As the Infosys turmoil started by a whistle-blower complaint refuses to die anytime soon, employees are mostly worried about what impact this could have on their incentive structures or promotions, in addition to a general wariness about how the company’s focus on values is fading.
“I have been here for over a decade, and the difference began being visible right after (ex-CEO) Vishal Sikka came in. The founders’ focus on values was something that made Infosys a coveted place to work at. Now it is just like any other IT company,” said a Pune-based employee who did not wish to be named.
Another employee, based in Bengaluru, said the only thing people were worried about were whether this will impact jobs in any way. “Our fear is that this shouldn’t turn out to be another Satyam. That will certainly impact jobs in an steady slow market. The constant scrutiny on the company is not a pleasant thing, plus there is little clarity about what is going on,” this person said.
Last week, Infosys grabbed headlines after an anonymous whistleblower group called 'Ethical Employees' alleged that the company’s current management and CEO Salil Parekh was taking 'unethical' steps to spur short-term revenue and profits.
In 2016-17, under the first non co-founder CEO Vishal Sikka, whistleblowers has made allegations against the firm’s corporate governance practices, leading to a very public war of words between co-founder NR Narayana Murthy and Sikka.
While some see the new and old whistleblower complaints as the inability of the old guard to hand over the baton to non co-founder CEOs, others say the back to back corporate governance issues being played out in public have diluted the internal focus on values, and impacted employee morale.
“You know, what matters most to an employee is their growth within the company. Here, we have not had promotions in a long time, there are hardly any raises, and when a big issue like this takes place, our managers often use it as an excuse to stop promotions and raises,” said a Chandigarh-based employee of Infosys who has been with the firm for over 15 years.
Most however, said they wouldn’t speculate on the nature of the allegations.
“You cannot just believe the CEO made such irregularities. Nothing has been proven yet. We should just wait and watch,” said another Bengaluru-based employee.
Some believe the complaint only pertains to the US market and employees since the whistleblower group first sent it to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Labour Department.
The last time around, Sikka and Murthy’s battle ended in Sikka having to quit, in spite of his credentials. He was earlier the chief technology officer at technology giant SAP.
Parekh also came with an impeccable track record- he was one of the five global deputy CEOs at Capgemini, and was a contender for the global CEO spot at the French IT services company. While that did not happen, he became the India CEO and then the executive chairman at the company before joining Infosys.