Indian IT service providers such as Infosys and Wipro have tightened performance appraisals for employees, weeding out non-performers, as they see businesses slowing for traditional services, technology shifts towards digital, and growing protectionism in their main markets.
Wipro, India’s third-largest software exporter, has a programme Band Inertia, which looks at scrutinising employees for performance in the same band for longer periods, identify gaps to reskill, and mark out those who are unable to upskill with newer technologies.
“It is the first reflection of who you are; people got stuck in the same band for seven-eight years. The individual is not expecting to grow. If you are good, you get promoted or get another job somewhere else,” Saurabh Govil, head of human resources, Wipro, told Business Standard. “There are some people who continue to be here (in the same band) and be happy and they are getting impacted.”
Wipro says it upskills engineers in newer technologies such as cloud, digital and analytics, and redeploys them in newer projects, while those cannot leave. In April, it let go of 600 people over performance issues.
A former Wipro employee who has joined the New Democratic Labour Front (NDLF) IT Employees Wing in Chennai said: “Wipro follows a quarterly appraisal system and some of the employees who have been put into the More Contribution Expected or similar ranking for the first time in several years of their career. Some of them even received positive comments and awards from the company a few months back.”
Infosys is also undertaking a similar exercise for mid-level professionals, scrutinising their performance when the company is shifting its focus on automation and delivering software-led services to its clients.
“A continued low feedback on performance could lead to performance actions, including separating an individual, and this is done only after feedback,” said Infosys in a statement. Around 1,000 people may be impacted in the bi-annual assessment at the tech major.
The NDLF union has started a Whatsapp group that has 25-30 former employees of Wipro who were asked to resign on performance grounds, and who have joined the New Democratic Labour Front (NDLF) IT Employees Wing in Chennai