Application of OB Learnings
By Prajakta Talathi
Introduction, History, Ownership, Businesses, Locations
“POWERED BY INTELLECT DRIVEN BY VALUES”, a motto of Infosys co-founder and
Executive Chairman, N R Narayana Murthy a.k.a. NRN, which then became the motto of all
the Infoscions (term coined for Stakeholders of Infosys).
An aspiring communist came together with his 6 friends to fulfil his dream of
developing good quality software; little did he know that his dream would one day become
the third largest IT Company of India. NRN along with his colleagues, Nandan Nilekani, S.
Gopalakrishnan, SD. Shibulal, K. Dinesh, Ashok Arora and NS. Raghavan started Infosys on
July 1981 in Pune, India, with a capital of US$250. Today Infosys employs 160,000+
employees and has LTM Q2 FY14 revenue of US$7.906Bn by catering services and solutions
to clients across more than 30 countries.
Infosys facilitates concentrated ownership, where promoter’s equity is merely 16%
and the rest is held by public shareholders. Unlike other family-run businesses, Infosys can
be led by the deserving candidate and not by the family members of the founders;
appointing KV Kamath as a Chairman proved this.
True to the tagline, “BUILDING TOMORROWS ENTERPRISE”, Infosys not only delivers
good quality software to its customers but also provides business consultancy and
outsourcing services to customers. Known for its fantabulous infrastructure across the
globe, Infosys has 73 offices and 94 development centres in the US, India, China, Australia,
Japan, Middle East, and Europe.
Presidents Delivery Heads
Team of Consultants
Team of Software
With huge employee strength and expertise in all the spectra of IT, having an
excellent organizational structure was indispensable.
In Infosys, every IBU follows different hierarchy. The hierarchy depends more on Job
Levels and Personal Bands within them; Job Level 2A being the lowest and Job Level 8 being
the highest whereas Personal Band C being the lowest and A being the highest in any given
Job level. Job Titles vary with the Unit and its nature of the business.
Hierarchy (almost linear in nature) in my department, Finacle, is similar to the
hierarchy of other development units of Infosys. This structure is followed by all the
business and development teams.
Chairman and CEO form the Top of
the Organization Hierarchy
Directors and COO, CFO
Presidents and Delivery Heads of each
IBU (Independent Business Units)
Delivery Manager and Team
•Team of Business Consultants
•Team of Software developers, testers etc
•Team of sales and requirement analysis
Assistant Vice President
Product Delivery Manager
or Product Line Manager
Senior Project Manager
Senior Systems Developer
As you climb up the hierarchy, you need to exhibit different roles in order to achieve
a common goal of your project. Different leadership styles and approaches can be observed
throughout Infosys which change with each project and team. Largely the whole
organization follows the Empowerment style of leadership, but when there are critical
projects in hand and during time crunch situations; leaders use more directive and
The best thing practiced in Infosys is they never fire low performers; instead they
coach such employees and make them undergo training and other learning to uplift their
performance at individual level and on the organization level as whole thereby transforming
the individual. Finacle is the Banking Product of Infosys where with the advance in
technology, there is a lot of scope for innovation and creativity. People are encouraged to
express their ideas and are supported to materialize them through democratic way.
Another leadership style practiced is Transactional. Employees are rewarded on
Individual level as well as team level. Before the advent of downfall of Infosys, employees
were rewarded in cash but now they are rewarded in kind (Enhances Performance
Measurement). Few of the Performance Awards are: Gem Award, On the Spot Award, Star
Award, Individual Contributor, etc. Most importantly, all leaders follow “Leadership by
Example” style. Invariably leaders set an example for their followers.
Even though Infosys demonstrates diverse yet unique culture with respect to
geographic locations, demography, behaviour of employees, psychology of employees etc. it
shows a uniform work culture of C-LIFE.
Though Infosys follows a common Business Language, English, there are times when
employees talk in their mother tongue or local language even during informal business
communications. To handle the cultural diversity, Infosys has a different list of regional
holidays for different locations. During festive celebrations, all Infosys employees
irrespective of their background are welcomed whole heartedly into the local culture.
Infosys appreciates Open-Door culture, where any employee can approach any
other employee with no regards to the level of the other employee. Employees are
addressed on First Name basis and there is no room for “Sir-Madam” even if the person
addressed is at senior level. Overall each Infoscion is believes in the culture of harmony and
love for each other.
