The other day, a client of mine called me up and sounded quite livid at a high profile fintech company. His son passed out of the college a few months back and was offered a lucrative job by this fintech startup. After about 4-5 months of frequent shuffling across stop-gap work and training, he was asked to quit. On the other hand, his other friends who were not as ‘lucky’ as he was in the college placements and got just passable openings with other companies were in a better position as they did not face any such threat as yet.
My client was devastated emotionally and wanted a shoulder to cry on, perhaps. He felt that the Indian IT companies were playing with the careers of the youth. These companies mismanage their work; they overestimate their business projections for short-term gains; they hoard the best possible students from elite colleges without having enough business in hand and then leave them in the lurch.
While I empathized with him, I did not want to take the complete blame on my community of IT companies. While it may sound too cruel, I thought it was my opportunity to speak out and give him a chance to correct himself – when he negotiates a deal with me the next time.
After listening to him patiently for about 15 minutes, I took him back to a recent transaction that we had. I reminded him of the project wherein after a year-long negotiation and after keeping me on tenterhooks for all through that period, he finally gave his nod to start the project. And as he issued his purchase order, he wanted the project to start within a week’s time. And then what did he do when I could not put up a team within that short time? He escalated the matter to my COO. That indicates that he expected me to keep the team with me without any gainful work.
I explained to him as to how the evaluation process goes on for an excessively long time without any clarity on the closure. The vendors keep building and releasing their teams assuming the start of a project, which remains elusive. Some established players are able to carry this weight of unproductive workforce for a long period but a few smaller vendors end up burning their reserves on this unreasonably long wait. The employer of his son would be one such company suffering at the hands of his own community.
A good practice followed by the professional companies is to plan their business well in advance. As the highly ambitious revenue projections come in for the following year, the recruitment planning too starts. In order to outdo their competitors, these companies make a beeline to the graduate schools at the earliest. So much so that the candidates get recruited almost a year before they complete their course. And then, if the business projections don’t add up for some reasons, the process breaks down. It starts with delays in offer letters; even if on boarding happens, it ends up in a painful separation after a short while.
So, the entire system has deteriorated over a period. The corrections are required on multiple counts. As the apex body of software companies in India, NASSCOM should take some responsibility to bring in behavioural corrections, I suppose. It is best to induce self-restraint rather than expecting an external intervention.
Can the clients engage these software companies to be more reasonable with their demands? Will they bring in more transparency on their expenditure budgets? Will they refrain from making up for all their delays with unreasonable demands on timelines for delivery? Could these Individuals grow above their conceited considerations? Will the Education Department issue a guideline against entertaining campus interviews so much in advance?
Or whether the NASSCOM can issue a guideline to the member companies to refrain from early recruitment. With seasoned professionals managing these member organizations, I am sure they do not need a RERA like regulatory framework. For, the problem is not much different from that. Recruiting a year in advance, without a clear visibility of the business, is in a way comparable to the ‘pre-launch’ irregularities of the real estate sector that RERA has tried to arrest.