Tribune | Smart Strategy: Networking Etiquette: Connect carefully

The following is an industry story in Tribune India written by their journalist Swati Khatri and features Rajiv Naithani, HR Head – India, Infogain Corp. 

One can say that with the free flow of information, it has become easy for professionals to reach out to each other. But this ease of contact, brings in its own challenges. Yes, it’s easy to connect but equally difficult to make an impact. So how to get your networking game right. Let’s talk about this further.

Make a connection

For a long time, professionals believed that networking meant having a lot of email addresses in their mail box or enough of connections on their LinkedIn profile.  But how many of them will respond when you reach out. The key lies in building relations and not just collecting data.

You need to make sure you communicate with people. Talk to them when you meet them, talk to them on social media. You don’t need to be popular or super friendly to establish such communications. Showing up at get togethers and having meaningful talks will serve the purpose. R.P. Yadav, CMD, Genius Consultants Ltd. sums it up as, “Establishing successful basis of communication with your industry mates is significant in expanding your network.”

But remember that striking a conversation doesn’t mean that you have to barge into every other talk. Don’t be in a hurry, understand which place is favourable for you to talk and act accordingly.

Observe the problem professionals are facing in achieving their goal. They might be looking for some raw material and you can help them with it. Don’t undermine the power of word of mouth promotion. Even if there are a lot of service providers/vendors in the market, people will appreciate the ones who showed up at the right time. These appreciative phrases will soon make their way to the right professionals.

What is important is to help others genuinely. If you help them once and start asking for favours right away, it won’t work for you. Yes, you need to grow as well but make sure you ask for something only after a connection has been established. And you don’t come across as someone who is too needy.” If you are not genuine in your actions and conduct, people around you will discover this and lose interest in networking with you,” says Rajiv Naithani, HR Head, Infogain Corp.

Don’t limit your connections

One mistake that professionals make is that they limit their interactions with people from their own industry. It’s not just about the industry mates but also your customers, your vendors, professionals from other industries etc. you need to network with. Every connection can help you in their own way. While people in your industry can help you be informed about the latest trends. Mentors from other industry can give you unbiased advice. Yes, your work profiles won’t necessarily be the same. But you can be sure that the advice is neutral.  Similarly, if you are into B to B industry don’t hesitate to meet someone from B2C backgrounds and vis a vis. They can provide you with the right insights you are looking for.  Neeraj Shah, Founder, Titan Mastermindz LLP also points out that, “Diversity in a network allows you to be exposed to new perspectives. Which is a crucial element in this fast-changing world.”

Requires consistent work

Networking is not something you can do today and come back to it after six months. It requires consistent work.  Find out who are the key players in the industry and try to connect with them. They might not notice you just at the beginning but a consistent effort will surely help. Remember without consistent efforts you are just a profile picture on your LinkedIn account.

Be visible

If you are not seen in your professional network you are surely missing on somethings. The best way to be visible is to share information. Everyone will appreciate a genuine effort for the same. Write blog posts on industry insights. You can also share information through social media and emails. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be super expressive to do so. You can stick onto informing people about latest trends and statistics. Speak about market trends and send such information regularly on a monthly or bimonthly basis. Vikas Arora, Director Tutelage Professional Pvt Ltd. stresses this point as, “The moment you start sharing such updates on various platforms your business relations will be enhanced.”

How IT Industry Digital Technology Skills Trends Are Demanding

The gap within the same job roles has widened. The variance on spread has gone from 150 percent to 200 percent in some of the job roles. This is hurting the parity aspect of compensation distribution

The following article appeared in Express Computers as a Guest Article written by Rajiv Naithani, HR Head – India, Infogain Corp. 

There has been a significant shift in the salary trends in the IT industry. Post 2008 recession, the salary variance within the job role had become consistent. However, for a last 18 to 24 months, the variance has seen a significant shift. The gap between the minimum and maximum compensation is widening within the same job role. This is happening because of three main reasons:

  • During last two years, companies are focusing on people who are relevant and hold the right skills and are willing to pay premium. All such candidates who have developed and acquired new skills in the digital space, including full stack developers, are in demand. Companies were realising that hiring developers with expertise in one language just was not enough anymore and they need somebody who could contribute in multiple languages by ramping up in the shortest time frame. The other side of the talent pool which preferred to stick the conventional way of functioning have been the laggard and their salaries have not shifted enough.
  • The new digital technology skills are demanding premium. Due to supply being less of ready to deploy candidates, companies are willing to pay higher compensation to them. Some roles and skills are turning out to be business premium roles and skills
  • Increased rotations of talent among companies and hiring of new digital technology savvy IR professionals have caused a disequilibrium on the demand and supply ratio. In a few pockets, it has become like an employee driven market than employer driven market and compensation asks have gone crazy. You may have three years’ experience talent seeking compensation close to Rs 20 lakh, which was never the case earlier.

Attrition has picked up for majority of the companies. Holding the people is becoming a challenge. The gap within the same job role has widened. Besides, the salary increment budgets in the IT industry, particularly in services businesses have been restricted to single digit for many years now. Due to this the correction to lower quartile is becoming a challenge for companies to manage beyond the merit increments. This is also not helping in addressing the parity issue at the speed it should have; resulting in disparity, discontentment and attrition issues.

Some of the jobs which are highest paying IT jobs in India include DevOps Engineers, Cloud Engineers and Architects, Usability Experts, ML & AI Engineers, RPA Developers, Cyber Security Architects, Full Stack Developers, Big Data Experts, etc. All digital skills like RPA, IoT, ML, AI, cyber security, cloud technology, etc, coupled with DevOps and agile, will draw premium salaries in the near future.

Best pay usually gets offered by IT product companies. With product companies, they want to attract the best talent to work on their R&D set up, which is either focusing on legacy modernisation, or embracing the digital technologies for rebuilding their platforms or solutions. For such jobs, they require outstanding talent to work with them and are willing to pay higher compensation for this set of people. The salary may vary from company to company.

New emerging or non-metro cities have reduced the compensation gap, which used to be favouring the companies earlier. Millennials are now willing to relocate for better work and compensation. From a business standpoint, it is still the cost which drives the differentiation between the cities primarily due to two reasons – talent pool and the number opportunities.

Almost all the companies have learned the art of packaging their overall rewards system which comprises of tangible and non-tangible benefits offered to the employees. One significant differentiator for any company today is to create a positive employee experience as a differentiator for engagement and retention. The other element which cuts across the differentiator is the culture of the company. Trust, openness and transparency are the key elements of non-monetary remuneration.

(The author is the HR Head – India, Infogain Corp)

 

ASK FOR MORE

Experts say that timing your request and rehearsing it could improve your chances of getting that well-deserved raise.

The good news is that according to global human resource consulting firm Mercer’s 2017 India Total Remuneration Survey, companies are likely to dole out 10 per cent salary increases across industries in 2018. The bad news is that you may miss out simply because you didn’t ask for a raise.

