This case was prepared by Professors Ram Subramanian, Ram Misra, and C. Jayachandran of Montclair State University and Professor Tripti Singh of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India, as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative or business situation. Please address all correspondence to Prof. Ram Subramanian, School of Business, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ 07043, USA. E-mail: Subramanianr@mail. montclair.edu.
Infosys Technologies Limited: The Global Talent Program
T.V. Mohandas Pai, Director and Member of the Board for Infosys Technologies Limited (Infosys), the Bangalore, Indiabased information technology company, eased his six-foot three-inch frame into his ofﬁce chair and pulled up the latest US recruitment report. It was Monday, October 15, 2007. He had just returned from a meeting with Kris Gopalakrishnan, the company’s CEO, where the two had discussed at length the company’s overseas recruitment efforts. For a company that obtained 98% of its revenues from abroad and operated 17 development centers in ﬁve countries, a mere 3% of its nearly 70,000 strong workforce was non-Indian. Gopalakrishnan had challenged Pai to increase the number of non-Indian staff by 30% each year or around 1,000 annually. To increase its foreign workforce, Infosys had started an ambitious overseas recruitment effort called the Global Talent Program (GTP). In 2006, a batch of 126 recruits from US universities had been trained at the company’s training center in Mysore, India prior to being deployed in various US ofﬁces. Similar batches from the US had joined in February and July of 2007, while the ﬁrst batch from the UK joined in September 2007. As Pai perused the recruitment report, he recalled his words from the interview he had given to an Indian business magazine: “For a company to be called truly global, what are the metrics? Do we get the bulk of our revenues from the international market; do we have a footprint in various
© 2008 by World Scientiﬁc Publishing Co.
countries across the world; does our board reﬂect a transnational character; does the workforce also mirror this? The answer, obviously, is ‘yes’ for the ﬁrst three, but ‘no’ for the last one.”1
Gopalakrishnan had reiterated to Pai the need to step up global recruiting, with future employees coming not only from the US and the UK, but also from countries such as China, Malaysia, Australia, and the rest of Europe. To accommodate the increasing inﬂow of trainees, Infosys had constructed a massive center in Mysore that had lodging facilities for 10,000, 250 classrooms, and multiple conference halls. Pai’s concern about Gopalakrishnan’s mandate centered on the Mysore facility’s ability to impart training to a culturally diverse mix of recruits. While Infosys had handled effectively a number of issues that arose with the initial batches from abroad, the training staff had to learn to handle multiple learning styles, diverse modes of interaction, and varied classroom expectations on the ﬂy that had caused considerable tension. “As we step up the pace of overseas recruitment with recruits coming from many foreign countries and diverse cultures, can our training function keep up with these changes?” reﬂected Pai to himself. Pai picked up the telephone and asked his assistant to set up a meeting of all the functional heads within the HR department for the following day. He told his assistant that the agenda for the meeting would consist of one item: issues related to GTP training. To prepare for the meeting, Pai asked his assistant to cancel all his morning appointments and settled down to read and reﬂect on the company’s initial experience in training overseas candidates. THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY2 There were two major categories in the global information technology (IT)...