Organisations must have the best talent in the increasingly competitive world. The business world is not only competitive but has become even globalised in its economy. Besides the awareness by organisations to hire, develop and retain talent, managements also know they must program to utilise human talent as a critical resource to achieve the best possible results. Few organisations, however, still possess adequate supply of talent or have fully succeeded in achieving a fit between the organisational objectives and its environment (Saba & Martin, 2008 October). Ideally, the principle concept for today’s management is to do more with less. This paper is an analysis of the case of Infosys, a global IT services provider which, at certain times, enjoyed extreme success as global companies.
Questions have been raised on Infosys ability to recruit, train and retain high quality engineers. Primarily, the IT industry in India experienced a shortage of skilled human labour resulting from expanding IT needs and inadequate higher education to meet the increased demand. This was not without the primary requirement of this industry for trained and quality IT engineers who were the pedestal of this business and its success. The recruitment, training and retaining of high quality-quality engineers was paramount not only for Infosys but other fast-growing IT firms. Unfortunately employee attrition was also on the upward trend thus challenging stability.
Soon Infosys realised the importance of human resource and put the 47-years old Mohan Pai, previously Infosys CFO for 12 years to head the human resources, education and research division. The offshore company went into the development of fibre optic cables to enhance communications, and developed the internet as a standardized communication between computer systems. Infosys, developed offshore business by applying the model based on breaking down pieces of work into logical components, and then distributing these components to the locations where they could be performed to create maximum value. The advantage in this is that the model could be applied to any business function, and Infosys established service call centres in India for clients in the U.S, as an instance, relying on the skilled IT professionals yet relatively cheap labour in India.
These changes also exerted pressure on corresponding leadership and culture changes to support new business systems. Culture is unique and characterises any organisation. Of importance is to look at culture as emanating from common learning experiences providing the basis of group identity and shared thought, belief, and feeling. The creation and management of an organisation’s culture is quite a decisive and important function of a leadership. The common experiences in the cultures of organisation are meant to successfully address external and internal problems which may be unique to an organisation. Infosys CEO, Murthy stepped down in March 2002, paving way for Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder to take over as the new CEO with a stack reminder to the team to observe collective leadership, emphasise on the team and not the individual. He had remarked they had decided to keep on changing the button. This statement suggested quite a fluid situation where Infosys culture and leadership would be focussed on constant change. The new management had put the team on alert and prepared them even further, to note that in spite of India’s widespread dynastic rule, cronyism and patronage, Infosys was bent on doing things differently for its institution and leadership and promised to lead by example and practice meritocracy.
The company further went ahead to define its values and emphasised the need to practice what they preached. The values would help create the company’s vision of being a globally respected corporation that provides best-of-breed business solutions, leveraging technology, delivered by best-in-class people, and a mission to achieve objectives in an environment of fairness, honesty and courtesy towards clients, employees, vendors and society at large. The company values were constructed as iC-LIFE standing for customer delight, leadership by example, integrity and transparency, fairness and pursuit of excellence.
As Mohan Pai moved to the head of human resource he faced a wide range of challenges both personal and professional. He had the task to not only transform his own skill set but also to transform the HR organisation. Underlying this was the need for him to shift to non-quantitative issues dealing with hiring, training, and employee satisfaction. In his new role he had to view employees as emotional human beings with aspirations as opposed to his previous role as a CFO, where he had regarded employees as economic assets.
Professionally, Pai would be responsible for the hiring and training needed to meet the company’s revenue plans. In response to the twin challenges of increased employee attrition and the high demand for skilled manpower, Infosys in 2007, hired about 25,000 employees, growing its workforce by 37 percent to 72,241, and had 13.7 percent attrition. This type of employee growth is phenomenal and finding the necessary numbers of qualified and good new employees was a daunting challenge.
Infosys Strategy and Business Plan
Both existing and planned new business needs had to be met, as Infosys did quarterly talent assessment and updates integrally related to its strategic planning process, which covered 1-5 years activities. In its planning process, Infosys involved departmental heads conducting a market assessment for each business unit, and embarked on initiatives that the company would take. Each department would then generate a plan, including a revenue forecast and determine what competencies were required, and where they were needed.
Converting the revenue plan to a talent management plan involved a certain number of people, with specific skills, needed to be promoted in order to meet the revenue needs. The new employees required to meet the needs of the revenue plan. They had to be hired and trained in each business plan with each unit having a section on their revenue forecast and talent cycle that consisted of assimilating, assessing, compensating, and developing.
Lower level employees suggested new challenging issues to senior management with some of their suggestions implemented through i-voice youth program. Infosys enjoyed immense success getting the enviable ranking of the best employer in India, with reduced attrition at 13.7% recorded as below industry average. Indeed the success was demonstrated even in the amount of reserve money to pay the employees even for a year in advance.
This success was meant to be sustainable as Infosys even developed long-term strategy to deal with attrition. They promoted Infosys among employees as the best employers and developed a market for talent within the company. This was the bedrock platform for Infosys clarion: powered by intellect: driven by values, a definite good idea for continued success. However, the basic metrics would include, attrition rations to measure the success, the dynamics of organizational environment could not guarantee the smooth continuity. New entrant threat would be going quickly for Infosys talent pool stretching remuneration to higher levels for the company, if it was to retain them. However, the company structure, systems and skills are wired for long-term sustainable competitiveness.
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