Dec 6, 2006

Will getting tough with job-hoppers help

CNN IBN reports that BPOs will get tough with job hoppers:
"Genpact, a leading BPO firm, wants employees who quit without intimation or serving notice to repay costs incurred on their training."
That's the wrong way to deal with "absconding" attrition in India. The reasons why employees leave without notice is the unreasonable demand that organizations put on employees. One month notice period for an entry level job?

Training costs are not something that an employee asks for, that one can recover from them. It's an investment to do business better. It's there because organizations want to hire fresh graduates and not experienced professionals who would cost more.

Recovering that cost from employees who quit because of various reasons like the nature of work does not agree with them, or because of a scary boss, is just not morally defensible.

Update: Chandra's point is that "nothing wrong with a company who is investing in them to hold them back till break even point...else wy invest??".

But then when does a company draw the line. If that is the case then any benefit could be revoked depending on the organization's business interests. One can argue that the firm also invested in providing cab or bus pickup and drop from office to home hence when people leave , they should pay back that too to the organization.

However that doesn't sound quite right, isn't it?

The reality is that Indian BPO firms have grown too fast too soon. Cost-arbitration and hence the focus on "cost of attrition" will do no good to either the industry or the employees.

There will be a shakeout in the BPO sector and those firms that compete solely on cost will be decimated.

Otherwise such strategies will eventually lead to lesser number of applicants for the firm and more 'absconding' cases. Very few graduates get into BPOs looking for a long term career. A few might like the work and decide to stick on and perform well. A big percentage of the workforce looks at it as a source of 'pocket money' and a place to make friends. They are biding time while they study for CAT/XAT/GMAT and head for further education. That was the data when we analysed causes for attrition during my tenure in an MNC BPO firm.

In fact, there was a small trend of people joining firms and leaving them after 3 months. They never needed to 'work' as in all firms they spent the initial 3 months period in training. After a year of such 3-4 employment they got into a B School and never mentioned these in their CVs.

This will not continue for a longer term. But asking people to pay back the training cost is very extreme IMHO.

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