3 key ingredients in TCS’ award-winning employer of choice recipe

3 keys to TCS' award-winning employer of choice strategy

IT services, consulting & business solutions firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) takes a focused and strategic approach to talent acquisition and management, according to its head of HR, who explained that this approach plays a critical role in the commercial success of the business.

As a company of 417,000 employees globally, director and head of human resources for TCS Asia Pacific, Kunnumal Sudeep, said HR has a major stake in TCS’ strategic and operational performance.

“A large percentage of our business partnerships are large scale, some in the billions of revenue per year, and require very advanced technological capabilities.

“Therefore, effective and timely staffing is needed so that top talent is engaged and delivering world-class results at all times,” Sudeep explained.

A part of the Tata group, India’s largest multinational business group, TCS operates across 46 countries and generated consolidated revenues of US$19.09 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018.

TCS has recently ranked number one in the Top Employer Institute Asia Pacific 2019 rankings as well as the number one top employer in Australia, and Sudeep explained that this was the result of its talent management strategy and a number of other initiatives across the firm.

The criteria in assessing TCS’ employee offerings included talent strategy, workforce planning, onboarding, learning and development, performance management, leadership development, career and succession management, compensation and benefits, and company culture.

Investing in talent
TCS is a company that has largely grown organically, and he said this has required a substantial investment in talent development to ensure employees have the best available digital skillset and are able to work with maximum agility.

To help support this, TCS has one of the world’s largest corporate training programs with hundreds of thousands of employees trained in the latest digital and agile methodologies, he explained.

“Effective and timely staffing is needed so that top talent is engaged and delivering world-class results at all times”

Ajoy Mukherjee, TCS’ executive vice president and global head of human resources, observed that as global business evolves into the ‘post-digital’ era – with the likes of artificial intelligence, cloud and robotics changing the way companies operate and are structured – the nature of work is also changing.

“With this shift well underway, it’s vital that we prepare our employees for life in the next generation workplace and equip them with new, state-of-the-art skills they can use for years to come,” said Mukherjee.

However, for an organisation that relies heavily on recruiting and grooming talent on the latest technology skills, Sudeep said the shortage of STEM-educated young talent in the region continues to remain a challenge.

To address this, TCS has launched several initiatives including a “GoIT Girls program” which assists high-school age girls to better embrace STEM programs.

The GoIT Girls program is a week-long work experience program aimed at female students in years 10 and 11, in which participants meet senior executives from TCS and its clients, who provide insight into the various STEM roles that exist across the business spectrum.

The aim of this specific program is to provide insight into and challenge stereotypes, of the technology industry and challenge gender occupational stereotypes, and every year it provides opportunities for 100 young women in Sydney and Melbourne to participate.

Aligning values and behaviour
Importantly, Sudeep said TCS’s HR function helps implement the Tata Code of Conduct – a set of guidelines that instills the ethos of the Tata group corporate sustainability into its employees.

Employees are signatories of the Tata Code of Conduct, which guides and governs the conduct of Tata companies and their employees in all matters relating to business.

“It’s vital that we prepare our employees for life in the next generation workplace and equip them with new, state-of-the-art skills they can use for years to come”

Introduced in 1998, the code lays down the ethical standards that Tata employees have to observe in their professional lives, and it defines the value system at the heart of the Tata group and its many business entities.

Tata’s values were first set out in 2003 and comprise leading change; integrity; respect for the individual; excellence; and learning and sharing.

The code has been modified down the years to keep it in step with changing regulatory norms in the different parts of the world that Tata companies now do business.

These modifications have reinforced the Code, and enable it to reflect the diverse business, cultural and other factors that have a bearing on the health of the Tata brand, said Sudeep.

Encouraging health and wellbeing
TCS also makes a substantial investment in employee engagement, with fitness and wellbeing being the two key areas that TCS has engaged and motivated employees at scale, according to Sudeep.

TCS encourages employees to regularly participate in sporting and fitness activities to ensure they stay fit, and a range of initiatives are available to employees within TCS campuses, including yoga and aerobics, coaching in tennis and badminton, as well as cricket and football tournaments.

TCS has introduced “Fit4Life” and “Purpose4Life” to motivate employees to take care of their fitness, and in giving back to the society respectively.

The initiatives are designed to create an environment of fun, while maintaining camaraderie in competition, encouraging associates to participate through forming teams, and gamification through portals.

Employees are also encouraged to make an annual commitment of fitness hours on the company’s fitness portal.

Similarly, Purpose4Life is aimed at ensuring mental and social well-being of employees, and is designed to motivate and enable TCS’ associates to contribute towards societal wellbeing by providing a platform that channels efforts and leverages TCS’ extensive geographical reach.

“Our headcount has grown by almost 20 per cent in the past 12 months, with our fresh graduates and interns’ intake rising significantly over the last few years”

TCS is the world’s largest corporate sponsor of marathons, ranging from the TCS NYC Marathon to the Australian Running Festival in Canberra.

The company also has a 300,000+ strong internal program, Fit4Life, which Sudeep said has empowered employees to better embrace a culture of fitness and wellbeing.

“It is perhaps the biggest program of its kind of any company in the world,” he said.

Driving satisfaction and retention
To evidence TCS’ talent management success, Sudeep said its internal employee satisfaction index has been steadily rising over the years – with Asia Pacific ranking the highest employee satisfaction level worldwide in 2018.

Additionally, TCS’ attrition rate is the amongst the best in the industry, remaining around the 10-12 per cent mark over the past several years.

Sudeep said there has also been increased awareness of TCS in the candidate market, with steady growth in job applications.

“In Australia, our headcount has grown by almost 20 per cent in the past 12 months, with our fresh graduates and interns’ intake rising significantly over the last few years,” he said.

Further, other initiatives such as the GoIT Girls STEM program and GOIT Challenge have seen a 30 per cent and 50 per cent rise in participation respectively in the past year.

In addition to the recognition by the Top Employer Institute, TCS has won 11 Stevies at the Great Employers Awards, was ranked number 2 among the top 45 global organisations by Association for Talent Development’s 2018 BEST Award, won 8 Brandon Hall Group awards for its HR initiatives, and was named the Best Company for Diversity and Inclusion at the 2018 Women in Technology and Data Awards by Waters Technology.