back to article Infosys fires 2,100

Indian IT giant Infosys has discovered a new way to cut costs during the ongoing global financial Meltdown: fire thousands of employees for "non-performance." And then insult them. Mohandas Pai, the HR chief of the 105,000-employee company who moved over from finance in 2006, explained that the 2,100 firings were the result of …


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  1. Jack Evans
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    Not Really Surprising

    The company I work for has ties to another company that hires CCIE qualified staff in India, and the poor sods only get paid £5000.00 pa. Compare that the 'Western' standards of pay and I am not surprised they 'under perform'

  2. Adam Azarchs

    Why so shocked?

    Many companies here in the states, such as GE, have always had a business-as-usual policy of firing the bottom 3% of employees every year. Even if you assume a zero-sum game, if every business is doing that, then all that happens is these people get shuffled around until they find a job they're decent at (or keep getting shuffled around indefinitely because they're incompetent and unwilling to reduce their expectations). It's only in countries that have a hard time firing people (like France, for example) that the risk involved in hiring someone who's been fired before is so high that being fired once means you'll stay unemployed for a long time.

    Granted, in an economy like today's, getting fired is a much bigger deal. Which might be why they decided to do 3.5% this year instead of the 5% they claim is their usual. Really, this isn't worth reporting unless you have previous years numbers to compare too. Certainly it's ridiculous to accuse them of simply trying to avoid severance costs if you don't include previous year's numbers.

  3. AngrySup

    How to do it

    If there is an accepted, quantifiable set of metrics that employees can be evaluated on, I know of companies that do this to 10% each year. On the other hand, if you've got a bunch of people that you just don't like, you have to lay them off with full notification and compensation. (I love 'right to work' states). My coat, because for some reason, I'm going to find myself in the bottom 10%.

  4. raving angry loony

    objective vs subjective

    If there was an objective way to "measure performance" in any corporation I've worked for then fine. But there isn't. It all eventually boils down to the subjective opinion of one person or another, and thus the whole process is corrupt by definition.

    Or, as Dilbert put it, it looks like the bosses are better at setting objectives than the employees are at achieving them. Doesn't help if the objectives are, in fact, not achievable - as is often the case.

  5. Anonymous Coward
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    it's that damned normal curve

    There's this thing called "normalisation", which (in companies that subscribe to it)) causes the bottom X% (X usually between 3 and 10, I guess) to be subjected to either some sort of probation or firing.

    Since it is not possible to do this across the company, each largish team is expected to fit the normal curve within that team's ratings.

    I honestly doubt if that is even true, but one nasty side-effect is that you can't build an A-team anymore. No savvy techie will join a team that is full of smart folks -- he'll progress faster up the chain by joining a team where he's clearly the star :-(

  6. Maksim Rukov

    nailed to a cross of usury

    I feel sorry for the people working on the "other" side of this whole global market thing. Let's face it, they'd be cleaning our toilets if a corporation figured out a way to fit a gloved hand with scrubber down a telephone line.

    I know it's probably good for their economy in the long run, and they're probably not doing too badly out of it themselves. It just seems a bit unfair that they get the some of the worst jobs on the planet and then are subjected to such harsh "performance evaluation".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Need to wake up

    As has been pointed out, some US companies have had this policy for many years, and not a few of them are in the IT services area operating in the UK. One company with which I dealt with was such that an air of paranoia gripped all there staff. Despite being from a really big name company, many were dropped into roles they were ill-equipped and trained for and they lived in fear of being part of the regular cull. Of course they rather knew the cultures of the organisations that they were joining, but this is not spreading to other UK companies that didn't operate this way before. One CEO declared several months ago that he expected 2,500 people to be managed out of his company within the year using "performance management" (something that might come back to haunt him in the future).

    This stuff can be incredibly corrosive. Enron, to a large part, be became the massively fraudulent organisation it was, not just because of crooks at the top, but due to the fire the bottom performers methodology. Essentially if targets were not met, you were on the conveyer belt to the back door. What that generated was an internal industry for fraudulent financial and sales figures. Run a company on very short term fire the bottom X% annually (and in some organisations this can happen within just 4 or 5 months), and just watch teamwork replaced by paranoia and a mad scramble for survival.

    Of course if the various HR organisation that are promoting this (at the behest of accountants) get found out when this "quota" approach is exposed and hits the employment tribunals, then it could get expensive. But then some companies might feel that's still a cheaper price to lose a few of those cases than pay redundancy. Bad financial times will encourage more of this behaviour, so expect a backlog in UK employment tribunals in a few months' time.

  8. Anonymous Coward
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    @it's that damned normal curve

    I once worked at a retail bank in the UK that insisted that all teams were assessed in that way. Our boss refused to do it. We'd been a startup taken over by the bank, and as far as he was concerned (he'd hired us all!) we were all in the top 10%, otherwise we wouldn't have been employed by and survived the start up.

    This led to a bit of a stand off, as you can imagine.

    But in the end, arbitrarily placing employees in buckets doesn't help anyone but the HR department, who think that all jobs can be broken down into process and that everyone is instantly replaceable (ok in time anyone is replaceable, but not always *right now*).

  9. Paul Johnston
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    I'll believe it when..

    The person choosing the unproductives includes themselves in it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    They should have fired all of their employees if performacne was the criteria

    Producing huge amounts of sloppy code is not good performance, no matter how much is made!

  11. Anonymous Coward

    It works like this:

    I have been working independantly as the Lead BA for a load of guys from Infosys for the last, on an understaffed, underfunded project that had been started late in response to a regulatory change (ie hard deadline).

    The net result was that the Infosys development team was working so hard (12 to 16h a day, 6 or 7 days a week), that they had no time to go and study for their internal exams and all got downgraded for it. This means they didn't get promotion, raise or bonus.

    I was and still am outraged at that bunch of management wankers fucking over a brilliant team like that and am well prepared to believe the horror stories.

    (Of course the idiot developers never told anyone that they needed time off or the implications of their 'exams')

  12. DrXym Silver badge

    Who outsources to companies like this?

    I frequently worked with Indian outsourced workers and frankly the quality of work was very low. The people from one project to the next were never the same so business knowledge was abysmal, the staff were passive and never pushed back even when requirements were stupid or contradictory, their telephone manner was indecipherable, development times were double or triple the average western duration and the amount of oversight required to steer them the right direction was just a drain.

    Why were they even used? Probably because some genius manager probably saw their daily rate and incorrectly assumed they were getting the same quality of work for 1/3rd the price. But in reality they just got a substandard service which stretched out delivery times and dragged down the quality of the code after so many hands inappropriately touched it.

    Outsourcing is a terrible idea for coding unless the same team can be assured from one piece of work to the next. In addition the team has to take pride in their work and PUSH BACK. Stupid or missing requirements need to be identified not blindly implemented even when they make no sense. Maybe the likes of Infosys would help itself here if it didn't operate like a revolving door and tried ever so slightly harder to develop teams rather than just create such a crappy work environment.

  13. Farah Rahman

    Pai - The Warden of Dilberthalli should be fired

    The Warden of Dilberthalli is back. Halli is village in local lingo here in the fine city of Bangalore. This moron has been confusing HR and PR for a while. Clearly not doing a very good job on either front. The ones that were let go should thank their lucky stars that they are out of the clutches of the Borg that services the West while pretending to do "IT."

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