The article talks about a young 22-year-old Amisha Gupta who had just completed her undergraduate degree in engineering in electronics and communications from a reputed college in Bangalore, which is also known as Silicon Valley of India. This article focusses on the experiences that Gupta faced and actions she took, possible areas of mismatch between Gupta and Xciting, actions that I would take if I was in Guptas place: would I continue to stay at Xciting or would I leave, improvements that could be made in Xcitings socialization practices, socialization and new-comers onboarding activities in other industries?
Amisha Gupta is a young graduate from a reputed college in Bangalore, India.
She got placed in a reputed Indian IT firm called Xciting. Many young graduates aspire to join such well-known companies after graduation. Xciting had revenues of 6 billion dollars with a head count of about 100,000 who are spread globally in the year 2010. Case was dated in 2010 with the previous year 2009 being the worst year in Indian IT industry.
2009 graduated engineering students had witnessed the most awful times of recession in Indian data information technology (IT) division. However, they received jobs offers from companies but were placed on bench for long periods nearing up to one year. Gupta was excited about the offer from Xciting though she had to wait for four months to know the results after campus interviews.
In September 2011, Gupta re-read her diary in which she made a record of her deepest thoughts and experiences throughout the year for her first yearly review.
After going through her diary, she realized that there was a considerable amount of change in her behavior and also her perception about Xciting. In this paper she is reflecting her journey of last year before going into her yearly review. All major IT organizations hired fresh graduates in large numbers on contracts and trained them to match up to the required skills to perform assigned projects. Xciting also followed a training program to newcomers where they are put through very structured and in-depth training to improve their quality of programming skills. Later on they are trained in specific domain related aspects to learn about the service areas in which they would handle projects in the future.
Gupta expresses her first day at orientation in her first diary entry. She explains that her first day was more of a cultural shock where she could see the difference between being unorganized as a student and how life changes in to a highly organized one. Orientation day was typically a paper-work day with lot of documents submission and authorizations. Gupta reflected this day as a little boring and was also excited that she is finally employed.
After orientation, Gupta had to undergo training and pass examinations at the end of training to prove her worthiness to the company. Gupta was worried if she can survive the test and was anticipating it to be a tough one. She then encouraged herself by thinking that she was worthy for the position and was therefore hired at the first place. The training was a combination of presentations from different departments of Xciting, administrative information, values, culture, journey of Xciting and some interactive games. Gupta was worried if she could sit through the entire training. She also quoted in her diary that all the trainers were very passionate which made Gupta to be proud of her being able to be a part of such big company.
The total probation period in Xciting was for one year which was divided into three modules. First week was orientation which was then continued with 3 months of technical training with 3 examinations and simulated mini project. Gupta did not find any difficulty in finding a project partner as one of her fellow trainees volunteered to be her partner. However, she did not receive any help or support or inputs from him and instead she was dumped with complete documentation and paper work. At last she managed to finish the project and passed the test. She was then assigned project works in different departments based on her training. She later on expressed how she faced problems with improper reporting procedures as the person whom she needs to report has not responded. She was then introduced to her group by her manager. She mentioned that at first they seemed to be very professional but later she found them to be very friendly. She realized that she was asking all her doubts and concerns only to one of her colleague. This made her think that having tea together as a group would bring them all together. She was then told by her project lead to stay late on Thursdays to attend a customer phone call at 7 p.m.
Since the length of the contract positions depend on the end client requirements, the jobs of contractors can be compromised, and layoffs can happen any time. Such employees are often referred to as on bench and are paid less till they secure next project. Something similar happened to Amisha. She reached out to her manager and asked for a next project after being on bench for a couple of weeks. She was fortunate to land a project at another location but her co-worker in her team was not participating actively or was interested to work. However there was no proper response from her manager. In two days she had her yearly review meeting with her manager and I believe she would have sorted out her concerns regarding her work-place with her manager.
The dilemmas that she had were- whether she has the passion for IT as she is from electronics and communications background, whether she was a right fit for Xciting, should she suggest any remedial measures at Xciting or switch jobs to any other IT company?
Possible areas of mismatched expectations between Gupta and Xciting
Going through Guptas experiences, it is quite understandable that there are possible areas of mismatched expectations between Gupta and Xciting. There was no clear guidance and proper handling of newcomers after being assigned a project. Gupta had to face a problem as the person to whom she has to report did not respond to her. She had to contact her manager to know about the reporting procedure. Unnecessary important being given to quantity over quality of work and asking to work late sometimes. This happens when there is no proper flow or organization of work plan. There is no mechanism to map benched employees with stressed and overburdened projects. There is no regular interaction with manager to take feedback about her performance and expectations as well as any grievances. As a new employee, candidates expect active assimilation whereas the organization was providing only basic orientation. New employees expect orientation program to include modules on personality development and self awareness Unrealistic timelines for completion of work were imposed. Differences in perceptions and personalities between managers and new employees was observed.
Actions that I would take if I was Gupta
After going through the article and knowing the experiences and thoughts of Amisha Gupta, I would continue to stay with Xciting rather than moving to a different company if I was in her place. To support my idea and decision, I would work on a potential action plan to handle her situations, ask for improvements in socialization practices like group lunch with group members or fun activities occasionally. I would work on maintaining healthy relationship with co-workers and superiors and build a good rapport.
Improvements that could be made at Xcitings socialization practices
Some of the improvements that I think could be made at Xcitings socialization practices include- using pre populated forms with information about the new hire to create a good first impression and to avoid compliance risk to do wrong data entry. Inputs on organizational culture like sessions on professional ettiquetts to be given formally and informally preferably by person who has just completed the transition. To ease the first day worries sending a welcome mail and a single point of contact. Introduction of ice breaking activities like team lunches after joining a new project team. Introduction of a full time mentor-mentee program where the mentor is not a line manager for better handling and passing on important information about office dynamics. Structured interaction with the team lead to iron out petty issues like an equal workload without waiting for the yearly review. Internal portal or a system to display vacancies in other project with the provision for benched employees could give a preference. Providing full time counsellor to alleviate work related stress and promote healthy work-life balance.
Socialization and newcomer onboarding practices in other industries
First day at work is the most imperative day for any newcomer. The organization has to make sure that they feel welcomed as most of them are fresh graduates with out prior professional work-place exposure. This is definitely a cultural change for newcomers, therefore it is critical to make their first day an uncommon one. As the saying goes, first impression is the best impression, the newcomers learn a lot about the work-place culture and try to predict how it is going to be in future. The following is a short list of onboarding practices that other industries follow for newcomers-
Plan and execute formal introduction programs
Make the first day at work more welcoming
Plan and execute paperwork and fundamental procedures before actual day of work
Be approachable and hold a ready to participate nature
Use innovative ways to execute and encourage the procedure
Connect with important stakeholders
Clear communication and providing proper information of who, what, when and where of onboarding
Prompt response by representatives to clear off any concerns and confusion for newcomers