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  1. 1. <br />BUSINESS COMMUNICATION PROJECT ON<br />INFOSYS HUMAN RESOURCE COMMUNICATION<br />SUBMITTED TO: DR K RAJANI CHANDRASHEKAR<br /> SUBMITTED BY:-<br /> AKSHITA GUPTA -01<br /> NANDITA SADANI -48<br />OBJECTIVE<br />The main objective of taking up this project is to understand the Human Resource communication, its advantage, how it is useful to an organization, reasons for its failure, why is it necessary in any organization, how it helps the management and other departments.<br />We have taken five different aspects of human resource that involves communication. Human Resource Communication plays one of the major roles in day to day working of an organization. It is the major source of managing the Human Resource of an organization.<br />Here we are going to talk about the HR communication in Infosys one of the leading software industries. It is very well known for its awesome work and Human Resource Practices. Here we have asked few questions to know about the Human resource communication in Infosys, how is the flow of communication in the organization, their HR initiatives and respective results.<br />COMMUNICATION<br />Communication is an important part of your job one that is often taken for granted. When you think about it, almost everything you do calls for good communications. When you hire a new employee, good communication skills help you pick the right person and make sure the person you hire knows what the job involves. When you're training, coaching, or evaluating an employee, you need to be clear about your expectations and sensitive in dealing with problem areas. When conflicts arise, you'll need your communication skills to resolve the issues without creating more.<br />When the department is going through changes or a reorganization, you'll need special communication skills to get feedback and ideas from your staff and to give them news that's sometimes not pleasant, while keeping them motivated. Honest communication is one of the key ingredients in managing change as well as managing people.<br />Many topics covered in this Guide include communication skills. In this section, you'll find some suggestions for developing those skills.<br />Guiding Principles<br />Good communication can help you:<br />Improve relationships and teamwork<br />Improve performance and productivity<br />Foster an open, creative environment<br />Solve problems effectively<br />Becoming a Better Communicator<br />Your responsibility as a supervisor is to communicate clearly and concisely to all employees and create an environment conducive to openness for others. As the staff becomes more diverse, you may have to take extra time and effort to communicate to all staff members. To become a better communicator:<br />Create an open communication environment in your unit. Encourage employees to talk about work issues; listen carefully and respond to questions or concerns with actions or answers. If an issue is outside your authority, pass it along to the appropriate person; then be sure to follow up.<br />Conduct regular staff meetings. Tell your staff about decisions that may affect them or the work they do and the reasons for those decisions. Use staff meetings to encourage feedback, generate ideas, solve problems, and gain support.<br />Set up individual meetings. Set some time aside periodically to meet one-on-one with employees. Group staff meetings are important; however, meeting separately with your employees shows concern about their individual work issues.<br />Effective Listening<br />An important ingredient that runs through all good communication is listening. Listening is a skill that can be practiced and learned. Your goal as a listener is to fully understand your employee's experience and point of view. Give the employee a chance to talk for a while before you say anything.<br />Use non-verbal communication. Be aware of what you communicate with your body; your posture and expressions can convey your attitudes toward a speaker even before you say one word. Use body language to show the speaker that you are engaged in the conversation and open to hearing.<br />Recognize your own prejudices. Be aware of your own feelings toward the speaker. If you are unsure about what the speaker means, ask for clarification instead of making assumptions.<br />Listen to understand the underlying feelings. Use your heart as well as your mind to understand the speaker. Notice how something is said as well as the actual words used.<br />Don't interrupt: Be sure you think carefully before you speak. As a listener, your job is to help the speaker express himself.<br />Don't judge the person: A speaker who feels you are making judgments will feel defensive. Avoid making judgments and instead try to empathize and understand the speaker's perspective.<br />Do not give advice: Keep in mind that the best resolutions are those that people arrive at themselves, not what someone else tells them to do. If you feel it is appropriate, and only after you have encouraged the person to talk, offer some ideas and discuss them.<br />Responding<br />After you have listened and really heard, respond by conveying your interest and respect:<br />Empathize: Put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to understand.<br />Validate: Acknowledge that the person's feelings are valid. This is a very powerful tool because you are recognizing the person's right to feel that way, regardless of whether you would feel the same way.<br />Restate what the other person has said: this allows you to make sure you understand the feelings and shows you are listening. Point out the good things the person has done or tried to do.<br />Clarify: Ask questions to get more information about the problem.<br />HUMAN RESOURCE COMMUNICATION<br />Effective organizational communication, from an HR viewpoint, focuses on openness in communication between senior management and employees, resulting in improved employee engagement and productivity. In a cross-cultural environment, building and maintaining rapport for business relationships depends on the effective use of language and understanding differing communication styles. These and other aspects are discussed to bring awareness to opportunities to foster better communication at all levels of the organization.