Helen Rowe investigates just what it takes for a company to make it into the list of the best employers in India
Workshops to groom leadership talent, employee sabbaticals and an increasing emphasis on helping staff develop an improved work-life balance are among the HR innovations that have earned recognition for 25 employers in India.
For the second year running, Infosys Technologies has been named India's best employer in a survey by HR consultants, Hewitt Associates. Procter & Gamble and Hewlett-Packard also maintained their respective places in the top three.
GlaxoSmithKline and Satyam were ranked fourth and fifth in turn, followed by Agilent Technologies, Bharat Heavy Electricals, American Express, Colgate Palmolive and Gillette.
Purva Misra, a consultant at Hewitt, says focusing on developing leadership potential, as Infosys has done, is becoming increasingly important due to the unpredictable business environment in which large companies now operate.
"Strong leadership is the most significant feature of surviving in difficult circumstances," she said. "The best leaders have taken tough decisions - business situations often demand it. But their hallmark is the ability to do so with remarkable humanity."
The best employers, Misra says, have all identified providing leadership and management development programmes as key activities. Employees in these companies averaged 53 training hours a year, which has helped them to cope with change.
Other innovations include sabbaticals which are offered by almost all (92 per cent) of Hewitt's top 25 employers.
The top employers also have a common belief that pay alone will not help to retain their best people, Misra says. "Few claim to be the highest payers, though most are certainly in the top quartiles of their respective markets."
Instead, she says, they tend to place more emphasis on a fair salary for the contribution made and on the benefits offered to employees and their families, such as health insurance - sometimes without any upper limit on liability - and extended sick leave and maternity leave.
Now in its second year, the survey shows the top 25 rema