|Genpact's Pramod bhasin (standing):
Transparency and communication helped him avoid a crisis at
If there's one
company that shouldn't have made our Best Companies to Work for
in India, 2005 list this year, it's Genpact, the erstwhile GE
Capital International Services or Gecis. For a large part of last
year, the BPO faced uncertainty over ownership with GE, which
set it up way back in 1997 as a captive unit, deciding to sell
a majority stake in it. Daily speculations on potential buyers
and uncertainty over its future must have been unsettling for
its employees, several of whom (including key executives such
as Srikanth Karra, VP (HR), and Parthasarthy Iyengar, head of
risk and compliance) left ahead of General Atlantic Partners and
Oak Hill Capital Partners buying it in November last year. But
guess what? That hasn't stopped the employees at Genpact from
voting their company right into the Top Three this year. (In our
survey, employee satisfaction carries the heaviest weightage of
35 per cent.)
So how did Genpact's President & CEO
Pramod Bhasin not just manage to keep his flock together but keep
them happy as well? "My senior managers and I decided to
keep all our employees informed about each and every development,"
he says. "We encouraged all team members to raise their concerns
and seek clarification on any kind of doubt they had in mind."
That apart, Bhasin held personal web chats and face-to-face interactions
with his employees to assure them that the management would not
accept any arrangement that was not good for the company's growth.
Says Piyush Mehta, Senior VP (HR), Genpact: "The biggest
concern among employees was about the GE brand going away. So
we assured them that GE would remain a stakeholder even in the
new arrangement. In fact, we had constituted several teams whose
mandate was to clarify various reports appearing in the newspapers."
Apparently, Genpact's management handled
the situation extraordinarily well, since the BT-Mercer survey
points to a high level of employee satisfaction and confidence
in the management. An analysis of the responses (employees were
randomly chosen by the surveyors; see methodology on page 78)
shows that employees believe that the organisation supports diversity
and open communication and that the management not just adheres
to hr policies but lives and drives the organisational values.
Coming from the employees of a company whose parent is best known
for its hyper-competitive workplace and a ruthless culling policy,
this is some feat.
| A DAY
IN THE LIFE OF
MARVIN CARVILLE, 31 Assistant Vice
|Carville (left) joined as Process
Associate in 1998 and is Assistant VP today. Despite
getting two job offers a month, he is not willing to
|Apart from work, Carville is nuts
about soccer. Part of Genpact's soccer club, he does
not miss practice sessions even if he's been working
the previous night
It's three minutes past two
on a recent Friday afternoon, and Marvin Carville has just
reached office (he works for a BPO, after all). The first
thing he does, like most of us, is to boot up his PC and
check his emails. "That sets the pace of the day for
me," he says. In the mail box are requests and proposals
from different team members and clients in various locations.
Since Carville, a hotel management graduate who joined Genpact
as an entry-level associate, works different time zones,
he must prioritise his work in a particular way. The proposals
from the UK, China and Far East are dealt with before the
clock strikes 6 p.m., after which all US-related tasks are
Today, apparently, the British Telecom business development
team in the UK has sought feedback on a particular design
solution. Carville needs to discuss it with a colleague
who's an expert at customer fulfilment. The duo discuss
the issue over a cup of tea, which is followed by a quick
lunch. Carville is back at his work station to take on another
interesting project. A client has asked for managing its
receivables across 15 destinations. "Such projects
are quite challenging because we need different language
capabilities and communication tools," he explains.
When I take leave of Carville at around 6 p.m., he's not
even through half day's work. He's got a long evening ahead
of him. But I don't think he'll get much sleep thereafter.
There's an early morning soccer session the next day and
Carville, part of Genpact's soccer club, has a record of
not missing any.
Not A Big Paymaster
Once again, the overwhelming employee enthusiasm
does seem a bit ironic, considering that Genpact doesn't pay top
dollar to its associates. "We don't promise our prospective
employees the moon," says Mehta. "And unlike our competitors,
we do not lure talent by offering abnormally high salaries and
perks," he adds. The starting salary at Genpact at around
Rs 1,20,000 annually is at the median level, when compared with
rivals in the industry, some of whom offer more than Rs 2,00,000
per annum to even plain graduates. The company doesn't make up
for smaller pay packages with huge bonuses or lavish increments
either. Yet, being the employer of choice has been its stated
goal ever since it set up shop in 1997. And according to Bhasin,
"The company has achieved this goal without fail year after
He rattles off numbers to support his claim.
