A retention strategist

The costs of a bad hire are very high for companies, says Harish Battiprolu, Kenexa Technologies vice president, in an interview with Mohini Bhatnagar.

Hyderabad: While the attrition rates in the Indian BPO industry are between a staggering 50 per cent and 60 per cent according to recent estimates, attrition in even the Indian software industry, too, has become a cause for concern. HR professionals say that a majority of call centre employees quit for want of adequate future prospects though a vast majority of those who quit actually stick it out in the industry and move up the salary ladder from one call centre to another.

Attrition in the software industry is also higher than the average for the rest of Indian industry. Against the norm of five per cent attrition across the entire Indian industry, IT sector majors like Infosys, Satyam and Wipro have managed to bring attrition rates down to 10 to 15 per cent through a combination of various HR efforts in the past one year.

Not surprisingly rapid staff turnover remains a cause for concern for the majority of the rapidly growing IT / ITeS sector in India. According to Nasscom studies, while only 284,000 professionals were employed by the IT / ITeS industry in 1999-2000, the numbers had increased to one million in 2004-05.

As demand for skilled personnel has been rising steadily over the past two years, issues of employee selection, retention and compensation levels are assuming centre stage. Consequently, IT sector employers are increasingly focusing on how to hire and hold professionals who matter and are looking at HR strategies, which are focused on employee engagement and providing their personnel with rewarding experiences within the organisation.

Hiring the right people and getting them to stay is the domain of Kenexa Technologies, a US-based hiring and retention firm that has set up a centre in Hyderabad. Headquartered in Pennsylvania, its customers vary in size and include more than 100 of the Fortune 500 and half of the Dow 30 companies.