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Intel Corp. introduced a rewards and recognition (R&R) programme for its 120,000 employees worldwide as the US chip giant seeks to attract new talent and retain existing employees amid a covid-induced spurt in demand for tech workers.

“You’ve got to reward people for the work that they do. You also get to reward people in terms of an outcome and people like a tangible kind of a thing," Vijay Colaco, human resource director at Intel India said in an interview. He did not disclose the size of Intel’s workforce in India.

The quarterly R&R programme will be over and above the annual appraisal cycle of an Intel employee and could result in either monetary or non-monetary benefits. “It could be either through money or higher education. You could also use various others ways to actually recognize and reward your employees," Colaco said.

The new policy, which was rolled out six months ago, comes as technology firms devise new strategies to retain employees as they battle high attrition following increased digitalization and growing demand for tech workers. India is home to Intel’s second-largest research and development centre outside of the US.

Attrition levels at Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and HCL Technologies hit record highs in the March quarter. Infosys posted an attrition rate of 27.7% while TCS had an attrition rate of 17.4% during the quarter. Wipro clocked an attrition rate of 23.8% while that of HCL was 21.9%.

“Employee engagements have to become more often than an annual discussion during appraisal. More IT and ITes companies are coming up with quarterly R&R programmes. Annual cycles will in future only be used for corrections and inflation adjusted hikes," said Guruprasad Srinivasan, group chief executive at recruitment firm Quess Corp.

He pointed out that the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and retail sectors had monthly and quarterly incentives, and R&R programmes for sales teams. This concept is now being increasingly adopted across profiles and sectors.

According to recruiters, after a two-year work from home policy with companies asking employees to return to offices, budgetary allocations towards R&R have to increase as employees will need more incentives.

Product firms and other tech companies are also facing the brunt of the ongoing hiring frenzy. However, Intel’s attrition is “below the average semiconductor, IT sector", Colaco said without elaborating.

He said the latest form of R&R is not a top down approach. “I think that’s certainly not working. Earlier, the manager tells you to do these 10 things and people say ...I’ve delivered; now, what next and I don’t want to do this anymore. I’ll go do something else," Colaco said.

The latest co-created approach is very unique to Intel, he said adding that the company runs a quarterly engagement activity between a manager and an employee where they engage in discussions.

The employee needs to know how his work is impacting the broader organization and whether he is “touching the big picture", he said. “We have got managers to start focusing working on the individuals to start understand the purpose, the vision, and the impact of their work...when you bring in a co-created methodology between a manager and employee, the sense of purpose and the sense of gratification also starts coming in and you see that quickly on quarter-on-quarter basis," Colaco said.

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