By Rick Bell
Dec. 9, 2013
Infosys BPO faced a problem familiar to many companies in recent years that were shaking off the doldrums of the Great Recession.
There was a spike in work for the Bangalore, India-based business process outsourcing company, which meant that there was an urgent need to fill newly created positions.
But with competitors facing the same situation, retaining its workforce was a challenge as other companies swooped in to poach talent from the Infosys ranks.
Attrition rates in India soared above 40 percent with Infosys seeing similar figures. Despite the Infosys mantra of “Careers for Life,” high-potential employees were leaving for jobs with better compensation. Its uptick in business was in danger of being lost if Infosys couldn’t identify and keep its workforce.
“Employers in India consistently cite retention of high-performing, high-potential employees as a top HR and business concern,” said Raghavendra K, Head HRD. “Good talent with ability in India is aspirational and therefore harder to retain given the need to remain cost-competitive.”
Rather than pursue a similar strategy of poaching the competition to bolster its workforce, leaders at Infosys BPO, which is a subsidiary of Infosys Ltd., renewed its push for an innovative rewards program to foster retention as well as limit the cost of hiring new employees.
Out of this push, an iSTAR was born.
“The iSTAR award has a strong focus on recognition of high potentials in the employee’s peer group and managers, especially amongst the senior management,” Raghavendra K said in an email. “ISTAR effectively couples recognition to other total rewards elements such as enhanced career development and advancement opportunities, communication, even a cash incentive to reward and recognize critical talent.”
The program was launched in 2012, and company officials noticed an immediate effect on attrition levels and employee morale. The initiative was folded into Infosys’ total value proposition. More importantly, Infosys is committed to the program’s continuation. And like any good program, leaders want to make it better.
While the program is aimed at employee development and promotion, it clearly revealed that retention was higher among its high-potential workers. Attrition levels among iSTAR awardees were 44 percent lower than the rest of the Infosys population. With the drop in attrition, leaders also realized a cost savings from reduced turnover and cost per hire.
“Retaining high-potential employees is not just about more pay; it’s more about a mutual give-and-take relationship with the employer,” Raghavendra K said. “For a high-potential employee in India, career advancement and development opportunities, respect and empowerment at the workplace, reward and especially recognition as well as appreciation are high motivators.”
For launching its iSTAR program and the success in retaining its high-potential employees, Infosys BPO is the gold Optimas Award winner for Business Impact.
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