A 2016 survey by salary.com has revealed that, worldwide, 18 per cent of employees never negotiate their salaries, and 44 per cent of employees never even bring up the topic of a salary increase during their performance appraisal. These numbers don’t surprise Nimisha Dua, a senior HR manager. Dua tells us she’s frequently approached by those who’re flummoxed by how they should go about asking for a raise, “and often, they’re experienced professionals, people who have worked in the industry for many years.”

The experts we spoke to emphasised that while there’s no guarantee that your boss will acquiesce to your request for a pay hike, you’re not going to get a raise unless you ask for one. So, do ask, but first, arm yourself with this advice — it may improve your chances of success.

Rehearse the discussion beforehand

A little preparation will give you an edge in the meeting, so start by documenting your work before you schedule that conversation. Lina Das, HR Anexi says, “You should know and be clear about the expectations that your company has had from you from the time you started working there. Look back and consider: were you able to achieve the goals that were set for you? Did you meet your targets, and better still, did you deliver beyond your targets? Be clear about what was agreed upon at the beginning of the year and about what you have achieved. You should not fumble with your data.”

Adding that it’s a good idea to tell your boss why you want a raise, Das says it’s even more important to list concrete reasons why yo u deserve one. “Aside from your achievements, do mention any expansion of your responsibilities, effectual strategies you adopted, initiatives you spearheaded, and what plans you have to increase your department’s success,” says Das. She recommends memorising this list and rehearsing it beforehand so as to deliver the information with confidence. “You could also print out a copy of this list for your boss, so she or he may look it over later, and take it up with supervisors if need be.”

Focus on you, not on your colleagues

Payal Sondhi, Manager, Human Resources, SILA says, “Also, list what else you have to offer the company — new skills you’ve developed, new contacts you’ve made, for instance. While doing this, also explain how much your work has already benefitted the company,” says Sondhi. “Start with your accomplishments that have supported the company’s vision, and build your case.” Sondhi cautions that, “while doing so, it’s important to resist the urge to compare your work with that of co-workers as this would only make you seem petty. And never compare your salary to what you’ve discovered your co-worker is earning, as just the fact that you know that figure will make you seem like a busybody.”

Research your market value

Dua says, “It’s vital to arm yourself with numbers. Research what the salary benchmark is for someone in your position/role, in your industry, with your level of experience and skill, and in your location.”

To this, Das adds, “Also, try and get a hold of some information about the pay hikes in your company in the last few years, so that you know what to ask for, and what you can expect, realistically.”

Time your pitch right

Timing is everything. If your company is making fat profit margins and sales are at a record high, it makes sense to put in your request right then — strike while the iron is hot. Sondhi adds, “You might have closed a big deal or led a project that was a huge success. It should be obvious that this is the time to ask for a raise, so don’t let the opportunity slip by. Do emphasise how big an asset you are, and go on to ask for that raise.”

Rajiv Naithani, HR head at Infogain India adds, “You shouldn’t wait for the formal closure of your appraisal before you schedule this discussion with your boss. Rather, it’s advisable to have regular discussions about how you have been contributing and how you plan to contribute in the future. It is good to have these conversations intermittently, rather than to wait so long that a reactive discussion becomes necessary.”

A raise, by any other name…

“Use the popular technique of MESO (Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers) in your negotiation,” says Dua. She refers to a technique that involves making multiple offers to your bargaining partner, all of which are equivalent in your mind. “In a raise negotiation, this means remembering that compensation is about more than just money. Look for high value alternatives, like a role change, for example. Draw up a list of perks and opportunities that can result in satisfaction that’s equivalent to a pay hike, like, for instance, paid leaves or vacation time, flexible work hours, stock options, or even the opportunity to work in a high visibility project like a global summit.”

Be realistic

Naithani cautions against initiating a ‘negative engagement.’ He says, “It’s important to not expect an unrealistic number, and to be open to reason. Make a realistic request, given market conditions, the company’s budget and your own performance and market positioning.”

What to do when you’re turned down

Though a rejection is never easy to digest, it’s important to remember that your request for a raise may be turned down for various reasons that have nothing to do with your performance at all. It may simply be a question of the company’s budget constraints or a matter of policy — you may not have been with the company for long enough to be considered for a raise.

If you truly feel you’re not valued or that you’re stuck with a terrible boss, it may be time to seriously consider looking for other opportunities. But before you jump to this conclusion, remember to separate your emotions from your decision. Cautioning against acting impulsively, Sondhi recommends, “Take a deep breath, and calm down before you decide to take a radical step. First, ask your boss for constructive feedback, and based on this, try to improve on areas that need work in order to make yourself eligible for a raise. This may require acquiring new skills or improving your performance. Sometimes there may be a gap in what you believe is a strong performance and the boss’s expectations — critical feedback will help you understand where the problem lies, but remember you would only benefit from this if you keep an open mind.”

News Originally Posted on: MumbaiMirror

The Preferential Rewards System

We live in an experience economy and we have examples in our environment where we are willing to pay extra just for the experience, which makes us feel valued and important.

How Sunita Matkar was hired

Monday 10:00 HRS, HR Division, HireDifferent India.

Sunita Matkar is all confidence as she steps into the room for her final round of HR interview. Her stellar academic career has been eminently aided by the many loans the banks have invested in her. She isn’t worried though. Every company that has interviewed her wants her.

Sunita isn’t sure how a small company like HireDifferent is going to match what’s already hers for the picking. But she is curious. She smiles as she reciprocates the handshake from the HR Director. So far, there isn’t anything very different, she thinks in her head.

Director, HR: Hi Sunita, take your seat. It has been a pleasure going through your resume. It talks about a very spirited person with great ambition.
Sunita: That is most flattering, thank you, sir.
Director, HR: No, you most deserve your laurels. And going by what you previously told us, there are many companies that have been as flattering.
Sunita: Thank you, sir. It has been quite a struggle to get to where I am.
Director, HR: Absolutely. And at this company, we appreciate such tenacity very well. Our team of experts went through your requirements to come up with an offer letter that I am now going to discuss with you.
We see that you already have an account with our preferred bank. They have agreed to reduce the interest rate on your loan by 2%. At their current rate, and allocating 30% of the salary we are about to offer you towards the loan, you should be able to clear your liabilities in under three years.
To further your academic credentials, a sum of 1 Lakh rupees is available at your disposal for certifications that fall within your line of interest. And this is over and above your total compensation.
The best caterers in this city have been shortlisted to sell in our cafeteria. As a special case, the company will be reimbursing your meals for the next three years. Details are in your letter.
To ensure that your safety in this city is not compromised, you can use our third-party agency to select an apartment that is most conducive to your stay. And every time you work beyond regular hours, a cab will be available at your disposal. All this comes at no extra cost. If you choose to opt for a shared accommodation, our Gang-Of-Girls team at HR will be more than willing to assist you.
Ms. Matkar, I have only covered benefits that are exclusive to your requirements. We have much more going on in your offer letter. I will allow you for the time that you deem sufficient to get back with your answer for us. Have a great day!