<br />In today's global business environment. effective organizational communication--internal and external--has a significant impact on an organization's success. Reasons for the increasing importance of organizational communication are many, with workplace change front and center. Overall, the world of work has become more complex More than ever before, knowledge, learning and innovation are critical to an organization's sustainability, Further, with employees often being widely distributed geographically, communication technologies and networks arc essential for the accomplishment of a company's strategy. <br />Therefore, effective organizational communication is critical to actively engage employees, foster trust and respect, and promote productivity'. In fact, SHRM's 2008 job Satisfaction survey report notes that communication between employees and senior management is among the top five very important aspects of employee job satisfaction. <br />Human resource professionals uniquely position themselves at both the starting and finishing points of the communication continuum. From an HR viewpoint, effective organizational communication contributes to learning, teamwork, safety, innovation and quality of decision-making in organizations. In an age of increased competition for talent, communication has become a strategic tool for employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. In fact, effective organizational communication contributes directly to employee and organizational learning, an essential factor for competitive advantage. The most successful HR professionals are consummate communicators. Typically, their organizations over-communicate with all constituents, and their leadership styles transmit the traditions and values of their company. Thus, as a promoter of effective organizational communication, HR is a key strategic partner in leveraging the relationships between employees and top management.<br />HR leaders who promote thoughtful communication strategies encourage employee engagement and keep the workforce energized, focused and productive. To recharge employee morale, and support the organization's objectives, HR can foster an environment for engagement by developing a targeted, proactive strategic communication plan. This communication strategy can focus on organizational goals and determine methods of communication and information points for different audiences (e.g., employees versus media). Key points to consider are: 1) communicate from the top down to build employee confidence and buy-in; 2) involve employees whenever possible, such as through focus groups; 3) communicate and explain all aspects of change, negative and positive; 4) personalize communications to address the question "what's in it for me?"; and 5) track results and set milestones to evaluate the objectives of the communication plan.<br />Successful and efficient communication can be ensured by a manager who is a Personality, possesses excellent professional knowledge and skills and enjoys the confidence of his employees (support, impartiality and confidentiality). If, at the same time, the manager utilises a clearly defined profile and work rules, responsibilities and powers, then his team may work efficiently and independently. On the contrary, if<br />Managers are given a high level of freedom, there is a higher likelihood of occurrence of conflicts which the manager is unable to solve or if solved, the solution has an adverse effect on company results and employee satisfaction.<br />A large portion of problems companies face is connected with the quality of human resources and efficient communication. Researches have revealed that an average employee exploits only 50 percent of his capacity and this figure can be either increased or decreased by motivation, targeted development and efficient communication. Management can expect maximum return on investment in human labour if it uses the human potential offered by employees, keeps all employees well informed and makes them participate in company goals and projects. Management bears a great deal of responsibility as their attitude to human resources reflects in their satisfaction and performance. Just like corporate culture, successful human resource management must cover all the employees of the company as each of them makes decisions that, in the final stage, determine the fulfilment of company goals. Various forms of co-operation<br />Between employees and groups encourage communication in a specific way. Just for illustration, it is possible mention several communication tools of personnel management, such as meetings, teamwork, quality teams, brainstorming. The objective of personnel management is to decide on a suitable form of the above presented tools, motivation, development and assessment that promote the efficiency of co-operation.<br />With regards to the fact that communication is not a purely inborn skill and ability, it is necessary to develop it. The theory of personnel management therefore uses a growth management model. New employees are the most open and approach based on expectations is very important since people, as many surveys show, tend to do what they are expected to do. The theories place a focus on management, but lack analyses of characteristics and recommendations for sales personnel, representatives and other company staff that are in contact with customers and therefore determine, to large extent, the success of the company. A company representative can only master efficient and suitable way of communication with business partners if he, as an expert, acquires certain preset skills and qualities. Even in these theoretical approaches we can recognise certain one-sidedness that should be overcome in the future. To provide a complete picture of current theories dealing with communication, we should also mention a theoretical approach based on performance.<br />Successful communication is based on qualities a good manager should possess:<br /><ul><li>Tactfulness – this is connected with one of typical human characteristics and needs – the feeling of importance and usefulness. If a superior shows interest in his subordinates and co-operates with them, his subordinates will be more open in terms of communication and co-operation.
  2. 2. Constructiveness – one of the preconditions of good and open communication is the trust of subordinates in their manager’s ability to clearly define tasks, responsibility, the extent of responsibility and standards to be achieved. Otherwise, it is difficult for employees to offer or receive any feedback since they do not understand what is generally recognised as being correct. It is based on a structured communication process which ensures that no redundant information is communicated, or, on the contrary, no key information is omitted.
  3. 3. Freedom to perform – another prerequisites and a guarantee of better communication is the freedom which the superior gives to his subordinates with respect to the performance of the assigned task. Success requires freedom. Freedom is a key motivator for accepting and conveying information. This simultaneously means to delegate responsibility for the quality of performance of the whole task and decision-making powers. Superiors must provide all colleagues with clear information regarding the level of freedom they are granted with respect to the entrusted tasks.
