Bangalore was once known as "Pensioner's Paradise". Information Technology changed all that as hordes of people zoomed in on Bangalore, sniffing for opportunities. Given the present cost of living, one wonders if at all life is possible here on small change as a pension.
At Icode, pay packets aren't surrealistic paintings on canvas. No heavy treasure chests to lug home each month. Neither are they pitifully low as pensions. Consider this. During the recent recession many companies froze on employee perks, benefits and announced drastic pay cuts. Lucky were those who got just pay cuts. Extremely lucky were those who still had their jobs. Anil Kumar, Manager - Human Resources at Icode says, "We didn't do pay cuts nor any retrenchment. The only think we held back was a company performance bonus." That's only because the company came under some pressure on account of roller coaster market conditions. No one at Icode cribbed. No outbursts of any sort or hunger strikes which Indian industry is reputed for. Icodians consoled themselves in the fact that their jobs were in tact. And Anil Kumar says this with quite some elation; "People leaving Icode for salary reasons are very low."
One reason why attrition rate is extremely low is because the Icode approach hinges on the realistic. No carrots dangling. Transparency was their middle name. There's a second reason, and an interesting one at that, which Anil Kumar explains, "Attrition is less because when people get hooked on to a product environment there's lot of ownership that happens." He's right because we did notice that 'it's my baby' kind of pride amongst Icodians. They relish achievement, that's for sure.
Skill set of a candidate is just one side of the coin. On the flip side are attitude and the sixty-four million dollar question 'will the person stay?' A tough HR task indeed and Anil elaborates, "It's difficult to judge in one hour's time if the person has all these. This is more of a wish list for an HR manager than a practical list. A smart REC candidate born and brought up in Bombay can easily convince you that he's going to stay for long with the company. We believe him. It's more on trust. Everything is provided to the employee - the opportunities, the openness, the transparency, and information flow and growth possibilities." He could still leave. What Anil was implying is that even God can't be so sure. At Icode, there's a difference. "People realize that it's not just the money. A dependable organization, security, etc, are prime considerations these days," he adds. To maintain cultural sanity very flashy, demanding types and those 'cultureless machines' that require lots of maintenance are avoided. The writing on the wall couldn't be more legible than that. Aspirants, click the 'Save' button
Attitude. That's an interesting one. Meenu came to Icode a year ago and found culture out here strikingly different from HCL, where she worked earlier. "I've come from a big company like HCL which has a very, very closed culture. It's not very people-centric. There were many restrictions even in HR and no transparency like there is at Icode," she explains. She finds the change very refreshing and especially the openness within the HR department. "I can walk into Anil's office whenever I want to discuss a problem or anything. Here people are made to feel part of the organization," she adds feeling quite content in her new avatar.
HR department is for the people, by the people, of the people. Doesn't however mean that their shoulders are up for grabs to cry on anytime? They see their role much beyond playing nanny. They consider themselves professionals working towards the objectives and goals set by the company. In the bargain, yes, they also undertake to assist their colleagues in various ways. "We are not just a helpdesk. We are more into facilitation to the employees in terms of processes, systems and HR values. We look into their needs and ensure that employees are satisfied and at the same time we also see to it that the productivity ratio is maintained," says Anil Kumar.
The HR picture becomes clearer when we see how this 6-member team and the one single HR soul in their US office have their job profiles defined. Anil Kumar is overall head of the HR department. Shree Kumar and Meenu take care of performance management compensation and career development. Rashmi and Shalini are in charge of training, organization development activities and employee relations. And Suman looks after recruitments. She's got a contract employee helping her out with interview scheduling, etc. James in the lone ranger based in their US office that handles everything - right from welfare onwards.
As if on cue, Rashmi pole vaults into the picture with the claim that HR is the best department at Icode. And if her charm and graciousness was some sort of measurement yardstick, we acknowledge. She's the perfect host. Thanks, Rashmi.