Infosys staff put their weight behind CEO

With differences of opinion rising on governance issues between founders and the Board, many Infosys employees have been critical of the founders and supportive of the new CEO.

Written by Johnson TA | Bengaluru | Updated: February 11, 2017 2:08:52 am
Infosys Technologies CEO Vishal Sikka in Bengaluru. PTI Photo Infosys Technologies CEO Vishal Sikka in Bengaluru. PTI Photo

Even as a controversy rages over differences between the founders of Infosys and the Board of the firm over governance issues, CEO Vishal Sikka has the employees of the company firmly in his corner. Since taking over as the first non-founder CEO in 2014, one of the key things that Sikka has managed to achieve at Infosys is to revive employee morale and infuse a sense of purpose in the nearly two lakh employees.

With differences of opinion rising on governance issues between founders and the Board, many Infosys employees have been critical of the founders and supportive of the new CEO. “There is a sense of purpose in the organisation. It does not work any longer like traditional IT services firms which revolve around the projects it is awarded. There is learning of new technology and constant efforts to adapt to the changing world…,’’ said a senior software engineer at the firm on the condition of anonymity.

“There is a proper system for employees to contribute ideas and raise concerns since Sikka took over. Now issues are addressed quickly. Earlier there would be no response from the management,’’ the techie said. Sikka, despite being based in the US, frequently communicates with employees via mails, employees said. “When an employee was killed on campus in Pune last month we received two mails from the CEO assuring us that all measures were being put in place…,’’ said another employee.

One of the observations that Sikka himself made in a company blog in 2015 was the shortage of “creative confidence’’ and lack of proactive innovation that he saw in his early months at the firm. After the arrival of Sikka, Infosys has revamped its appraisal systems from a ‘forced ranking’ model to an ‘open ranking’ model where managers assess employees on “clearly-defined tasks with a pronounced focus on rewards for performance’’. Infosys has also created an internal digital platform called ‘Compass’ to identify career opportunities, learning and networks for the employees.

The Infosys CEO has been attempting a culture change since his arrival in 2014. The effort according to Sikka is to make culture of innovation the soul of the firm. “To some, it was a bold statement to say that every Infoscion can be an innovator, that all should be empowered. This is not bold at all — it is a recognition of the great human potential in all of us,’’ Sikka said in a letter to employees on Thursday.

Many employees are of the view that the founders, by raising governance issues, are targeting the chairman of the Board N Sheshasayee and the head of the nomination and remuneration committee Jeff Lehman and not the CEO who is also a part of the Board.

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