Monday 18:00 HRS, Coffee Day

Sunita’s friend Priyanka is exasperated. “Are you serious?” “You turned down an offer with Revensys for a startup. What were you thinking?”
“You know me very well, Priyanka”, Sunita smiles confidently. If I had not dared to be different, I wouldn’t have been where I am.

What do employees really want?

Different things actually, based on their age, marital status, gender, and ethnicity. But the one thing that every employee desire is to feel wanted and to be special. Much before an organization designs its Total Rewards, two important points every organization must need to pay attention to are as follows –

  • Creating Employee Experience
  • Cash is always King

Employee experience is the big differentiator in overall employee lifecycle. Employees relate to the organization emotionally and if every experience in the employee lifecycle touches the emotions positively, it makes the bond stronger between employee and employer. We live in an experience economy and we have examples in our environment where we are willing to pay extra just for the experience, which makes us feel valued and important. Organizations must need to ensure that it has systems and processes which are supporting employee experiences at every stage starting from the selection process till separation process.

Beyond the employee experience, Cash is the most dominant component of the Total Rewards.

Since the needs of the individuals are different, offering a preferential based Total Rewards, based on gender, age, and other demographic factors become very important. One size does not fit all.

In order to understand the need for having a preferential based Total Rewards in IT Industry, I reached out to over 200 IT professionals from close to 70 IT firms across India. Emphasis was given to reach out to all levels of the organization starting from Junior Professionals to Top Management. 75 respondents finally participated in the study.

Survey Observations:

1. Among the components of Total Rewards, Cash (Base Pay) topped the list followed by Working Environment and Learning Opportunities. This clearly indicated that Employees are looking for cash component as the most preferred reward mechanism.

2. Participants were asked to rank their preferences across 10 subcategories of Total Rewards on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the most preferred option and 10 being the least preferred. Here, base salary/fixed salary continues to remain the most preferred option followed by work-life balance. Variable Compensation and Transport Allowance are the least preferred options.

3. Gender-Based Preferential Results: Under most preferred rewards, there has been a consistency observed across genders but in the case of female respondents, Health and Wellness benefits trumped Learning and Development. For men, Learning and Development were among the top 4 priorities. Some other observations from gender-based preferential rewards are as follows –

  • Female respondents preferred work-life balance to base compensation. For men, work-life balance comes a very distant second to base compensation.
  • Male respondents preferred learning and development opportunities over wellness benefits while for female respondents; it was the other way round.
  • It was also observed that 65% of the Male participants and 62% of the female participants supported the concept of preferential-based total rewards.

4. Age groups based Preferential Results: Based on the respondent’s demographic details, there were five age groups under which analysis was carried out. Findings of the same are captured below –

  • Respondents with <25 Years of age group: Base compensation tops the list at 60%. Career Opportunities and Learning and Development follow in order at 20% each.
  • The 25.1 to 30 Years of age group: Base salary, Career opportunities, learning, and development are in the top three like the previous group. No major changes here except that Health and Wellness benefits are viewed more favorably (11% as compared to 0% in the previous group).
  • The 30.1 to 35 Years age group: Work-Life Balance not only trumps Base Salary, it outperforms Career opportunities and Learning. This could probably be attributed to employees entering into the post-marriage phase of their lives.
  • The 35.1 to 40 years of age group: While the preferred options remain the same as in the previous category, the key difference here is that the difference between Base salary and Work-Life Balance is just 5%. It indicates the relative importance of work-life balance priorities for this age group. The age group looks forward to enhanced career and learning opportunities as well.
  • The 40+ age group: Like their youngest peers, participants with over 40 years of age are very clear on their priorities. 60% of the participants prefer base salary whereas the remaining 40% prefer work-life balance. None of the other benefits compete well with these two priorities.

While the research was carried out to draw comparisons among various other demographic variables as well, it was found that Total Rewards can best be offered as “Preferential Benefit” if mapped with Age Group as primary classification.

Based on this analysis, it is concluded that Total Rewards could be offered based on a segmented population. While cherry-picking just one analyzed option is not desirable, linking all categories of total rewards can get very complicated.

Segmented based Total Rewards are a strategic decision for any IT organization. While this concept has not been fully achieved in reality. With the changing nature of the IT demographics in India, HR companies will have to seriously consider their approach towards total rewards if they are to effectively hire and retain the best employees at their disposal.

News Originally Posted on: PEOPLEMATTERS

Moving Towards Real-time Employee Feedback

With the rise of millennials in the workplace, organizations are taking every possible measure to retain and develop the professional excellence of the tech-savvy millennial workforce by presenting a more employee-focused work environment. The current annual appraisal system in most companies will soon become a thing of the past as it is perceived to be dated, biased, unfair and not transparent and hence not preferred by a majority of employees, especially the millennials.

The millennial generation is the ‘instant gratification’ generation, and this is evident from the fact that majority of the 21st-century employees prefers receiving recognition for their work in real time.

An article published in Harvard Business Review in 2010 revealed that the millennial workforce expects the following from their managers— straight feedback, mentoring, coaching, and guidance in their career path. They want collaboration with their peers and open communication more frequently, which can be possible only if organisations adhere to a real-time feedback system. It should be considered the most preferred process of employee assessment by organisations, as it can capture data whenever feedback is given on defined goals and competencies, besides eliminating the need for the traditional annual performance review.

How Are Employers Providing Real-time Feedback to the Employees?

A majority of reputed organisations have been giving feedback only once a year, i.e., during the time of the annual appraisal. Keeping in mind the expectations of the modern workforce, organisations are overhauling their performance-management system by embracing an agile process that focuses on providing instant feedback, so as to enhance an individual’s performance based on the feedback given.

Real-time feedback technology is currently making waves at legacy organizations by replacing the conventional systems of evaluating employee performance and productivity. For example, multinational companies such as Adobe, Accenture, Deloitte, Gap, GE, etc., have introduced a more frequent “check-in” process where managers share feedback with their teams through an app-based system, as soon as an event occurs. Employees too can ask for feedback from managers as well as team members and peers, when they complete a project or assignment. The feedback given to the employees becomes the basis for a developmental coaching conversation, on at least a quarterly basis. Once the employee receives the feedback, he can then jointly plan his development and growth, based on the inputs he/ she receives. Thus, the work culture is now shifting from performance management to performance development, with a focus on learning and proactively planning how to achieve future expectations.

Seven Reasons Why an Organisation Needs Real-time Performance System—

The process of real-time performance feedback helps HR focus on its true role – helping employees achieve their maximum potential. This is done by combining various current HR systems such as performance management, employee learning and development, and rewards and recognition.

Being data-driven, real-time feedback is better than the traditional methods of evaluation as it makes the process of evaluation more objective, transparent and fair, by monitoring the accomplishments of each employee throughout the year.This eliminates favouritism and subjectivity from supervisors, which is a big challenge with current performance management systems.

