HCL issued a letter of intent and not a job offer, says HR head

Venkatesh Ganesh Bangalore | Updated on March 19, 2013

Prithvi Shergill, Chief HR Officer, HCL Technologies

Tomorrow, when budgets are optimised from discretionary to non-discretionary services, a company will have to deploy talent in line with that. Prithvi Shergill, Chief HR Officer, HCL Technologies

Around 4,000-5,000 fresh graduates all over India are concerned over the $6.2-billion group HCL’s lack of clarity on their joining dates over the last few weeks.

In an interview with Business Line, Prithvi Shergill, Chief Human Resources Officer, HCL Technologies, outlines the future of hiring and assures that all graduates will be given joining letters from August.

There have been concerns around on-boarding of new recruits. What is the update?

We would like to clarify that HCL is committed to all joinees and have been releasing openings for joining to candidates who graduated in 2012 and received Letters of Intent (LoI), in alignment with demand and momentum areas of the markets. (An LoI is not an offer letter to join the company.) We anticipate further acceleration in on-boarding from August 2013. It needs to be understood that terms and conditions for all options offered may not be the same. However, from the context of building careers in HCL over a three-year period, all options show growth and compensation opportunities as being equivalent.

To give you some context, by February, over 1,000 individuals from the 2012 batch of the engineering colleges had already been on-boarded. On March 1, we released openings in our Infrastructure Services Business, for which we already have received over 5,000 applications. The pre-assessment and selection process has started from March 12 for these applicants. It depends on the visibility of our business at any point in time.

In our case, our demand is in infrastructure services and in new areas like applications management rather than plain vanilla maintenance. The technology world is changing. There is a shift in the kind of work that we get and the services mix we offer is changing too. I would like to make it clear that we issued an LoI and not an offer letter.

Isn’t this changing mix an ongoing thing? Why is it affecting IT companies of late?

It is a factor of a lot of things. There is better employee productivity, attrition is low. Both these factors have resulted in lesser need to recruit freshers. Also, there is a lot of technology automation (from the clients’ side) which is resulting in lesser kind of regular work being done.

Are traditional job roles becoming irrelevant?

I would not say that it is becoming irrelevant. It is evolving and the amount of change has been underestimated. What you are looking for are people who have the ability to learn different kind of skills in different areas, which in turn creates different career options. Things are not like the way it used to be in the past. Tomorrow, when budgets are optimised from discretionary to non-discretionary services, a company will have to deploy talent in line with that. Ultimately, the ability to learn new skills in different kinds of environment would be the name of the game.

So, would the industry move into a just-in-time hiring scenario?

We have always maintained that we will hire as per business demand that we foresee.

We have talked about non-linear growth, volatility in demand, change in services demand (more non-discretionary projects) and opportunity in managing IT infrastructure of companies. When we connect the dots, it will eventually lead to a situation where IT companies have to take a more agile outlook towards hiring.

Published on March 19, 2013

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