Despite an extremely stringent hiring policy-only four out of
100 applicants get hired-Genpact has managed to hire around 8,000
people so far this year. (Obviously, Genpact is growing its business
ferociously, having just come out of the GE cocoon.) The rate
of attrition, claims Mehta, is almost half of the industry average.
"Our annualised agent level attrition rate has been 30 per
cent in the tech support division and 33 per cent in collections
against the industry average of 97 per cent and 77 per cent, respectively,"
"It's not all about pay cheques"
from an interview with Pramod Bhasin, President
and CEO, Genpact.
Wasn't your GE linkage a big pull for prospective employees?
Wouldn't it be harder for Genpact to attract talent now?
Indeed, the GE lineage made the sailing much easier for
us. Today, we have our own individual market presence and
strong brand equity. The fact that one of the country's
top business publications has chosen us as one of the best
companies to work for, says it all.
Why did GE pull out from Gecis and the hot BPO sector?
It is not that GE has abandoned us. The group still holds
40 per cent stake in the new entity, Genpact, and 85 per
cent of our business, across the six countries we are present
in, is still ge's. The current equation serves both the
It is said that Genpact is a poor paymaster.
We believe in rightful and realistic wages. We strongly
feel that fat pay cheques are not the right means of attracting
talent. High salaries impact the cost-effective business
model of BPOs on one hand and build wrong hopes among employees
on the other. Those starting their careers at an early age
need good training, guidance and exposure to best global
business practices more than money.
Will the recent study on "inhuman" working
conditions in BPOs impact hiring?
Not at all. These false alarms are being raised by people
living in the 18th century. The younger generation today
understands the challenges and the requirements of modern
day businesses. I am sure they are not going to pay any
heed to such unwarranted criticism.
Riju Vashisht, VP (HR), promptly points out
that there are hundreds of employees who have been with the company
for at least five years. "Some of them started their careers
with us as associates, which is the entry level post, and are
now serving in various top positions like Vice Presidents,"
she says. Marvin Carville is one such employee who, after a diploma
in Hotel Management, had joined the company in December 1998 as
Process Associate and is now an Assistant VP handling new projects
across regions such as the US, the UK, China and Romania.
|Genpact's Mehta: He's got the GE culture
to work with
But why does Carville, who claims to be getting
at least one offer every two months from Genpact's rivals, choose
to stay on in a company where penny-pinching is the norm? How
do Bhasin and his team retain their workers without offering them
big financial incentives, which apparently is the biggest motivator
for most employees? "We offer our people a career, not a
job like most of the other BPO operations," declares Bhasin.
"It is the promise of producing well-rounded professionals
who could take on bigger responsibilities and challenges in future
that helps us in tapping and retaining the talent," adds
Investing In People
To be fair to Genpact, it spends an enormous
amount of money on its people. Last year, it spent more than $10
million (Rs 45 crore) and over 1.5 million man hours on training.
It employs an array of hr tools to address the professional and
personal, long-term and short-term concerns of its people. It
has an in-house army of 170 certified trainers who coach employees
not just in areas like client processes, product and compliance,
but also soft skills such as leadership and decision-making. For
the new recruits, there are dedicated courses for honing communication,
interpersonal relations and etiquettes.
REVENUES: Rs 1,908
PROFITS: Not available
| Total employees: 14,000
in India; 19,000 worldwide
Attrition (per cent): 31 average
Average career tenure: 4.5 years
Training budget (budgeted/ actual): Rs
Training man-hours (actual): 1.5
Apart from offering a whopping 1,500 professional
certification programmes, Genpact runs a project called Genpact
University, wherein it has tied up with some of the top business
schools like xlri and IIM Bangalore. These institutes hold special
tests and classes for Genpact employees. The company pays the
entire tuition fee if these employees stay back for a stipulated
time after finishing their course. "We launched this programme
after we found out that many youngsters left jobs to pursue higher
studies," says Mehta. At present, 2,000 Genpact members are
enrolled for various courses across half-a-dozen such schools.
These employees are eligible for flexi-hours and even paid holidays
for studying and writing their exams.
On the lighter side, the hr team keeps organising
various extra-curricular activities in which the employees' family
members are also encouraged to participate. Bhasin and his team
take a lot of pride in the fact that practices like in-house meals,
pick up and drop facilities and security guards with women, were
initiated by them in the industry. Yet, there are a couple of
issues that the BT-Mercer poll of Genpact employees throws up.
One, not surprisingly is compensation, which employees feel needs
to be aligned with industry standards to increase the impact of
compensation on retention. Two, employees feel that hr should
improve its ability to provide career guidance to them. Bhasin
& Co. had better take note.