“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