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Firms doling out surprise bonuses to retain talent

India Inc is trying various ways and means to keep the momentum high among their employees. Set career goals and plan moves | Bright career in insurance sector

, ET Bureau|
Aug 31, 2009, 12.25 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: Riding on improving business confidence and early signs of economic recovery, India Inc is trying various ways and means to keep the momentum high among their employees. Companies are doling out surprise cash payouts, giving extended weekend breaks, organising more frequent celebrations and off-sites, besides planning overseas trips for executives, to boost morale.

Global confectionery maker Perfetti Van Melle doled out a lump sum to its employees in India, over and above the annual increments and bonuses. This was to compensate for increasing prices of consumer goods and services and as a token of appreciation to employees for saving costs.

���This amount was paid to employees in the first quarter of this year, considering they had helped improving cost savings within the company,��� said Perfetti HR head Sugato Palit. The company distributed a certain undisclosed amount proportionately among its 1,350 employees in India, depending on monthly salaries and annual cost to company.

���Employees at the same level got equal monetary benefit. We also kept in mind that employees at the mid to entry level should get a higher percentage of the amount,��� he added.

Similarly, LG Electronics gave 50% more under its birthday bonus programme, in which employees get a special payout on their birthday, compared to last year. ���We strongly believe that had it not been for our human resource, we would not have not registered impeccable growth in 2008, when the global economic scenario was in its worst shape,��� said LG director-HR & MS Y V Verma.

The company also organised a trekking expedition for new employees and a stress-buster programme for its senior management. While the trekking exercise was intended for team building and motivation so that the new hires give their best to the company, the stress-buster initiative was organised keeping in mind the recent work pressures in the corporate world.

Beverage and food major PepsiCo India, granted an extended holiday to its employees in India last month to celebrate its best-ever sales. ���We wanted everyone to enjoy and spend time with family on an extended weekend, after performing so well,��� said PepsiCo India ED-HR Pavan Bhatia.

Pepsi, which organises Town Halls, an open forum where employees discuss and share their work-related issues with the senior management, also organised an off-site in Jaipur for its employees recently. Delhi-based executive search firm Transearch International, too, organised an off-site for its India partners and other employees at Kasauli this month.

Although such off-sites have been part of their system, some companies, such as electrical equipment maker Schneider Electric, ensure that each employee goes for at least one out of the two off-sites organised every year.

���We make sure that all our employees attend off-sites and participate with other members of the company. Sometimes, we encourage clubbing of two off-site budgets for one mega gathering at a better location,��� said Schneider Electric India HR director Shalini Sarin. Schneider has also carved a ���Reach Out��� program for talent engagement where the senior management team meets a selected group of a few junior executives to discuss a live business issue.

���These select executives are encouraged to throw ideas to the top management on how to handle a particular issue or problem. This makes them an emotional stakeholder in the organisation, builds relationships and provides senior management a new outlook at the issues,��� Dr Sarin added.

Talent management has become a critical aspect of HR departments in companies. Although the war for talent with salary hikes subsided last year due to the economic slowdown hitting firms��� expansion, HR managers believe is important to keep employee morale high by projecting the firm as a great workplace.

���Ensuring that employees are satisfied, motivated and enthused is a key responsibility of the HR function. This becomes even more crucial when there is uncertainty in the economic environment, market conditions are unpredictable. Employees may need reassurance about their work and welfare,��� said Infosys Technologies VP & group head-HR Nandita Gurjar.

Considering that business sentiments are improving, companies also need to stop flight of their top talent when the tide turns and rivals start hiring.

To reward top talent, Patni Computers launched an initiative called the CEO Club Awards this year, wherein 25 selected employees were recognised for their contributions through a paid holiday along with their spouses.

���The people were chosen from Patni offices across the globe and given a paid holiday in Four Seasons hotel in the Caribbean,��� said Patni Computer EVP & global HR head Rajesh Padmanabhan.

Other IT majors such as TCS has identified over 1,400 high-potential individuals, who are going through training to create a leadership pipeline in the organisation. Infosys, too, recently launched an Infosys Role and Career Enhancement programme.
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