Genpact: The World is Yours – Anju Talwar

Anju Talwar, SVP training & HR outsourcing at Genpact, tells Steve Dunkerley about the company’s award-winning talent management programme and how it produces a highly productive pool of employees that clients consider their own.

Companies that want to gain the competitive edge look to employ the best talent available, wherever in the world it is found. In order to achieve desired business outcomes, the effective management and nurturing of global talent, without spending too much time and resources on the process, is key.

For Genpact, a market leader in the provision of business process and technology management services, the people it hires and trains are a major aspect of its value proposition.

This is reflected in its global delivery model, which includes 42,500 highly skilled employees working across a network of 35 locations in 13 countries. A key differentiator among its talent pool is the sheer volume of Six Sigma and Lean-qualified employees (over 11,000 and 24,000 respectively) and their commitment to identify and fulfil client needs.

Steve Dunkerley: How do you go about aligning your global talent with client needs?

Anju Talwar: We want our employees to be an extension of our client’s talent pools, so we carefully hire and train staff with the appropriate skill sets, such as finance and accounting, procurement, analytics or specific vertical market knowledge.

"There is a huge war to retain talent in the industry and our [email protected] initiative helps upskill employees through certifications from training and educational institutions."

Due to the level in which we integrate with our clients, our employees are trained the same way as they are and our offices become a seamless extension of the client site. In addition to training, we try to simulate the client’s physical environment.

Take our client United Biscuits (UB), for example. We made our employees’ working environment as similar as we could to a genuine UB office and have worked closely with the company to achieve this. UB provided branded biscuits and snacks, display cases, LCD screens, stationery and posters to make the office look and feel similar to those in the UK. The effect of all this is illustrated when staff describe themselves as employees of UB rather than Genpact.

We also provide our employees with detailed training programmes to ensure they are experts on everything relating to the client, such as product portfolios, the industry sector, production processes, target markets and competitors. In addition, we encourage incentives and games that relate to the client’s products. This maintains morale and increases product knowledge.

Our clients also believe that they are speaking to their own staff when they communicate with our employees. We work together and take part in calls to discuss challenges and opportunities.

SD: What value do clients get from Genpact’s Lean Six Sigma-qualified employees?

AT: I’d like to stress that it doesn’t matter if our clients are not Lean Six Sigma experts because the starting point for any business process re-engineering programme is voice of the customer. This means that our experts learn about the customer’s needs via a thorough analysis in order to deliver desired business outcomes. The only requirement from the client is that they be equally committed and proactive in ensuring a successful outcome.

Genpact has worked closely with United Biscuits to create a workforce that aligns itself with the company and its brands. The value of Lean Six Sigma for our clients is the value generated from more efficient and effective business processes.

However, the biggest business impact can be achieved by delivering projects as part of an in-depth process improvement programme known as Smart Enterprise Processes (SEPSM). SEP couples Genpact’s domain knowledge of processes, key insights and best practice with execution support, including IT and technology applications, analytics, reengineering and global delivery services. The end-to-end methodology of SEP can increase the value of traditional efforts focused on business process improvements.

SD: What are your goals from a training perspective and what programmes are being rolled out?

AT: Aside from better serving our clients, the key goals are to develop future global leaders and retain employees. There is a huge war to retain talent in the industry and our [email protected] initiative helps upskill employees through certifications from training and educational institutions from around the world. The initiative supports the grooming of employees for higher knowledge and skills. To support strong company growth, as much as 30% in recent years, a pipeline of global leaders is being prepared through our Global Operating Leaders Programme (GOLD). Attrition rates on the programme are 6.2%, while post-programme attrition is at 8.2%. For employees who are not on the programme, the attrition rate is 25%.

GOLD participants are taken through an 18-month structured development programme that includes three job rotations of six months each. The rotations are across functions and regions, with an emphasis on the overall development of the employee. The programme includes six weeks of classroom training, where participants have sessions with top leaders and are given access to training and development initiatives such as Harvard courses and AMS programmes.

GOLD participants are readied for key roles in the organisation. In 2009, 60% of all internal jobs were filled from this pool, and 20% bagged expanded roles.

In September, Genpact won the American Society of Training and Development’s BEST award. The award recognises Genpact’s focus on learning as a differentiator to develop and engage its employees.

SD: Tell us more about where your global talent is located and the countries Genpact has plans to expand in?

AT: Our talent pool is truly global. In India we have 17 delivery centres with over 25,000 employees based in Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bangalore and Kolkata. Other key centres are located in China, Mexico, Guatemala, the US, South Africa and the Philippines. We strive to corner talent in a location and set industry standards. We adopt Tier-2 cities to expand the talent pool, while maintaining price advantage for our clients. In Europe we have over 2,000 employees, half of which are located in Romania, with the rest spread over Hungary, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands.

In terms of global expansion, Egypt is a good option because it has an excellent education system and a multilingual population conversant in English, French and Arabic. Brazil is a huge growth market for global clients and will be another key area for expansion.

A common methodology is used to set up and run all our operations worldwide, leveraging key learnings and allowing for local nuances when important. This approach allows us to quickly solve our global client’s needs.

Anju Talwar, SVP training and HR outsourcing at Genpact.