In FY 12, the IT industry was a victim of global fears of slowdown which surely had its impact on the HR scene in Indian IT companies. But this year's DQ-CMR Best Employer Survey is very different since it does not put all companies in one framework. It classifies employers in two categories based on employee strength-Top IT Employers (employing) below 2,000 and Top IT Employers (employing) above 2,000. Similarly parameters set for both categories speak of different facts. Like every year our story begins with the attrition rate in the industry which has a direct co-relation to the health of Indian IT. Higher attrition rates clearly indicates good signs for Indian IT while low attrition rate is not seen as a good sign. However, this year's classification of companies into two groups speak of a different story.
The findings of the DQ-CMR Best Employer Survey 2012 (BES 2012) brings forth an altogether different picture-while attrition fell to an understandable 13% in companies with 2,000+ employees, it continued to worry companies with less than 2,000 employees at 19%. Thus, 19% attrition rate does not give a slowdown picture but 13% does. It is however not difficult to estimate that a bigger chunk of people is hired by the IT companies and any change in their financial health creates ripples in the industry.
While this was the scene, it did not give HR managers a breathing space, particularly because the demand for qualitative workforce in the industry was higher than before. Pressure on companies to deliver better services forced HR managers to hire experienced and technically-sound people. At the same time, retaining the existing one added to the exertion. Giving example of the talent sturggle, an HR head of an IT company said, "Hiring people with expertise and experience has been the biggest challenge in the IT industry. In a squeezed industry where budgets are down, it is difficult to handle high salary demands of new or prospective employees."
As said, the performance of IT companies on the attrition front was one of the significant parameters in the BES 2012, not only because it is an important indicator of the health of the IT industry but because it is an important indicator of a company's seriousness towards its employees. The frequency at which employees are leaving the company is a sure-shot formula for rating a company's HR trends.
The attrition rate measured is based on the employees in any organization from April 2011 to March 2012. Change of guard even at senior level was well perceived in the industry. The companies which encountered the highest levels of attrition in the 2,000+ category included Aricent Group (#1), Cybage Software (#2), Tulip (3#) and Virtusa (4#), etc whereas in the ‘till 2,000' category the companies which recorded the higher levels of attrition included Four Soft (1#), Infrasoft Technologies (#2), Choice Solutions (#3), Synygy India (#4), Digital Group Infotech (#5)and Theorem India (#6), etc. Hence for these companies managing attrition was a task to reckon with. The companies like iGATE, Sasken, Rolta India, Synechron Technologies and Zensar in the 2,000+ category and companies like Omnitech, Fulcrum Worldwide Software, CA Technologies, R Systems and SPAN Infotec in the till 2,000 category handled their workforce challenges efficiently thereby experiencing the least attrition. They ably and persuasively showed value to their employees, handled salary as well as work flexibility issues.
While good times are a test for an employee's commitments to the company, the not-so-good times are a test of the company's commitment to its employees. We tried to gauge the employees' and HR scores of respective companies. Unlike the previous years, the survey outlines a growth in both HR and employee scores which is an encouraging fact. Employee scores that influenced the rankings largely, however, speak of the attention paid to them.
Declaring the Winners
As stated already, the BES 2012 is different, in the sense that it has two winners this year. The practice to categorize companies into two sets is intended to help players in improving their employee-related practices, according to their sizes, to compete in future best employer surveys. But to put winners in the row was not an easy task. There were a number of parameters which the companies had to measure on. While employee and HR scores determine the fate of the employers, the role of other parameters like gender inclusivity, training, appraisal, company culture, people, job content and attrition and retention rate play a major role in deciding the best employers.
The Best Employer Survey 2012, having been categorized into two sets, shows a change of rankings when compared to last year. In both sections, we see quite a many old names which shows the competitiveness among companies to vie for the coveted place in the top list. In both the categories, it has been our endeavor to feature as many companies as we could but the final decision was to throw the spotlight on the top 10 companies in each category. iGATE, which was number 3 last year, emerged as the #1 in the 2,000+ category followed by Rolta and Cisco at #2 and #3. Cisco was a new participant in the list this year. HCL Infosystems was toppled to the #4 place from #1 last year. Perhaps because of a reshuffle going on in the company in terms of business strategy. While at iGATE it was more satisfying for employees to see Patni merge with iGATE smoothly. Certainly it brought uniformity into the HR processes within the company contributing to its position in the eyes of employees.