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October 17, 2012

Sabbaticals, a priceless retention tool of TCS

Vimal completes another year with TCS, the IT business vertical of Tata Group and he is enthusiastic as ever, about his new project. Yes, there are good days at office and there are bad days too but unlike his friends and batch mates he has not been bitten by the ‘Job Change’ bug yet.

TCS has the lowest attrition rate in the IT industry at 12.8%, and the employee centric work environment with the fragrant policy blossom has made TCS one of the top scores in the ‘BT-Best Places to Work’ survey. The efforts of the Human Resource team at TCS are commendable, for taking care of 226,000 employees, from 103 nationalities, spread around the globe is no child play.

There are a number of initiatives by the company to propel its growth by aligning employee goal with organizational goal. One of such initiatives is ‘Sabbaticals’, a fantabuluos way to rejuvenate the human capital. It offers employees an opportunity to realign priorities in life & work and attend to aspirations put in the back burner.

We tend to get caught in the everyday nuisances of life and allow our dreams and aspirations to gather dust. An opportunity to reflect in time to work on those long forgotten yet not lost wishes is a reward in itself. A time away from work to pursue an educational course, learn a new skill, pack the travel bag to go globetrotting or simply rejuvenate oneself. Regardless of the purpose, giving an option to employees for the sabbatical leave is a wonderful talent retention policy.

At TCS, the policy regarding sabbatical is well crafted and has brought benefits to employee employer alike. An employee rejoins with renewed commitment feeling rejuvenated after the needful break. Updation in knowledge and skill sets result in higher confidence and a surge in creative solutions to challenges. A positive message goes out to the peer group inspiring them. It is not only the employee who benefits here, the employer too finds value in terms of talent retention, increase in loyalty and commitment towards the organization, enhancement of efficiency, cross training, and excellent PR opportunity.

TCS has alliances with different universities around the globe which provides opportunities for study sabbaticals. TCS employees are encouraged to work in university departments that are engaged in advanced research in various fields. And researchers from academia are invited to work as interns or on specific projects in the TCS Innovation Labs.

The benefits are numerous but it has its pitfalls too. The workplace environment changes very fast and for someone away from work for a long time the change becomes more obvious. It takes time and effort to get back to the routine again. But given the benefits the drawbacks look digestible.

TCS considers its workforce to be a critical resource and the scale of its investment in people amounts to 70%. Mr. S. Padmanabhan, Executive Director and Global Head for Human Resources says “To deal with the variety of expectations, we try to identify broad segments of employees. While we cannot meet everyone’s demands, we are able to cater to the expectations of broad sections of the workforce.”

A policy bouquet comprising of Sabbatical is paying good dividend to TCS and is an example for others too. The size of the organization is not of primary importance here, the willingness is.

Tags : Sabbatical, TCS Sabbatical, TCS attrition rate, Employee benefits, employee loyality

About Nivedita

Nivedita has almost six years of experience in the HR domain. In her current role with an IT company, she manages the talent acquisition and talent management initiatives of the organization. She has been honored a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resources. She began her career in 2005 and has been working in the different domains of Human Resources ever since.