Mr. Umesh M., Director- Human Resources, SPAN Infotech (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Dimensions Team: “Performance based pay” – Do you think this is the most effective method to get the most out of employees or do you think it is a crude method?

Mr. Umesh M.: At the end of the day, you should be paid as you have performed. That is the bottom line. So how do you differentiate a performer from a non-performer? Organisations follow the 80-20 rule for everything; so 80% of the workforce perform, and the remaining 20% don’t. How are they differentiated? Companies are resorting to move a larger chunk of their salaries to variable pay. It could be based on any set of parameters, but typically, in any company, there are three components. One is fixed salary, which takes care of the aspirational levels; then there is the individual performance bonus; and finally the company performance bonus.

Dimensions Team: But in the long-run, don’t you think this makes employees more disconnected from the organization?

Mr. Umesh M.: If you have a globally dispersed workforce, getting them together is only over collaborative development tools. As such, the millennials have lost the personal touch. They are much more comfortable talking over the phone, or over e-mails than face-to-face. Their social skills are at the lowest. So as you said, work-from-home might only aggravate the situation.

Dimensions Team: If the Human Resource in any organisation are of the attitude that “anyway this person will leave the organization in a year or two”, don’t you think this negative attitude will affect organisational performance?

Mr. Umesh M.: The organisation only gets prepared. Most organisations now claim their attrition level is high, but if it were already anticipating that attrition, the organisation would not have been cribbing. As an organisation, they try to have enough back-up and do whatever is possible to prevent the attrition.

What HR does is, it starts analysing employees based on various parameters. We try to find out who are likely to stay and who might leave. If all of an employee’s aspirations are met, then even if his/her salary is 5% to 10% less, he/she might still stay on in the organisation. At the end of the day, for any organisation, it’s all about how much value an employee brings into it.



Dimensions Team: But from the Human Resource point of view, do you think there could be a more innovative approach to this?

Mr. Umesh M.: Of course, there is a whole chain of rewards and recognition that also go on in any organization. The rewards and recognition part is more of a hygiene factor that any organization needs to have. Rewards could be for good work, or for extraordinary contributions outside of their work, any consistent performance… At the end of the day, these rewards need to be backed up with money. Money talks. Rewards, whether instantaneous or deferred, will ultimately be converted to money.

Dimensions Team: Talking about Millennials having lost that personal touch, in an organisation, how do you recognise those millennials who are creative, innovative, or who possess a lot of talent?

Mr. Umesh M.: In any organization, there are people persons and there are non-people persons. Each of them will have their own strengths. There might be some who cannot gel well with others but might be excellent programmers. So what could be done is, you can make them individual contributors. But there are people who are low on technical skills and have very good people skills. These kind of people could become project managers. There is also another category of people who are great technically and who can also manage people to a certain extent. These people could become good architects. So ultimately, there is a path for every one of them.

For an individual contributor, he will grow within his domain of focus. He will not have a team reporting to him.

Dimensions Team: Talking about analytics, many companies tend to look into social media sites while doing back-ground checks on candidates and employees. Do you think this is too intrusive?

Mr. Umesh M.: Anything posted over the internet has no expiry date, so at the end of the day, it stays there. So people have all kinds of footprints over the internet. So within that whole chronological order, if there has been some kind of transition; that is good enough for the Human Resource in any organisation. You may have been boisterous while in school or college; that is perfectly fine. What we are concerned with however, is whether you bring this attitude into the organisation as well.

Considering Millennials, they work-hard, but they also enjoy harder. Again, we don’t want this enjoyment to be brought into the organisation.

There is a generation’s difference between our managers and those coming in at lower levels. So if you don’t think and talk their language, you are going to be different. So you have to sometimes try to put yourself in their shoes; find out what they are trying to do. When we hire, we want people who are outgoing, or someone who will work under a team. Academic excellence is not as important. On the other hand, the participation that the individual has put in various other curricular activities will be something most HRs will look for in a candidate. That would indicate that he/she is a team player.

Dimensions Team: What do you think about this Work-from-home option that is in discussion these days?

Mr. Umesh M.: Given the current scenario, I think this work-from-home option will be most beneficial. Somebody sitting in the US can outsource his work to India. So what prevents us from giving work to somebody who is sitting five kilometres away? Technically, there should be nothing preventing this. I think from the Indian perspective, it is the mind-set that acts as a barrier. The current generation want freedom, they don’t want somebody breathing down their necks, and they are willing to work anywhere…

Dimensions Team: You mentioned that it is very hard to find people who will stay in the organisation for a long period. But in the case of someone who wants to climb the ladder to the top, is it not important that he/she be home-grown, in the sense that he/she be someone who has been with the organisation for a long period of time?

Mr. Umesh M.: The Millennials are loyal only as long as it is convenient to them. That is an unfortunate thing. But on the plus side, they are very motivated, are quick learners, and have a burning ambition to grow. So when they grow in an organisation, they could climb the organisational ladder that you mentioned. If they were to leave the organisation at that point, they would probably move another step up in that ladder, perhaps in another organisation. So their growth will be addressed, but may be in a different organisation.

Dimensions Team: What do you think of candidates who are benched within an organisation?

Mr. Umesh M.: Bench is different from different companies. From a student’s perspective, I think it is an excellent opportunity to learn. You can get all kinds of certification, because learning like this through big organisation works out to be cheaper. And then you can leverage that learning in your next level.


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