The Infosys Way of Grooming Future Leaders
Article by author Swapna
According to an old saying, the best way to become a 'leader' is to find a parade and run in front of it. However, a person cannot become a true leader until and unless he/she sets a direction for the rest of the group. Without a leader a group tends to lose focus, enter into conflicts and might not agree upon one solution. Leadership is very significant as leaders have the ability to motivate and drive a group of people towards a certain goal. Because of this reason, the importance of efficient leaders is increasing in the corporate world. Leaders play a crucial role in the development of a company with their innovative ideas. Efficient leaders in the company motivate the employees and drive them towards achieving a certain goal. Realising the requisite, most of the organisations are grooming their potential employees as future leaders as they are very essential in inspiring the people and achieving profits. Another advantage to the companies because of the leadership training and development is that this would in one way bring down the attrition rate as well. Hence, it has become a primary concern for the organisations to find and nurture leadership talent.
The aspect of grooming future leaders can be discussed more effectively taking into consideration the example of Infosys' style of grooming its leaders. Infosys, one of the largest IT companies in India, is one company which is exclusively banking on the concept of grooming future leaders. People being the major raw material for any company in the industry, it takes utmost care in recruiting people into the organisation. It established 'Infosys U' for training the freshers' recruited into the company. It trains and screens the freshers more stringently before they finally put on the job. Not only the freshers even the existing employees are exposed to training from to time to keep themselves updated about the latest technologies.
Recognising the need for grooming leaders, it emerged as the first Indian company to setup an institute exclusively for the purpose of training its employees as prospective leaders. It is chiseling leaders out of its high-performing employees through its 'Infosys Leadership Institute' (ILI). Infosys divided its pool of high-performing employees into three tiers based on their work experience. Tier-I comprises business leaders including the heads of business units whereas the tier-II and tier III group consists of other high-potential employees. The candidates in the Tier-I group are mentored by the board members and the candidates in the tier II and tier-III are mentored by those who are a tier above them. It also provides rigorous leadership training to its high potential employees with leadership qualities based on a 'nine pillar' model designed by the ILI. The leadership journey of the employees at Infosys continues for a period of 3 years.
The Infosys style of grooming its future leaders has stood as a benchmark for other companies as well. Even other companies like TCS, Wipro, etc., are also concentrating on grooming their employees into prospective leaders as employees are the major resources for the companies in the IT industry. However, the major question is to what extent the companies in the IT industry would benefit from grooming their employees as future leaders and also what kind of leadership would be required by them.