Dear Members, `Attrition controls should not violate individual's freedom of choice' - Buisness Line Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications, Sunday, Jun 10, 2007 | D. Murali & C. Ramesh Chennai June 9 : Infosys decision to curb employee exits by forcing them to sign non-compete agreements is being received with much criticism by people in the business of helping companies retain talent. Though the company's recent move is clearly aimed at tackling attrition, which has become one of the key challenges in the IT industry, it violates the individual's freedom to choose a career of choice, says Mr Venkatesh L.S., General Manager of Edutech India, a company that provides systems that help corporates develop, manage and optimise their talent. Dwelling on the implications of the Infosys decision, he told Business Line: "I am against any coercive measures to retain talent or impose restrictions on people. If we are talking about a free market, talent will also be subjected to the laws of demand and supply." He also pointed out to the hassles involved in following a litigious route to stopping people from leaving. "It is going to be hard to implement something like that. If we assume an attrition rate of 15 per cent, we are talking about over 10,000 exits in a year! Imagine tracking that many exits and filing that many lawsuits." Besides, the planned Infosys clause will also prevent employees from not joining any of its competitors for a period of six months after their job termination at Infosys. Specified competitors The specified competitors are TCS, Accenture, IBM Global Services, CTS and Wipro. "How do you define competition?" asked Mr Venkatesh. "If its competitors also impose such restrictions on their employees, where will Infosys meet its own talent needs?" He added: "Sometimes employees leave to start a business which may compete. If you restrict that, what will happen to entrepreneurship in this country?" According to him, companies should focus on retaining talent by creating conditions conducive to the employees and provide them suitable career plans and growth paths. "The problem is not unique to a company or industry or geography. Until a couple of years ago, the war for Indian talent was fought among Indian companies. Now, global companies across industry segments are here, competing for the same talent." In his view, the solution lies not in knee-jerk measures, "though they may help in the short term. They may also be counter-productive, as employees will not bond with the organisation and may not give their best." Mr Venkatesh urged industry to focus on creating a healthy ecosystem that is sustainable. "There are many initiatives being taken by the industry to build, grow and nurture the talent pool. Many of them are very innovative and commendable and I am sure will yield desired results." What's your say on this ?