Tag Archives: hr

Survey on Employee Attrition – Please help this PhD student

Deepshikha Satija writes:

This is a request to help me to progress towards the completion of my Doctoral Research. I am at the Data Collection stage of my PhD and your help is sought to fill up a questionnaire pertaining to my study.

Purpose of the study: My endeavour is to find the reasons and strategies for Employee Attrition in IT & ITES sector in Pune.

Confidentiality: I assure you that the information provided by you will be truly used for study purpose.

Thank you for your kind co-operation and contribution. If you wish to know the outcome of this study, please mention your email address (optional) in the questionnaire. You will receive a copy of the final analysis. Giving your email address is optional – I will not use the email addresses for any purpose other than sending out results of the study.

Link: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dHNILVV5ekNVU2ZXNDc5QVNIQ2J1SFE6MQ

Looking for a job? Try PuneStartupJobs…

Looking for a job? Try PuneStartupJobs

There’s a new jobs listing forum in town, and it contains postings of jobs that you will not find anywhere else. Check out the PuneStartupJobs mailing list (which is an initiative of the Pune Open Coffee Club).

Pune OpenCoffee Club - POCC Logo
POCC is an informal group of the Pune Startup ecosystem. It contains more than 2500+ people who either have their own startups, or want to start one, or provide some service (or funding) to startups. Click on the logo to find all punetech articles about the POCC. Thanks to threenovember.com for the POCC logo.

The Pune Open Coffee Club is an informal group for all those interested in the Pune startup ecosystem, and many of the startups on that group realized that the conventional avenues for job postings were either too ineffective, or too expensive for the smaller startups. To counter this problem, the PuneStartupJobs mailing list was started. In keeping with the philosophy behind the POCC, the PuneStartupJobs mailing list is also free – any POCC member can post job postings, and anybody can subscribe to receive updates.

Features of PuneStartupJobs:

  • Free. No fees for posting. No fees for subscribing
  • Anybody can subscribe
  • Focused: Only Pune Startups can post. (Some other postings (e.g. Mumbai) get through once in a while, but it’s largely local.)
  • Moderated: All posts are moderated, so no spam.
  • A weekly digest of PuneStartupJobs postings is auto-posted to the main PuneStartups mailing list. This ensures wider (but delayed) circulation to a larger group. (Thanks to Pune startup Thinking Space Technologies for implementing this functionality.)

So, if you’re someone likely to be interested in getting a job with a startup in Pune, or if you might know someone who might be interested, or simply, if you’re interested in finding out what kinds of people Pune’s startups are looking to hire, you should subscribe…

How to build a killer startup team: POCC Event, 5 June

Update: The slides the Chetana used for her talk are now up on slideshare:

What: Pune OpenCoffee Club meeting on How to build a killer startup team, with Chetana Mehta, ex-VP HR at GS Lab
When: Saturday, June 5, 4pm-7pm
Where: Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research, Room #407, 4th follor, Atur Centre, Model Colony. Map.
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all to attend. Register here

How to build a killer startup team

(event description by Santosh Dawara)

As tech startups will identify, the initial stages require only a handful of core team-members (3 to 5). These few are crucial to the success of the startup product or service. This idea extends to startups in other domains as well.

Chetana Mehta, ex-VP HR at GS Lab helped grow Persistent Systems, GS Lab when they were at a similar stage has offered to cover some aspects of nurturing and training teams.

Pune OpenCoffee Club - POCC Logo
POCC is an informal group of the Pune Startup ecosystem. It contains more than 1500 people who either have their own startups, or want to start one, or provide some service (or funding) to startups. Click on the logo to find all punetech articles about the POCC

From my own experience, startup hires are only getting younger (freshers, 1 to 2 yrs of experience). These candidates don’t have the big-company mindset and are willing to take on a no-name startup.

I would like to explore the following challenges:

  • How do you nurture these few to take on ownership of diverse areas and cope with the uncertainties of a startup?
  • How do you set them on a path where they can take charge of their own effectiveness and learning?
  • How do you encourage teamwork and confidence in team members in the capabilities of others?
  • Another key challenge is how do you convince this core team to work for you for not just the money, but above all for a common vision or goal and the fulfillment of kick-starting a profitable venture.
  • Does equity even work here or is it misplaced? With students, they expect immediate returns rather than wait 8+ years for an IPO.

