Mahindra Satyam wooing back select former employees

Adith Charlie Mumbai | Updated on February 03, 2011

Mahindra Satyam has joined the ranks of industry peers Infosys and MphasiS by opening its doors to select former employees who had either quit the company or were asked to leave at the time of the infamous accounting scandal of 2009.

And this is being done even as industry pundits believe that the merger of Mahindra Satyam and parent Tech Mahindra will leave the combined entity with up to 7,000 excess staff.

In the last four months, 550 former employees have rejoined the Hyderabad-based company, according to Mahindra Satyam's head of recruitment, Mr M.V. Sridhar.

Key relationship managers

“The hirings having been across levels and geographies…if anything we expect this number (450) to go up in subsequent quarters,” he told Business Line.

Importantly, the company was successful in attracting back key relationship managers, people considered important because of the rapport they shared with customers.

“With ex-employees, the formalities will be fewer and the on-boarding will be much quicker. We are seeing traction for this not only in India, but also in other overseas geographies,” said Mr Sridhar.

The idea is to get on board as many familiar hands as the company can, at a time when the demand for IT services has skyrocketed, contributing to high attrition rates in all technology companies. Mahindra Satyam itself has been reeling under attrition levels of around 25 per cent. This marks a significant turnaround in the script of the former Satyam Computer Services, whose employee base shrank by 17,000 in the last two fiscals, after the former chairman Mr B. Ramalinga Raju confessed to deliberate falsification of the company accounts.

Tech Mahindra took over the reins of the company in April 2009 and rebranded it as Mahindra Satyam. In June that year, the company introduced the Virtual Pool Programme (VPP) for close to 10,000 associates in a bid to retain the ‘excess' talent pool.

Though the company is now back on track with its growth plans — having announced its intention to hire 3,000 plus in the coming months — the merger with Tech Mahindra is being seen as a trigger for further staff cuts. “Most of the layoffs will happen in the five plus years' experience bracket since the scope of duplication of effort (functions) will be higher. In addition, the company may rationalise support staffers,” Mr Sudin Apte, Chief Executive Officer of advisory firm Offshore Insights, had said in an earlier interview.

The phenomena of calling back ex-employees came into the limelight after Infosys opened a ‘green channel', inviting former employees who wished to return. HP-owned MphasiS-EDS coined a similar programme as ‘Homecoming'.

More productive

Commenting on this trend, Mr E Balaji, Chief Executive Officer of manpower consultancy firm Ma Foi, said it is better for employees to deal with a ‘known devil' than an ‘unknown angel'.

“People are generally more productive in the second innings at the same company because they would have had a dose of the outside world and reconciled to the benefits they get by staying with the same company for a longer duration,” he said.

“Companies that followed a ‘cut and dry approach' by resorting to tactics such as disallowing entry into the office and firing without notice period, will be the biggest losers in the battle for talent,” said Mr Balaji.

Published on February 03, 2011

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