  4. 4. Responsibility awareness – the following should be communicated: loyalty, responsibility, authority, performance measures, support, trust and expectations. Good general knowledge - to manage activities and decisions, it is necessary to know who the information and facts are designed for and where they can be obtained. The theory of management through exceptions explains this rule in more detail. It is based on the principle of communication restricted to exceptions, deviations, differences, discrepancies and exceptional successes or failures.
  5. 5. Positive self-perception – the building of positive selfconfidence is based on the management of relationships. It recommends communication of positive self-respect and the feeling of importance. People need to know how their work is evaluated. It is important for the manager to dedicate enough time to his subordinates to explain all the critical points, to give instructions and arrange details, to pardon unimportant problems and distinguish them from crucial matters. Positive self-perception is closely connected with growth management. For their development, employees require a number of impulses, such as freedom, control, feedback, respect, friendly atmosphere and positive trust. Many barriers are created only based on the incorrect assumption that the employee is not able to perform the given duty or assignment. </li></ul>With respect to the above said, it is imperative to realise the key aspect of company development, which is the so-called stable system of communication expectations. This means expected and predictable communication behaviour which is the cornerstone of a communication system. <br />COMPANY BACKGROUND<br />Infosys Technologies Limited, incorporated in the year 1981 provides consulting and IT services.<br />Infosys has been a pioneer in offering innovative solutions to its clients. The company offers a wide range of software services, namely application development and maintenance, corporate performance management, independent validation services, infrastructure services, packaged application services and product engineering and systems integration.<br />Infosys was the first Indian company to be listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. The company reported a consolidated net profit of US$ 152.1 million for the quarter ending March, 2006. It has five subsidiaries globally – Progeon Limited, Infosys Technology (Australia) Pty. Ltd., Infosys Technology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., Progeon S.R.O. (Czech Republic) and Infosys Consulting Inc. It has presence across the globe with 30 offices spread over USA, Europe, Australia and Asia. It currently employs people from 53 different nations. Though the USA has been the main source of revenue for Infosys, the company is looking into expanding into Europe and Asia. Infosys (Australia) has won several new clients and Infosys (China) is focusing on serving the local clientele. Its high-end services occupy a premium position in the Japanese<br />markets and the growth rates are consolidating across Europe.<br />Infosys has a growth rate of over 50% and more than half a billion dollars in revenues in EMEA<br />(Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, Infosys is one of the fastest growing Consulting and IT Services organizations in EMEA region. Company’s revenue from Europe increased from US$ 340.3 million in 2004-05 to US$ 495.6 in 2005-06, representing a growth rate of 45.6 per cent per annum.<br />Infosys takes pride in building strategic long-term client relationships. Over 97% of our revenues come from existing customers.<br />Vision<br />"To be a globally respected corporation that provides best-of-breed business solutions, leveraging technology, delivered by best-in-c lass people."<br />Mission<br />"To achieve our objectives in an environment of fairness, honesty, and courtesy towards our clients, employees, vendors and society at large."<br />Values<br />We believe that the softest pillow is a clear conscience. The values that drive us under score our commitment to:<br /><ul><li>Customer Delight: To surpass customer expectations consistently
  6. 6. Leadership by Example: To set standards in our business and transactions and be an exemplar for the industry and ourselves
  7. 7. Integrity and Transparency: To be ethical, sincere and open in all our transactions
  8. 8. Fairness: To be objective and transaction-oriented, and thereby earn trust and respect.
  9. 9. Pursuit of Excellence: To strive relentlessly, constantly improve ourselves, our teams, our services and products to become the best.</li></ul>INFOSYS CORE CAPABILITIES AND COMPETENCIES<br />Infosys has focused on providing services that transform the way business is done through the use of Information Technology, since its inception in 1981. The key strengths of Infosys are summarized in the table below:<br />AreaCompetencyService OfferingOne stop capability: Infosys today has the distinction of being a one-stop shop, providing services across the entire business value chain from Business and IT Consulting through Implementation & Support services.PeopleAbility to attract and retain the Best Talent: Infosys has been ranked the best employer to work for in India by a number of surveys. We have been able to attract and retain the best talent. At the same time, we have been able to inculcate a culture that empowers employees and motivates them to take ownership of their duties. Infosys enjoys one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry.ProcessDelivery Excellence: With a record 95% of all projects delivered on time and within budget, we are clearly a leader in project management and reducing the cost of ownership for our clients. We effectively leverage CMMI level 5 quality and ongoing initiatives such as aligning with the Malcolm Baldrige framework and the six-sigma cross functional process mapping to deliver high quality solutions to our clients. Additionally, via the Infosys pioneered global delivery model (GDM), we are able to offer our clients‘ cost-savings of 20% to 30% without compromising on service levels. Our superior knowledge management systems enable retention of knowledge within the project team and the organization. The resultant efficiencies have helped us deliver value to our clients at lower cost and with fewer defectsTechnologyTechnological superiority: Infosys has brought together thought leaders within the organization to form the Software Engineering and Technology Labs (SETLABS). SETLABs is the research wing of Infosys consisting of specialists in software architecture, methodologies, emerging technologies and platforms. SETLABs mainly focuses on:1.Developing frameworks & methodologies to address critical points in solution lifecycle2.Leading edge technology watch and competence building3. Assimilating knowledge a nd building framework forenterprise software like the EAI framework4.Provide technology related services such asArchitecture consulting and definition, Inter netsecurity consulting and capacity planning.Project ManagementStrong Project Management capabilities ensure that the development process is predictable and that surprises and cost/time over-runs are avoided or minimized. Our strength in Project Management also ties in with our SEI-CMM Level 5, PCMM & CMMI credentials and our experience with Large & complex projects. Infosys has also worked in several multi-vendor scenarios where our success has major dependencies on the actions of other players and our Project management expertise has stood us in good stead in these situations.