HR Administration

Infosys Technologies Optimas Award Winner for Service

By Ed Frauenheim

Sep. 7, 2011

A t tech services firm Infosys Technologies, benefit programs designed to boost morale and promote healthy careers are so treasured that employees keep track of them even after they’ve left the company.

    Bikramjit Maitra, vice president of human resource development at the Bangalore-based company, ran into a former employee recently. The worker suggested Maitra take advantage of an Infosys fitness program launched after the employee had departed. “He was more aware of some of our facilities than I was,” Maitra says.

    He and other leaders of the fast-growing company are smiling these days because it’s relatively rare for “Infoscions” to leave in the first place. Attrition at Infosys was just shy of 10 percent last year, a figure considered low for the burgeoning Indian software industry. An internal survey in late 2004 found that three-quarters of Infosys employees were satisfied with the company. And last year, Indian publication Business Today called Infosys the best company to work for in India.

    Low turnover, high employee satisfaction and a reputation as an employer of choice are critical to a company whose chief assets are the programming and problem-solving skills of its employees. Maitra attributes much of the company’s success in these areas to a group of workplace initiatives that fall under the company’s Employee Relations Program. The program includes counseling services, celebrations of cultural events, athletic contests and health fairs open to employees’ families.

    To further accommodate the strong family ties prevalent in India, Infosys invites employees’ parents and other relatives to visit its campus—which rivals the headquarters of U.S. tech firms with its lush lawns and amenities such as a gym and swimming pool.

    Overall, the Employee Relations Program aims to create an atmosphere of professionalism yet mimic the best aspects of university life.

    That goal stems directly from one of the big hurdles Infosys faces: engaging a young workforce. In part because India’s software outsourcing industry has taken off in just the past decade or so, the average age at Infosys is 26.

    With its focus on creating bonds among employees, the program also tries to help Infosys avoid becoming impersonal and bureaucratic amid remarkable growth—headcount has soared by 40,500 during the past five years to the current level of 49,400.

    The Employee Relations Program also helps the company ward off the likes of IBM and Oracle in India, which may try to poach workers trained by Infosys. And activities like movie screenings and staff tug-of-wars aim to help workers cope with the strains of occasional late hours needed to serve U.S. customers and the “crunch” periods common to software projects. Crunches refer to long hours required to solve complex problems and finish the code.

    “There are times when people go through extra professional stress,” Maitra says.

    A point of pride for Maitra, 50, is to help young people establish a sense of work/life balance early in their careers. Among his current goals are to get more employees to take half-hour exercise breaks and get them back home at a reasonable hour. The latter aim should prevent burnout and improve productivity, he thinks. “Coming on time and going on time are equally important,” he says.

    For its success in developing workforce management programs that help keep attrition low and the company reputation strong, Infosys wins the 2006 Optimas Award for Service.

Founded in 1981, Bangalore-based Infosys has 49,400 employees and is one of the major Indian firms providing software-outsourcing services to clients in the U.S. and elsewhere. For the year ended March 31, 2005, it posted revenue of $1.6 billion and net income of $419 million.
The company provides services including application development, systems integration and product engineering. Its clients are in industries such as health care, energy and financial services. Infosys subsidiary Progeon offers business process outsourcing services like handling call center tasks. Infosys also has a consulting division based in Fremont, California.

Workforce Management, March 13, 2006, p. 28Subscribe Now!

Ed Frauenheim is a former Associate Editorial Director at Human Capital Media and currently works as Senior Director of Content at Great Place to Work. He is a co-author of A Great Place to Work For All.

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