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For 30,000 TCS Employees, Here’s How the Party Winds Up

TCS, India’s largest IT company and the posterchild of India’s achievements in global IT, is shedding some weight through an optimization drive to be completed by this February. The optimization drive comprises firing non-performers by extracting voluntary resignations. That’s how TCS employees are being laid off.

This piece is purely personal opinion; it is not a report on this development. I have not contacted TCS on this because I have already had their standard well-crafted media response on this.

Here it is: “As a performance driven company, workforce optimization is a continuous process which happens throughout the year taking into account employee performance, business needs, and people aspirations. This leads to some amount of involuntary attrition in the company. This is nothing out of the ordinary, or a special situation for us to comment about. We continue to be leading recruiters of IT talent across the world, not only in India. In this fiscal, we have a total hiring target of 55,000 professionals, and we are on track to meet it,”

The optimization process is indeed very interesting. Here is an audio clip, purportedly of an interaction between a TCS employee and the sack team, at Chennai. The clip has been doing the rounds in social media and has gone viral, but we are not in a position to establish its veracity. There are also many other clips on YouTube about this issue.

I am not citing this clip to implicate TCS, but the contents of the clip are instructive about how any IT company in India might ‘optimize’ itself. A few important points on getting fired:

• There are plenty of reasons but it is primarily related to performance. It is a performance issue, but we are not saying it is underperformance. You may be doing a good job, but the issue is of performance.

• You name has been carefully chosen after lot of analysis, many layers and levels of people are involved, even the top management. You have been chosen because of your performance.

• No amount of client certifications and client endorsements about your good work will help. Because it is all about performance.

• In the past if you had not got a proper performance rating, you should have put your foot down then. We are looking for consistency of performance across three years and we have all the data. We have to narrow down and retain only the cream. Therefore, it is about your performance and our need to optimize.

• You could be taken out of a project that you are currently in and be chosen for this exclusive honor.

• Women employees beware…..maternity leave could land you here.

• Apart from other reasons, the other reasons (on which all data is available) are scalability, availability of requirements matching your skillsets, if going up the ladder is going to be a challenge for you, etc. Basically, a pyramid has to be made. Which requires people like you to go out.

• In the end, the sack team says it has all the data about why you are chosen, but it is highly confidential and cannot be shared with the employee. The sack team is only there to communicate the decision, so don’t shoot the messenger. Please sign on the dotted line.

Where does the blame lie? On TCS, for not being able to do this better. Cloaking everything under performance issues is unjust and pretentious; why not tell the optimization and pyramid story upfront. As for the employees who were let go, I don’t sympathize with them. They should get used to the wave, there will be more coming. That’s the only way to empathize with them.

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