DuPont encourages couples to work together

dupont-coupleThe propensity to hire couples is evident right from the top — DuPont’s global CEO Ellen Kullman and her husband Michael Kullman were colleagues in DuPont for almost as many years as the Vaidyas. The Kullmans were working with General Electric in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the mid-80s as marketing managers when Ellen was offered a position by the Wilmington-headquartered Du-Pont in 1988. The Kullmans pondered over the move, and whether Michael could eventually move to another Wilmington-based company or one in nearby Philadelphia.

India Story is Different
Hiring couples and helping them stay together in a company is not exactly a common practice in India, not particularly in the traditional companies. But it may be inevitable in sectors such as IT services where a lot of young people meet at the workplace and get married. A senior executive at one of India’s top IT companies says the company does not have a policy for hiring couples; at best it tries to help couples relocate wherever possible.

If one partner gets a foreign posting, the company tries to arrange a work visa for the spouse too, if the spouse is also a company employee. Of course the effort is to post them on separate projects or in different divisions. K Sudarshan, regional vice-president for global CEO recruitment firm EMA Partners, says DuPont is a very unique case; many Indian companies do not even hire first-cousins of existing employees.

“Husbands and wives working together can lead to all kinds of complications and cause a great deal of stress [to those working with them]. Appraisal processes can get compromised,” Sudarshan says. “It is not easy. Managing their transfers and relocations can be a big hassle.” That may be why examples like the Kullmans are rare in the upper echelons of global corporations. Rather, husband-wife duos are more likely to start up together. For instance, the founders of Cisco were a husband and wife team — Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner (they got divorced later), who worked for Stanford University before giving birth to the networking firm in 1984. (Source:ET)

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