The modern workforce wants appreciation and recognition from their supervisors. Real-time data helps employees determine their productivity and find out if they are accomplishing their goals on timeso that they can course correct in case they fall short of their goals.What’s more, frequent performance feedback also motivate employees to foster team collaboration and achieve better performance.In a study conducted by Gallup, respondents revealed that employees who converse with their peers or managers in the past six months regarding their achievements and goals are 2.8 times more liable to be engaged.

Data generated by ongoing employee feedbackis future-oriented and can provideinsightsabout how employees can perform in the best possible manner going forward.It helps identify the strengths and development needs of employees on a regular basis. This becomes an input into deciding an employee’s development plan, so that future performance improves. It also transfers the responsibility for the employee’s development and growth onto the employee – since he can now ask for real time feedback and discuss his developmental needs with his manager on a regular basis.

Real-time performance feedback paves the way for effective 1-on1 conversations between supervisors and employees and among teams on a regular basis. Consequently, both parties can ensure that individual goals and organizational business goals are aligned, through feedback on progress.

Real-time feedback also improves employee retention of an organisation.

Real-time feedback makes the annual appraisal much easier to accomplish. Since supervisors, as well as the employees keep a watch on the performance feedback all through the year, and data is collected around the year on an employee’s performance, it simplifies the process of formal annual evaluation, based on aggregated real time data. Last but not least, performance problems which would have otherwise taken considerable time to be identified, will now be highlighted and addressed early enough to take action on them.

Real-time Performance Feedback— a Positive Change!

In today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment, skill-sets that organisations look for in an employee are constantly changing; this makes real-time feedback and coaching all the more important so that employees can develop their skills based on frequent feedback. It is therefore, mandatory for managers to observe their teams’performance in real-time and give instantaneoustraining or reward accordingly.

Similarly, employees too should get adequate chances to discuss personal/ professional growth and advancement, and provide feedback in real-time.71 per cent of respondents of an Accenture study revealed that real-time employee performance technology would enhance performance management. Therefore, in order to streamline today’s work environment and identify high performers, organizations should embrace real-time performance feedback.

Implementing an environment where continuous feedback is possible is definitely a big challenge for employers. It requires a mind-set change in managers, who need to understand that giving regular feedback to their teams is the best way to keep employees engaged and motivated. Senior leadership needs to demonstrate their commitment to it by acting as role models, who provide regular feedback to their team.Leaders cannot afford to overlook the importance of real-time feedback technology, as ignoring the shift to real-time performance feedback will hamper the level of productivity of its employees by disengaging them, and this can result in slowing down the progress of an organisation. Thus, for an overall development of the workforce of an organisation, and the organisation growth, it becomes imperative for employers to provide employees with more frequent feedback.Leaders can demonstrate through their actions that people are indeed an organisation’s most important asset, by investing in people development and growth, through feedback and coaching.

News Originally Posted on: People Matters

Infogain Increases Focus on Human Resource Management Program for Industry Beginners By Partnering with Symposia – Rethink 2017

Infogain, a leading provider of technology solutions and services has partnered with Symposia- Rethink 2017. The symposium’s purpose is to facilitate the increasing focus in HR regarding the changing paradigm of talent acquisition across industry sectors. Mr. Anupam Jauhari, Vice President HR, Infogain India presented at IB Symposia – ReThink 2017 on the topic Human Resource Management: The Changing Paradigms of Talent Acquisition. The annual event by IISAC (Industry Interaction and Student Activity Committee), Delhi School of Economics, and Delhi University was held on September 9, 2017. Ms. Jayamalini Ramaratnam, Director-HR, CBRE South Asia Pvt Ltd, and Ritu Grover, CEO, The Global Helpdesk also joined the panel discussion. The panel discussed the crucial role of social media in hiring, in addition to giving advice on how to become a successful employee for any organization.

Mr. Anupam Jauhari, Vice President-Human Resources at Infogain said, “Human resources are critical for success of any organization. Retaining and nurturing quality talent is the biggest challenge for HR leaders in any industry. The IT industry has witnessed major changes in the recent past. On one hand we have an acute shortage of skills in niche tech areas, while on the other hand it is a large task to re-skill existing employees to match the changing requirements of businesses. The role of HR becomes more important in these times in order to guide, coach and help employees to ensure they make progress in their chosen career path.”

Anupam also discussed how companies are more cautious with hiring by focusing on acquiring specific skillset; and not merely increasing headcount. He shared specific tips on how students can better prepare themselves to match the requirements of today’s employers that included learning continuously, developing their communication skills or exploring new areas of work.

— The writer is VP, HR, Infogain

News Originally Posted on: CIO REVIEW

 

Moving Towards a Digital India, Why Are Women Still Facing Pay Gaps? Authored by – Keyuri Singh, VP-HR, Infogain

Gender pay gap or discrimination between the salary of women and their male counterparts is as real and true today as the unequal representation of women at senior level. These two are closely related to each other: often in large organizations, starting salaries are the same for men and women, the differences grow due to women dropping out of the workforce, or moving up the ladder slowly due to their challenges in balancing their work with their family priorities.

For a long time, it was believed that women are paid low salaries because they are not as qualified as men. In the last decade, we have seen a remarkable change in this belief, with larger numbers of women completing their basic educational qualifications and even opting for higher education. We see a huge surge in the number of women joining the workforce or going for professional qualifications. The level of women’s education in India witnessed a sharp rise between 2001 and 2011, with 116% more women passing out as graduates or above compared to a just 65% increase among men. What is more surprising is that women engineers grew by 326% in these years. In 2001, there were only about 4.8 lakh women engineers. This has exploded to over 20 lakh in 2011. Unlike in the west, where women taking on STEM subjects is a challenge-in India many women take on such subjects. I am sure that with the progress we have made in the last few years and the move towards digitization, we will have even more women going for higher degrees and joining the workforce.

Despite such a progressive growth, why do we see a drop in women in the workforce at later stages of the career? Why do they still feel discriminated whether it is a promotion, equal pay or getting a challenging project? According to World Bank data, women workforce fell from 35 per cent in 1990 to 27 per cent in 2014. India is ranked 130 in terms of gender-equality index. Indian women’s contribution to GDP is 17 per cent as against the global average of 37 per cent.

