From a commercial perspective, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has experienced extraordinary success over the last 18 years of operating in Latin America. The organization went from launching a modest-sized operation in Uruguay, starting in 2002, to today employing over 17,500 professionals in eight countries in Latin America.
The significance of TCS’s impact in the global digital innovation marketplace, both in Latin America and worldwide, is clearly noteworthy. However, a less well-known aspect of this expansive growth has been the close attention the organization has paid to develop the professional and technological capabilities of high school and college students, as well as local citizens.
“One of our core values is learning. We build talent rather than buy talent,” says Novonil (“Novo”) Bhattacharya, Global Head of HR- Life sciences, Healthcare, Public Services, Energy & Resources, who we met recently at the TCS offices in Edison, New Jersey where Novo is based.
During his tenure, the TCS Latin America footprint may have grown at an exponential rate, but Novo pointed out that the pace of growth has never weakened the resolve that he and his colleagues have had toward constantly enhancing the capabilities of the workforce and ‘bridging the gap between campus and corporate settings’ as the company builds deeper relationships with potential hires.
Priority Interface: TCS’ Focus on Students
One of the cornerstone projects supporting this community-oriented objective is the “Academic Interface Program” (AIP), which focuses on strengthening ties with academic communities in Latin America and around the world. AIP conducts workshops for students and supports internship training opportunities that increase the skills and attractiveness of potential candidates. In Latin America, TCS has touched nearly 30,000 students during the last three years.
“The relationships we have with universities and academic institutions are crucial to our geo-strategy,” said Novo. For example, the TCS Campus Hiring Ecosystem is an innovative model that enables engagement between members of the educational institution and mapping the journey of a potential job candidate. “The platform can manage a student’s entire life cycle, from his or her first day on campus to initial contact with TCS,” said Novo.
An extension of the ecosystem is an interactive platform called “Campus Commune”, which has managed to attract over one million student members. By enabling social and online peer learning, Campus Commune analyzes and quantifies the quality aspects of each user’s participation. To hire the most suitable candidates, TCS recognizes it has become fundamental for recruiters and companies to manage the expectations and perceptions of the next generation of hires.
Coding and Competing on a Global Scale
Another prized program designed to cultivate relationships with aspiring IT professionals is called “Code Vita”, an annual global coding contest begun in 2012 and designed to promote programming as a sport. The initiative, now in its eighth edition, attracted over 2 million competitors from 68 countries last year. Latin America contributes the largest number of participants in the contest, and during the last three years, Latin America teams succeeded in reaching the final rounds.
Novo stressed that as TCS has embarked on its business 4.0 strategy, the marketplace has come to increasingly recognize the role of TCS as an agent of transformation. This has engendered greater trust and in turn helped facilitate a ‘deeper, more entrenched’ connection with individuals contemplating their future in digital careers.
Enabling and Guiding the Disadvantaged
Another equally important activity for TCS Latin America has been its “TCS Enable program”, which is designed to support economic prosperity by providing equal opportunities to underrepresented communities.
“When we began in the region, we said we are not only going to build relationships with universities, we also have a responsibility to look at underprivileged sections of society”, said Novo.
According to United Nations data, the unemployment rate worldwide for people with disabilities is above 75%. In recognition of this fact and in pursuit of the overall objective of TCS Enable, the company has put in motion initiatives in five Latin American countries to create greater training and professional engagement opportunities.
- In Brazil, TCS set up a partnership with the Department of Education of the State Government of São Paulo, to bring IT knowledge and develop behavioral competencies to over 190,000 students and teachers in public education. The partnership resulted in the hiring of 107 students.
- In Peru, TCS has built a successful partnership with “Forge”, an NGO active in several Latin American countries that supports the development of behavioral skills to boost the capacity for candidates to obtain jobs.
- In Ecuador TCS was recognized by Children International as a supporter of the group’s “Hacia el Empleo” (towards employment) program, focusing on providing job opportunities to young people.
- In Mexico, an alliance with public education institutions, such as Conalep and Universidad de Guadalajara, has resulted in the hiring of 27 students from underrepresented sectors during 2019. The program includes the development of behavioral competencies such as communication and self-esteem and also provides coaching on things like how to prepare a CV efficiently, how to get ready for the interview process and labor law awareness.
- In Colombia, TCS established an alliance with SENA (national learning service) to develop citizens from vulnerable sectors of the community. For SENA students, participation in the program has represented a life-changing opportunity. TCS continuously hires from the SENA job pool.
In looking back on his engagements in Latin America over the years, Novo notes that the ‘warm and welcoming’ attitude he has encountered in Latin America is a key success factor. “I firmly believe the culture, the discipline and the adherence to values have really stood out,” he said. “Hard work is highly valued and a very good differentiator.”