<br />All of the above factors combined have resulted in lower total cost of ownership for our clients due to predictable, trouble-free execution of projects.<br />Best employer in India:<br />In November 2005, Infosys Technologies Ltd. (Infosys), based in Bangalore, India, was named 'The Best Company to Work for in India' by Business Today magazine in a survey conducted by Business Today, HR consulting firm Mercer5, and international market research firm TNS6 .<br />Infosys had been adjudged the 'Best Company to Work For' in 2001 and 2002 but had lost this position in the next couple of years (Refer Exhibit I for the 'Best companies to work for in India' from 2001-2006). In the 'Best Employer' survey conducted by Dataquest7-IDC8 in the year 2006, Infosys was adjudged the 'Dream Company to Work for.'<br />Moreover, Infosys was also recognized globally and featured among the top 100 companies in Computerworld's9 'Best Places to Work for in IT – 2006'.<br />For participating in this survey, the companies needed to have revenues of over US$ 250 million in 2005, and to employ 500 employees in the US. Infosys also featured in the list in 2004 and 2005 (Refer Exhibit II for some of the honors/awards received by Infosys).<br />On the company's HR practices, Nandan Nilekani (Nilekani), CEO, President and Managing Director of Infosys, commented, "It is about creating a highly motivated workforce because this is not a factory where you can monitor the quantum of output at the end of the day. But in the intellectual business you cannot do that. So, you have to create a motivated set of people who can operate.<br />Attracting the best and the brightest and creating a milieu where they operate at their highest potential is very important. Our campus and technology infrastructure is world-class, we pay a lot of attention to training and competency building, we try to have sophisticated appraisal systems, we try to reward performance through variable pay. These are all part of the same motive."<br />Since the early 2000s, Infosys' operations had been growing rapidly across the world. The number of employees in the company also increased four-fold to 44,658 in March 2006 as compared to 10,738 in March 2001 (Refer Exhibit III for the number of employees in Infosys between 1995 and 2006).<br />The company believed that its key assets were people and that it was important to bring its employees on par with the company's global competitors. In spite of its rapid global expansion, Infosys retained the culture of a small company. According to Bikramjeet Maitra (Maitra), Head of Human Resources, Infosys, "We like to maintain a smaller company touch and we have split the overall business into several smaller independent units of around 4,000 people each."<br />THE HR PRACTICES<br />Most of the HR practices of Infosys were a result of the vision of its founders and the culture that they had created over the years. The founders advocated simplicity and maintained the culture of a small company. The employees were encouraged to share their learning experiences...<br />Recruitment<br />While recruiting new employees, Infosys took adequate care to identify the right candidates. On the qualities that Infosys looked for in a candidate, Nilekani said, "We focus on recruiting candidates who display a high degree of 'learnability.' By learnability we mean the ability to derive generic knowledge from specific experiences and apply the same in new situations.<br />We also place significant importance on professional competence and academic excellence. Other qualities we look for are analytical ability, teamwork and leadership potential, communication and innovation skills, along with a practical and structured approach to problem solving."<br />Training<br />Training at Infosys was an ongoing process. When new recruits from colleges joined Infosys, they were trained through fresher training courses. They were trained then on new processes and technologies. As they reached the higher levels, they were trained on project management and later were sent for management development programs, followed by leadership development programs.<br />Training New Recruits<br />Infosys conducted a 14.5 week technical training program for all new entrants. The company spent around Rs 200,000 per year on training each new entrant. The new recruits were trained at the Global Education Center (GEC) in Mysore, which had world class training facilities and the capacity to train more than 4500 employees at a time. GEC, which was inaugurated in February 2005 was spread over 270 acres and was the largest corporate training center in the world with 58 training rooms and 183 faculty rooms.<br />Training Programs for Employees<br />Infosys also conducted training programs for experienced employees. The company had a competency system in place which took into account individual performance, organizational priorities, and feedback from the clients.<br />Infosys Leadership Institute<br />The Infosys Leadership Institute (ILI) was set up in 2001 to nurture future leaders in the company and to effectively manage the exceptional growth that the company was experiencing. At the Institute, the executives were groomed to handle the changes in the external and internal environment.