An interesting contrast has emerged here: while motivation levels increase
with experience, satisfaction levels actually decrease. At first glance, that
might seem a bit odd, but a closer look explains why. Recent entrants to the
industry are more satisfied (58%), compared to more experienced colleagues, and
this is because of two main reasons. First, at the junior level, software sector
employees are more content to take orders and follow directions. And secondly,
because they have not yet formed opinions and don’t know enough to critically
judge their companies, they accept what comes their way.
The greatest number of Drivers*–employees who are both motivated and
satisfied–are found in the 2-5 years’ experience group. This is the time when
they have just begun to take control of their careers and are getting more
involved in their companies and jobs. As a result, the number of Residents* in
this age group is comparatively smaller.
But a significant shift comes in those with more than 5 years’ experience.
Not only do a greater number of employees become Critics* (motivated but not
satisfied), this segment also has the largest number of the Detached* (neither
satisfied nor motivated). Numerous things happen–motivating factors change and
employees become acutely aware of everything that is going wrong in the company.
Which is why it was in this employee segment–people with around 5 years of
experience who are transitioning from being Drivers to Critics–that retention
is a big issue. And this is really where most efforts at understanding employees
and finding ways to retain need to be focussed.
The Employee Perception Survey is a study of software professionals of the DQ
Top 20-ranked software companies. It was done using the TRI*M Stakeholder
Satisfaction and Retention model developed by Infratest Burke, Germany, a part
of the NFO WorldGroup. NFO is the third-largest customized research group in the
world and is among the leading systems in use across Europe and the US. TRI*M is
offered in India by TRI*M Stakeholder Relationship Management Systems, the
research-based consulting unit of NFO-MBL India.
The purpose of the survey was to measure levels of satisfaction and
motivation among software employees; to identify factors that contribute to
employee commitment and retention; and to measure the strengths and weaknesses
of each company on various factors.
For this, NFO-MBL conducted detailed face-to-face quantitative interviews
with 575 software employees across all companies. Quotas were set based on the
total experience of the employees (up to two years, 2-5 years and more than 5
years). This data was then weighted within each company based on the actual
distribution of different employee segments. HR managers of the companies
provided this data. Where the companies did not provide employee
classifications, industry averages were applied. Also, three of the top 20
companies–Mastek, Patni Computer Services and Silverline–were not covered by
the survey due to lack of access to the SEEPZ area in Bombay where they are
Employee responses were sought on 14 factors and 87 sub-factors that could
form elements of employee motivation and satisfaction. On these factors and
sub-factors, responses were sought on two major criteria:
(a) how important is the factor in driving motivation?; and (b) how do you
think your firm performs in this respect?
Two main types of grids were obtained after a quantitative analysis of all
responses. The first was an Employee Typology grid that gives levels of
motivation and satisfaction among employees. The other grid obtained was the
TRI*M GRID. This grid identifies elements that drive employee satisfaction and
those that are less critical in this respect. It classifies these elements based
on their stated importance and their actual contribution to employee commitment.
TRI*M GRIDS were obtained for the industry as a whole, for various sub-factors
and for individual companies. (see graph)
Motivators: The state and real Importance of these elements are high.
They are key drivers of employee commitment and companies need to perform well
Hygienics: Stated importance is very high, though real importance may
not be so significant. Yet, these are elements employees take for granted and
are required to maintain positive employee attitudes.
Hidden Opportunities: Though stated importance of these elements may
be low, their actual impact on employee motivation is very high. These are areas
companies need to leverage in the near future.
Savers: Neither the stated, nor the real importance of these factors
is very high. These are areas that companies can afford to go slow on.
Employee Typology: All
Employee Typology graphs are a measure of employee satisfaction and motivation.
Surprising though this may sound, the two don’t necessarily go together. There
is always a certain section of employees who are motivated, but for one reason
or another, dissatisfied in their current job.
As one would expect of a relatively young and robust industry still in its
upswing, a very high percentage o f software professionals today are motivated–a
little over 75 per cent. Very few, if any, industry sectors can boast of such
high degrees of commitment. But paradoxically, almost half of these employees
are also dissatisfied in their current jobs. One reason for this is the very
nature of the industry. Two of the chief motivators among software employees
have turned out to be money and training–more specifically, training in
emerging technologies. Given the right amount of hike or the chance to work on a
new technology, people pack bags and leave. The second important reason for such
high levels of dissatisfaction is hype. Everyone keeps track of what everyone
else earns and even within the industry, there are exaggerated notions on what
industry standards are. This is specially because the perks that a small
percentage of employees get are very visible perks–trips abroad, ESOPs
suddenly getting them millions on listing.
Lastly, it is in the nature of a young industry to have a higher chunk of the
dissatisfied element. It is only as industries mature that employees mature with
them. As of now, 39 % of Indian software professionals are Drivers (both
motivated and satisfied); 37% are Critics (motivated but not satisfied); 14 %
are Residents (not motivated but satisfied) and 10 % are Detached (neither
motivated nor satisfied).
Given a choice, which company would you prefer to work for? The Dataquest
survey put this question to all the 575 software professionals it met. And what
emerged was a new ranking that was significantly different from the ‘Best
Companies to Work For’ ranking. The reason, of course, is that this was purely
a perception question– measure of attraction, not satisfaction-and it included
all employees, both within and outside the company.
Not surprisingly, Infosys came up tops. But almost all rankings after that
changed. Wipro moved down from second place fifth. Tata Infotech moved up from
sixth place to second, while TCS moved down from third to tenth spot. Zensar
didn’t even figure in the Top 10 earlier, now it turned up in second spot.
Essentially, what this listing gives is a company’s brand equity among
job-seekers, and therefore, its ability to attract talent.
|Company||% Most Preferred|
|% most Preferred|
Among Current Employees
|% most Preferred|
Among Outside Employees
Dataquest also did a comparison of how attractive the company looked to
software professionals from outside and how insiders rated it. Not surprisingly,
almost uniformly, more people within a company rated it as their company of
preference. However, there were some significant results–only 45% of Infosys’
employees and only 25% of Wipro staffers rated their own company as their
company of choice. But an inordinately large number of IBM staff–71%–rated
IBM itself as their dream company. On the whole, however, IBM was the company of
choice among only 7% of those polled.
Similarly, Cognizant was the favorite among 66% of its own staff, while only
1% of outsiders said they would like to join the company. This large gap
indicated these companies’ inability to project their brand image sufficiently–they
have a strong bonding coefficient for their own employees but are unable to
leverage this in the job market. Two companies which did not figure in this
survey, however, showed a significant presence in the "Preferred Companies
Category"–Cisco and Microsoft.