October 2013 | uk.tata.com

'HR plays a very important role in the unity of the firm'

Nupur Malik has donned the mantle of HR director of Tata Consultancy Services, UK and Ireland, for eight years now. In this interview, she speaks about the company’s HR policies, culture of openness and inclusive environment that provide equal opportunities for all, which together has enabled it to achieve the honour of being named one of Britain's top employers by the CRF Institute, for three consecutive years.

As you might expect, the human resources (HR) department of a firm with almost 280,000 employees worldwide is a busy place. Overseeing the smooth operation of Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) HR department in the UK and Ireland is Nupur Malik. With 16 years of experience in the business, Ms Malik is now responsible for the end-to-end HR function of more than 9,000 TCS employees belonging to 39 different nationalities in the UK and Ireland. She became HR director for the UK and Ireland in 2005 and has facilitated TCS achieving the ‘Investor in People’ certification with gold status, and being named as one of Britain's top employers by the CRF Institute for three consecutive years.

TCS’s strong reputation, and that of the Tata brand, was the driving force behind Ms Malik’s decision to join the firm in 1997. “Tata is very respected in India, and is an excellent place to establish your credibility,” she says. “It is synonymous with trust.”

Inclusive environment
Ms Malik’s role also makes her an ambassador for women in the firm. TCS is “pretty healthy” in this respect, with 32.3 percent of the workforce being female, but Ms Malik says that TCS’s priority is not on statistics and numbers, but on creating an inclusive environment where opportunities are equal for all.

This approach also extends to the younger generation at TCS. For a company whose whole focus is technology, Ms Malik is keenly aware of the experience and knowledge the “generation born with technology” — a large part of TCS’s global workforce is under 30 — can bring. She says that TCS’s proactive approach to recruiting young minds in the UK and Ireland is “very similar” to the approach taken in India, where the company attracts large numbers of school and university graduates and is involved in educational programmes such as helping to design the school IT curriculum, training of IT teachers, etc. For example, TCS is currently targeting 11-18-year-olds, to encourage them to “move from being users of technology, to creators of it”.

Communication is key
The advent of social media has changed the face of businesses worldwide, and the HR department of TCS is no exception. Ms Malik cites TCS’s internal social network, Knome, as an example of how new technology has changed her job. Bringing the TCS workforce together on one platform means she “gets to hear instantly” of issues that once upon a time would only have been raised in an employee’s yearly review. As in any organisation, “communication is the key”, and by “increasing collaboration across the globe and enabling colleagues to share knowledge”, Knome has become the “mouthpiece of the people” at TCS.

This ability to communicate instantly on a global scale complements TCS’s policy of career development through international secondments. Ms Malik says that TCS employees are actively encouraged to move roles and projects, and to move around the world, sharing their expertise with different offices in the global network. She says that HR thus plays a “very important role in the unity of the firm”, maintaining standards, knowledge and cohesion on a multinational scale, and helping to create TCS’s culture of openness.

‘Maitree’
TCS has not forgotten its roots. ‘Maitree’, meaning camaraderie in Hindi, is an integral part of life at TCS, promoting a healthy work-life balance through cultural events, fun activities and community projects, an example of which is Stepney Green College in East London where TCS employees help mentor and coach pupils. Ms Malik is proud of her firm’s holistic approach to the life of its employees, from TCS’s interest in developing employees’ skills to taking care of their families and health.

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