<br />Performance Appraisal<br />The first step toward carrying out performance appraisal at Infosys was the evaluation of personal skills for the tasks assigned to an employee during the period of appraisal. To evaluate the performance, different criteria like timeliness, quality of work carried out by the employee, customer satisfaction, peer satisfaction, and business potential, were considered. The personal skills of the employees were also evaluated based on their learning and analytical ability, communication skills, decision making, change management, and planning and organizing skills. Each of these criteria was measured on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 signifying above the expected performance level and 5 below the expected performance level).<br />The Culture<br />Infosys tried to preserve the attributes of a small company and worked in small groups, with decision-making remaining with those who were knowledgeable about particular processes. The managers played the role of mentors and used their experience to guide their team members.<br />The Challenges<br />With the IT industry growing at a rapid pace, Infosys planned to recruit around 25,000 people in the financial year 2006-07, in order to maintain its growth. Though it had started hiring its workforce globally, it mainly recruited engineering graduates from India. If the industry continued to grow at a similar pace, analysts opined that companies like Infosys would not be able to find enough people, especially with several multinationals entering India and recruiting aggressively. To address this issue, Infosys started recruiting science graduates with a mathematics background to create an alternate talent pool.<br />Hence, the company was well known for its employee friendly HR practices. Though Infosys grew to become a US$ 2 billion company by the year 2006, it still retained the culture of a small company. Infosys attracted the best talent from across the world, and recruited candidates by conducting one of the toughest selection process. All the selected candidates were required to go through an intensive 14 week training program. All the employees were required to undergo training every year, and some of the chosen employees were trained at the Infosys Leadership Institute to take on higher responsibilities in the company.<br />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 individual, the team and the company. The case highlights many such best practices of Infosys in human resource management. It also discusses the challenges faced by the company to retain its talented workforce.<br />QUESTIONNAIRE AND FEEDBACK<br />Q1. Human Resource Communications and Corporate Communications – are they one in the same?<br />Both plan and develop written communication strategies to further the understanding and perceptions of their audience. Both provide counsel and editorial support for management communications. <br />Business communications transmits and manages messages that inform, persuade and collaborate by speaking the language of the company. HR Communications creates a “one company" culture, integrates acquisitions and facilitates information sharing company wide. Both work at the highest levels of the organization, aligned with senior management and the board. <br />The most successful HR professionals are consummate communicators. Typically their organizations over communicate with all constituents. Their leadership styles transmit the traditions and values of their company. You often find a strategic HR function when the spoken and written words parallel leadership actions. <br />Human Resource Communications is a subset of our corporate culture. Corporate cultures determine communication styles. Cultures as diverse as a business headquarters viewed as a traditional downward style with an abundance of males in dark suits and white starched shirts to other companies which express their identity by polo’s with logo’s and scores of identical sites around the country. <br />Q2. Which of the three following communication styles dominate your culture? <br />Downward – helping employees perform their jobs <br />Upward – senior management and board level <br />Horizontal – selling your value proposition and merging cultures <br />HR COMMUNICATIONS ARE SPECIALIZED <br />Human Resource professionals uniquely position themselves at both the start point and finishing point of the communication chain. New hire orientation and policy and procedure manuals exemplify downward communication intended to help employees perform their jobs. Employee opinion polls, employee focus groups and exit interviews deliver information upward to solve problems and make executive decisions. Employee newsletters help work teams requiring a coordinated action between units or locations. <br />Q3. How well is HR information exchanged in your company? <br />Human Resource Communications Consultants manage and direct the planning, creation and execution of communication strategies to further the understanding and perception of HR policies, procedures, programs or initiatives. This often involves conceptualizing, researching, writing, editing and design/production of materials. Either print or electronic, projects often involve web pages (internet and intranet) and e-newsletters. HTML experience and knowledge of Dreamweaver and other graphic programs will serve this function well by providing the HR Communication Consultant a larger repertoire of up-to-date tools. <br />Q4. Is your HR information timely, accurate and understandable? <br />What should I expect from my Human Resource Communications Consultant? First, excellent writing and project management skills. Either internal or external, this person should display a record of accomplishment of interpersonal and project management competencies. They must be experienced in managing multiple assignments, with strong problem solving abilities. This “internal consultant" must have your confidence in an environment of highly confidential matters. Perhaps their past included the responsibilities of corporate due diligence matters. <br />Q5. Have they work experience at the highest levels of HR? Do they have the proven ability to motivate themselves and others to generate strong results? To round out your choice, have they led HR initiatives and cross-functional teams? <br />Formally by PowerPoint or informally by walking the second and third shifts, we demonstrate HR Communications leadership as we mass information, process facts and disseminate intelligence at lightning speed. Our free flowing atmosphere of dialog and written messages translates values, traditions and habits into words and actions employees interpret.