‘2017 has been a difficult year for the IT industry’

Abhishek Law Kolkata August 8 | Updated on January 09, 2018

Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad. 02-08-2013---( L to R ) BK Mishra, Sr Vice President , Tech Mahindra, Padma Shri, Pullela Gopichand with Indraneel Ganguli, Global Head Brand, Tech Mahindra, during the Corporate Badminton League (CBL) 2013 press meet in Hyderabad on Friday. 

Tech Mahindra brand head says firm has learnt its lesson since an audio clip of an employee getting fired went viral online

IT major Tech Mahindra was recently in the wrong side of the news when an audio clip of an HR personnel firing an employee over a call, went viral online. Mahindra Group Executive Chairman Anand Mahindra even went on record with an apology.

Now, Indraneel Ganguli, Global Head - Brand and Field Marketing, Tech Mahindra, says the company has taken its learning from the incident.

In an interview to BusinessLine, Ganguli talks about the remedial action, hiring in the US, plans on expansion in West Bengal and the challenges in front of the brand in a connected world. Edited excerpts:

How has Tech Mahindra handled the brand image crisis post employee retrenchment?

What happened recently was an extremely unfortunate and isolated event. Most industries are undergoing massive transformation owing to geo-political issues, business disruptions, consumer demand and technology transformations. The incessant need to keep one adept and aligned requires all of us to learn and re-skill. However, some fail to do so, leading to employee separations.

When the issue of the audio conversation was brought to our notice, we immediately took remedial action and moral responsibility.

Did you take any specific corrective steps?

I don’t want to get into specifics, but more steps have been taken.

We are taking steps to ensure that employee conversations are being dealt with much care and objectivity. We have sensitised our managers on the importance of ensuring that we are sensitive to the situation.

Will it impact your current or future contracts?

Not the least; our stakeholders understood the context and the situation.

Considering the stringency of H-1B visa norms, is Tech Mahindra looking at increased hiring in the US?

Yes, we will hire people in the US as our business demands.Today, we are in more than 90 countries. It makes a lot of sense for us (to hire in US) as the US continues to be the largest market. So it is only fair to stay closer to the clients you service.

The other important point is that while hiring in bulk may not be aligned to future engagement models, access to strong technical skill-sets is relatively easier in the US.

There were some reports that suggested Tech Mahindra was scaling down operations in West Bengal. Your comments...

We vehemently deny the speculation. On the contrary, we are fully committed to Kolkata. We are growing our customer-centric projects here, and are also setting up our forthcoming Centre of Excellence for customer service and experience.

From being a major employer, the IT industry is now marred with uncertainty. Under such circumstances, how is Tech Mahindra dealing with issues such as its brand and image?

This year has been a difficult one for the IT industry. While artificial intelligence, automation and digital are trends of the near future, there are worries about anti-globalisation and protectionism. There’s also the challenge of appropriate re-skilling for markets of the future.

We are living in a connected world that’s communicating through screens and sharing emotions within communities. Emotional connections are vital to build brand affinity.

So the new mantra demands marketers to effectively monitor, manage, and control their emotions. We are using every channel to communicate better with our associates.

Published on August 08, 2017

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