There are multiple factors and the major impact or influence comes from the social or cultural aspects of our society. Some of these are:

a. Percentage of Women opting for Professional Courses is still low

We have seen a remarkable rise in the number of women enrolling for engineering or science courses. In India, there has been a 64 per cent increase in the enrolment of girls in science and engineering courses over the last five years, according to the data released by the ministry of human resource development. However the number of women opting for general courses is still high – 85 lakh students in 2015-16 as per HRD data. Unfortunately in India today, a bachelor’s degree is a generic course has no meaning in the job market – and a lack of qualification in a professional course ( CA , MBA etc ) acts as a bar to start their career with a good role, compared with men with professional degrees from reputed colleges who get placed at higher levels and start their career with a better pay package. This results in a difference in salary at the beginning of their career. The other challenge is that with basic qualifications( B Com, BA, BSc ) , women may not be able to join some of the better paying industries like Consulting and Investment banking , and may be pushed to an industry where disparities are high and survival for women difficult.

b. Marriage at an early age

In Indian families, the timely marriage of a girl is of prime importance and something that takes precedence over their career. Getting married at an early age and without suitable family support, women often stick to the same job, or give up their jobs altogether due to pressure from their spouse/ in – laws. Family responsibilities often deter them for upgrading themselves by learning new skills or getting new certifications or enrolling for higher education

c. Maternity and Child-Birth

The most difficult phase for women is post child birth, when we see a majority of them dropping off from the workforce and failing to join back the workforce in time. And even when they join after a break, they join at a lower compensation and position than what they deserve. According to a 2012 Booz & Company report, though an estimated 5.5 million women join India’s workforce every year, many of them leave soon after having children. The study ranked India 115th out of 128 countries when it comes to empowering women at the workplace. The challenge still remains with lack of flexibility at the workplace, poor child care facilities, lack of family support and social pressure, a mother is expected to be the prime child- career. There is a lot of positive movement in this direction, with maternity leave extended to 6 months and other flexible policies, like work from home or flexi- time, that companies are offering to welcome back women employees. What matters most is tremendous family support physically and emotionally, an understanding and flexible work environment, an open mind from the colleagues and peers who do not underestimate or judge a women’s capability based on her taking some amount of flexibility due to her other responsibilities. Strengthening these factors will definitely help women to sail through the difficult time.

d. Change in Mind-Set

What is required is a change in mind-set both for men and women. Men often view women as less competent and lacking in leadership potential. They feel that women do not want to take on positions of responsibility and that they often give more prominence to personal goals like taking care of the child or elderly people, managing their homes, etc. This is most often not true – often women are unable to take up responsible positions which demand more time and commitment, due to the fact that they have little support from their families at home. A recent survey by Grant Thornton revealed that just 15% of leadership roles in India are held by women, an abysmally low figure that ranks the country third from the bottom in the list.

Way Forward

1) Any change needs collaboration between the Government, Corporates, academia and NGOs working on Diversity/ women empowerment issues. Corporates should formulate a robust career strategy that can encourage Indian women to build a successful career, and make informed choices. Governments, businesses, and NGOs should provide women with adequate guidance through mentors, who can inspire and counsel them to manage a work-life balance, balancing their careers along with their parental responsibilities, so that women can stay in the workforce even after having children.

2) More companies should introduce flexible working hours, family-friendly practices, maternity leave, lactation rooms for nursing mothers, and similar other policies that can help women to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Today only very large companies/ multinationals provide these facilities. Such measures will prevent productive women workers from quitting their job for the sake of managing their family, besides helping them to achieve their career goals.

3) From the school level to the workplace, men need to be sensitized to support their wives more –both physically with housework and child raising and emotionally.

4) Corporates must work closely with the government to see how to help the education system evolve so that more women can be encouraged to finish their education and get skills which are useful in the workplace.

5) Corporates should develop tie ups with day care centers so that women can continue working.

6) The government must draw out an action plan improve the transport systems in big cities to make it more easy for women, especially those with small children, to get to work.

7) More gender sensitization is required for men in the corporate world to not discriminate against women when it comes to promotions and pay increases just because they have been on a maternity break. There should be no gender-based discrimination when it comes to family or caring responsibilities.

Human Displacement: Is the Machine Age Set to Rule?

In an age of Human vs. Robots, automation is soon displacing many job roles, thus eliminating the need for human intervention, while HR professionals on the other hand strongly believe that automation is the game changer, requiring next-gen workforce to develop new-age skills.

In a candid conversation with Mr. Anupam Jauhari, Vice President – HR, Infogain, we at HR in Asia unveil future trends in HR and how technology will revolutionise workings and workplaces of tomorrow. Read on…

  • With AI tools and technological advancements threatening jobs and infusing fear on the minds of most employees of being displaced, how do you foresee the future of hiring?

This has been one of the most talked about topics in the recent past, whether automation or robots will take up human jobs. I think this is still at an early stage and it would be incorrect to say that we will see mass unemployment due to automation.  There will always be demand for skilled workers particularly those in the technology space.

 

Mr. Anupam Jauhari, Vice President – HR, Infogain

We are witnessing shortage of talent in the most sought after, lucrative jobs in the tech industry – data scientists, analyst, web developer, security architect and others. Organizations may need to focus on learning where employees can get trained on new technologies, upgrade their skillsets and stay more relevant as per the market demands.

Individuals also need to take on more responsibilities, upgrade themselves, and be more inquisitive rather than being a passive employee. Mass hiring in IT has gone down and there are multiple reasons for that – challenges in the global marketplace, changes in the business model where TNM model may not be relevant to clients, more emphasis on hiring local talent, etc.

IT industry is evolving and there will be changes in the business model, the way services are delivered, or a change in the skill set required to survive.We need to adapt to the changing market needs.

  • What are the hiring trends witnessed by IT sector in Asia Pacific in 2017? What will be the skills on-demand in 2018 to 2020?

We see a remarkable change in the recruitment industry on the part of the employer and job seeker. While employers are connecting with potential candidates on social media platform, doing background checks through their online profiles, job seekers are more active to search the company’s reputation on Glassdoor, connect with existing employees on LinkedIn to gather feedback.

Some of the hiring trends we can witness are:

  • Demand for Niche Technological Skills: Some of the evolving technical skills are in demand and people with those skills are highly valued.
  • Source it internally: There is more inclination on part of the HR and top management to see, if a fit can be found internally for a position rather than seeking outsiders.
  • Dynamic interviews: There is more inclination on the part of a job seeker to understand the role, responsibilities, and see if it fits their work styles rather than accepting an offer blindly.
  • Freelancer/part-time workers: While organisations are looking for freelancers and part-time workers that fits their budget and help them to source a niche skill. Many people are opting for the same where they feel they can work as per their wishes, there is no tie-up and they can move out at any point of time.
  • Benefits more than a pay package: Employers are constantly emphasising that they offer more than a pay package in terms of organisational culture, learning and development, interesting project and work-life balance.
  • Some of the skills in demand are:
  1. Security Architect
  2. Business Analysts
  3. Data Scientist
  4. UI Architect
  5. Digital Marketer
  6. Mobile Architect
  • With rapidly ageing workforce and emergence of new working models coming to play, how can HR managers work in sync with technology to manage multigenerational workforce demands?

The role of HR is to create a work environment that satisfies the requirements of both the generations and build a collaborative workforce where they learn from each other’s experience. As per survey conducted by Randstad India in 2015 managing a multi-generational workplace is one of the biggest challenges faced by HR leaders.

We need to understand that the aspirations and value systems of both the generations are very different, while millennials may be more comfortable with technology and have an independent style of work, older generation may not be as tech savvy. HR need to device ways so that they work in cross functional teams and gain from each other’s area of expertise.

