Also on offer: Higher promotions, work flexibility, eldercare & childcare support to track attrition.
A post on LinkedIn by a human resources (HR) expert asks job-seekers to first check their prospective employer’s employee retention statistics before joining: What is the percentage of employees the company has been able to retain? Job-seekers are also asked to check with older employees to gauge the success of the employee retention strategies the new employer has been using.
With the ‘Great Resignation’ wave sweeping through India Inc, a good amount of effort is being put into employee retention programmes.
An HR executive with a Bengaluru-based IT company says that ever since the Airbnb CEO announced that employees would be allowed to work from anywhere and may also be given some perks (like free stay at an Airbnb property) if they are not working from home, “everyone now quotes the Airbnb example to say working from office is not feasible”. She adds that there has been significant attrition in the mid- and senior management levels because either the roles are not to employees’ liking anymore or because of the back-to-work mandate.
It’s no secret that the IT sector has been the worst affected and the big daddies of Indian IT have been hiring freshers en masse to mitigate the effects of high attrition. They are also offering better compensation packages, doing up to four appraisals in a year and charting out faster career growth options for employees.
Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte said in a post-results conference call that the company had doubled the hiring of freshers last fiscal and will double it again this fiscal, thus quadrupling the headcount of freshers in just two years. In the same call, he said, “We have decided to increase the frequency of promotion cycles for 70 per cent of our colleagues in junior bands to a quarterly basis.”
Infosys is already battling employee unions over invoking the old, but rarely used, non-compete clause that bars employees from working for competitors for six months after quitting. CEO Salil Parekh said in a post-results conference call that attrition was 27.7 per cent in FY22. “Higher compensation increases, higher promotions and skill-based interventions” is what the company says it has done to address such high attrition levels. Of course, like its peers, Infosys also emphasises hiring freshers, and 85,000 were taken on board last fiscal.
HCL Technologies, too, is hiring more freshers: nearly 35,000 this year versus 23,000 in FY22. It has also launched the “New Vistas” recruitment drive to target new, smaller cities (Nagpur, Madurai, Vijayawada and Lucknow). The last quarter of FY22 saw the highest ever attrition rate in HCL Tech at 21.9 per cent. Infosys, HCL Tech and Wipro have all said that attrition levels have begun to decline from the March quarter of FY22.
Shantanu Jha, senior vice president, HR, Cognizant India, says the company’s attrition, too, has been declining – he, however, does not quantify the attrition rate. “We are bigger and stronger than ever before, having increased our global headcount to 330,600 in 2021 from 289,500 in 2020. This year, we plan to hire 50,000 freshers from India,” he says. “To manage attrition, we are investing in talent through career pathing, learning development, competitive compensation and overhauling the promotion process. In addition to attracting and retaining talent, we believe it is also important to develop talent.” He adds that last year, globally, the company invested over 23 million hours in learning and development, and over 130,000 digital courses were taken by Cognizant’s associates.
“The key challenges across all types of companies in 2022 will be dealing with high-performers’ attrition,” says Saran Balasundaram, founder and CEO of Han Digital, a talent provider to consulting firms, the IT-BPM sector and startups. “Most large companies use the C&B (compensation and benefits) way to curtail attrition.
Irrespective of company types, all the organisations must focus on high level of employee engagements by making use of HR tech platforms,” sayd Balasundaram. “This could be location specific, competency specific or diversity and inclusion specific. For this to happen, companies must seriously allocate a considerable budget to sponsor and track the outcomes.”
One would have thought frequent job changes are happening only among white-collar workers. However, Chirag Mittal, co-founder and CEO of Gigforce, an on-demand staffing platform for gig workers, says attrition has touched an all-time high of nearly 50 per cent for blue- and grey-collar workers in the logistics industry.
While the IT-BPO sector is scrambling to offer better and more frequent appraisals to arrest attrition, for the blue-collar workers, timely wages are key to remaining at the workplace. “We have developed a payment tech for our customers, which ensures timely payment of wages,” says Mittal. “Workers in these jobs come through contractors etc. Their bank details are incomplete and payment of wages does not happen on time because of these issues. This tech is helping with payments.”
Gigforce is also working on an “early credit system” where workers can take loans against salaries on a monthly basis. This measure, too, is expected to reduce attrition levels in the logistics industry.
Meanwhile, organisations are thinking fast on their feet and tapping all resources – spouses of current employees, women on long breaks who are keen to get back to paid work – and offering nearly complete flexibility in timings. Some large companies are taking on a few of the employees’ home responsibilities – like eldercare and childcare – by offering specific packages so that the employees can focus on the work at hand. At another large IT company, employees who had quit recently but want to join back are being encouraged to do so.
Wipro: To move nearly 70% employees in lower bands to quarterly promotion appraisal cycle
Infosys: Has introduced higher compensation increases, higher promotions and skill-based interventions. Is mass hiring freshers
HCL Technologies: Has launched the “New Vistas” recruitment drive to target smaller cities
Cognizant India: Hiring freshers, investing in talent through learning development, competitive compensation, overhauling promotion process and so on. Has given associates option of working from home, in an office or hybrid environment
Gigforce: Has developed technology to ensure timely payment of wages to blue-collar workers. Working on “early credit system” where workers can take loan against salaries on a monthly basis
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