Respect for individuals leads to recruiting gains at TCS (National HR Awards)

Winner: Best Recruitment Campaign

Respect for individuals leads to recruiting gains at TCS (National HR Awards)
Recent Tata campus recruits celebrate graduating from the company’s Initial Learning Program, flanked by Vivek Kawley, director of HR in Canada (right) and Reddy Gowtham Kumar K, Canadian talent development lead (left). Courtesy: Tata

Organizational growth at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Canada has necessitated a quality recruitment program. And that has led to the IT company winning the national HR award for Best Recruitment Campaign.

“For us, growth is based on our employees’ contribution, so recruitment plays a very major part,” says Vivek Kawley, Toronto-based director of HR in Canada for TCS Canada, which employs 3,942 workers and is headquartered in Mumbai.

Since 2012, TCS Canada has created nearly 1,500 jobs nationwide, with recruitment efforts honing in on cultural fit.

“Our culture is very open, transparent and participatory,” he says, noting employees often push the company’s innovation agenda. “Our environment is very collaborative so people can connect and give suggestions about how we can grow as a company or as a team and take TCS to greater heights. That’s something that differentiates our hiring from a cultural perspective.”

“As an organization, the only asset which we record is our employees. We believe that everybody has a role to play and can add value to the organization,” says Kawley.

“In that context, we believe that in every interaction we have with candidates, we make that person feel very special about applying to TCS, from the time my team connects to a prospective candidate to the time an interview or selection happens and the person joins TCS on Day 1,” he says. “That makes a huge difference in the hire.”

Focused hiring

TCS’ recruitment practice focuses on bringing in new university graduates through on-campus recruitment efforts, as well as finding workers with a variety of field experience, according to Kawley.

“Last year, we hired more than 100 students from different universities across all provinces,” he says. “That is something of which we feel very proud.”

Across the country, TCS partners with student-run conferences, competitions, data-mining challenges and hackathons to identify prospective talent. Corporate leaders are brought in to speak to students, sharing their work experience to both motivate recruits and introduce them to potential career paths within the company.

The TCS campus team hires twice annually — in January and July — with batches consisting of 30 or more recent graduates.

The company also promotes careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through its goIT community engagement program — including a conscious effort to hire qualified women to meet a gender diversity ratio of 35 per cent, says Kawley.

GoIT is a free program designed to teach coding and application development to middle-school and high school students.

Bringing in experienced employees to work alongside new graduates is critical due to rapid change in the industry, he says.

“Technology keeps changing every two or three years. The change is happening rapidly, so when we hire people from market — whether it’s university graduates or with experience — what we look at is their ability to learn new technology quickly.”

Every two years, the company conducts manpower planning based on market trends and competitor progressions to forecast business volume and accompanying labour demands.

A newer development in the TCS recruitment options is a referral policy known as “Bring Your Buddy.” Employees who successfully refer a candidate earn a monetary award. There is no limit on the amount of referrals an employee can make, and the initial uptake has been superb with some referring as many as six candidates, he says.

In the last year, one-fifth of new hires came via the referral program, according to Kawley.

The early success reveals that current TCS employees are satisfied with their work, so much so that they will recommend friends and relatives to join them. The financial reward they receive for their efforts is simply “icing on the cake,” he says.

Much of TCS’s recruitment success is rooted in respect for individual candidates, says Kawley.

Even if TCS decides not to move forward with a candidate, an HR representative will reach out to provide the individual with personalized, constructive feedback and several areas of improvement.

Additionally, TCS recruiters use consistent hiring processes and systems to ensure objectivity is maintained amidst the large number of candidates, he says.

Candidates who meet minimum qualifications via their resumés undergo a phone interview to verify their experience, then may be short-listed for a face-to-face meeting with a panel of three interviewers — always including an HR representative. Panels are required to reach a unanimous decision on an individual candidate before providing a work offer.

Developing recruits

And the focus on employees doesn’t stop when recruits successfully join the company, says Kawley.

New hires begin by attending a six-week TCS Initial Learning Program (ILP), which includes orientation and product development lifecycle training, among other technical training needs.

With high value placed on employee experience, TCS works hard to ensure staff are regularly developing interpersonal and technical skills, often through a company app and mobile gamification options. All employees are expected to spend 10 to 12 days annually on advancing their competencies, he says. “We spend a lot of time in developing the talent of our employees.”

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