RAVI VENKATARAMAN, Subasri Priya
Perceived problems in the system and strategies of software companies for employee retention of engineers in Chennai, India.
[Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]
All firms have the unanimous basic goal of achieving a workforce consisting of employees who are committed to their profession in that particular organisation and bent upon producing high quality performance throughout their service. (Luchak & Gellatly, 2007) Organisational commitment as described by Mowday, Porter and Steers (1982) depends on how strongly an employee believes in the vision and objectives of an organisation in order to prove as a critical resource to the firm by contributing productively without any intentions to leave the firm in the future. This commitment to the firm can be a characteristic of only those employees who are able to identify and associate themselves thickly with the goals and the values of the organisation they work for (Buchanan, 1974).
Software industry in India especially is the one that is characterized by changes from time to time in terms of technology, and also by social and cultural changes. The country‟s educational system and the establishment of vast and numerous institutions offering technically educative courses throughout the nation, rooting from the history of the significance of professional education since decades ago, the country has become a rich supplier of engineers to feed the need of software firms of the nation and also globally (D‟Mello and Sahay, 2007). Globalisation increased imports by a huge scale and also the export services in the field of science and technology apart from being highly self sufficient with the available pool of technical competence. (Heeks, 1996) Indian software industry began to develop at a great pace since the early 1980‟s that India today is the main destination of industries all over the globe looking out for importing IT services of high quality. Earlier, reportedly three-fourth of the IT services relating to export was done by the software professionals at the location where the client was from, and these labeled in the
industry as onsite projects. (Heeks, 1996) However, the same amount of work these days is being carried out today in India through „offshore‟ (Sahay et al., 2003).
The whole concept of commitment of an employee has been sub divided into three distinct levels namely affective, continuance and normative levels. An employee with affective level of commitment would want to stick to the organisation which is rooted from the attachment to the firm, as an individual, the extent to which identification or himself or herself with the firm is felt, and a motive or drive to contribute to the welfare and growth of the organisation. For this kind of employees with affective level of commitment, staying or quitting the organisation would purely be a matter of choice. The next level of commitment termed as continuance commitment which is related to the perceived costs and cons of leaving the firm. Employees who have strong continuance commitment stay in the organisation only because they have the need to stay and are not in a position to take the risk of quitting even though they do not want to stay. (Pepe, 2010) Lastly, the normative level of commitment is exhibited by the specific workforce of the organisation that ought to be sticking to the firm, abiding by the norms laid by the organisation. (Meyer & Allen, 1991). In the software industry, these norms could be synonymous to the agreement or bond the employees sign up with the organisation to serve the firm for a particular number of years from the date of joining. Out of these three levels of commitment, it is obvious that it is ideal for any organisation to strive to make all employees of the firm be driven only by affective commitment so that the problems of attrition becomes comparatively a lot negligible.(Pepe, 2010)
The Indian software industry can have two distinct services undertaken, domestic projects and export services or outsourcing. According to Arora, Arunachalam, Asundi & Fernandes (2001) the industry is seeming to be less inclined to developing products regularly, and missing out on being productive about creating packages while the amount of export
services the industry is providing clients all over the globe, is ever increasing. The industry now, gaining most of its revenues from international clients have the obligation to please them compulsorily in terms of commitment towards the project assigned, which will require them to basically stay in the organisation quite stably. Attrition of employees in software companies in India is reportedly a big problem, according to managers in the United States who have been participants in the research conducted by Arora et al (2001). The problem of IT employee attrition has been on the increase that the managers are looking forward to the Indian managers who supply the technical support backbone with the IT workers in various software firms, handle with it and implement better HR practices that would solve the issue considerably. The author has pointed out that some participants of the research, reported the seriousness of the problem with a great deal of frustration recalling instances when the whole team assigned under a project quit the firm in less than a year which created major problems and delays in the product/project delivery. This problem of employee attrition undoubtedly gives a reflection of the Indian engineers as professionals who are unwilling to progress in the value chain and are not open to gain better skills making the professional experience longer in the eyes of the global employers.
The need to retain software engineers more stably in the organisations is becoming more compelling due to the nature of services the companies offer. Most of the software firms outsource projects to international clients, mainly to countries like the United States where they consider Indian engineers as critical resource, due to the lack of professionals and skilled workers in the country. There is also an issue that engineers, with more expectations are switching from one organisation to another looking for better benefits, rewards and recognition which might not be the case with non-engineers who are qualified enough for the job in the same software field and the firms in India. This make the non-engineers equally equipped to the same job an engineer can perform in an IT firm in the current scenario. There
is also a wide spread opinion that making good use of this pool of talent from the non-engineers‟ side might considerably ease out the hurdles in an IT firm, encountered due to employee attrition. (Arora et al., 2001)
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