There has to be multiple mode or channel of communications as each generation may be comfortable in different styles. Even there need to be different learning methods – while millennials prefer self-learning, the earlier generation is an advocate of classroom training. Collaborative platforms can also help to share information and knowledge. Technology will aid us to bridge the generational gaps by creating new communication, learning platforms.

  • What according to you are some of the main reasons for lack of women in STEM careers?

Though the representation of women in IT sector is still low, I think we have witnessed considerable changes in the last 10 years. There is more than 300% increase in women engineering graduates in India as per the last census of 2011.

NASSCOM in its recent report ‘Women and IT Scorecard – India” mentioned that technology sector is the second largest employer of women in India. 34% which is 1.3 million women are part of the IT industry. There is a change in mindset and with the IT industry offering a very flexible and conducive work environment, I am sure we will have many more women encourage to take up and pursue STEM.

See: Reshaping HR and Businesses through Automation and AI

  • How can IT leaders and CTOs of the industry work towards empowering and encouraging women to scale up and assume leadership roles in IT?

I don’t see the challenge in lack of women opting for STEM, but a higher proportion of them leaving careers in the longer run. The ratio of women joining the workforce as freshers is sizeable in number, but we lose them in the process of career progression due to marriage, childbirth and other social impediments.

It needs an all-round support, change in corporate policies and a change in the mindset of society, where a women’s job is still relegated as secondary.

There are multiple ways organisations can retain them and senior leadership plays a key role by formulating suitable policies for women. Few of the measures that can help to retain and encourage women employees to take up responsible positions:

  1. Extended maternity leave helps you to cope up with the stress of child birth and allows you to join back workforce once they recover completely.
  2. Work from Home: Helps save on commute time and spend more time with the family. Enables one to be more productive even on days, when there is a family crisis.
  3. Flexible Timing: Let employees come and work as per their convenience. As long as they are delivering, we should not have a policy to deduct their leaves on the pre-text of late coming.
  4. Change in Mindset: Often women are put in an insignificant role after they join back from maternity, which acts as a de-motivator. Assuming that women will not be able to perform, they are being put in positions where they can’t grow or utilize their capabilities.
  5. Encourage women to take up responsible positions: Women are not outspoken and often hesitant to take up promotions or responsible positions fearing that it may disrupt their family life. Encouragement, support, push and counselling from senior colleagues, managers or family members can help them move out of their comfort zone and take up senior level positions.
  • Do you think its right to entirely blame or fame HRs for shaping up an organisation’s workplace culture?

I think HR acts as a facilitator in building the culture or promoting the values that are set by top management or leaders of the organisation. HR plays a critical role by formulating polices, practices, organising activities, giving suggestions to the top management and being a guide, mentor to employees.

For example: Infogain is an advocate of open culture, how do we create and strengthen that culture across the organisation?

Organising town halls for employees where they are free to ask questions to the CEO about their concerns, we also keep a question box a day or two before the town hall, so that employees who don’t want to disclose their identity but are keen to ask questions can do the same.

  • There seems to a widening gap between employer expectations and employee demands, in terms of benefits and wellbeing culture from a workplace, how can HR managers help bridge this gap?

We need more frequent, in-person and longer discussion that focuses on employees’ professional as well as personal aspirations. Most of the day-to-day discussions with the manager/supervisor are related to work and the appraisals are conducted once in a year.

Many of us work in global organisations where the communication is only through e-mails or phone calls with our supervisors. There is a gap in understanding each other’s expectations.

That’s why many of the organisations are coming up with real time appraisal, where the feedback is instant rather than waiting till the end of the year for the performance appraisal cycle to finally discover that the employee is unhappy, and there are certain impediments due to which he has not been able to perform.

HR needs to be more proactive, encouraging managers to meet with their subordinates regularly and even during informal meets such as off-site visits to understand them better. HR can also play a crucial role by being a partner or counsellor to employees – listening to them, understanding their requirements and setting expectations right as per the organisational guidelines.

  • As companies transition to embrace all digital in their process workings, how can HRs ensure seamless communication and transparency?

Digital technologies will make businesses much more agile, and communication transparent. I don’t see any major challenge as majority of the workforce is millennials, who are more prone to adopt and use technology. With technology, HR can now build a more collaborative and interactive work environment.

While technology is helping HR to bring in more efficiency in their operational processes like recruiting, profiling or appraisal, it can also help HR to build a two-way communication, engage and empower employees.

Infogain has an internal chat application called InfoTweet. We also have an interactive platform with multiple forums on technology and HR, where employees can ask a question, post their blogs and opinions, or can learn about new technologies, changing market trends, etc.

  • Transitioning at times does involve organizational restructuring, which does impact employee engagement, performance, motivation levels and productivity. How can HRs work alongside employees to prevent voluntary employee turnover during the process?

I don’t think this transition can impact employee engagement and lead to mass turnover. Every business evolves and goes through different phases.

Digital is part of the evolution and organisations can bring in greater positive impact in the life of their employees. What we need to do is coach people, guide them, and enable them to use the new technologies by proper training and re-skilling.

  • What will be the future of HR in the Smart Machine Age?

Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, machine learning or advances in digital technologies are bringing a change in business models, disrupting well-established multinationals while empowering start-ups to be billion-dollar organisations.

HR has to play a key role in guiding the workforce of the future changes and helping them to reskill, acquire new knowledge. Learning and development will be core focus, where each employee may have a development plan on how they are evolving or enhancing their capabilities.

At the same time, it needs to gauge the skillsets required for the future and source talents, which may match the changing requirements of the business.

Also read: 63% HR Leaders in APAC Expect AI and Automation to Impact Organisations by 2022

Content rights: This exclusive interview content is produced by HR in ASIA. Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in this interview is prohibited. You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content.

News Originally Posted on: HR In Asia

Talent Management Insights: Keyuri Singh, VP-HR, Infogain

We have featured a short interview with Keyuri Singh, VP-HR and Infogain and she is sharing some talent management insights:

3 ways by which organization can focus on talent development?  

It is critical to make talent development an integral part of the Company Strategy. Today in many organisations, talent development is still viewed as attending training programmes. Given the talent crunch in the market, it is imperative that organisations grow their own talent, instead of focusing on external hiring. This can happen only if the whole company believes that this is the critical to organisation success, and everyone focuses on talent development through a combination of training, on the job learning, continuous feedback, coaching, etc. The 3 ways in which organisations can focus on talent development are:

  • Leaders should reinforce the value of learning. They should inspire their team members to be on a continuous learning journey and provide encouraging feedback to those who use their learnings in a project/ assignment. They should encourage team members to leverage problems as opportunities for real world learning and development.
  • Alignment between organisation goals and individual aspirations– Training should not be completed just to meet training goals set for employees , it should l be part of  a comprehensive plan which both helps the employee develop in the right direction and helps the company meets it goal. This alignment, in the form of a career development plan, which is co-owned by an employee and his manager, is critical to talent development.
  • Build sustainable processes to support development. Building a coaching culture where managers are trained and expected to coach and develop their team members.  This should happen through a rigorous process where managers understand the strengths and development needs of an employee, and provide continuous feedback and support on how to improve their performance, with resulting real time learning and development. Career planning is another process which helps employees know how they are expected to develop and grow, and what career paths are open to them, based on their competencies and aspirations.

