If you’re an Accenture India employee and are running short of leaves, you only have to look as far as an generous colleague for help. In an interesting workplace policy that has been rarely seen before in India, Accenture is allowing its employees to donate their excess leave to their colleagues who may need it in times of crisis.
“It emerged as a result of many of our people wanting to assist colleagues who needed extra leave on account of a medical emergency or personal problem. Many people did not avail of their leave fully by the end of the year. This offered us an opportunity to address both situations,” says Manoj Biswas, geographic unit HR Lead, Accenture India.
This idea has already found traction among progressive companies abroad. Google allows its employees to donate leaves in the US, but this benefit hasn’t yet been extended to its India offices.
Accenture has implemented several groundbreaking workplace policies in the recent past. Earlier this year, it had famously done away with performance reviews for its employees, which had been seen as a bold step for a company its size.
Prominent tech companies land up at college campuses every year, conduct rigorous interviews and tests, and thousands of delighted students are selected for their new professional roles. But the story doesn’t end there. What companies typically issue at these college campuses are Letters of Intent – which are essentially job offers, but they come with a caveat – they don’t specify when the selected students will be required to join these companies and start their professional lives. A lucky few get their Dates of Joining, or DOJs, right after graduating, which ensures a seamless transition from college life to the real world. But there are a large group of students who are kept on hold until business requirements dictate that they be brought on board. In a bleak economic environment, this wait can extend for months.
In the beginning, most students think of this as a welcome break before their professional lives start. But as the waiting period mounts, frustration starts setting in. Here are a collection of reactions we picked from Facebook.
It’s hard to get your impending job out of your minds when you’re sitting at home all day.
Some people can’t seem to take the relentless questioning by their near and dear ones.
And it’s not just the near and dear ones. Everyone around you starts wondering why you haven’t started work yet.
Some people seem to on the verge of giving up.
While others are more optimistic.
Some manage to achieve a Zen-like calm through the ordeal.
While others try to find humour in the situation.
However the creative ones get working on memes.
To the thousands of (ex?) students still waiting for their DOJ, don’t despair – DOJ’s coming.
Consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture has named Rekha Menon as its new India Chairperson. She would be the first woman to head the company’s operations. She would take over on August 21. She succeeds Avinash Vashistha who resigned in July.
Menon joined Accenture in 2004 and is presently Managing Director, Human Resources for Accenture’s growth markets and has been leading the development and execution of the company’s human capital strategy for Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Russia, Turkey and Latin America.
Recognizing the growth potential of the emerging Indian economy, India has been designated as a strategic country for Accenture. As chairman, Rekha will play an active role in growing Accenture’s business and further strengthening the company’s presence in communities across India.
Accenture has been in the news recently for its progressive steps, including doing away with performance reviews for its employees.
Menon has over 24 years of industry experience, and has been consistently named as one of the most powerful women in business in India. A gold medalist from the XLRI School of Business, Rekha has active interests in hiking, long-distance cycling and photography. She lives in Bangalore with her husband and two children.
Juggling motherhood and career is easier now for tech professionals. Netflix, the American on-demand video streaming company, announced a new policy of unlimited maternity and paternity leave for the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.
“We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances”, Netflix’s chief talent officer Tawni Cranz said in a statement on the company’s blog. “Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay. Each employee gets to figure out what’s best for them and their family, and then works with their managers for coverage during their absences.”
To ensure that the employees work at their ease and figure out a work-life balance that works for them, Netflix already offers unlimited time off to its entire staff, and has now explicitly come out with a maternity and paternity leave policy.
In comparison to companies that offer limited maternity and no paid paternity leave at all, Netflix’s new policy seems like a long-due step towards promising employee satisfaction at workplace.
A day after Netflix’s announcement, Microsoft came out with a new maternity and paternity leave policy . November onwards the company would offer 12 weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave along with 8 additional weeks of maternal disability.
“When I look at how rapidly the traditional workplace is changing, not just at Microsoft, but throughout business in general, I see a tremendous opportunity for companies to put a stake in the ground around what they believe in and what kind of culture they want to build together with employees,” Microsoft vice president for human resources Kathleen Hogan said.
“As we ask our employees to bring their ‘A’ game to work every day to achieve our mission, we believe it’s our responsibility to create an environment where people can do their best work. A key component of this is supporting our employees with benefits that matter most to them.”
Changing maternity and paternity leave policy in India
Things are changing in India as well. A pregnancy is no more a death knell of women’s career. Companies are now revamping the maternity leave policy to ensure female workers can come back to their jobs after settling down in the new life as a parent.
Flipkart – The e-commerce giant recently announced 6 months of paid maternity leave for their female employees, along with an option to take year long break before they decide to come back to work. But that’s not all. “The company will increase the paternity leave to 10 days either before the child is born or within six months after the child is born, the spokesperson said. Besides, the male employees will have flexibility to work for four hours at office and the rest from home for the first three months before or after the child’s birth.”, a spokesperson said.
SAP Labs India – The tech organization offers20 weeks of paid maternity leave along with an additional 16 weeks of unpaid leave. They also offer two months of pickup and drop facility, raised maternity insurance, reserved seats in office shuttles and option to work from home.
Accenture – Accenture offers 22 weeks of paid leave, plus an option for 12 weeks of unpaid leave, to retain female employees post pregnancy. They also offer separate maternity room facilities, maternity counseling calls, maternity returners’ programmers and employee assistance programme.
In what is probably a huge and a bold move by a company of its size, Dublin based multinational consulting company Accenture is eliminating annual performance appraisal reviews come September.
Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme told The Washington Post that the professional services firm, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers in cities around the globe, has been quietly preparing for this “massive revolution” in its internal operations.
“Imagine, for a company of 330,000 people, changing the performance management process—it’s huge,” Nanterme said. “We’re going to get rid of probably 90 percent of what we did in the past.”
The firm will disband rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process starting in fiscal year 2016, which for Accenture begins this September. It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments.
These companies say their own research, as well as outside studies, ultimately convinced them that all the time, money and effort spent didn’t ultimately accomplish their main goal — to drive better performance among employees. Traditional performance reviews can be counter-productive in helping employees improve and instead be driving them away to seek greener pastures. Or worse, they remain with the organization, but the heart and passion has been extinguished from their work, which can ultimately lead to uninspired products and flat revenue lines. Besides the cost and time involved in the labourious performance review processes didn’t justify the output of such a procedure and could be utilised towards more productive causes.
Accenture is joining a small but prominent list of major corporations that have had enough with the forced rankings, the time-consuming paperwork and the frustration engendered among managers and employees alike. Six percent of Fortune 500 companies have gotten rid of rankings, according to management research firm CEB. (Source: The Washington Post)
Performance reviews have been a part of institutional life since formative Harvard Business School studies of the 1930s. Professor Elton Mayo found that “happiness and productivity were directly related to the social structure of the workplace. Then, in 1950, the performance review was enshrined in law. The Performance Rating Act of 1950 mandated the annual review of federal workers. Additional laws tethered bonuses and salaries to the grades given in those evaluative meetings, setting a nationwide precedent of annual performance reviews.
Other corporate giants like Deloitte, Adobe, Microsoft have also done away with the conventional yearly review and ranking system and have adopted a more employee and manager friendly system of regular feedback and assignment based reviews.