6 Reasons Why Ratan Tata should speak up on TCS Layoff issue


Putting together some thoughts of an ex-TCSer. Many points are subjective, but is put from an impartial, TCS associate view point.

  1. TCS brand image in market always used to resonate well with the Tata Code of Conduct – which stands for being ethical in all dealings, being people n planet oriented along with profit motives (3P’s) and being a 360˚ leader. TCS Layoff definitely goes against the TATA values.
  2. TCS Management should understand that the company’s financials are not as bad as they think. All major measures like Revenue, Operating Income, EBITDA and Net Income have shown Q-o-Q increase. Bringing down the employee morale just for having a decline in rate of growth of profit will only help make the financials go further south.
  3. TCS is making its employees aggressive than ever; calling them as Associate while not giving that weightage. TCS is giving hints to the employee to start fighting (tooth n nail) for getting good performance ratings irrespective of the bell curve logic, to start upskilling themselves and demand for better roles irrespective of its client requirements, to balance work n life just as any other contract demands rather than being a company loyalist.
  4. TCS Management is not realizing that the society is watching it closely – being an IT bellwether, TCS is/was a hope for many in terms of job security, work locations across the length and breadth of India, onsite opportunities and so on. There is no harm in improving the quality of your workforce, but it has to be a well-planned move giving an opportunity for so called low performers (who toiled for the company for years) to improve. Remember they were star performers at the time of joining and hence TCS recruited them.
  5. Even TCS clients won’t see this as a positive move. I personally know of projects where 80% of resources are thrown out and hence projects being de-railed and client pulling off. When the world is moving customer centric, how can TCS move away from it? Is TCS projecting the message that for profit we’ll do anything and nothing stands on its way?
  6. Many managers in TCS could use this management move politically and implement their personal agenda to throw out the people they don’t like for whatsoever reason (which might include the good TCS performers). I heard such occurrences too where associates with ‘B’ performance grade are also thrown out. End result will be a company high on organizational politics.

Ratan Tata, an embodiment of the TATA brand values and seen as India’s best brand ambassador, won’t be able to take the new TCS lightly. His voice has the power to change the current scheme of things. With many going to the courts of law (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/smartbuy/tech-news/court-stays-termination-of-tcs-staff/article6785746.ece) and injunctions spoiling the TCS brand, it’s high time he intervene. I believe that Ratan Tata can fulfill the implicit promises n hopes that he has given to the TATA loyalists.

Many could argue that TCS is not a charity show and is just another business with pure profit motives. But in my opinion TCS is/was much beyond just a profit driven company with employee friendly policies and job security. Considering the alternate options open before the company, this s definitely not good for the company.

Some options that management can think of are:

  • Impose a salary cut and use it to upskill people and make them part of the growth story (See how HP did it: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/19/hp_pay_cuts/)
  • Use the three month severance pay to train the employees and set benchmarks for them. I don’t think TCS  employees are that bad in catching up. Worst case, delay promotion or increments instead of taking drastic steps.
  • Be realistic in setting criteria for lay off. An onsite project returnee or a new project employee getting a low rating cannot be attributed to performance is a known fact. Don’t be wise like the three wise monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil)
  • There is nothing wrong if the organization structure changes from triangular to little bulged in the middle. You can EITHER use the middle bulge to become a much bigger organization (beef up below and above) with many more projects in new verticals OR distribute the bulge to lower and upper levels with additional training to take up new challenges

The above article was written after chat with a TCS friend and is not merely based on media reports. If this is not a true picture, then its time for TCS to correct the communication gap with its associates.

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