BENGALURU: Infosys is in the midst of putting together a staff appraisal practice that includes some of the best practices followed at new-age companies, including Google and Facebook, and will start evaluating employees from October next, a move some experts believe if executed well, could help the country’s second largest software firm retain the tag of preferred employer in the country.
One of the benchmarks Infosys will take into consideration to evaluate its over 160,000-employees will be on feedback from its over 900 clients. The new system will also see an individual’s performance being judged by his team members and in many cases, even subordinates in the team. Significantly, Design Thinking, the creative and systematic approach to problem-solving, will be used to implement these “futuristic performance measures”, according to a senior executive.
“Today, we have a 360 degree feedback for senior people — both internal feedback, and in some cases, through external feedback,” said Srikantan Moorthy, HR head. “Already, more than 2,500 people have gone through this process, some of whom have got feedback from clients. If we have to extend it for 160,000 people, we have to use Design Thinking in articulating the solution before it gets rolled out.” Although Google and Facebook keep details of their HR practices close to their chest, some experts said the companies use a lot of analytics to find the right candidate for a job or for a promotion. Further, in many cases, they even seek client feedback on an engineer’s performance at a particular project.
“When we talk about HR practices, developmental plans and promotions are components. So, we are looking at best practices at various companies at what they do and create a more futuristic performance management system that will last for some time. That’s what we are working on,” Moorthy told ET in an interview earlier this month. For now, homegrown technology firms, including Infosys, rely on data analytics when it comes to hiring prospective employees. But the biggest challenge haunting these companies is to retain talent as many junior engineers at these firms leave the company, with the attrition rate being the highest in the band of employees with two to five years’ experience. Infosys had an attrition rate of over 20 per cent for the second quarter ended September 30 while its city rival Wipro had an attrition level of close to 17 per cent.
“We will be applying Design Thinking principles to engage with employees to get feedback, articulate the problem, develop the right model or solution before rolling it,” said Moorthy. For this reason, some experts dub this thinking at country’s second largest software exporter as a step in the right direction. “Indian companies for a long time have seen employees at lower levels as replaceable, but with raising costs, higher training costs, we see a change in thinking happening, also in India,” said Holger Mueller, principal analyst and VP at Constellation Research. Since Infosys tasked its first non-founder chief executive Vishal Sikka to help the company match up with industry-matching growth numbers of 13 per cent yearly growth, Sikka has kicked off various steps to motivate employees.
From rewarding them with more number of promotions and even doing away with the variable pay component for entry-level employees, Infosys also started with the first kind of crowdsourcing initiative, “Murmurations” to motivate employees. For all these reasons, the management believes that the company should be able to bring down attrition to 13-15 per cent by as early as June next year.