Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka
Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka [File Photo]Reuters

Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka may have just completed one year at the Indian technology behemoth, but he already has 'Infoscions' eating out of his hands thanks to the changes he brought in. 

In his first year as the chief of India's second largest IT firm, Sikka was able to turn the company to "look much like a new-age, youthful, agile company, very different from the traditional Indian IT services firms."

"Vishal's arrival brought hope that Infosys could make the transition into the digital age and move from a 'has been' to a 'relevant' player," Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, told The Economic Times.

However, Sikka's challenge is to inspire the company to regain the IT bellwether status once again, a position it lost due to the lack of innovation and growing competition in the sector.

One of the first moves taken by Sikka was doing away with the formal dress code for its employees. The employees are now free to wear jeans and T-shirts instead of attending the office in formals with ties.

"Infosys needed a dressing down," said an Infosys employee, referring to a change in dressing policy.

Many internal processes related to employees have also been made simple. A woman employee seeking extension of maternity leave can just inform the manager through mail, without giving any "verbal explanations."

Also, the complex procedure an employee has to undergo while applying for a transfer to other location has been simplified. The company also "institutionalized family events of its employees including carnivals for their children."

The company motivates its employees to take part in decision-making process at "many levels." And the CEO constantly communicates with employees through blogs, town halls, InfyRadio and InfyTV, besides giving prompt replies to employee issues posted on Yammer, the company's  communication platform.

"He participates in conversations, and joins groups of his interest. And we are encouraged to learn from each other," said Shruthi Bopaiah, an Infosys employee, according to the ET.

Owing partly to the initiatives taken by Sikka, the company has been able to reduce its attrition rate, once the highest in the industry, to 14.2% in the June quarter from 23.4% in the same period last year.

One of the key changes brought in by Sikka is seeking more "employee engagement" in generating ideas for the company. He rolled out a programme called Murmuration, targeted at "crowd-sourcing ideas from employees."

About 26,000 employees took part in the initiative, sharing 2,650 ideas. The company had shortlisted ten ideas for execution based on employee voting.

"Vishal has shared a simple template that anyone — from any function, however junior or senior — can use to bring in innovation to anything he/she does. Suddenly, innovation is no big deal. It feels great to know that we are in some way part of a great renaissance at Infosys. From being simple 9-to-5ers, we've become people on a mission," said Infosys employee Harini Babu.

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