As the startup gains traction and moves on to the next level, the challenges are different. As Navin called out when interviewing Druva CEO:

  • How does a startup scale up hiring and training high-quality personnel?
  • How do you scale the corporate and / or engineering culture you have so carefully built?

Look forward to hearing about how you build teams and the challenges you are facing.


Relevant excerpt from Druva CEO’s PuneTech interview:

What is their (Druva’s) primary challenge currently?

Jaspreet says that they want to build a high-quality, world-class product, and for that he needs lots of high-quality, world-class people. While theyâve obviously managed to build a team like that which got them so far, they need many more such people in the coming days, and thatâs a significant challenge. He says that it is difficult, if not impossible to find âreadymadeâ world-class talent here (even when âworld-classâ salary and/or equity is offered!). Instead, he feels that the only approach that works is to find individuals (whether freshers or industry veterans) who have the right attitude and potential and then nurture them into the required shape.

(As an aside, wed like to point out that is a pattern. Pretty much every startup we talk to mentions hiring of high-quality people as one of their primary challenges. This is a problem that needs a solution, and I’m hoping that some entrepreneur in Pune is looking at this as an opportunity.)

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Are you a misfit in your company?

This article was written for PuneTech readers by Dr. Basant Rajan, who has played various engineering/management/research roles over 18 years in the Indian Software industry. Most recently he was CTO of Symantec India.

This article is primarily targeted at software professionals (in India) and attempts to introduce a few concepts that’ll help you understand your aspirations and your work environment better, so you can make some career choices that could empower you to realize your true potential. If the section below on employee types, does not strike a chord, the rest of this article will likely not either, be forewarned.

Your long term career prospects depends a lot on the expectations of your manager and organization matching your aspirations. Frustration, especially when linked to growth prospects is often a tell tale sign that something’s amiss.

Before we can narrow down on what is amiss and fix it, we need to cover some ground related to what drives these expectations in the first place. Next we’ll revisit frustrations at the work place in the context of what we learned about organizations and employees. We will then go over some simple tests to help classify your manager and organization and finally use the information we’ve gleaned to chart a possible course of action that will let you positively influence your destiny at the work place.

Employee types – cooks & chefs

One typically uses the term talent interchangeably with employee. In the context of the Indian software industry however, we see two distinct kinds of employees – one that brings skills to the work place and another that also bring long some talent.

Think of it more like the difference between a chef and a cook. Given a recipe, both can make a delicacy you’ll relish. But you’d expect the chef to be able to surprise you with something he conjured up. Put another way, they both can cook, but have different limits of capability.

We see both the cook and the chef in the software industry too. There are a large number of knowledge workers, cooks, who armed with programming skills, can deliver on complicated software components to a specified design. Then there are some, chefs, who with their deep understanding of the domain to augment their skills, can architect solutions to problems, small and large.

Note, there is nothing the matter with being either one of them …

Engagement models

There are two main reasons why a company opens an offshore branch in India – to save costs, and/or to augment availability of specialized talent.

Correspondingly, there are predominantly two engagement models in play at off-shored operations – the cost leverage model and the talent leverage model. In reality, a single company can have both these models operating in different parts.

Off-shoring under the cost leverage model (CLM) is undertaken primarily to benefit from the cost differential of skilled labour between the two sites. For example, cheap labour is pretty much what drives the growth of call centers in India. For CLM to succeed, the organization needs to be able to source skilled people who can be relatively easily trained for the specific work at hand, in significant numbers. Process driven work can typically be executed well this way.

The talent leverage model (TLM) on the other hand prioritizes the availability of specialized talent over the cost differential. The parent company is setting up their operation in India because they cannot source the required number of specialists locally. That is not to say that the TLM precludes benefits from the cost differential of the two sites.

Note, there is nothing inherently wrong with either model.

Mismatches and frustration

So much for setting up the necessary context and a common vocabulary. From the discussion so far it should be relatively easy to infer that to succeed, organizations should take care to hire the right mix of cooks and chefs.