Group Dynamics/Team Building initiatives
In four years of my experience in Infosys, I have been a part of a large team
comprising of 23 people, a small team of 5 people and led a team of 4 people. A common
observation in larger team is that not all people participate in the team meetings but the
same people while working in a smaller team do contribute. Most often the favourite of the
manager gets his way through the meeting or the task in the project while others need to
merely follow the team.
When I joined Infosys, Team Building initiatives were taken care of by the
management or HR. Finacle used to fund every Finacalite (Employees belonging to Finacle
Department) for their quarterly Project Parties. Managers used to get some Project funds.
But as the health of Infosys started deteriorating, these activities were stopped as a
measure of cost-cutting. Today these activities are handled by employees at the project or
floor level. Floor is where my development team for Finacle e-Banking sits and develops e-
Banking software. This team is then divided as per the project and once the project gets
completed, the team is dissolved and another team is formed for another project.
On floor level, we organize our team engagement activities like Cubical Decoration,
Traditional day, Celebration of different festivals, few games and competitions like Housie,
Painting Competition etc. Periodically we have team parties and outings which truly
enhance the team bonding. Celebration of Birthdays and Anniversaries, bidding Farewells to
team mates also helps in lightening the stressful atmosphere.
Some Unit level activities also take place, like Finacle Fever and Annual Finacle Eve
which are restricted to different legs of Finacle software i.e. Finacle Core Banking, Mobile
Banking, Customer Relationship Management, E-Banking etc. Also, there are some Intra
Development Centre events where different Units compete with each other. Then there are
some Inter Development Centre competitions happening across the year. All such initiatives
big or small help maintain the enthusiasm of employees and also help employees to get
along with each other, meet new people and rejuvenate themselves.
Change Management initiatives
Infosys being a very large organization is very Process-Oriented. Any suggestion for
change is welcome and if found fruitful undergoes huge amount of processing and then is
implement. This lag makes the changes pretty rigid in nature or eventually the change takes
place after the situation demanding the change has passed.
Few changes which impacted the overall organization were:
Reorganization: Few verticals of Infosys were clubbed and made one vertical. Also,
due to heavy attrition, employees were moved from one Unit to another without
considering the skill set of employees and their aspirations. This may have simplified
the management tasks but had an adverse effect on the mind-set of employees.
Competency Development Plan: A very complicated process was introduced for an
employee to be eligible for promotion (Moving up the Job Level) or progression
(Movement within the Job Band). This forced people to take up biannual
certifications and take up extra activities which the employee may not be willing to.
Some of these certifications were useful for the career progression of the employee,
but some were absolutely irrelevant.
Competitive Relative Rating: Employees are evaluated on the Performance and
compared with that of their peers before rating them. When the introduction of this
policy they also changed the organization structure by adding few additional job
band or titles. As a result few employees got demoted and this led to demotivation
of employees. Also, comparing employees based on other’s performance led to
unhealthy competition and following unethical means to climb up the ladder.
Employee Security: With the current risky environment for women especially after
the incidences of gang rapes, all female employees are asked to leave the campus
only if accompanied by either a friend/colleague or by security personnel. After 2
episodes of successful suicide attempts from jumping from Multi-level Parking Lots,
as a precautionary measure, Infosys has put up grills on all their Parking lots thereby
preventing any such incidents. They have also forbidden access to the terrace/ roof-
top of their buildings.
Employee Happiness: Recent change that has taken place is by making people leave
offices by 8 PM. Since employees cannot be directly forced, Infosys has ensured that
the last bus from all the locations will leave at 7.55 PM. Another motive behind this
is cost-cutting; by ensuring that very few employees are left in office (except for the
employees working in shift) they are saving on their resources.
Change is inevitable but how the changes are introduced and what impact it has on
others is what makes the change valuable. There are official forums in Infosys where
changes can be suggested or any change implemented can be commented upon. Every
change is communicated through official mails, town halls, and through Infosys internal
Politics & Conflict Management
With an employee strength of 1.6 Lakhs and counting and employees coming from
diversified background politics and conflicts are bound to happen. Even though there are
committees which ensure that the functioning or organization should be smooth, fair and
transparent there are some incidents which still occur.
Committees like GRB (Grievance Redress Body), HEAR (Hearing Employees And
Resolving), Anti-Sexual Harassment Initiatives (ASHI) etc. are available all throughout the
tenure of an employee to help them. But sometimes these committees fail to address the
political issues as just like the courts, these committees too work on the basis of proofs.
Also, at times politics played by employees especially by Senior Management go unnoticed;
deliberately or by mistake rather by ignorance.
Recently a lot of unethical behaviour on small is observed amongst the employees
and it goes unnoticed as employees hide behind their superiors or some use their powers to
conceal these activities. Employees on the recipient of this behaviour either quit their jobs
or try to raise their voices and fight for rights. Some pass, some fail but in the end all learn
the harsh lessons taught by the corporates. There are few who just let go of what happens
either with selfish motive of promotion or they choose to be indifferent.
Innovation / Creativity initiatives
As said earlier, Infosys appreciates talent and innovative ideas. During training my
batch had participated in Finacle Innovation Challenge and emerged as winners. The idea
incepted during the competition was further analysed and polished and gave rise to the
concept of Mobile Money. First successful implementation of Mobile Money is Airtel
Online Banking domain gave a tremendous boost to creativity. Today what not is
possible to do online! Few changes were demanded by the clients and few were suggested
internally. Looking at all possible options various teams are in process to give life to their
thoughts. After getting a heads-up from the Senior Management or concerned
departments, teams are formed and with some variations and improvisations, the new ideas
are incorporated. I was a part of one such team; ANZ Bank had suggested some User
Interface related changes. We worked for a whole year to change the look and feel of our
software and fixing the issues encountered and released our new version. Post release, we
realized that there can be some more changes which can be made on User Interface as well
as functional level. This has formed the concept behind our next release (in process)
Current internal scenario and internal environment
After consistently being on the position of second largest IT Company in India for
two decades, Infosys came on number three last year. This gave rise to the biggest downfall
of the organization which was followed by low revenues and high attrition rate. Promotions
were held and increments were stopped. Infosys never compromised on its cost of service
provided because of which clients started moving out. This aggravated the issue and
worsened the brand reputation of Infosys.
In spite of making enormous attempts, launching of Infosys 3.0 strategies, nothing
was working out. Infosys started to lose its big clients like British Telecom, ANZ, etc.
Employees were demotivated. Finally, Chairman had to get back NRN into the company.
NRN after initial hesitation and pestering regained his original position as Executive
Chairman. He also got his son Rohan Murthy, to save this huge ship from sinking. NRN
joining back along with his son gave rise to criticisms which were excellently handled by
NRN. Infosys is the dream and passion of NRN, son of a school teacher, who later became
the pioneer of IT Industry, so it was impossible for him to sit back and silently observe the
empire he created turn to ashes.
This re-entry of NRN has restored faith in employees as well as other stakeholders.
Share prices increased and clients on the verge of disconnecting from Infosys family stayed
back. Salaries of employees were normalized with those at par with the industry. Also, the
withheld promotions were rolled out. A positive environment is now experienced in Infosys.
Even though NRN has said that it will take a minimum of three years for the company to
regain its original position, but the atmosphere is now positive and hopeful.
Suggestions and recommendations to make the organization a “Visionary” Firm of
Endearment or Conscious Capitalistic organization
Infosys in some sense is a Firm of Endearment. If the recent difficult time is not
considered, employees are self-motivated. Infosys should revive their earlier employee
friendly policies. Some of the policies are too complex, hey can be simplified so that
employees and others can make the best of it. Infosys showcases amazing infrastructure
and facilities for its employees. Though the facilities are not free, but NRN stated the reason
behind it that if things are given free, people lose its value. Equality amongst employees is
diminishing and a new term has taken shape: “Favourite-ism”. To avoid this 360 degree
feedback should be encouraged.
Facilities in Infosys:
Infosys 3.0 strategy looks promising in the long term. Few adjustments in the service
costs and a little open attitude will supplement this strategy.
Infosys Foundation headed by Sudha Murthy strongly aspires in uplifting the society.
150 Rupees get deducted from every employee’s salary and it gets contributed to Infosys
Welfare fund from where these initiatives are funded. Apart from this, employees are
engaged in similar Humanitarian activities.
Lastly I would like to conclude by saying, “I’m immensely proud to be associated with
Infosys, where only building enterprises is not the sole aim of the organization; it also builds
the lives of all its stakeholders and the society at large. Once an Infoscion, always an
Few images are self-clicked others are downloaded
Some information like history, is referred from internet