More than 100 former Infosys executives are returning to the company, heeding new CEO Vishal Sikka’s call to them to rejoin the one-time software industry bellwether in what could be a big confidence booster in its efforts to attract fresh talent and prevent existing employees from jumping ship.
Once an employer of choice in India, Infosys steadily lost that status in the past couple of years, hemorrhaged talent, including at senior levels, and left it with industry-leading attrition levels that has seen almost one in five employees leave the company.
After Sikka took charge of Infosys on August 1, one of his first actions was to issue an open call to former Infosys employees to come back to the company. In an email titled “A new beginning”, Sikka urged former employees to consider joining back, saying: “Our focus on finding new, exciting ways of working together has never been stronger. I have often heard it said that once an Infoscion, always an Infoscion. Friend, you stand testimony to this fact, and I know I can look forward to our continued association and your support as an ambassador for Infosys.”
That plea has since started yielding results, with the number of returnees, which stood in the low teens on average in the last 12 months, now steadily rising. Infosys has long had a programme called “Green Channel” to woo back former employees into the company, but this time around special care is being put to make their return smooth.
“There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the messages that have gone out to former Infoscions,” confirmed Srikantan Moorthy, executive vicepresident and head of human resources at Infosys. “I don’t have a definitive number because these are all people that apply for a position and then we look through and see how many have applied that were former Infoscions. But I can definitely say it will be more than 100.” He did not share details about the levels or roles at which people were returning or whether these included some high profile names.
This will be a shot in the arm for Sikka, who, in his first interview to ET since taking charge, had listed managing Infosys’ high attrition levels as one of his main short-term challenges alongside reviving growth. For the quarter to end-September, attrition stood at 20.1 per cent or one in five employees had left the company. Return of former employees will be perceived as a sign of renewed confidence in the company, and help Sikka and his executive team to attract talent in their attempts at rebuilding Infosys.