Firms use innovative HR strategies to retain talent

by Sohini Bagchi    Jul 10, 2013

employee engagement

Attracting and retaining high-potential employees have always been a struggle for enterprises, more so in the current challenging business scenario. Companies that are increasingly investing in employee engagement initiatives to keep their morale high during challenging times are real winners, believe experts. Indian companies such as Infosys, MindTree, Citi and several others are focusing considerably on innovative strategies around ‘people’ in an attempt to attract and retain top talents. 

Many of these companies have introduced innovative rewards and recognition, talent development, family connect programs and other motivational initiatives to control attrition and in turn increase business competitiveness. As Anuranjita Kumar, country human resources officer, Citi India mentions in a recent article in Economic Times that Citi has made its online training program more robust and are assessing regular training and workshops for managers. The company has introduced a ‘leader-teach-leader’ series through which senior executives train employees through experiential learning exercises.

Similarly Inforsys introduced Pathfinder Next, an internal internship program that enables employees to work on internal assignments spanning technology, business domains, support functions, and are rewarded based on innovation and build new skills. The company launched this initiative way back in 2008 during the global economic slowdown and believes that these efforts can enhance efficiencies as well as bridge skill gaps.

Global companies running their operations in India are also coming up with innovative people-centric strategies to woo employees. For instance, Accenture has a women’s networking group called ‘Vaahini’ that supports networking amongst women employees within as well as outside the company. Rekha Menon, managing director for geographic services for India & ASEAN at Accenture informs that the women’s network gives a voice to women, create a “safe space” and a sense of community for business skill-building and social support.

Greater level of engagement

Despite several companies dedicating their efforts on effective people management, the rate of attrition is still found to be much higher in India. A recent report by Towers Watson finds the attrition rate in India lies at 14%, which is marginally higher than the global and Asia Pacific average which stand at 11.2% and 13.8% respectively.

This is especially true for mid-sized and smaller companies where employees see lack of career opportunities and dull work environment that hamper their growth. Lack of job security is also another key reason why companies fail to retain talents.

Subeer Bakshi senior director of Towers Watson India believes in order to retain critical-skill employees companies need to execute a strategically designed employee value proposition (EVP). “In the quest to find, keep and engage the right workforce, the EVP can be an effective tool in creating the right balance between employee preferences and employer needs — leading to stronger overall performance and improved financial outcomes,” he says.

A number of people centric technologies are also help in attracting talent. Bring you own device (BYOD) for example, can help companies attract and engage employees. MindTree’s VP and CIO Sudhir Reddy says that he wanted to reduce the gap between information and insight and make the organization more employee-focused. He believes that the ‘all-laptop’ and ‘meet-me-at-the-browser’ implementation for smart devices are policies that helped the company increase productivity even during challenging times. As Bakshi opines enterprises willing to drive the design, delivery and differentiation of their EVP forward can confidently create a successful future for both the organization and its employees.