As ‘start-up’ fever spreads, attrition-hit firms look within for remedy

Firms trying to create start-up-like environment; NASSCOM data shows most large product or services companies now have in-house incubators

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Published: December 8, 2014 10:23:39 pm
Reports say 21 per cent of the country’s start-up companies are located in Pune. Reports say 21 per cent of the country’s start-up companies are located in Pune.

With the ‘start-up fever’ catching up with Pune, more and more companies are now focusing on creating such environment for their employees within the premises of their offices. This, senior managers, feel will help cut down on the attrition rate of top-of-the-pyramid talent and also allow in-house innovation for the company to prosper.

Since 1990s, Pune has been on the IT map of the nation, competing with Bengaluru. Pune has around 1,500 software companies and reports suggest the total software exports from Pune is to the tune of $10 billion. Though a majority of the companies operating in Pune belong to the service sector, rise of product companies has been significant in the last few years.

When it comes to start-ups, Pune has surged ahead, with reports saying as much as 21 per cent of the country’s start-ups being located in the city. Also, 11 per cent of the applications for the NASSCOM’s 10,000 Start-ups initiative, came from Pune.

The vibrant scenario in Pune has seen many employees leave their corporate jobs to enter the field of technology start-ups. Senior managers admit that around 10 per cent of the attrition in large product or services companies is due to employees going for start-ups. “People who go for start-ups are obviously among the top-of-pyramid talent and losing them significantly affect the companies,” said a senior industry watcher.

In order to address this issue, companies have of late started creating start-up-like atmosphere in their companies, which includes non-lateral teams and more freedom to employees to experiment. Other than incubators, companies are also identifying and forming special teams whose sole work will be to work for innovation in cubicle-less atmospheres. NASSCOM data shows almost all the large product or services companies in the city now have in-house incubators.

The incubation centre of BMC Software has been in operation, with Suhas Kelkar, chief technology officer of the company, saying they allow informal and open working environment for the team. “At present, we have a 20-member team working solely on innovation. They collaborate with the larger resource and development teams too,” he said. Kelkar said the company had ensured working for such a team was free from hassles. “Failure is part and parcel of the innovation process and we have the theory of ‘fail early and fail often’. It is important that failure is not penalised but should be taken as the part and parcel of the learning curve,” he said.

Other than having as many as 50 teams working on innovation, Persistent Systems is using more methods to recreate a start-up environment in the company. According to chairman and managing director Dr Anand Deshpande, the company has a flowing ecosystem in which former employees who want to re-join the company after their start-up ventures are always welcome. “On a personal as well as at company levels, we collaborate with former employees who go for their start-ups,” he said. Deshpande said though these were early days there was a definite trend of companies trying to create the required environment to foster talent and innovation.

For Rohit Agarwal, CEO and co-founder of Framebench, the charm of a start-up, other than being “your baby”, is “the recognition and joy that comes with it”. Agarwal, who graduated from BITS Pilani last year, has been involved with his start-up since his graduation days and has no plans of going for a corporate job. “Many of my friends have refused awesome job offers from established companies to remain with their start-ups. Companies are now trying to re-create such environment to stem the attrition of talent to start-ups,” he said.

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