Cognizant spent $1 billion additionally to arrest attrition: CEO

T.E. Raja Simhan |N Madhavan | | Updated on: Apr 07, 2022
Brian Humphries, CEO, Cognizant

Brian Humphries, CEO, Cognizant | Photo Credit: BIJOY GHOSH

In a bid to arrest employee attrition, the $18.5 billion IT major Cognizant Technology Solutions spent additional $1 billion on compensation in 2021. “We have invested more last year in compensation than in any stage in our history, and more than the budgeted at the start of the year due to the labour market dynamics,” iBrian Humphries, CEO, Cognizant Technology Solutions told BusinessLine. “There is a war on talent,” he added.

Though attrition is an industry-wide problem, Cognizant has been losing people at a pace which is higher than the industry average. The Quarterly Annualised Attrition in the December 2021 quarter was 35 per cent. 

Multi-pronged approach

To arrest attrition, Cognizant has adopted a multi-pronged approach around career path and learning development; overhauling promotion process — from tenure-based company to role-based organisation apart from higher compensation. “We spent a lot listening to our employees and celebrating the success,” he said.

It was through such an exercise that the company learnt that its employees preferred a hybrid, rather than a work from home, environment. The company has taken necessary steps to make it possible. Such a model, will help the company employ more women and also meet its ESG norms, Humphries added.

At the end of December 2021, Cognizant had 3.30 lakh employees globally of which over 80 per cent were employed in India. 

On a number of senior executives leaving Cognizant, Humphries said most of them left in the first 15 months of his joining in April 2019 but the company is a lot stable in the last 18 months. There have been a lot of internal promotions. Cognizant now has a strong leadership practice, and the next generation of talent is emerging, he said.

With various measures in place, Humphries expects attrition in March quarter to be lower than levels witnessed in December quarter.

Published on April 06, 2022
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