Battling the talent crunch with Salsa

Battling the talent crunch with Salsa
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First Published: Fri, Jul 18 2008. 07 53 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Jul 24 2008. 05 04 PM IST
New Delhi: Faced with an attrition rate of 15-17%, large IT firms are now using an unconventional tool to attract and hold on to quality manpower — recreation.
So, if Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), India’s largest software firm by revenue has a comprehensive HR program that has a hugely successful salsa dancing class, many firms are also using white water rafting, teble tennis and even pottery to achieve this end.
“Companies are trying to institutionalize fun”, says Sairee Chahal, a consultant with Saita, an HR organization. “They want to be seen as the best place to work, a fun place to work and want to be associated with youth and charm”, she says.
Maitree, a project TCS started six years ago, focuses on HR programmes and includes an array of activities as well as a number of social responsibility initiatives. “We have an attrition rate of 12.6%, the lowest rate in the industry”, says Nina Screwvalla, global head of Maitree.
It’s not just IT companies or big companies that are starting to evolve their otherwise traditional HR programs to become more hip and en vogue.
“The Birlas and Mahindras and many other companies have also formalized their approach to their HR programs so their brands can be seen as more attractive”, says Chahal.
“But the start-ups take the cake, since they may not be able to offer the same pay as a big company nor do they have the brand associated with them. They become very innovative with their HR programs and have to work with small budgets to be creative”, she says.
The problem comes when companies don’t take the time to understand their employees when creating these programs, which often makes them fail.
“ Many of these programs have become templated, not taking into account the constituency”, says Chahal.
“Organizations need to understand who their constituency is and figure out what their key drivers and aspirations are, as well as challenges to designing the programs. For example, it doesn’t make sense for a company to organize a 2-day trip away from home if most of its employees are working moms with kids at home”, she says.
Of course, a host of factors go into how satisfied employees are at work, including compensation and nature of work, but for some, the HR program mix can potentially make or break the deal.
“The salsa dance program definitely impacts my decision to stay at TCS”, says Garima Kapoor, a software developer at TCS.
For most, like Sweta Verma from the software development firm Global Logic, it’s about the convenience of being able to do yoga on company premises without having to disrupt a big part of her day.
Seeing how satisfied the employees are, and how much thought companies are putting in to add play to the workplace. It’s a win-win situation for employees and employers everywhere.
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First Published: Fri, Jul 18 2008. 07 53 PM IST