Wipro goes on a global talent hunt

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 19, 2014 07:14 hrs

Wipro, which has been undergoing structural changes for the past few years, has set out on other journey that the Bangalore-based company hopes will help it become truly global'.

India's third largest information technology (IT) services company has started an initiative called Global 100, under which it would hire 100 best talents from various foreign colleges and universities every year, and groom them for senior leadership roles. The company plans to expose them to diverse sets of roles, functions and geographies, including India and their home countries in the process, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) T K Kurien told Business Standard.

"We believe we need to structurally change the way we are organised. We are very Indian in our outlook even today; we have to become more global, and our Global 100 programme will help us achieve this," said Kurien.

Indian IT services companies have been working to adopt a global approach in their businesses amid changing market environment, as most of these companies get over 85 per cent of their revenues from outside India. Large IT companies have been looking at hiring foreigners, many of whom now hold leadership positions at these companies or even sit on their boards.

Of the Wipro's 10 independent directors two - Henning Kagermann and William Arthur Owens - are non-Indians. Within the company's senior leadership team, there are several foreigners, such as Ulrich Meister who joined the company recently and is heading its Continental Europe business division. The company's advanced technology service line is also headed by Jeff Heenan-Jalil, a non-Indian.

Wipro's close competitor Infosys also has two non-Indians as independent directors on its boards while the company's leadership team includes several foreign talents such as Head of Utilities and Resources - North America, Stephen R Pratt; Infosys Lodestone CEO Ronald Hafner, and Infosys Public Services CEO Eric Paternoster.

Under the programme, Wipro plans to bring freshly hired top performers' to India initially for one year, of which they would spend the first six months working with a not-for-profit organisation in villages. This is aimed at familiarising these new recruits to a company that is focused on leveraging cost differential, Kurien said.

In the second year, these employees would be moved back to their home countries where they would work in different departments within the company. At the end of the second year, the group would be sent to another country for a year post which they would return to their home countries and work for another two years. This way, these young employees would move around the globe within Wipro for the first 10 years of their tenure at Wipro.

"When you grow up in the West you are used to plenty; you are not used to work in a frugal environment. When you come and work in an environment which is very frugal, you suddenly realise that you necessarily have to work in a company like ours in a fairly frugal way, because ultimately cost is our only differentiator," Kurien said.

The company plans to hire 100 students this year, and would continue to repeat the exercise every following year.

"Our view is that in the next four-five years, we will have a management cadre that's truly global," Kurien said. "This would make us effective. Our brand is the people we have, so the front-end of our business is very important for us."

More from Sify: