Unsolicited advice for Mr. Narayana Murthy

6 06 2013

Change Ahead

When the news of Mr. Narayana Murthy and his team that included Mr. Rohan Murthy being back at Infosys at an executive position


broke out, it took the media, shareholders, stock exchange and critics by surprise who welcomed the decision. But for the loyal employees of Infy, the ex-employees for whom Infy was their first love and those who still idealises Mr. Murthy, this did not come as a surprise since they knew for a long time that this was the final and only possible hope for Infosys to gain back its long lost glory.

Only a few media and critics came out with their opinions on what Infosys should do next which mostly included strategic suggestions like renewed focus on sales, client relations, using cash reserve etc. Here I have put down a few quick fixes from a  and smaller tactical points which focuses on human resource, the real work horses of Infy. These are the thirteen points that has built over the years through interactions with ex-colleagues at all levels within Infy in no order of priority.

  1. Do something drastically different very soon.
    There are millions who have become highly impatient expecting things to improve when the management changed repeatedly over time. Your being back at Infosys is a hope for these millions that things would start improving. A quick decision at this point will not only help build up confidence, but also prove that Infosys as a company is not afraid to change.
  2. Bring in transparency in employee communications
    Make sure that employees get to hear the news first before it’s released to media. One small step in building up trust between employees and management.
  3. Question HR hiring.
    Let’s face the truth. When talented and experienced employees left in thousands due to bad HR policies like iRace and post era, hiring was in progress aggressively so that attrition rate is at its minimal in the annual report. This process gave birth to Infy jokes like “Trespasses will be hired!”. Some of these bad hires not only had poor English communication, but also did not possess even basic excel skills. These lateral hires were paid more than expats for years until their rating came out and were eventually expelled from the company. Facing the true attrition rate and a high level investigation into bad hiring will eventually increase the quality of new hires.
  4. Provide a stage to question rating feedback.
    Provide a stage for the employee to question his performance rating and make sure that his/her opinions are taken seriously and corrected if necessary. This will not only ensure that ratings are not given based on manager’s personal relations, but also this would bring in more transparency during future rating and feedback cycle.
  5. Cut down operational cost.
    Way back when the employee strength was only 10k, a 20% bench strength meant that only about 2k employees were idle. But when the company has grown to 150k employees and with bench strength increasing to over 40%, maintaining such a vast resource pool only eats into profits. Those currently on bench may not be the ideal candidate for this exercise, but those who has a constant poor record of not delivering should fit this category. Eventually increase revenue per employee.
  6. Scrap iRace & bring in meritocracy based promotions
    The current promotion criteria based on iRace policy clearly states how many years an employee should work in a particular position until he gets promoted. A mere average performance and seniority guarantees promotion. Scrap the policy, bring in meritocracy and demote if necessary.
  7. Compensate loyal employees appropriately
    Spend money in compensating existing employees based on loyalty and performance. It’s better to hold on to current top employees who knows the culture well than bringing in new laterals at a higher rate.
  8. Infosys is not a government company
    The company has lost its image of being a honeypot of talent for young engineers and its seen more as a government organization where decisions take time and change is never heard of. Take quick and drastic decisions when necessary and maintain transparency within employees and shareholders.
  9. Remove 9.15hrs per day criteria
    Cutting leaves of employees who don’t stay within campus for at least 9.15hrs only helps in heating the chairs and increasing electricity bills. Make it clear that doing quality work on time is more important than slogging for 9.15hrs. Reward those who work faster & smarter and provide assistance to those who don’t.
  10. Change the dress code.
    Personally I always wondered why casuals were allowed on Friday’s and not on other working days. Were there no client visits on Fridays? At least relaxing the tie on Monday and Tuesdays will definitely be welcomed by the employees.
  11. Trust the employees
    Overtime when Infosys is left with the truly loyal and talented employees, take minor steps to increase trust. Stopping checking of baggage everytime employees enter and exit the campus would be a good place to start.
  12. Create a culture of entrepreneurship
    Create and promote the culture for talented engineers to get together and work on personal projects when on bench. Provide courses on new technologies for employees on bench to nurture talent and prepare them for future challenges.
  13. Finally, its perfectly ok to go back on statements
    A part of the press is busy pointing out that you have gone back on your own policies of retirement age and family business. H. M. Warne of Warner Brothers in 1927 said “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” Imagine where they would be today if they had clinched on to the statement. In today’s rapidly changing environment, it’s perfectly ok for predictions to go wrong. It’s more important to adapt to current needs even if that required going back on past statements. In a firefighting situation, almost everyone works best with a team they already know; hence there is no harm in bringing in Mr. Rohan Murthy and team who has excellent credentials and whom you are comfortable with. The need of the hour required someone as capable as you to come out of retirement and like there cannot be another Steve Jobs, there is no other NR Narayana Murthy.
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2 responses

11 06 2013
Sameer Jain

Apart from point 10 and description of point 11, I completely agree with the points raised. Some of the points highlighted were actually my reasons for leaving Infosys and were even captured in my Last day email. Past can not be healed, but present can be worked upon to ensure injury-free and merry future.

Being an ex-Infoscion, I truly admire and respect the way each employee along with NRN is trying to shape the Renaissance that Infosys, Indian IT market, Indian Economy, and most importantly whole Corporate World, is going to witness soon.

9 04 2016
andrewshopper95528

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