The cost leverage model expects skilled executors of strategy (cooks) for success while the talent leverage model also depends on the supply of people who can drive the strategy (chefs). Consequently, the cost leverage model (CLM) tends to attract/need managers who are cooks while the talent leverage model (TLM) tends to attract/need managers who are chefs.

Unfortunately organizations often fail to make a conscious identification of the model they are operating under and often end up recruiting the wrong employee type for a given engagement model resulting in a frustrating work environment for the employee. While exploring why organizations slip up on this front is interesting in itself, let’s move on for now.

If you happen to be a chef and find yourself in (part of) an organization that has embraced the cost leverage model, you are likely to get disillusioned as the novelty of the job wears off. Your aspirations for growth aren’t likely to be satisfied in such an environment. Changing roles/jobs will become necessary for growth.

If you happen to be a cook and find yourself in (part of) an organization that’s operating in the talent leverage model, you aren’t that badly off, especially if you are an individual contributor. No organization can function effectively without the cooks and they are therefore valued. However, organizations operating under talent leverage tend to favour chefs when it comes to promotions.

If you are a chef and your manager happens to be a cook, your work environment is likely to be frustrating. Career growth is very unlikely to happen in such situations unless you can successfully work around your manager. Changing roles/jobs is an option worth considering seriously.

Is your manager a cook or a chef?

Knowing one’s manager is certainly a good thing. But for our purposes, let’s just limit ourselves to classifying one’s manager as a cook or a chef … Exactly how does one go about doing that? Fortunately, external behavior you are bound to notice can help you make an informed decision. Here’s how.

  • Would you consider him a supervisor (cook) or a real manager (chef)?
  • Does/can he exercise his discretion in addressing issues in your environment? (yes- chef)/(no – cook)
  • Does he regularly challenge status quo to effect changes for the better? (yes – chef) / (no – cook)
  • Does he seem to value growth in size (cook) or growth in impact (chef) of his organization?
  • Do you associate him more with your team (chef) or his management (cook)?
  • Can he work with influence (chef) or does he always need authority (cook)?
  • Caution : be sure not to confuse an isolated incident with a behavioral trait

Which engagement model is in play?

Now that we have the manager nicely squared away, let’s focus on the organization. To determine whether the your organization is really interested in the cost leverage model or the talent leverage model, you could simply ask your manager, but on second thoughts, don‘t bother. What management claims and what they really value can be two different things, so one needs to figure this out for oneself, and here’s a simple test to do it.

  • Classify the managers around as either cooks or chefs.
  • Next, check to see which ones are getting more promotions, more power and more visibility.
  • If the cooks have the upper hand and the chefs are running into roadblocks or leaving, you are looking at the cost leverage model in operation. If the reverse is true, then you have an organization that values talent leverage.
  • Again a word of caution : take care to distinguish between isolated incidents and a trend.

Don’t surprised to see significant numbers of successful cooks in an organization that has embraced the talent leverage model. Look a little closer and you’ll see that most positions of influence in such an organization are held by chefs. Remember, that while one can’t have an army without soldiers, to be successful they need to be led in battle by officers of calibre.

Empower and be free…

Hardest for last … now what can that be?

Given that you’ve just finished judging your manager and your organization, now might be a good time to introspect and make an honest assessment of what you bring to the table, just skills or talent as well?

As the road to self realization is still uncharted territory, you’ll have to figure this part out yourself 🙂

Assuming you got back from the wilderness, it’s about time you got down ensuring a sustainable. mutually rewarding, relationship at the work place and signing up to making it happen.

Now that we’ve decided to act, it’s perhaps a good time to arm ourselves with a little prayer (ok, indulge me …, for now, let’s assume there is a God) … and here it is.

The serenity prayer (excerpt) …

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

… and the industrial strength version (snippet)

if (type(self, wisdom) == CHEF) { /* you sure?, just kidding ... */
    if (model(self.org, wisdom) == CLM)) { /* in the wrong type of org */
    } else {
        if (type(self.manager, wisdom) == COOK) { /* unfortunate ... */
            wait timeout { /* the organization might correct it */
            } change_role(courage); /* else, you have to do the honours */
        } /* else: lucky you! */
} else { /* you happen to be a cook ... */
    if (model(self.org) == TLM) { /* wrong place for fast growth */
        accept_it(serenity); /* but it ain’t so bad ... */
    } /* else: lucky you! */

Note : God has been coded away in the industrial version, so you’ll have to make do with friends and family.

