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DQI Bureau
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Its lunch hour... a senior executive walks down to the basement to check

whether his two-year-old has had his food and taken a nap. The toddler is busy

playing with a set of building blocks under the keen eye of a nanny. As the

executive returns to his seat, he has a smile on his face. And why bother that

many of his colleagues have seen him go and watch over his son... after all, he’s

just a concerned father. He’s merely helping his harried wife out by bringing

the kid to work.


That’s Xansa India for outsiders. An organization with a working

environment conducive for mothers and fathers who like to bring their kids along

to work... With a company provided crèche, most employees are free to

concentrate on their work, with lesser cares in the world, knowing their child

is just a walk away.

If this sounds like a survey on workplace crèches, it isn’t. Instead, this

chronicles the personality that makes such facilities possible in the first

place. And for that, we meet Binoo Wadhwa, country HR head, Xansa (India), the

woman who has reached out and made life simpler for many young working mothers.

And lest some doting dads feel this is all about concerned mothers and doesn’t

address their concerns, well, they can count themselves in.

Two-pronged approach

HR Focus
  • Skill and competence building
  • Competitive compensation
  • Open and stimulating environment
  • Performance oriented growth path
  • Opportunities for asset creation through shared success
  • Bonding with extended family

Feel-Good Policies

  • Health and safety
  • Community service
  • Scholarship scheme (academic, sports and hardship)
  • Life Presidents’ Award




Xansa, which won the prestigious ‘Excellence in e-HR Award’ recently,

prides itself on being a "people-focussed" company. Wadhwa believes in

treating company staffers as "internal customers", whom she has to

sell the company to everyday in order to maintain a happy ship. She explains,

"We are not talking machines here, we are talking human beings. And every

human being likes to be taken care of, pampered actually. If someone feels that

their working environment doesn’t offer them life outside its glass cubicles,

they will simply refuse to come back and take it."

Wadhwa adds that handling HR at an employee-heavy software company is not an

easy task. "This is not a Scott Adams’ comic strip, where Dilbert invents

his notorious pastimes to make the workplace more entertaining at the expense of

his co-workers. This is a real life situation–here, we need external

intervention because too much creativity could actually kill amusement in its


The roadmap to success


Tech-savvy as Xansa may be now, but its been a long walk getting to this

point. The turnaround happened when the parent company in the UK decided to

introduce Peoplesoft in the Indian market. But the Indian team wanted to be more

confident about the product and decided to internalize it first before making

external sales.

Then there was another reason–Wadhwa realized that there was a chance to

make her customers comfortable and curb the already minimal attrition rate.

Today, she prides herself on the fact that Xansa employees "are so happy

that hardly anybody wants to leave". In fact, she cites some instances of

"strayed sheep returning to the fold cribbing about how bad their stint

outside the company has been".

The HR team implemented Peoplesoft in Xansa because they believed that HR and

IT work hand in hand. Peoplesoft is completely focussed on the Internet. It uses

next-generation architecture, which leverages a number of Internet technologies

and concepts to deliver simple, ubiquitous Peoplesoft access to collaborate with

customers, employees, and suppliers.


Says Wadhwa, "The marriage between HR and IT is happy and mutually

complementary." She also believes that the synergy between HR and IT

actually acts as a facilitator in keeping employees motivated, charged up and

happy. "At Xansa, we stray from theoretical HR to actually understanding

business and making it a key player in strategy forming and decision

making," she adds.


Taking up the mother concern–the challenge to integrate Peoplesoft in this

branch–the Indian team reworked its processes and procedures and ultimately

came up with a new online HR policy. "Everything HR is now online,"

says Wadhwa. The entire file cabinet has been uploaded with free access

available to all workers on a 24X7 basis, irrespective of job roles.


And here’s the coup de grace–Xansa has implemented Peoplesoft in India in

such an efficient manner that the parent company has been forced to take a

relook at its own implementation and start all over again, taking pointers from

the job done here.

People services

Every employee is important in his own right... In Wadhwa’s words:

"Anything that happens in the company does not happen alone."

Everybody, from the line manager to the CEO, has a say in most matters, courtesy

postings on the intranet.


From recruitment to leave applications to mobile phone reimbursement forms,

everything is there on the Xansa People Page. This allows employees to confirm

their status and post requirements online. Wadhwa has also helped create a

"convenience tool" so that there’s no pending paperwork–outstandings–on

any table.

Wadhwa has helped change the traditional role of an HR manager, "from

that of a specialist to one of a generalist". The team has made it possible

for even lower-rung employees to avail of learning facilities that can help them

grow in the organization. From holding seminars on interesting theories or

findings by employees to actually organizing weekly meetings with the Provident

Fund (PF) and Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) personnel, employees are given

full leeway to air their opinions and come up with suggestions to create a

better workplace.

Further, the HR team maintains that it provides critical support to employees

whenever required. "This free-for-all appraoch that we follow, wherein

anyone can walk into my office and demand an answer, is the best form of

assessing the pulse of our Xansa family here," says Wadhwa. She admits that

one of her KRAs is that she should be "open to criticism".


And the people pages on the intranet have ensured that employees post queries

online, making the management accountable and responsible, but most important,


Discipline is essential

Despite all these employee-friendly schemes–from in-house crèches to an

indoor ATM facility–Xansa has strict guidelines on discipline. "And

having followed all the feedback from our employees and then ensuring that all

their requirements have been taken care of, it is only natural that the

management too accept a certain code of conduct," says Wadhwa. And that

code of conduct includes many ‘don’ts’, among which are unofficial or

unauthorised use of the office e-mail facility for personal gain. "Sure, we

monitor the Net and its usage constantly. There haven’t been any specific

instances that come to mind, but if the situation calls for it, we are prepared

to take stern action in case of breach of conduct," she adds.

Cearly, Xansa–like so many other companies in the software business today–has

been focussing heavily on HR, for the results of years or work are rather

visible. And thanks to Wadhwa and her team, Xansa has learnt e-HR. And the

future seems brighter, given that the open policy has protected them from the

worst of the slowdown. The company proudly claims 0% layoffs and cost-cuts (of

course, having the parent company based in the United Kingdom has helped).

And with some clear signs of a turnaround on the horizon, the going could get

better for the company. "We have a few more initiatives planned shortly,

and they should prop up sentiment some more," says Wadhwa. Sure enough, for

HR is no one-off instant karma, but an ongoing process...

Dhanya Krishnakumar in New Delhi