"Our assets walk out of the door each evening. We have to make sure that they come back the next morning."
(Narayana Murthy, CEO Infosys).
Infosys technology, a leading software company based in India, was voted as the best employer in the country in many HR surveys in the recent years. The company is well known for its employee friendly HR practices. Though Infosys has grown to become a US $ 2 billion company by the year 2006, it has still retained the culture of a small company. Infosys attracts the best talent from across the country and recruits candidates by conducting one of the toughest selection process. Infosys was one of the first companies to offer ESOPs to its employees. The company followed variable compensation structure where the employees' compensation depended on the performance of the individual, the team and the company. It also very tackles the challenges faced by the company to retain its talented workforce.
At a time when organizations are debating the strategic importance of their human resources, Infosys, a consulting and software services organization, includes its human resources on its Balance Sheet to affirm their asset value1. Mr. Mohandas Pai, the Chief Financial Officer of Infosys, provides a rationale for this practice: "Investors examine financial and non-financial parameters that determine long-term success of a company. These new non-financial parameters challenge the usefulness of evaluating companies solely on traditional measures as they appear in a typical financial report. Human resources represent the collective expertise, innovation, leadership, entrepreneurial and managerial skills endowed in the employees of an organization. Our representation is based on the belief that intangible assets provide a tool to our investors for evaluating market-worthiness of Infosys."
As a knowledge-intensive company, Infosys recognizes the value of its human assets in maintaining and increasing its competitive position. At the same time, Infosys realizes that these assets can easily "walk away", as competitors in India and abroad covet its IT talent. Consequently, the challenge facing Infosys is: "How can it attract, retain and develop its human assets in a highly competitive and dynamic environment?" The answer to this question may lie in the management of the 9000 plus Infocians (as the employees are referred to), and that of many more to be hired in the future.
THE HR PRACTICES
Most of the HR practices of Infosys are a result of the vision of its founders and the culture that they have created over the years. The founder advocated simplicity and maintained the culture of the company. The employees are encouraged to share the learning experience. Infosys was the first company to provide the employees with world class facilities for training and working. The company's head office at Bangalore is located on a 70 acre campus with multi-cuisine food courts and recreation facilities like swimming pools, a gym, and a golf course for employees.
Most of the current human resource practices at Infosys result from the vision of the leaders and the culture that they have created. Narayana Murthy, known for his leadership and vision is the public image of Infosys. His leadership style is humble and straight-forward, quite uncommon in the world of Indian business. Narayana Murthy believes in sharing wealth with his employees and in leading by example. In a knowledge-based business like Infosys, he sees the importance of consistency in rhetoric and action in empowering employees. Narayana Murthy is credited with creating a culture of closeness and empowerment at Infosys. His management style, rare among Indian business leaders, is based on western management.
The other founding members of Infosys contribute their own specialties. Though less known, they each play a critical part in shaping the culture and running the...