The bad news is that typically, one cannot hope to change the engagement model or one’s nature in short order.

The good news is that given the wide variety of needs and opportunities that exist, finding a work environment that suits your style is not likely to be hard once you know what you are looking for.

Let’s wrap up with a toast to “marriages made in heaven!” (else, just so you know, my wife’s a counselor).


The views expressed here are solely mine and are not intended to expressly hurt the feelings of any particular minority group or organization.

This disclosure was made under duress brought to bear by Navin Kabra.


These thoughts have been shaped by a lot many colleagues and for that I am forever grateful.

About the Author – Basant Rajan

Basant Rajan holds a Doctorate in Computer Science from TIFR, Bombay and is currently an independent consultant.

He has 18 years of industry experience, and previous positions held include CTO, Symantec India heading up Symantec Research Lab (India) and Sr. Director, Symantec heading the Storage Foundations group in Pune and has been actively involved in promoting innovation at various levels within the engineering community at Symantec. He also concurrently held a Visiting Member position at TIFR, Bombay for a few years.

With a number of publications and patent applications to his name, Basant’s areas of interest include organizational change, storage technology, distributed systems, formal languages and logic.

He can be reached at basant+web [at] gmail.com.

Get student interns for 6-months for your company

As a part of their course, students of courses like MCA and MSc CA are required to do a 6-month internship in the industry. Normally, students are expected to find the internships on their own, as a result of which, smaller companies and startups without much visibility lose out on this stream of students.

To fix this we are arranging a “speed-date” for companies to quickly give a very short pitch (3 minutes) about themselves and then meet many students in a short time so that in a single meeting companies can quickly shortlist probable candidates, and conversely candidates can quickly shortlist probable companies for further interviews. This will happen on January 22, 4:30pm at SICSR. If you are interested, send me a mail (navin@punetech.com). Hurry, offer valid until stocks last.

What to expect

  • These are students of the M.Sc. in Computer Applications offered by SICSR. They will know programming (java, javascript, PHP, Ajax, databases) quite well. They will also know computer science fundamentals (algorithms, etc.) but not quite as well as a B.E. student. See http://www.symbiosiscomputers.com/v5/programmes/programmes_msccastructure.php for details of their curriculum
  • The students can start working for you immediately, and will work for 5 to 6 months – i.e. until mid-June. This is supposed to be a full-time job for the students during this period.
  • You would be expected to pay the students a stipend of about 4k/5k per month (or more depending on quality of students and competition). The official line is that they are required to do this to learn something, and not for the money. (It’s a requirement for their degree and they cannot graduate without this experience.)
  • You would be expected to give an evaluation of the student’s work to the college
  • In one of the previous POCC meetings, I heard someone say that they had a good experience with SICSR student interns. If you or someone else has experience with SICSR interns, please share it here for the benefit of the community. Please share negative experiences also, if you’ve had any.


  • Send me (navin@punetech.com) a requirement profile describing the kind of project/work you are willing to offer by Thursday, 15th January. This will be cirtulated amongst the students. Describe your company, and the project/role. Please also indicate whether you are willing to receive some resumes of interested students beforehand.
  • On Thursday, 22nd Jan, 4:30pm to 7:30pm, there will be a “speed date” kind of an event, where each one of you will get 3 minutes to pitch your company and/or projects. At the end, you get a table where interested students come and talk to you for a maximum of 5 minutes. In this time, you should get a quick judgement of whether you want call this student for a further interview. The expectation is that at the end of the day, you have a short list of students that you are interested in interviewing, and who are interested in working for you.
  • Due to time constraints, the number of slots is limited. So, in case we receive more entries than we can accomodate, we’ll choosed on a first-come-first-served basis.

We are trying to include other colleges with similar programs. I’ll send out updates as more info becomes available.

