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How we did it

October 26, 2007

Six months after we Announced the launch of the Business Today-Mercer-TNS India Best Companies to Work for in India Survey, the seventh successive year that we’re bringing it to you, the response continues to overwhelm us. This year, 129 companies registered for the survey, of which 94 completed all the formalities and made it to the final long list, proving yet again that this remains the most comprehensive and respected survey of workplace satisfaction in the country.

Business Today collaborates with two partners for this survey: global HR consultancy firm Mercer—which is our knowledge partner, responsible both for the methodology and the analysis—and TNS India, the domestic arm of the eponymous market research firm—which handles the front-end functions like registration, data collection and query resolution.

Many of the participants are Mercer’s clients. To avoid possible conflicts of interest, TNS sent Mercer the collected data under a numerical code and not the company name. The code numbers and company names were matched only after Mercer had completed the analysis of the data. Until last year, we only profiled the 10 best employers. This year, based on participant request, we have decided to feature the top 15. Names and data submissions by other participants remain confidential.

As in previous years, there were only two eligibility criteria— at least four years of operations in the country and a headcount of at least 200 white collar employees.

Data Collection

We followed the same method as last year. Participants were asked to provide financial information, manpower statistics, and the contact details for its employees, alumni, campuses, etc. Then, the HR representative of each company was administered an HR Process and Policy Review Questionnaire to gain an insight into the HR policies and practices.

An employee diagnostic tool, Internal Employee Perception Questionnaire, was administered in parallel to a random sample of employees (participating companies were asked to give a large list of employees and the respondents were picked at random.) And finally, we sought feedback from new employees, alumni, campuses and search firms through four dip-stick Stakeholder Perception Questionnaires.

Data Analysis

As mentioned above, the collected data was forwarded by TNS to Mercer for analysis under unique company code numbers. The Mercer team then analysed the responses on the four quadrants mentioned below. While the basic methodology, quadrants, weightages and intent behind the information sought remain the same as in previous years, we fine-tuned three of the quadrants to better capture newer progressive practices in the realm of HR and the nuances that differentiate a best employer from the rest.

Internal Employee Perception Questionnaire

This quadrant was redesigned to align it with Mercer’s global engagement model, which is based on several years of worldwide research on employee perceptions. Responses were analysed on dimensions such as rewards, work processes, information flows, decision making and management structure that were further broken down into sub-categories as well as an engagement index.

HR Process and Policy Questionnaire

Many new dimensions were added to this quadrant to better capture the progressive HR practices expected of a best employer. Talent management, closed loop learning and HR measurement received greater focus this year.

HR Metrics

In addition to metrics around training, HR investments, career velocity and attrition, this year, we looked at new aspects such as the dilution in gender diversity ratios as one climbs up the ladder as well as the increments given to employees over the last three years compared to the industry. Stakeholder Perception No changes were made to this quadrant.

Scores and Rankings

The individual scores on these quadrants are not absolute reflections of year-on-year performance of a company. In fact, a majority of the participants have witnessed a drop in score in the HR Process and Policy or HR Metrics Quadrants compared to last year. A slightly lower score in comparison to the previous year indicates that the performance bar has been raised. A significantly lower score, however, may be a cause for concern.

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