Business Today

Paying Attention

By listening to its employees, Accenture India ensures that they stay engaged and happy.
twitter-logo Goutam Das        Print Edition: Aug 4, 2013

Bhavana Rao, Vice President of Analytics, BPO, Accenture India
Bhavana Rao, Vice President of Analytics, BPO, Accenture India
Bhavana Rao has been at Accenture for a decade, and leads analytics delivery for BPO. A change of role every few years helps keep up her interest. After her first child was born, she took on a role that let her work from home more often. She says her employer facilitates change and skill upgrades. She has participated in many leadership programmes, including one that gave her the chance to network with Accenture's senior women leaders who were experienced in dealing with work-life issues.

Damodhar Bhat realised the value of working with a large organisation soon after he quit Accenture. After working there for three years, he joined a smaller consulting firm in 2008, and found projects there much less challenging. Two years ago, he decided to go back to his old company, where he is now a manager at its Delivery Centre for Technology.

Accenture offers its employees much more than a challenging work culture. It is also highly rated for its leadership development agenda. One of the beneficiaries is Renjith Parrakkott, a delivery manager for a large telecommunications project, who has been working at the company for seven years. He participated in a programme that rewards high performers with the chance to gain international experience. "I went to the United States for three years, and you get to know the other side of the spectrum, learn to manage the client, and interact with the global leadership," he says.

Accenture India now has more than 90,000 employees. Globally, it invested $850 million in 2012 on training and professional development for an average of 52 hours per person. All this investment reflects in Accenture's ranking this year - the company has climbed six spots in the pecking order, compared with 2012.

"We have focused on building local leaders who can operate in a global environment and be globally relevant. India is one of the priority emerging markets for Accenture, and is a cornerstone of our strategy," says Manoj Biswas, who leads Human Resources at Accenture India.

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Senior employees want a change of role every few years, and Accenture usually obliges. The company seems to be breaking new ground in how it engages with both senior and junior recruits. "There is something called the Countdown to Accenture," says Biswas. "It is a new online tool that we launched this year, where we start engaging with every employee as and when he accepts the offer. How do you integrate and create leadership authenticity from day one? The tool handholds you as you prepare to join Accenture."

Besides, Biswas says, good talent hired from outside the company can easily be lost in a complex organisation. So the company has a focused integration programme for the first year, in which new recruits are gradually familiarised with everything from company terminology to the kind of projects they will work on.

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In a year when many large IT services companies in India, such as Infosys, have struggled to keep the morale of junior employees high, Accenture says it has done reasonably well on this score. It created an online employee advisory forum - a 72-hour freewheeling online session that enabled employees to give feedback and pitch new ideas on the company's engagement programmes.

It was done town-hall style, with senior business leaders logging in and responding to ideas. The first session generated more than 100 ideas, and more such meetings are planned. "We are a listening organisation," says Biswas. "That gives us long-term dividends."

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