Your advice to manage talent crunch  

The best way to manage the talent crunch is to hire early and grow your own talent. Many companies have done this very successfully –Unilever, GE, TCS etc, by hiring fresh engineers or MBAs and then guiding them through a rigorous training and development plan, resulting in steady growth, with a structured career path. A succession plan makes sure that there is always an “almost ready” internal  backup, with  no need to scrounge around for last minute replacements. There is also a need to plan in advance so that you have enough time to scout the market and get the best people, without short changing yourself with getting someone who is “available” and not the best fit- especially in terms of value/ attitude and culture.  It is important too for companies to make sure that they have the right culture and the right employer brand – so as to attract the right talent, especially since today all prospective employees look at Glassdoor before deciding to join the company.

Example or your advice to organizations to structure benefits to motivate their employees 

It is important to understand the drivers for employee motivation in an organization and structure benefits accordingly. For example, in an IT company where there are many millennials, it is important to focus on instant rewards and feedback since they are the   ”instant gratification generation”.  A strong reward programme may be more effective in such an organization than a very good medical insurance or retirement benefits.  Since another key driver for millennials  is learning and growth , having benefits like certification reimbursement or  tuition reimbursement would be useful benefits 

Profile:

Keyuri is currently the Vice President – Human Resources at Infogain (previously Blue Star Infotech Ltd.), where she has been playing a role of a strategist and advisor to the Board, Leadership Team, Departments and other functions. She has led a continuous cultural renewal and organisational shaping during her years at Blue Star Infotech She focuses on Business-HR alignment, Change management, HR Strategy, HR Policy, Learning and Development, and Performance Management. She is also responsible for the Sales & Operations Planning Process. Her responsibilities for overall recruitment and training and development ensure that the organization gets the best people suited for the roles across the company. She combines her knowledge of Business and Finance with her people capabilities to help organisations become more successful by enabling people to work at their true potential.

She has over 25 years of multi-disciplinary experience in Consulting, Finance & Accounting and HR. Her management consulting experience spans across Business Solutions, Human Resources, and ERP Systems Implementation, with companies like Grow Talent, Hay Group, PDI, PricewaterhouseCoopers and A F Ferguson & Co. Previously, she spent several years in industry as CFO, Supply Chain Head and Business Planning and Systems Head in multinationals like Rohm & Haas and Hindustan Ciba Geigy. Her experience has helped Keyuridevelop skills in the areas of people management, building/ optimizing organizational processes, business development and project management.

Her strengths lie in her ability to communicate with people across all levels and functions in an organization, excellent execution skills with the ability to foresee and resolve problems and difficult situations. She enjoys the process of understanding what motivates people and helping them develop to their full potential. Keyuri has done her B Com as well as CA from Mumbai.

News Originally Posted on: India CHRO Forum

“Hiring and retaining quality talent is the biggest challenge” – Infogain

Anupam Jauhari, Vice President – HR, Infogain

India is the fastest growing economy of the world today. With this growth comes the requirement of professionals in various sectors of the economy, to drive this growth. Streamlining of recruitment, along with the transparency in salary/remuneration packages very much define the best practices in an industry. These also define the quality of work force joining an industry. India Inc. is evolving dynamically, when it comes to HR best practices. Team Estrade had the opportunity to connect with Anupam Jauhari, Vice President, HR – Infogain, and got insights into the HR best practices at the company. Following are the excerpts of this interaction,

With more than 20 years experience in Human Resources, Anupam Jauhari has in-depth understanding driving the development and launch of HR processes and initiatives at the business level. Currently serving as Vice President of the HR practice at Infogain, Anupam’s responsibilities include formulating progressive HR policies, compensation strategies and support of new business transactions, in addition to talent identification, deployment and development and overseeing all HR functions.

Anupam’s strength lies in identifying the right people for the right position and engaging them to give their best performance for an organization.

Prior to joining Infogain, Anupam led the Resource Management Group at NIIT Technologies, managing the global recruitment of the company. Previously, he has worked with Reliance Industries, Syntel Software and Metamor Global Solutions.

Anupam holds a Post-Graduation Degree in Human Resources and Personnel Management from University of Allahabad.

About  Infogain

Infogain (www.infogain.com) provides front-end, customer-facing technologies, processes and applications that lead to a more efficient and streamlined customer experience for enterprises in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and India. Offering solutions for the high-tech, retail, insurance, healthcare and travel & hospitality verticals, Infogain specializes in areas such as software product engineering, digital service automation, cloud, mobility, testing and business intelligence & analytics. The company has 9 delivery centers and more than 4000 employees globally. Infogain has a customer retention rate of 90%+ over a five-year period.


Team Estrade: Tell us about Infogain, about your verticals of operation and the number of professionals you employ across India.

Infogain: Infogain is a global IT firm providing technology solutions for High-Tech, Travel & Hospitality, Insurance & Healthcare and Retail businesses. The company specializes in providing software product engineering, digital service automation, mobility, testing and business intelligence & analytics services. We have close to 4000 employees across our locations in in the United States, India, the Middle East, U.K., Singapore and Malaysia. Infogain is headquartered in Los Gatos, California.


Team Estrade: What are your HR practices for recruitment over different verticals? For both national and international.

Infogain: Infogain has standard recruitment process across the organization in all geographies. We recruit through multiple channels – through consultants and job portals, company website and social media sites, etc. We also have a strong Employee Referral Program where employees can refer a candidate.  Once a requirement is raised internally, our resource management team prepares a job description in consultation with the concerned department.   The entire system is automated – as soon as the job position is posted on website, it automatically gets posted on the third-party job portal. We also post the open positions on LinkedIn. Every applicant has to go through same process of interviewing, test and reference check.


Team Estrade: What is your geographical range when it comes to recruiting?

Infogain: Infogain recruits majorly in the US and India. We have sales team in the other geographies which includes UAE, Singapore and UK. Our development team is based primarily in the US and India.


Team Estrade: How do you find the right professionals to head the specific market/demographic? Mention some practices that you feel are unique to Infogain.