<br />Operating as an internal consulting agency, or external resource, HR Communication Consultants work with employees and vendors on communication matters relating to the highest work initiatives. By building and managing cohesive communication strategies and working closely with HR process owners, they oversee the integration of both print and multimedia content and distribution. They may also create HR Communication metrics to measure results using employee communications to create a distinct competitive advantage. <br />One-page field memos and one hundred page policy manuals present a challenge for busy HR professionals. Your Human Resource Communications requires advanced knowledge and professionalism. Our HR role, singularly positioned at both the start and end of the communications continuum, offers an advantage to HR professionals who initiate and advance HR correspondence for field and headquarters functions.<br />CASE STUDY: HUMAN RESOURCE COMMUNICATION <br />Microsoft started its Indian operations in the year 1990 setting up Microsoft India Corporation (Pvt) Ltd in New Delhi. Later, Microsoft expanded its footprint in India by bringing all its six main units of business into the country. The headcount at Microsoft India Development Center (MSIDC) at Hyderabad grew from 20 in 1998 to more than 1,500 by the end of 2008, making it the company's second biggest development center in the world.Microsoft India's HR strategy was focused on building the organizational capability and strengthening employee engagement to leverage the limited human resources to achieve the company's mission.<br />According to Microsoft India's HR growth model, HR was ultimately expected to be a change leader and business driver. Set in a context of a challenging global business environment, this case discusses the talent management and employee retention practices at Microsoft India, and its use of HR metrics to build accountability of the HR function toward business success.<br />Issues:<br />» The HR function as a change leader and business driver.» Aligning local HR practices to the corporate mission and global/local business environment.» Talent management and employee retention in the Indian IT industry.» Managing knowledge workers and their work-life balance.» HR metrics and Return on Investment (RoI).<br />Introduction<br />In 2008, Microsoft India Corporation Pvt. Ltd (Microsoft India), the Indian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft), was ranked as number one in the list of 'Best Companies to Work for in India' surveyed jointly by Business Today, Mercer LLC, and Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) Global.<br />Microsoft India was also believed to be one of the most sought after companies for information technology (IT) professionals and graduates in India.In early 2009, Microsoft announced the layoff of five percent of its workforce worldwide, as it reported its first drop in revenues in its history of business spanning over three decades. The company-wide cost cutting measures were applicable to some extent to its Indian operations, where the company laid off one percent (55 employees) of its total workforce. If the economic situation deteriorated further beyond a point, the company was prepared to prune its headcount further, globally as well as in India.<br />Did the economic situation also warrant a change in Microsoft India's human resource (HR) practices? Or, were its strategic HR practices in alignment with the company's mission, values, and strategy?<br />Background<br />Right from its humble beginning in 1975, Microsoft had been an innovator in computer software and related services. Its product portfolio included the Windows series of operating system software for clients and servers, the office productivity suite - MS Office, business applications software, games, and software for mobile phones and handheld devices.<br />Microsoft India's HR Approach<br />Managing human resources in the IT sector has been a challenge for most companies that have set up operations in India.<br />These companies aimed to take advantage of the relatively low cost of technically competent labor in India as compared to the US and developed countries in Europe. There was a huge demand for skilled personnel in this sector, but companies confronted by a lack of sufficient numbers of skilled personnel to meet the demand.<br />Human Resource Management Practices:-<br />>>Recruitment and Selection<br />Microsoft India recruited both fresh graduates from academic campuses and experienced professionals in the IT industry. For campus recruitments, the selection process included written tests and several rounds of personal interviews.<br />>>Training and Development<br />For trainees, Microsoft India conducted a training program named Leap Engineer Acceleration Program (LEAP) which imparted technical and personal skills required to carry out the job.>>Career Management<br />Microsoft India provided both vertical and lateral growth prospects for its employees in all the six business units present in India.<br />>>Flexible Work Timings<br />Microsoft India followed a flexible work timings policy for its employees. A flexi-time policy enabled the employees to work according to their convenience liberating them from rigid work timings.<br />Employee Retention at Microsoft Global Technical Support Center (MSGTSC)For employee retention, Microsoft India initiated various programs particularly in MSGSTC, Bangalore, where work was carried out around the clock (24 X 7) in order to provide technical support services to its customers in different nations and time zones. <br />>>Compensation and Benefits<br />Microsoft India provided offered compensation packages on par or higher than the industry standards based on the technical skills and experience of the candidates. Employee benefits were standardized across employees.>>Performance Management<br />Microsoft India followed a candid process while evaluating the performance of employees and regarding their compensation packages. The process was transparent so as to enable employees to identify their performance levels and have a clear idea of what was required in terms of performance in order to reach to the next level.<br />>>Women's Empowerment<br />Microsoft India conducted special recruitment drives exclusively for women in line with the overall IT industry's aim of raising the female-male ratio in the workforce.>>Work-Life Balance<br />In 2007, Microsoft India launched a program called 'Bring Your Child To Work' in a move to improve work-life balance among its employees.<br />HR Metrics Followed by Microsoft India:-<br />In Microsoft India, metrics were developed to track and define the effectiveness of the HR function. Microsoft India HR policies aimed to maximize the value of human capital in achieving business growth by focusing on talent acquisition and development, management development, leadership development, and management of evolution of the Microsoft culture.