G.S. Ramesh, people driven and an ever-passionate entrepreneur is revolutionising the Human Resource Industry as a Human Capital Value Chain Provider through his company Layam Group. An endeavour Ramesh took up in the second innings of his life. As Layam’s founder, his steadfast mission has been to give back to society what he has gained in the 37 years of his professional journey. Layam Group today has successfully personified his vision of converting head count into brain count across various industries.
His career is synonymous with the seamless symphony created in four phases, from joining the people-centric homegrown organization Tata in 1977 to riding the wave of change with South Korean automobile brand, Hyundai, to starting his own business and eventually creating a realm.
“We handpick those people who have been deprived of opportunity despite possessing the basic skills. We groom them, nurture them, and upskill them”- This is the mental compass G.S. Ramesh chose to navigate instead of the traditional HR practices of picking up the finest from the talent pool.
Today Layam Group has provided jobs to over 11000 people and are determined to break this record in the coming year. G.S.Ramesh, a leader par excellence has always credited his team members for the company's achievement and success. His envious career graph is dotted with several success stories. The most prominent one being the unique distinction he holds of being the first Indian to bring Hyundai Motors into the country wherein he spent over 2 decades spearheading their human resources department.
In an insightful conversation with The CEO Magazine, Ramesh shares his thoughts about his mission of making others dreams come true:
The CEO: Tell us about your experience of spotting and bridging a gap in the industry?
Ramesh: When I started Layam, we conducted an in-depth survey and to our surprise we found that more than three and a half to four lakh boys choose to drop out from technical colleges including diploma courses and engineering degrees. I figured that these boys may end up in a peculiar spot despite knowing the basics. Thus began our journey wherein we handpicked such drop outs and chose to put them in a "hire, train, and deploy" model.
Since I focused on the Pan India scenario, I chose to work with the auto manufacturing industry.I provided the industry leaders who were looking for people with the migratory post without basic technical knowledge with the dropout- turned-upskilled personnel with technical acumen.
I started this journey with a clear thought process of offering manpower with high efficiency and at a lower cost. Today, we take immense pride in the fact that we have trained and placed nearly 30,000 people. In a way, we have played a substantial role in making their dreams come true!
India, being a diverse country offers its citizens to equip themselves with a different skill set based on diverse environments. Driven by my passion and vision, I have silently contributed to the country by grooming and assisting a dramatic transition of head count into brain count. Over the years, I have translated the wise words of “work hard in silence; let your success be your noise” into a reality.
Today, Layam has created several success stories, one such live example is a sim-card shop employee turned manager who is leading a 300-member team at a large automobile company. There are many such people like him who are representing Layam and have been are committed, loyal, and they eventually emerge as future leaders when presented with an opportunity by us. Today, they are inventively leading brandsour brand ambassadors. In fact, they are ranking out smarting the academic graduates with their street-smart attitude and skills.
The CEO: Enlighten our readers about your target audience?
Ramesh: I have always believed that HR doesn’t imply Human Resource. My definition of HR is ‘Honesty in Relationships’. Every relationship should adhere to honesty, which is the philosophy of my life. Our target clientele is inclusive of different industries and I am contemplating to expand our horizon. Currently we are specializing in engineering, automobile and power sectors.
I have stepped into the food industry as a new business vertical I spearhead four companies in my own right targeting talent management (identifying the talent, placing them in permanent positions), learning and development (training inclusive of leadership programs and business consulting), digitalization (e-learning platform and application), and contract workmen staffing, job contract and contract manufacturing).
Job contract and contract manufacturing models are unheard of in India. Layam has been associated with Tata Marco polo with contract manufacturing, Ashok Leyland with complete quality inspection as job contract, and Mahindra’s new product validation.
Considering our services and expertise, we can proudly say that Layam Group has become a one-stop-shop solution provider for the industry. Owing to my passion to grow, I also have an information technology firm focused on software development and export.
The CEO: How did you surmount the challenges in your journey?
Ramesh: I believe you encounter challenges when you are unaware of your country, its culture and diversity. However, when you are well-versed, you take accountable measures and create opportunities. Of course, there are some eyebrow raisers. They question your purpose as a man playing his life’s second innings, but I tend to be serene, set my targets, and create my roadmap to reach my goals.
As a man of few words, I always tend to tell my people, “you deliver and we will grow”. We savour our position through word of mouth as I can proudly share that Layam does not have a Sales or Marketing team. This sourced concept is from my experience at Hyundai, where Santro’s launch became a game-changer and the lesson learnt is our service should be your Director of Marketing and Sales.
The CEO: How did you build a dynamic team?
Ramesh: I founded and am currently chairing Layam Group. Our team structure includes Directors for each vertical. Interestingly, to create a dynamic team, I have purposely hired retired employees who were lost in the system withvertical specialization and made them mentor 60% of the Layam Group’s population i.e. freshers. I can proudly say that they have nurtured and developed these freshers into future leaders.
This domain strategy, which was deemed as a failure by many, with my core belief of creating an environment for success, made Layam Group reach its current position. I always tell Layam members that they should focus on creating a success story and every moment in life will contribute to the same.
Today, we are present in most of thestates of the country; however, looking back, I visualized the brand while sitting in a club with my friends and a small business eventually picked up along the way. Layam stuck with the natural course of growth and is enjoying the position of a debt-free self-sustaining brand even during and post the global pandemic.
The CEO: Employees are usually expected to showcase a sense of ownership, the employers on the other hand, also have a responsibility to give back. How do you empower people around you?
G.S. Ramesh: During the pandemic, I actively supported employees who were struck in different states. Besides, I always tell theLayam leaders that our personnel are working on-site while we sit in air-conditioned offices. Hence, we must be sensitive towards them.
I reinforce the need for honesty in relationships is essential to work with. Today, Layam is poised as a sought after company by people working in the industry.
The CEO: What are the initiatives you took personally to give back to society?
G.S. Ramesh: I spend time in motivating the Layam family to enjoy their celebrations with children from the orphanages and old age homes and practise donating some clothes and sharing sweets. Back at Hyundai, I used to tell my team members to visit orphanages and also to take a bus ride with blind school children to Marina beach and let them feel the beach they can’t see. I actively took the initiative of not throwing the canteen waste and giving the excess food to deprived children.
Words of Wisdom by G.S. Ramesh
“Believe in yourself and be aware of your limitations. Don’t over stretch yourself with the impulsive thought that everything will fall into your lap. Don’t chase money; make yourself competent so that the money chases you.”- G.S. Ramesh shares this message for future entrepreneurs.