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March 18, 2018

Wipro on a mission to reinvent itself by re-skilling its employees to stay relevant

Bengaluru : In order to keep up in a fast-evolving technology environment, Wipro, the country’s third-largest software exporter with $7.7 billion in revenue, is on a mission to reinvent itself by re-skilling its employees in new and upcoming technologies such as Digital, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and immersive AR/VR.

To cater to growing demand for digital services from customers, Wipro has trained a large section of its employees on digital skills in the recently concluded FY2017. Against the targeted annual plan of training 33,000 employees on digital skills in FY 17, the company trained 39,600. Overall, Wipro now has 61,000 technical employees trained on digital skills, of which a large number have been trained on Java/J2EE, JavaScripts, Python and Java Frameworks.

‘OneVoice’ initiative for Sales teams, ‘ADROIT’ for Delivery teams, ‘TopGear’ for Technology teams as well as ‘PRISM’ that focuses on the development of employees, were some other talent transformation initiatives launched in FY 2017.

“The next 24-26 months are very defining for this industry. We have shifted focus from campus hiring to re-skilling our employees in newer technologies. Re-skilling was a ‘nice thing to do’ now it’s a matter of survival,” Saurabh Govil, President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Wipro, told BusinessLine.

Stating that there is a lot of automation being introduced at the bottom of the pyramid in the organization he said “a lot of people have to move out of there, as their jobs are now being done by machines. They have to upskill themselves to execute higher value added jobs. For instance, we have scaled the deployment of our automation platform Wipro HOLMES across clients, generating productivity worth over 12,000 people. In the earlier scenario, we would have had to hire 12,000 more people to do that work.”

Lowest attrition rates

Wipro registered its lowest attrition rates in the fourth quarter of FY2017 at 14.8 percent, down from 17.9 percent in Q1 with a total headcount of 1,65,481 employees. Net addition to employee count was just 1,305 in Q4, compared to 4,385 in Q3.

On the news about the company laying off 600 employees, Govil said “There is nothing unusual about layoffs at this time of the year as it is our annual performance appraisal cycle time.”

Last year, Wipro gave out average salary hikes of 9.5 percent to offshore employees and 2 percent to onsite employees. However, this year it will be much lower single digit hikes in line with what the industry is paying.

The company’s performance appraisal process has been made more employee-friendly by removing the Bell curve appraisal system that identifies best and worst performers and weeds out the latter.

“Now, 20 percent of the variable pay for mid-management and above is payable at manager discretion, based on his/her opinion about the individual employee,” said Govil.

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