Nearshore Americas

India Inc. Beckons Former Associates as Batle for Talent Reemerges


India’s technology companies are looking at innovative ways to unearth and maintain a steady supply of workers as they strive to meet soaring demand for outsourcing services triggered by the recent rebound in global technology spending.

With staff attrition inching higher toward pre-recession levels, Indian outsourcers are now searching for talent in the lost sheep lot. Infosys Technologies Inc. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. are welcoming back the performers who’ve left their companies in search of greener pastures.

Infosys, the country’s second largest software exporter by sales, has opened a “green channel” initiative, wherein employees who have left the organization can join again with minimum processing time. The policy currently only applies to positions in India.

The new initiative follows a less successful human resources program called Infosys Role and Career Enhancement, or iRACE, which created tougher performance benchmarks and less-frequent promotions, resulting in several experienced staff exiting the firm. Infosys management maintains the “green channel” program will help it leverage employees’ learnings from other experiences.

“As Infosys grows, we want to have a strong connect with our alumni who have been an integral part of our journey and success and this program is one such example,” senior vice president and global head of human resources, Nandita Gurjar said. The company, however, declined to comment on the terms and conditions on which the homeward bound employees are hired.

It’s far from philanthropy. Analysts say it makes business sense for Infosys to hire these employees back as it helps the company save on administrative costs and ramp up the business with much-needed experienced hands.

Infosys had earlier said it expects to hire 30,000 employees in the current fiscal year that began on April 1. “Client accounts are growing for Infosys, and if they hire a new person, it will take some time before he or she becomes productive,” said analyst Shashi Bhushan of Mumbai-based brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher.

Infosys spends about Rs. 8.5 billion a year in training new employees, T.V. Mohandas Pai, director of human resources at Infosys, said at the company’s annual general meeting last month. In the fiscal year that ended March 31, the company received 400,000 applications from job seekers, of which 61,000 were interviewed and 26,000 offers were made, he added.

TCS, India’s largest software exporter by sales, is also open to hiring performers who have left the company, but doesn’t have an official program in place like Infosys, a company spokeswoman said. Wipro Ltd., the third largest software services exporter, was not immediately available for a comment.

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Medium-sized outsourcing company Mphasis Ltd. has introduced a similar initiative called “homecoming,” inviting employees who left firm in the last 18 months to join back.

“When the demand scenario improves, employees would certainly want to move from one organization to another, but with a higher pay,” said analyst Sandeep Muthangi of IIFL Capital.

That means these companies may actually end up paying a premium to rehire the lost sheep.

Kirk Laughlin

Kirk Laughlin is an award-winning editor and subject expert in information technology and offshore BPO/ contact center strategies.

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