After publishing the article about Cognizant Layoff plan, we got more inputs from some senior level employees in Cognizant. The article below speaks in the first person, but is collated from inputs of various employees.
Massive layoff/retrenchment planned in Cognizant in the name of Automation and Rotation : Insider input on Infrastructure Service Practice
Let me start with reproducing few recent email lines as is; for obvious reasons I am not able to publish the picture of the complete mail. But you are free to ask your respective delivery head about this and ask them to prove that this is wrong.
“For accounts that started in 2018 I have assumed additional 12% Head count reduction due to Automation”
“I have taken an assumption on Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 releases. Please validate, we also need input on any missed account”
“For accounts where we have done substantial Automation in 2017 and 2018, I have assumed an additional 6% head count reduction”
There are more such content in this mail but I have picked up the only ones which may create the major impact on employees’ career.
Let us also talk about the impact first, then I will focus on my thoughts and finally we will discuss the actions employees can plan.
- In this service practice more than 15% of the total strength, in mid and junior level employees are already on the bench for more than 1 month (4 weeks is the bench period) post 22% attrition (as published in CTS last quarter results) and the retrenchments which happened in 2016 end and 2017.
- Employees (onsite or offshore) immediately hits the bench and start looking for next project ( which obviously not there as there are already many more in the bench).
- After 3-4 weeks HR starts pushing these employees to resign using different means. Some of this methods could be quite horrifying.
- The employees rating immediately comes down to MA or MS. Obviously even if he gets a new project still he is under threat and would receive minimal increment and bonus.
- For some bench employees HR plans for a training which may be completely irrelevant to the work the employee has done or the experience the employee has gathered till date. So the options for the employee inside or outside CTS becomes more difficult.
- The employee goes through severe mental pressure of losing the job and the subsequent insecurity and instability for their family and themselves.
- The employee loses their job.
I am not against automation or any other new technology introduction which can improve the end user operations and make it more efficient, but I want to insist that the gains of automation and technology improvements should be shared with the employees.
I have the following questions for Cognizant senior management;
- Most of this automation initiatives are targeted for fixed cost projects, so that the automation benefits directly add to the company profit. What is your plan for the affected employees?
- Are you planning any relevant training/reskilling for to-be-affected employees in advance and helping them to make a smooth transition to new opportunities?
- Are you also alerting/communicating to the employees about the so called bench plan and keeping them posted so that they have enough time to explore a job outside in case their skills are not relevant?
- Are you sharing with each resource in the project about what is the present margin in this project and what is the future margin you are planning to achieve so that each of them can think and work hard towards that? Or it happens in closed doors and dumped upon the project resources?
- The last and most important, why CTS does not introduce the definition of bench and detailed bench plan in the appointment letter itself so that employees are prepared from day 1 and plan their expenses, plan their self driven skill up gradation accordingly.
I advice each employees to do the following;
- After each quarter discuss with your manager about what is your career plan he has within this project and within Cognizant. Preferably communicate this over emails so that you have some proof and the manger is also hesitant to take any not discussed actions.
- Keep on checking with your customer (if possible) about what Cognizant is proposing them recently.
- Don’t get scared in case you are sent to bench and clearly ask themin writing what caused the same.
- Post bench period, if HR ask you to resign please don’t sign any such document under any pressure.
- Please get very clear plan about your re-skiling /training plan during bench period and see to it that the proposed training plan is enriching your experience.
- Do remember Indian laws do not allow any company to retrench employees without taking proper government body approval and stating a cause.
NDLF is guiding many employees to take legal challenges against illegal retrenchments. In the last 1 year, many employees who have been given retrenchment letter has filed 2A petition and then approached labor department for justice. There are dozens of legal disputes filed in various courts in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune locations.
There is a document called VRS plan floating around. The management intentionally did not use any company details in the draft version.
I advise the employees the following:
- If this separation agreement is not agreed mutually, don’t submit the document. As an employee, you are settled in life and it is your responsibility to give this to next generation.
- If you are happy with the severance package offered, we already specified the payment terms applicable in Industry standard. VRS package should be minimum 1 year salary. So don’t be in a hurry and consult your lawyer before signing these documents.
- Don’t allow HR to influence you and sign the document as required by the company, such as resignation letter.
Think about your responsibility and don’t fall in prey to management pressures if you receive such letter from any company. As an employee, it is your responsibility to make IT safe place free from illegal retrenchments in the future and future generation to have safe job.
Please read the book “IT life Fun or Problems“. This book is written by Shyam, President of NDLF IT Employees Wing to create awareness. The problem with us IT employees are not even know the fundamentals of law and companies are taking advantage of that. The cost of the book is Rs 60/- only and you can read this book online too or can buy the same through Commonpost.in or udumalai.in. You can also contact our union for guidance and support the legal actions.
– with input from several Senior Cognizant Employees
Please buy and read “IT Employees Life – Fun or Problems” a one stop solution to all layoff related queries. You can buy the book online at Common Folks