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To win over Mindtree staff, L&T hard sells its tech credentials, staff-friendly persona

For Anirudh B, a Vice-President in Mindtree who is in his late 30s, each day passes by in search of a new job.

“It is not technology or business challenges but the possibility of being eased out as a result of the takeover by L&T that worries me,” he said. He was referring to L&T taking a majority stake in Mindtree, first by acquiring V G Siddhartha’s 20.32 per cent stake and subsequently increasing it to around 48 per cent (L&T has an ongoing open offer to acquire 31 per cent of Mindtree).

When the takeover was first made public in March, the founders of Mindtree had stated that its staff had signed up for a mission, not just salary, and would leave if that mission was taken away from them. Mindtree had around 20,000 employees in March.

On its part, L&T has said Mindtree would continue to be run independently.

“Our organisation does not have promoters, hierarchy is not rigid and one can state their point of view,” Yogi Sriram, Senior Vice-President, Corporate HR, L&T Group, told BusinessLine.

Sriram said that the Group is transitioning into a services business and becoming asset light, as it seeks to build a group powered by technology.

Group Chairman A M Naik has outlined the Lakshya Strategic Plan 2016-21, wherein talent will be a key strategic contributor shaping the business landscape. Moreover, in the light of changing workforce demographic in favour of millennials, L&T has embraced newer employee engagement practices such as employee referrals, a non-rigid hierarchy, and grooming new leaders, said Sriram.

“It is an older generation company and changes take time. The thing to watch out is how they can manage Mindtree, whose assets are its people,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO, Headhunters India. The concern among Mindtree employees also has to do with L&T’s past. In the first half of fiscal 2017, L&T had to lay off 14,000 people to stay “agile and competitive”.

Also, the two technology companies of L&T could see overlap of functional roles with Mindtree.

Sriram, however, points out how L&T had transitioned from a manufacturing company to an EPC player and is now changing into a technology-powered company.

Some in the industry like Sanjay Lakhotia, co-founder of Noble House Consulting, an HR talent marketplace, believe that the initial fear mongering by the Mindtree founders will prove counter-productive with many employees approaching recruitment firms for better options.

Source: The Hindu