Part 5 of Series 5
What do you do when you realize you don’t have enough leaders for tomorrow? Infosys BPO undertook a serious evaluation, designed an ambitious leadership program, and cultivated leadership that could rise up to any challenge.
The asbsence of readily available talent at the managerial level was identified as a serious challenge by Infosys BPO during the FY 2015-16 Annual Strategic Action Planning. Closer inspection revealed that quick action had to be taken for leadership development and that building a pipeline of managerial leaders was crucial. This would also have resulted in better retention rates and lesser cost of hiring by promoting internal hiring.
The intervention had to be timely, sustainable and scalable to cater to a large and diverse workforce across 33 global locations. The challenges didn’t end there — the proposal had to have a solid business plan, a reliable metric and needed to consider the learning curve of the new incumbents, client relationship impacted due to learning curve, lack of structured learning plan for growth, reduced internal growth, attrition or de-motivated employees and the absence of expected direction and support to frontline employees.
Since a standalone solution would have achieved limited success, varied approaches to creatively solve the challenges stood out. Hence, a blended approach to accommodate a multi-disciplinary solution was designed keeping in mind the guidelines of maximizing internal resources, minimizing loss of production hours and cost, application of knowledge at each step and ensuring ease of implementation. The entire exercise was divided into three phases —baseline assessment, training and implementation. While the first phase undertook a 180 degree behavioral assessment, identification of projects and mentors, the second phase consisted of a 10-day on-campus residential program wherein business leaders, academic partners and the L&D team facilitated training through relationship based activities with equal emphasis on health and wellness. The last phase required participants to apply their learnings from the previous two phases in the project identified with the help and guidance of senior leaders. Alongside the implementation, the last leg also focused on reviewing the learning journey, sharing the lessons via social media and understanding the milestones that were achieved.
During the program, competencies like customer orientation, collaboration, building teams, business acumen, learning and innovation, high impact communication and their growth were meticulously measured to assess the pre- and post-training levels. All the candidates recorded an impressive learning journey, and gained valuable skills like soft skills, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, clarity in communication etc.
13 participants of the program were promoted within six months of completion, and 100 percent of the participants who appeared for the panel interview for a movement from JL4 to JL5 were promoted. Furthermore, the 44 projects that were implemented by the participants in phase three resulted in massive savings by the company and clients. The exposure to senior business leaders instilled a sense of confidence in the participants and also provided an opportunity to discuss best practices, ideas, challenges & resolutions, placements, sourcing resources etc. Inter-personal communication turned out to be a big source of learning as well, and ensured a holistic development for the participant.
Each wave of the program has added onto the experience and knowledge of the employees, and has making the learning journeys even richer. An autonomous alumni network is on the cards too, and the organization plans to adapt the program to global centers. Since the reports and reviews are technology-driven, a dedicated team is already working on automating report reviewing.