Infosys missed it by a hairline. It moved back up to #2 after having fallen to the fourth position for the first time in 2003.
The key to the climb back up was excellent messaging. In fiscal 2004 it broke the million dollar barrier and its branding decibels-both internal and external-were at their highest ever in recent times. The effects show up in the HR survey. The only two parameters on which it topped the charts and which pulled up its employee rankings from #7 to #2 were-dream company and preferred employer rankings. Both are image parameters with no link to actual employee satisfaction levels.
And therein lies the company’s bugbear. For the third straight year, employee satisfaction remained low and it ranked 15th or below on five of the eight employee satisfaction parameters. Overall satisfaction and satisfaction on job content and growth possibilities (both at rank 18th), actually fell further. The billion dollar celebrations had included the announcement of a one time employee bonus of Rs 100 crore and the promise of a 17% salary hike during fiscal 2005. Despite that, satisfaction on salary and compensation remained low at Rank 18.
The HR problems arise from the company’s business model. With over 23,000 people, employees tend to feel lost in the crowd and more disengaged. This is understandable, but not inevitable. Infosys ranks 18th or below on statements measuring “openness to ideas and suggestions”; “employee opinions matter”; “the work I do is crucial to the company’s growth”; and “exciting technology, job and growth opportunities”.
More importantly, it’s at the bottom of the charts on questions related to immediate managers-specific issues with permission to speak freely at meetings and the belief that managers don’t genuinely care about them.
Result-nearly 40% say they are highly stressed at work.
This is cause for concern. For a company ramping up so fast, it’s important for the leadership to be strong. But it’s even more important to remember that the strongest of pyramids topple if the base is too weak.