Infogain: Finding a right candidate is a tough job! It doesn’t only include evaluating somebody for their skill-sets, but a right fit for the company culture or style of operations. Another important consideration is to check that whether we can match financially as per the candidate’s expectations. Lateral hiring is more difficult and expensive. Getting it wrong is a big loss for the organization. We rigorously follow certain steps while looking out for a senior candidate –

  • Clear-cut Job Description – A clear-cut job description is essential to ensure that we find the right resume and interview the right candidates. It is a critical step to ensure that we don’t waste time, energy and resources in interviewing wrong people. Internally we should be clear on our expectations and at the same time it is essential that the candidates are clear on what the job demands from them. Every role has its own set of challenges which should be explicitly mentioned to the candidate. Does it need frequent travelling? Does it involves working in odd hours?
  • Internal Recruitment – We try and identify employees internally who are capable of taking up the role. This has multiple advantages – the employee is aware of the company and culture, it fosters a sense of loyalty towards the organization. Promoted employees are enthusiastic to excel in their new role and establish themselves as capable leaders.
  • Employee Referral – Finding a suitable candidate from the employee’s network has multiple advantages – employees usually do the first level screening and they usually refer friends or associates they are confident about. They are more aware of the company culture, thus the on boarding is fast and ramp-up time is low.
  • Alumni Network – as an organization we prefer candidates who were associated with us earlier. These candidates usually know the organization well, takes less time to adjust, we are well aware of the candidate and his/her capabilities. This helps us to maintain a critical pool of pre-qualified resources

Team Estrade: Recruitment is a very hands-on job and a skill requiring ability to know people in a short span of time. With the latest technologies such as Big Data, Complex machines and AI, has the way recruitment happens changed for the better? Do you feel that a lot of hands-on aspects of recruitment have been removed from the picture?

Infogain: Hiring and retaining quality talent is the biggest challenge that the industry faces today. The technology industry is facing shortage of critical resources like Data Scientist, User Experience Architect, Analysts, etc.   The recruitment process has evolved over the years and now recruiters have access to technology, social media and other tools apart from interviews, sessions and discussions. The hands on aspect in recruitment is still there, to find the right candidate you need a lot of involvement. Technology has aided the process by reaching out to the selected candidates, getting relevant details on the background of a person, the kind of network or social circle he/she maintains.  Online interviews/video chats using Skype, Google Hangouts, viber are becoming popular for discussions and enabling us to reach people in far-flung areas. Technology is enabling us to take informed and data driven decision making and making recruitment faster, more efficient and reliable.


Team Estrade: Which vertical employs the largest number of professionals in Infogain?

Infogain: Hi-Technology and T&H with approx. 960 employees globally.


Team Estrade: What are your views on challenges such as gender pay gap and sexual harassment at the work place? What are the policies in place at Infogain to tackle these?

Infogain: I don’t think there is any pay gap in the salary of a men and women when they enter the workforce, at least not in technology industry. The criterion for selection is always based on the merit of a candidate. The pay gap usually arises at a later stage when women usually take a break from work either due to marriage, childbirth and other personal responsibilities. The challenge is after a gap of a few years in your career, you may find it difficult to match the salary of your male counterparts. There are multiple reasons – you may not get a desirable role, you may need to brush-up your skills, adjust to the work environment or may need to learn a new technology keeping in mind changes are fast in the industry today. Many organizations are still reluctant to offer a responsible position in the apprehension that a career gap has dampen the skill sets of the women candidate. Though a gap of a few years in a long career hardly matters and a deserving person will always be able to pick up and deliver.

Corporates need to build a support system so that women can easily join back workforce – favorable leave policies, flexi – timings, day care facilities, and sabbatical policies are a few initiatives that can help to retain women employees. The most important change is however required in the socio –economic structure of our society where men are still considered as primary bread winner while women take up complete responsibility of child care. Infogain has an extended maternity leave policy, we have flexible timings where employees choose work hours as per their convenience, we also have work from home option that helps save commuting time and enables employees to spend more time with their family. We also have a crèche facility in our Noida center.

Sexual Harassment at work is an intolerable offence and not accepted by any organization. Treating women with dignity is one of the basic behavioral aspects that we expect employees to follow. We have a stringent Sexual Harassment policy wherein we have a compliant committee headed by a senior women employee. Employees can lodge written complain to the committee at TellUS@infogain.com, or through individual e-mails to the Chairperson, HR Head, BU Head, Manager or any other employee. They can also lodge a verbal complaint. The Committee assess the situation and action is taken depending on the severity of the case.


Team Estrade: With India’s large young work force, what should be India Inc.’s direction in terms of a robust HR policy, for recruiting, training, retaining, and employing professionals until they retire? There seems to be no industry wide best practices consensus so far.

Infogain: Yes to attract and retain new age workforce you need a change in the conventional HR policies. IT industry has been an attractive employer for the millennials due to its flexibility and dynamic work culture. Young employees today expect an organization to offer more than just an attractive pay package. They are more interested in progressive work culture, interesting projects where they can explore, innovate and work in their own way, get recognized by the employer and get an opportunity to learn and move the corporate ladder fast. They are more prone to take up challenging projects, use different means rather than following the conventional ways, be more creative and use technology to excel in their career.

HR need to move from their conventional policies, organizational hierarchies, rigid rules and offer a more engaging, collaborative work environment. It is applicable in the entire cycle whether we are recruiting, managing or retaining talent. What organizations need? Use of technology, automation wherever possible to reach or engage employees, open work culture where employees can take up roles that suits them most, express their ideas, opinions, reach out to the top management, charting career growth path for each employee – HR need to be much more engaging discussing individual aspirations, discussing their career progression and assigning appropriate roles and responsibilities. Learning is a critical aspect with the current technology changes, so organizations need a stimulating work environment where employees can re-skill themselves.


Team Estrade: What would you advise to smaller companies for adopting HR best practices with marginal incremental costs?

Infogain: The most important need is to create a conducive work environment for all employees and foster a culture that promotes, equality, innovation and freedom to work. It is completely at the discretion of the senior management of an organization to set the values and work culture of an organization. As mentioned earlier, people are not only attracted to high pay packages or incentives, but there are multiple other ways to engage your employees.

  • Accountability – make them more accountable for their work, provide them the independence to work in their own way, focus on the results and not the number of hours an employee spends in office.
  • Recognize them – Recognize the good work and promote it as an example to other employees. Find out innovative ways to reward an employee and not just monetary benefits
  • Work-life balance – Have favorable leave policies, flexi timings or work from home options that allows employees to spend more time with family and friends rather than on commuting
  • Open Door Policy – Encourage people to talk freely, to express their concerns or reach out to the leaders
  • Regular Communications – Organize town halls, send out update e-mails from senior management. Connect more with people, update them about the organization’s performance, talk to them about the goal or vision of the organization
  • Cultural/Social teams – Form cultural, social, sports, quiz teams with your own employees and then they drive it with different engaging activities

Team Estrade: What is your HR vision for Infogain, over the next 2 year?

Infogain: Infogain is an employee friendly organization and we maintain an open work culture. Employees are encouraged to share their ideas and thoughts, to connect, communicate and collaborate with their colleagues. Regular communication with each and every employee is one of our top priorities and we have multiple forums – Town halls with the CEO,   monthly newsletter, intranet portal Aspire, interactive platforms for internal collaboration – InfoTweet, ALIVE. The organization also has a strong focus on learning and organize regular training sessions, webinars, lunch n learn sessions. We have automated and digitized platforms for training, learning and communication which makes employees more efficient.

I would like to make the communication more seamless and transparent, automate more systems and processes to empower and engage each and every employee of the organization.

News Originally Posted on: ES Trade