With lucrative job options in the market, corporates fight to retain staff

first_imgWipro’s Graffiti wall for staffIn 2004, when Microsoft started losing its talent to web giant in the making-Google, people wondered what it was that made them want to leave this software leviathan for a young start-up that had just started flexing its muscle on the Wall Street. As the word,Wipro’s Graffiti wall for staffIn 2004, when Microsoft started losing its talent to web giant in the making-Google, people wondered what it was that made them want to leave this software leviathan for a young start-up that had just started flexing its muscle on the Wall Street. As the word went, it wasn’t heady bonuses or even stock options that was proving to be the bait. It was the tradition of providing free lunches combined with the culinary genius of Charlie Ayers that was being used as one of the major attractions by Google plex to turn itself into a dream organisation that everyone wanted to become a part of.Tattooing at NIITSurely, as more and more qualified people find themselves up for grabs by employee-hungry corporates, companies are feverishly trying to retain their own people by hook or by crook. They are devising ways to retain, maintain and even entertain their employees if need be. Consider NIIT’s practice of giving dating allowance to its young employees. This is meant to fulfil a “basic need” of young people, as CEO Vijay Thadani puts it, and has now been topped up with paternity leave for those who would chip in with baby care at home. This encourages “NIIT families” so that people not only stay with each other but also with the company.Discounts for Tata employees at WestsideThe business of making work more attractive is a symptom of a greater problem-that of the overall talent crunch in the country, believes NASSCOM President Kiran Karnik. Of the three million graduates that India produces every year, only around four lakh are employable and with sectors like IT, ITeS, retail, hospitality and even aviation that are all bullish on recruiting, Karnik believes that companies are actually “spoiling” their employees silly with perks, inflated salary packages, favourable HR policies and what not to keep the attrition rates manageable.Reverse mentoring at M&MFor instance, in the BPO industry -that has the highest attrition rates-the average is anywhere around 20 per cent, in IT it is 8-10 per cent. Smaller companies have to deal with an attrition rate of 15-20 per cent whereas in the hotel industry, attrition rates are around 25 per cent.Tattooing at NIITIn fact, job-hopping-especially in the first one to five years-has become so widespread that banking giant ICICI Bank’s group head-HR, K. Ramkumar, believes anyone who claims an attrition rate of below 20 per cent is either lying or does not recognise actual attrition as attrition. “What we are witnessing today is like an atom bomb being dropped on the economy. Everyone is running and nobody knows what to do,” he says, adding that attrition might not be such a bad word because despite everything, it is only indicative of a surplus of jobs. In the banking sector, attrition rates are around 20-25 per cent.Gives dating allowance to young employees and paternity leave. Has started mandatory sabbaticals for those who have not taken a break for a long time.’Wings Within’ programme allows employees to quit current job profile and take up another within the organisation for self growth.Employees set the terms for committees related with sports, celebration of festivals, planning of parties and holding all sorts of cultural events.There are cultural events for employees where they and their families get to perform on stage besides ‘Unmeelan’, a show by celebrities exclusively for Infoscions.Employees associated with a project are offered a share of the profits that the project will generate if they stay till its completion.Those who adopt a girl child get paternity leave. Staff get substantial discounts on products of other group firms.Its ‘young leaders programme’ grooms bright people to take on leadership positions. Mentoring programme takes care of attrition due to bad bosses.Has a practice of “reverse mentoring” where typically a 25-year-old gets to tell a 45-year-old what he ought to be doing.In addition to the on-campus sports facilities and gym, the tech giant also allows employees to choose their working hours.This, combined with the changing aspirations of the new generation worker, is pushing HR heads to devise new ways to retain employees. Take the swank Microsoft India Development Centre (MIDC) campus in Hyderabad that has volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts and a gymnasium facility where employees can let their hair down before they rush off for a shower and then to the boardroom. These facilities, says 25-year-old Amit Gupta, an MIDC employee and an IIT Kharagpur alumni, make the workplace lot more fun. Employees also have the option of choosing their work hours. “There’s no compulsion to be glued to your seat 9-5 as long as you deliver,” says 22-year-old Arti Ramamurthy who trots into office at 1.30 p.m. and leaves by 3 a.m. and says that it keeps her productivity at peak. At prime competitor Adobe’s office complexes in Bangalore and Noida, a new employee, on a typical induction day, is offered membership of the Gladiators, Samurais, Ninjas or Daredevils-houses to sign up for in true secondary school style. This is just one of the ways to keep the heart young and the mind focussed.Microsoft India CEO Ravi Venkatesan thinks that the highest attrition levels among employees are at the first and the second levels. “In order to cut down attrition averages even further, we move people across functions and sections so that they can discover what they are actually good at,” says Venkatesan.’Pooling’ at Microsoft IndiaServices-heavy industries like BPO and hotel industry have higher attrition rates than the old economy asset-centric businesses, feels V.V. Bhatt, HRhead of Reliance Industries. “We are not as affected by the buoyancy of turnover although we have to plan for 16 per cent attrition,” he adds. Even then, Reliance has its own set of retention techniques. Employees have a pre-determined growth plan so that they know what they would be doing say a year from then. Besides, there is a system of deferred bonuses where all the employees associated with a project are offered a share of the profits it will generate if they stay till its completion. This is also a great retention technique, says Bhatt. There is also a policy of offering short-term MBA and chartered accountancy courses in partnership with the IIMs and other top institutes.At IT giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which has an attrition rate of 10 per cent against the industry average of 15 per cent, 70,000 professionals have a choice of working in over 169 offices across 35 countries in a variety of domains like telecom, retail, life sciences etc. This way, says S. Padmanabhan, head, global HR at TCS, “We offer our employees flexibility of choice on career streams.” TCS is also the only company to have extended the benefits of its adoption leave policy to male associates.’Petit Infoscions’ at InfosysICICI Bank is famous for hiring and retaining people at half the rates that its counterparts in the industry do. This, says Ramkumar, is because they identify their ‘talent list’ and then invest in them by giving healthy stock options and faster promotions so that by 28 years, they are actually heading country operations for the bank in an overseas location rather than just encashing hefty pay cheques.Adobe’s recreation roomAutomobile major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) believes in creating a culture that respects bright people by giving them the freedom to think and execute their ideas irrespective of their seniority and experience. So bright people don’t have to wait for too long before they get a chance to reach the top and this has a positive impact on the attrition rates-around 10 per cent, says Rajeev Dubey, HR head.Wipro marathon”Today’s young employees have received greater attention in their growing up years than we ever did,” explains Daljit Singh, HR head for Bharti Telecommunication, as he speaks of the reasons why attrition is so high in the two-five years experience bracket. He thinks youngsters expect the same attention that they get at home at their work place as well. “We also believe that a lot of people leave because of bad bosses and our mentoring programme takes care that this does not happen,” says Singh.Wipro believes in not just applying thought but also throwing open opportunities to retain its talent. “We have what we call the ‘wings within’ programme which is basically in house recruitment,” says Pratik Kumar, corporate executive vice-president, HR. This way, existing employees get a chance to quit their current job profile and join another one within the same company. At Infosys, there is enough entertainment that employees can help themselves to. This, say Infosys officials, helps in “fostering a sense of belonging” in employees as well as keeps the creative juices flowing. So there is an annual competition called ‘Dhun’ for employees, ‘Petit Infoscion’ for their kids, a sports meet called ‘Samavesh’ and even a show where celebrities perform only for Infoscions called ‘Unmeelan’.While companies are bending over backwards to keep employees happy, Karnik adds that the employee selection procedures have also been made more stringent so that in the race to retain employees, the employers don’t lose out in the end.advertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img