Best companies to work for 2012: How NIIT has reinvented itself as an employer
Understanding that it has to appeal to youth, the 30-year-old organisation introduced a series of initiatives like cool contests that encouraging peer appreciation.
Perhaps the most radical step it took was to get rid of the Bell Curve, something that many companies still swear by. Instead, NIIT introduced Performance Assessment & Career Enhancer (PACE) last year, an initiative aimed at recognising the performance of every individual who meets his pre-defined goals in the organisation.
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This annual assessment system takes into consideration not only the achievements of an employee, but also the values and behaviour used to achieve those results. "Demand from employees is what gave a push to this initiative," says Shampi Venkatesh, chief people officer, NIIT.
"It will take some time for us to see the results of this system that has been put in place since the beginning of last financial year, but the initial response has been tremendous in the organisation." She explains that evaluation of performance is auto-calculated by the online system, based on the Balanced Scorecard, without the supervisor having to give any performance ratings.
NIIT also introduced an Art of Supervision programme for managers, wherein they are provided training and support before they start handling a team. For its new recruits, NIIT introduced N-Tie, in which employees are assessed at intervals of 90, 180 and 365 days.
The programme is aimed at allowing new NIITians to settle in, understand their own potential, start performing and finally, enter the evaluation process. The assessment allows the company to understand if the recruits are the right fit for the company, if they have understood their roles, the business and if they will contribute to organisational growth.
Peer appreciation was something that was on the radar in the past one year at NIIT. Employees regularly give e-WOW cards to each other as tokens of their appreciation. At the corporate office in Gurgaon, every floor has an 'AppreciaTree', on which employees put notes appreciating and thanking their colleagues.
NIIT People Awards allows employees to nominate and vote for each other under categories like FUNtastic, Cool Cucumber, Good Samaritan, Ms and Mr Fitness First, Ms and Mr Super Style and Service with a Smile (for people in support functions).
NIIT also created Passion Groups for employees with common interest areas like yoga, entertainment, dance, cricket, photography and mountaineering. Another initiative, called the HATS OFF program, recognises the outstanding behaviour that an employee has demonstrated in achieving the strategic goals of the organisation.
It not only rewards performance, but also recognises desirable behavior at work place, long service and upward recognition, which means team members recognise their supervisors as well. HATS OFF also allows employees to collect redeemable points, which they can exchange for electronics and air tickets.
NIIT involves employees in corporate social responsibility initiatives through its iGive program (launched last year), which allows each employee four days leave to help contribute to the betterment of society.