRM fit?
5. .............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Year-on-Year growth

Exhibit II: Vision and Philosophy

Exhibit III: Description of players in the sports curriculum industry

Exhibit IV: Description of offerings by MD Solutions

Teaching Note Preview

Organizational growth: Integrating Business and HR at MD Solutions

 

Synopsis

The case is about MD Solutions which is a seven year old start-up. The company created the market for sports curriculum industry in India. In the past, company faced some issues with respect to quality of customer service. The company is witnessing almost hundred percent year-on-year growth and Manish Bhasin (Manish), the Founder and CEO, wanted to drive the growth but with caution and by adhering to the core values of the company. He understands the importance of growth but at the
same time is very particular about zero tolerance on customer service.

In service industry, people resource is the most important factor for maintaining service quality andtherefore human resource becomes most important function. Also, with the growing business, oneneeds to keep adding the right employees. Then there is the challenge to manage them and developthem for managerial positions. All these challenges require HR to function as strategic business partner and evolve and learn in tandem with the growth of business. The case captures the journey of MD Solutions and how its HR became its strategic partner in managing human resource with growth of business.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding (PCU)/ Before the Classroom Discussion

The students/ participants should be encouraged to read the following mandatory reading:

  • • Dessler, G. (2009). A framework for human resource management. Pearson Education India.

 

Pedagogical Objectives

The learning objectives for the students are:

  • • To understand the role of HR as strategic business partner. HR should not be seen as support function but as value creation function
  • • To make students understand the close integration of business strategy with HR strategy at the time when business is witnessing tremendous growth
  • • To give an overview of Indian start-up and its working. The main highlight is that business and functions evolve by practicing flexibility

 

Case Positioning and Setting

  • • Target audience is first year management students in the course Human Resource management
  • • Final year management students in the elective course on Entrepreneurship, Strategic Human Resource and change management
  • • Also middle level managers who are working in industry, in the management development program related to strategic HRM and change management

 

Assignment Questions

  • 1. What are the challenges faced by MD Solutions ?
  • 2. How MD Solutions plan to manage its growth?
  • 3. What is the role of HR as strategic business partner and hence partnering in managing business growth?
  • 4. In what way HR strives to achieve a) horizontal fit, Inter-HRM area fit b) vertical fit, Strategy-HRM fit?
  • 5. ......

 

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Abstract

The case is about MD Solutions which is a seven year old start-up. The company created the market for sports service industry in India. In the past, MD Solutions faced some issues on quality of customer service. The company was witnessing almost hundred percent year-on-year growth. However, Manish Bhasin (Manish), Founder and CEO, wanted to drive the growth, but with caution and by adhering to core values of the company. He understood the importance of growth but at the same time was very particular about zero tolerance on quality of customer service.

In the service industry, people or human capital is considered to be one of the valued resources to maintain service quality and business growth. Several, challenges like ensuring the recruitment of right talent, managing and developing people for building organizational capabilities demand Human Resource (HR) department to function as strategic business partner and learn and evolve in tandem with the growth of business. MD Solutions was also facing a similar situation. There are two decision points in the case which require students to keep themselves in the footsteps of Sandeep Kapoor (Sandeep), Head HR. First, did Sandeep succeed in aligning business growth strategy with HR functions and in what way? Second, is there any sub- HR function which still needs to be aligned with business growth requirements in MD Solutions? Students are required to critically evaluate data, as supplemented in the case, for understanding strategic perspectives of HR in MD Solutions - the current and future road map.



Pedagogical Objectives

There are three fold learning objectives for the students:

  • The first objective is to understand the role of HR as strategic business partner. HR should not be seen as support function but as value creation function
  • Second objective is to make students understand the close integration of business strategy with HR strategy at the time when business is witnessing tremendous growth
  • Third objective is to give the overview of Indian start-up and its working. The main highlight is that business and functions evolve by practicing flexibility

Case Positioning and Setting

  • The target audience is first year management students in the course of Human Resource management
  • Final year management students in the elective course of Entrepreneurship, Strategic Human Resource or Change Management
  • Also middle-level managers who are working in industry, in the management development program related to strategic HRM and Change Management


* GSMC 2016, IIM Raipur

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- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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