Preeti Mehra

New Delhi, Nov. 10

THIS time, the rollout is with a difference. It's not a product, but a philosophy that Indian subsidiary Flextronics Software Systems (FSS) is to roll out to the companies that have been merged with it as a part of its takeover by the parent, Singapore-based Flextronics.

The entities FutureSoft, Deccannet and Emuzed, which are now part of Flextronics' software hub, will be integrated into the values and ethics in short, the corporate ethics programme that FSS followed for over a decade as the erstwhile Hughes Software Systems.

As a first step towards this, FSS conducted a `culture' survey four months ago across the entities and is in the process of launching `common culture values' within the expanded FSS stable.

And what exactly does this entail? Mr Aadesh Goyal, Vice-President (Human Resources) and Chief Ethics Officer explains: "Work ethics encompass a set of behavioural norms expected from all employees in an organisation. It is also the embodiment of the core values on which the organisation has evolved and the issues involved could be smaller ones such as personal integrity and scruples or larger ones involving sexual harassment at workplace, monetary mismanagement, misuse of e-mail, among others."

The company's ethics policy is not something that just filters down to the employees through word of mouth, but involves an intensive 10-day integrity programme within four weeks of joining where situations that call for ethical decisions, be it IPR-related or whistle-blowing, are discussed in a workshop format. This is followed by a refresher programme every year, so that the values and transparency that emerge from the exercise are maintained throughout the person's career in the company.

In the last nine years, FSS has been growing at a rate of 60 per cent every year in terms of revenue as well as the number of people. When this is combined with attrition at 17-18 per cent per annum, it becomes obvious what kind of people dynamics the company is up against.

For instance, at any given time, 60 per cent of the employees of the company are new entrants, hence the need for constantly exposing employees to the company's integrity programme. "The ethics programme, in terms of investment, involves approximately 8,000 work hours for an employee strength of 2000. But the returns are much larger and so important that a value cannot be put on them," says Mr Goyal.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 11, 2005)
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