<br />Conclusion:-<br />Though Microsoft India's HR practices received accolades from many quarters, the 'Best Employer Survey 2008' released by Dataquest said that overall employee satisfaction at Microsoft India was below the industry average in India.<br />ARTICLE<br />Communication skills are key to achieving HR's goals<br />HR Magazine, May, 2004 by Susan Meisinger<br />"What we've got here is failure to communicate."<br />Film buffs regard that line as one of the most memorable in movie history. It was spoken by the actor Strother Martin in the 1967 feature "Cool Hand Luke," starring Paul Newman.<br />For those who haven't seen the film, it takes place in a Southern prison camp and centers on the title character's (Newman) refusal to submit to the camp's dehumanizing routine and the warden's (Martin) determination to break Luke's spirit and force him to conform.<br />From the outset, it's obvious that these two characters are destined for trouble. And not surprisingly, their conflict ends in tragedy.<br />This tale of an adversarial relationship occurs in a situation that's totally unfamiliar to most of us. But, in an unconventional way, it illustrates the importance of effective communications. (I guess you also could view it as a case study in ineffective human resource management!)<br />HR leaders understand that communication is vital to professional success. It is almost impossible to be productive in today's business environment without being an effective communicator.<br />Most HR professionals are accomplished in the art of interpersonal communication. The staffing process itself--recruiting, screening, interviewing--requires highly developed communication skills. Other aspects of HR delivery--salary and benefits administration, training and development, for example--also demand the ability to communicate effectively.<br />But HR professionals who help set organizational strategy know they must communicate effectively with all departments and business units within an organization.<br />We need to accurately convey our ideas, objectives, plans and outcomes. We must communicate with other managers in language that resonates with their business goals. All too often, I fear, we fall back on "HR speak" when we describe HR's achievements. Consequently, our message isn't understood to add value in the eyes of others.<br />Most important, we must find ways to communicate the value of HR's contributions to the organization's success. Even when we master the much-discussed core competencies, we still must help others in senior management understand how HR contributes at a strategic level. In short, we must use our communication skills to market HR in "business speak."<br />I realize that this is easier said than done. The day-to-day activities of HR delivery and the all-too-common need to "put out fires" seem to demand more hours than the day provides. But we must find the time.<br />It's unlikely that we will ever find ourselves in a situation like that in "Cool Hand Luke"; however, if HR's role isn't seen as critical to establishing and executing strategy, "failure to communicate" might be one of the reasons.<br />RECOMMANDATIONS<br />>>Deliver HR Communications in an engaging interactive way:- <br />Use scrolling news feeds, interactive signage on screensavers, user generated staff magazines, employee blogs and discussion forums as an engaging, easy to use HR communication system. The SnapComms HR Communication System makes this straightforward and cost effective.<br />>> Promote internal brand:- <br />Internal brand messages can be lost if they are buried in email or on the intranet. Bring brand messages to life with interactive, visually engaging HR Communications channels such as messages on screensavers. Involve staff in creating brand values using quick and simple staff survey tools and plug and play discussion forums. Find out what staff know and think using fun staff quizzes.<br />>>Give employees an opportunity to participate in key decisions:-<br />Involvement is a key driver of employee engagement (and effective business performance). Allow staff to participate with quick easy HR communications channels to gather their opinions, and ideas and allow them to have their say.<br />>>Make it easy for staff to give feedback (good and bad!):-<br />"You don't know what you don't know". Break annual staff surveys into quick easy chunks delivered directly to targeted staff's computer screens. Keep channels of HR communication open all year round.<br />>>Show how employee feedback is being used:-<br />Articles in staff magazines, updates on desktop news feeds and even interactive screensaver messages can be a great way to demonstrate to staff how their feedback is being used.<br />>>Build a feeling of community and involvement:-<br />Use HR communications channels like Snap Mag which allow staff to submit their own items into an aggregated staff magazine and/ or provide cost effective, easy to use discussion forums and blogs to give staff a voice.<br />>>Measure and benchmark employee engagement:-Use Snap Poll to regularly measure and benchmark employee engagement. Snap Poll delivers staff surveys and polls directly onto targeted employee computer screens with recurrence and measurement built in. Annual staff surveys can be laborious, time consuming and not regular enough. Temperature check regularly with targeted staff surveys delivered directly to computer screens. Built in recurrence options help ensure participation.<br />>>Provide up to date information and ‘tools’:-<br />Younger staff entering the workforce have come to expect the types of communications tools that they use in their personal lives. Social media tools and innovative visual HR communications channels can them provide them with an environment that suits their needs.<br />>>Communicate and reinforce the mission and goals:-<br />Provide a 'line of sight' between business goals and individuals roles (See "Improving Manager Communications")<br />>>Promote employee development programs:-<br />Interactive screensaver messages and articles in staff magazines can be effective ways to raise the profile and perceived value of employee development programs. Desktop alert messages and RSVP invites can help ensure maximum value is derived from events such as health and wellness presentations etc.<br />>>Communicate and measure employee values and attitudes to promote high performance company wide:- <br />HR Communications channels such as interactive staff quizzes, using scenario based questions, can an effective and fun way to reinforce desired employee value and attitudes.