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Company sends erring employees for Art of Living course

Mid-day reports on how a Pune company sent three of its employees for an Art of Living course, instead of firing and handing them over to the police:

Shiv Sai Infosys Pvt Ltd, a city-based BPO, caught three of its young employees in an act that jeopardised the interest of the organisation. But, instead of sacking them the company sent the boys for a week to undertake Art of Living course at Sri Sri Ravishankar’s ashram in Bangalore all this at the company’s expense.

Nikhil Baddap, Hussain Bhaldar and Nikhil, who received this unusual punishment were candid enough to tell this correspondent openly. “Yes, it is true that we fell into temptation and did something which we should not have,” Bhaddap said.

According to company’s vice president Vishakha Agarwal, sacking them was an easy way out.
“We could have easily handed them over to the police and sacked them. In fact, most senior officers in the company were of the view that they deserved to be punished.

But we thought of transforming them, rather than punishing them and ruining their careers,” said Vishakha Agarwal, vice president of the company.

See full article.

News in Brief: VMWare, QLogic to invest; Symantec interviews own employees; Aar-em lights up villages

VMWare to invest $100 Million in India

VMware Inc. announced today that it plans to invest more than $100 million in India by 2010, partly to double its research and development workforce in that country to more than 1,000 employees. VMWare currently has R&D centers in Bangalore and Pune. While a lion’s share of the new investment will go to Bangalore, some of it will also be used to expand VMWare’s Pune facility.

Source: VMWare Press Release

QLogic announces Development Lab in Pune

QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq:QLGC), a leader in networking for storage and high performance computing (HPC), today announced the opening of the QLogic International Development Lab (QIDL) in the heart of Pune, India. QLogic is hiring engineers now for the QIDL, located in the ICC Trade Towers off Senapati Bapat Road. According to their press release the QIDL development team is expected to help “design the future” of networking for storage and HPC. For details, contact hr-india@qlogic.com.

Source: TechNewsRelease.

Symantec Pune conducts interviews of own employees

It is common practice to conduct exit interviews of employees leaving a company to find out why they are leaving and thus identifying weaknesses of an organization. Symantec, Pune is turning the concept on its head by conducting interviews of employees who have been with the company for a long time, and focusing on the strengths of the organization that made them stay back.

After selecting leaders from this group of Symantec loyalists, their example and achievements were put before the others on the company intranet. “This benefited us. Now these leaders have not only got recognition for their extra-efficiency, it has also encouraged others to see whether they can be incorporated in this list of leaders,” says Abhay Valsangkar, Symantec India’s head of HR.

Source: Sify Business.

Aar-em Electronics Pvt. Ltd. a Pune based firm known for its Champion brand of Uninterruptible Power Supplies now has entered the field of providing Uninterruptible light source for villages after sunset by providing them lights and other utilities powered by solar energy.

“MOHRI” a village situated at 100 kms from Pune City Maharashtra, India having 27 houses and a population of 160 of which 75 are children today boasts of having electricity which has been provided by Aar-em Electronics Pvt. Ltd. Where once life practically came to a standstill at sundown are now abuzz with activities. The solar-based devices have illuminated the villagers’ houses like never before- kerosene lamps are a thing of the past now. Even, infotainment is beamed to them through solar-powered television sets.

Aar-em is offering a system which typically contains a roof-installed solar PV module, storage battery, charge controller, interior wiring, and switches and fixtures with the capacity to power two- low-wattage high power LED modules.

Source: Business Wire India

Pune IT salary hikes highest in country

IT Salaries in Pune increased by 20% over the last 12 months, compared to 12% for Bangalore and the country average of 14%. Bangalore continues to have the highest salary levels in the country, and I think is 12% higher than Pune (can’t say for sure, since the article is a little unclear). This according to a report released by management consulting firm Zinnov.

‘Though compensation in Bangalore continues to be the highest in the country, the dramatic wage increase in Pune can be attributed to high salaries offered by multinationals (mostly from the US) setting up captive centres in Maharashtra’s boom city,’ Zinnov CEO Pari Natarajan told IANS.

Source: IndiaPRWire. See also pluggd.in’s coverage.