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Interview with Shamita Chatterjee – Senior Vice President for human resource development at Infosys

At the beginning of March, Shamita Chatterjee visited our Prague headquarters. Shamita was willing to share with us interesting details from her career, much of which she has dedicated to Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting. GuideVision was acquired by Infosys in 2020. You can read the full interview below. 

How long have you worked in Human Resources?

I have worked in human resources my entire working life, 28 years.

How long have you been working for Infosys?

I started working for Infosys BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) in 2003. I joined the company in its early start-up phase and was leaving an already large company in 2010.  I then worked for Mercer Consulting for two years, returned to Infosys in 2012, and have been here since then, for a total of 18 years.

Don´t you mind working for one company for so long?

At Infosys, you don't feel like you are working for one organization, but like you have been working for several different ones. The company is growing rapidly, work is quite diverse; the same with challenges that come your way. I actually wanted to leave Infosys once as I prefer smaller companies, but my husband convinced me not to. I am happy I listened to him because I'm very comfortable in my current role as a head of HR for Infosys subsidiaries. I look after many small companies, like GuideVision. For me, it is an ideal balance.

What does a small company mean to you?

Something like GuideVision - 300 people to a few thousand. Infosys has about 330,000 employees, it's more like a small country.

Tell us about your role as Senior Vice President of human resource development at Infosys. 

As HRD, I am responsible for a total of 14 subsidiaries located all around the world, some in the USA, some in Europe and Asia. My job is to make connections, network, and help solve problems. I try to share our values with all the subsidiaries so that we understand each other in a better way. 

What is the biggest challenge you face in your current job?

I like to solve things quickly. In a large organization like Infosys, the big challenge is that there are many things and people to navigate. I need to influence the senior leadership to think in a certain way about processes and build business cases for compensation, hiring and other spends. Many subsidiaries don't understand how Infosys works and the other way around. I am trying to make sure Infosys understands the subsidiaries and the subsidiaries understand Infosys, that is one of the major challenges.

What do you like about working for Infosys? 

Infosys is a fantastic place to work, though  sometimes it can be very enjoyable, other times very frustrating, this happens in any large organization that is growing rapidly. Infosys is constantly striving for excellence. If you have a problem, at Infosys it may take a little longer to find a solution to the problem, but the intent to solve it is always there and we will ultimately do it.  I really have huge confidence in the company.

Does Infosys have any values that you would like to extend to companies? 

We talk about our values, and we try to spread them through examples, and stories. We can sum them up in CLIFE, which means C (customer), L (leadership), I (integrity), F (fairness) E (excellence). We organize workshops to explain what each value means and how to transform them into company policies and processes. 

What is the purpose of your visit, and can we look forward to seeing you more often at our headquarters?

I would like to understand your company and your HR procedures, and policies, talk to people and get a feel for the company environment. People can talk about their problems and challenges, I'm their ambassador. I want to make sure that compliance processes are going well, everything is working as it should.

Do you notice any cultural differences when you deal with companies from different countries?

There are some obvious differences. The main difference I see is the flexibility to do things quickly. Some cultures are very structured, there is an expectation that tasks will be done on time, and that they will finish on time. In India, time is fluid for us. But the main differences blur with the younger generation around 20 - 30 years old which is very similar across the world. I think this is mainly due to social media that are the same and influence the young ones. 

Are there any key HR principles you would like to pass on to your subsidiaries?

For me, the main principle is fairness, applying the same principles to everyone. It is based on the market, merit, and performance for sure, but we need to treat everyone according to the same principles. We want to be predictable for all our employees, not have hidden policies.

Do you notice a difference in the hiring process at Infosys and its subsidiaries? 

Yes, there is a big difference. In India, there are a lot of young people, and we have more junior people. We hire a lot of people directly from the university, we train them, and they continue working for us. Most companies like yours hire mostly experienced people. 

Is IT popular in India? 

Yes, Bangalore is the Silicon Valley of India, and many IT companies worldwide are based here. IT is a very popular career. It gives you money, recognition, a good and comfortable job, and brings you opportunities for a global career.

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