I have been with Forbes India since August 2008. I like writing about ideas, events and people at the intersection of business, society and technology. Prior, I was with Economic Times. I am based in Bangalore. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HCL Tech & Campus Placements BusinessLine, which has been tracking the protests against HCL Technologies by students who were offered jobs but not joining dates ever for some weeks now. Today, it reports that Noida City Magistrate who is looking into the case has heard the students' version and will turn to the company today. Given the publicity around this, there is a strong incentive for HCL Tech to resolve this issue fast.
However, there is a bigger issue with the campus placements as such. What Sandeep Mahindroo, of Infosys said in a recent analyst call applies not just to the company he represents, but the industry as a whole.
.. the entire process of better alignment of the supply side of our operation that a more volatile and dynamic demand environment is something that we are also working towards. So unlike few years back, when we used to go to engineering colleges, make commitments to hire thousands of freshers, expecting them to join 4 to 5 quarters down the line, not worrying about how the demand environment will pan out over that period.
That entire cycle is something which we think needs to change because the demand environment has become a lot more unpredictable. It has become a lot more volatile. But to that extent, we need to more finely tune our supply side in general with the volatility on the demand side. So what we have done this year is gone to colleges and made a very minimal number of fresh offers for the next fiscal year.
The idea is to reduce our lines at a fresher level by hiring from colleges and increase our lines on just-in-time hiring at a fresher level. So we want to make sure that we hire people when we see specific opportunities in the market rather than going to colleges and lock ourselves by making thousands of offers even before those specific opportunities are visible to us.
This will be the case at least till the utilization rates go up, and demand picks up even further.
Nike pushes digital boundaries, with some help
Fast Company has an update on Nike's accelerator programme, that hints at "where its digital future lies: where its digital future lies: with third-party developers like the 10 startups Nike selected for its inaugural Nike+ Accelerator class." Nike has been making inroads into digital world for a while now, underlying what has become almost a truism: all businesses are digital businesses. Without a doubt, its fuel band is an amazing product, and the impact its precursor Nike+, which you can slip into your shoes and sync with your phone, had on lifestyle should not be underestimated. (The Nike Experiment: How the Shoe Giant Unleashed the Power of Personal Metrics). But, the fuel band is also an example of how difficult it's for a company to go beyond the boundaries it probably drew around itself. Fuel Band competes with FitBit and Jawbone UP, but lacks one feature that its competitors have: tracking your sleep. I can only attribute it to its own history as a fitness company, more interested in what you do in the gym, than in how you sleep. (It might not take long for Nike to add that feature, but it doesn't have it now) And this is where a programme that embraces start-ups will be of use.
On a related note, here's Vijay Sethi on co-creation in an interview with Mint
Companies will learn to become more like a network. They will be able to own or control the innovation but the process leading to the innovation will be one of co-creation. Video rental company Netflix Inc. is a case in point. It offered a $1 million prize to anyone who could develop an algorithm to improve its movie recommendation engine (in September 2009) and benefited from the exercise (with a 10% improvement).
Also of interest