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Information technology (IT) companies are offering non-financial perks to employees to reduce attrition levels, which are likely to go up as the demand for tech professionals bounces back. Employers this year are offering more leaves, career enhancement paths, and flexible work environment as benefits, besides salary hikes to retain employees.

Hiring has picked up across the spectrum in 2021 and voluntary attrition may rise from last year’s low levels when people found it risky to change jobs during the pandemic.

The attrition rate at Infosys Ltd reduced to 10% in the December quarter from 15.8% in the year-ago period. Cognizant’s attrition rate of 19% during the December quarter, though higher than peers, was still lower than the 21% it had recorded in the same period of 2019.

Hiring has picked up across the spectrum in 2021 and voluntary attrition may rise from last year's low levels when people were wary of switching
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Hiring has picked up across the spectrum in 2021 and voluntary attrition may rise from last year's low levels when people were wary of switching

As a retention strategy, Cognizant has enhanced its leave policy by increasing the number of annual paid leaves from 26 to 36 to improve employees’ work-life balance. Cognizant, which has set a return-to-office target of 1 July, will provide an option for employees to work from home or office, or choose a combination of the two, subject to client approvals and security clearances.

The firm is also focusing on reskilling and upskilling its workforce on digital skills, including internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), experience-driven software engineering, and cloud. “We have reskilled over 235,000 employees in digital skills in the last 18 months alone," said Rajesh Nambiar, Cognizant’s India chairman and managing director. “We have entered 2021 with great confidence and are 100% focused on attracting and retaining the right talent."

Bengaluru-based Infosys is creating learning and career progression pathways to help employees grow within the company instead of having to change jobs. “We have invested in skill building for the future in digital industry 4.0, 5G, open-source, cloud, edge computing, and so on," said Richard Lobo, executive vice president and human resource head, Infosys. “Our internal learning platform Lex offers a highly scalable and modular learning experience for employees… our Digital Tag initiative focuses on incentivizing employees who are proficient in any of the 36 skills identified by Infosys."

Infosys said a hybrid work structure will benefit employees in the long-term and help retain talent. “Talent models will change with a mix of full-time employees who will work from offices as in the past, employees who will opt for partial remote working, and some who will work fully remote," Lobo said.

Mid-sized IT services firm L&T Infotech (LTI) Ltd has implemented several staff-focused initiatives, including the ‘LTI Shoshin School’, a learning platform that helps employees discover, measure, and develop their skills. “This complements our recently-launched ‘My Career My Growth’ programme which empowers employees with career progression guide and competency framework to chalk their own growth journey within LTI," said Sanjay Jalona, chief executive officer (CEO) and MD, LTI.

LTI is working out an effective hybrid model of working termed as “LTI xFH" or Everything from Home. “It has five layers. First is operational from home, next is secured from home, then it is about being engaged from home, then it is productive from home, and finally growing from home," Jalona said.

Talent experts believe a hybrid work model is beneficial for both employees and employers.

“Companies are exploring non-financial perks including RSUs/ESOPs (restricted stock units/employee stock options), sponsorship of higher education, four-day work week, insurance covers, and free daycare/creche facilities," said Saran Balasundaram, founder and CEO of Han Digital, a talent consulting firm. “Many organizations are planning for hybrid model, which would have a huge comparative advantage that drives inclusive growth, better participation of women," he said.

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