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IT firms trying to win attrition war with bonus, Esops – Economic Times

New Delhi: Indian IT services providers are going all out to arrest attrition rates amid a war for talent in areas such as digital, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing.

Apart from increments and bonuses, leading software service exporters like

, Cognizant, , and are offering special bonuses, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (Esops), upskilling and reskilling initiatives, internal job moves, access to higher education programmes and work-from-anywhere options.

Cognizant has put in place initiatives such as role-based promotions through internal job moves, higher education programmes, and building deep specialisation in digital skills.

“Our role-based promotion model is creating a constant upward mobility in the company and motivates our associates to stay with us. As a result, we have witnessed a declining attrition rate for two quarters in a row,” said Shantanu Jha, senior vice-president, HR, Cognizant India.

The company also trained over 100,000 associates in new digital skills last year.


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Tech Mahindra has, besides setting up physical centres in tier II and tier III cities, undertaken several initiatives to stem the flight of employees. These include a special bonus for all associates, a war chest for retaining people and upskilling them, and redeploying staff on projects so that they can benefit financially.

“Our quarterly annualised attrition has fallen to 19.3% from 23% and we have displayed steady attrition numbers,” said Harshvendra Soin, global chief people officer, Tech Mahindra. “We are putting efforts into progressive concepts like ring-fencing, recognition through awards, and offering opportunities to provide our employees with adequate room for growth.”

Attrition numbers may have moderated for some of these companies, but they remain a real concern given the huge demand for tech workers, especially after the Covid-19 drove clients across sectors into digital transformation.

reported a
record attrition rate of 27.7% in the January-March quarter. At cross-town rival Wipro, it was 23.8%, while () saw a 17.4% attrition rate.

Infosys and TCS did not respond to ET’s queries.

A spokesperson for Wipro said it had put in place a rewards programme where top performers and those working on future-focused niche technologies and domains were rewarded with substantially higher increases.

“We will also be increasing the frequency of promotions to our junior employees on a quarterly basis,” the spokesperson added.

Mindtree has increased promotion thresholds by 25% at the managerial level and adopted an equity compensation approach, over and above the fixed and variable components.

Mindtree is focusing on continually improving its attractiveness as a future-focused, people-centric employer, said chief people officer Suresh Bethavandu.

“Attrition is reflective of the significant surge in demand given the magnitude of opportunities ahead for the IT industry,” he said.

The company is providing employees “with cutting-edge work and growth-oriented career paths and encouraging a learning mindset with a plethora of ‘learn anywhere, anytime’ reskilling and upskilling initiatives,” Bethavandu added.

At Mphasis, upskilling and reskilling initiatives – through its learning resource platform Talent Next – are key to retaining critical resources, as it looks to strengthen digital competencies of existing employees as well as freshers.

“Other initiatives, such as internal job postings for lateral growth, awarding top talent with Esops that are linked to tenure, have been showing positive impact on our talent retention efforts,” said Srikanth Karra, chief human resources officer, Mphasis.