<br />>>Recognize good performers:-<br /> Interactive screensaver messages and staff magazine features can be a fantastic way to recognize high performing employees. Local targeting mean that content can be team or region specific.<br />>>Reduce email overload:-<br />Snap Mag aggregates 'mass email' updates from across the organization into an easy to read format that reduces interruption time and increases message cut-through.<br />>>Targeted HR communications that fit with work flows:-<br />When we have staff suffering from email overload it can be a real challenge to communicate with them. This is especially true if messages, such as HR communications, are not considered urgent or immediately important to staff.<br />Screensavers can be a great HR communications channel and are often underused. People don’t just notice their own screensaver messages, they also notice others as they move around the building. Also, by their nature, HR Communications on screensavers are displayed when staff are most receptive (and not deeply focused in a piece of work).<br />>>Catch dissatisfaction early:-<br />Two way HR communications channels such as Snap Poll and the Snap Interactive channels make it easy to regularly gather feedback from staff and to catch dissatisfaction early - to understand what’s really going on.<br />>>Promote opportunities for staff:-<br />Include a section in Snap Mag promoting internal vacancies. Promote training opportunities and staff support schemes on interactive screensavers or as articles in Snap Mag.<br />>>Message acknowledgement buttons:-<br />Ensure staff are fully informed of changes to the business that may affect their role in the future. Use desktop alert messages and newsfeeds with message acknowledgement buttons. Full reporting in the SnapComms HR Communication System allow you to see exactly which HR messages have been delivered and to whom. <br />>>Measure and manage capability:-<br />Use fun staff quizzes to measure, manage and build capability across the business. Use benchmarking tools to measure against KPIS or minimum standards. Identify where further training is required.<br />>>Measure the effectiveness of induction programs:-<br />Use staff quizzes and surveys to review the effectiveness of staff induction programs.<br />CONCLUSION<br />We all know how important communication is to human resources managers. It is how we reach out to our core constituents - employees, members of leadership, vendors, clients, and recruits - and how we manage the flow of information. Effective communication skills are a cornerstone of almost every HR function. With so much riding on communication, it makes sense to put more thought and effort into honing our skills.<br />The five golden rules of human resources communication:<br />1. Have the difficult conversations – Confrontation can make even the boldest of us feel squeamish. Unfortunately, avoiding tough issue doesn't make them go away. In fact, problems can escalate the longer they are left to fester. While it may make you feel uncomfortable to tackle the problem of that domineering manager you've received several complaints about, or the vice president who hasn't promoted a female in years, you are leaving your organization vulnerable if you don't. First, go for understanding - and it may not even be the confrontation you were dreading!<br />2. Match the method (and the messenger) to the message - There are many types of communication: e-mails, memos, voicemails, in-person meetings, and presentations. Each of these communication methods has its place. Unfortunately, the methods are often used inappropriately. E-mail is a great way to let employees know about small changes in their benefits package, but it's not a suitable means for announcing a merger. Just like you wouldn't want your spouse to break off your marriage via text message, you shouldn't fire someone through an e-mail. It is also important to consider who delivers the message. A major change in the company, positive or negative, should be communicated by a major player-not a junior person in HR.<br />3. Praise in public, punish in private - When you have something nice to say, tell everyone, and tell them often. When it's not so nice, then talk to only the specific person or group. All too often, when there is good news to share, a public acknowledgement is overlooked. On the other hand, when there is something (or someone) to criticize, it is often done in front of everyone. In one case, the CEO of a company was addressing the entire organization and complaining about the company's poor showing on Wall Street and said, "Who is not working hard?" What every employee heard, was an accusation: "Why aren't you working harder?" This type of statement puts employees on the defensive and creates an unpleasant, if not hostile, working environment. If this kind of communication is used by the top of the organization, what message does that send to managers and how they should behave within their departments? Managers don't need to be Pollyannas, but they do need to respect their employees. Behaviors need to be addressed, but people are not to be demeaned.<br />4. Honesty Rules - When there is an impending change at the organization - an M&A, a leader's departure, a lawsuit, or layoff-HR managers must be honest about what will be happening. It may be tricky to divulge sensitive information, but you should be as truthful as possible and offer as many of the facts available. Timing is also important. HR managers need to get out in front of big news as soon as possible. By giving a quick and honest response, managers gain credibility with employees who know they can depend on you for answers. If HR managers put off communication or hide details, the office grapevine will take over spreading rumors and spinning the message out of control, and employees will be preoccupied with gossip instead of their work.<br />5. Keep it regular - If you dread those monthly staff meetings because there is so much to cover, you may want to consider weekly meetings. Communication is easier to manage when it is done routinely. Like exercise, once you get into a groove, it becomes part of your life (and you become healthier for it). Regular communication is like exercise for an organization. Being "in the know" also puts employees at ease and allows them to focus on their work.<br />.BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />Aditya Soni , trainee, Infosys.<br /><br />;col1<br />;col1<br />