Summer Internship with IBM Daksh GPS – Arunima Kaul from IBS Hyderabad

Name of the intern: – Arunima Kaul

Institute: –  IBS Hyderabad

Organization interned with: – IBM Daksh Global Process Services

In an organization which prides itself for for being one of the largest IT companies of this world, the road of a summer intern is paved with wonder and excitement at every step. For a person with no previous experience, the first day at IBM GPS’s Gurgaon office was awe- inspiring – polished professionals everywhere, see- through glass cabins for meeting rooms, free seating bay and an amazing cafeteria.

What impressed me immediately was the ‘life’ in the organization – emphasis on being on ‘first name’ basis with everyone, the warm welcome and wishes that I got for my internship from everyone and the fact that my mentor was someone I aspired to be like. The efforts that were made to make me and the other HR Intern comfortable were not lost on me – the amount of guidance, interest and support shown were tremendous.

But, still as a fresher intern I felt frustrated after a while – I wasn’t getting any real work! For the first month it seemed as if all I was supposed to do was understand the organization structure and policies – tons and tons of policies, the merit of which I could only appreciate later. The best part was, my wish to see ‘real’ HR at work was fulfilled, placed in a cabin with my fellow intern we had the opportunity to see 3-5 senior HR Professionals at work every single day of the 5 day week. They collaborated with teams all over the country, dealt with matters from 5-6 different locations in the Gurgaon area itself and worked in projects either individually or in multi- functional teams.

My first week had turned out to be magical, every morning was full of fresh surprises, an overseas call from top management, a meeting with regional HR head, another with regional head and location leader. It seemed almost dream-like to see textbook terms come to life and more alive than anything was the monster called ‘attrition’. For the three months I was there it seemed like that was the only major problem IBM GPS truly faced. To understand attrition in a BPO organization, it may take people years of experience but the long and short of it is this: companies are bleeding in that sector because of the high employee turnover rate, despite all retention measures possible, whether it be benefits, training and development efforts or employee engagement initiatives. Employees join, they get trained and then they leave, without giving organizations a chance to even get back the investment that they made in them. In such a scenario, having a well established brand name helps – IBM GPS has it better than its competitors, even people who leave eventually end up coming back to the organization.

My internship topic was no surprise, – “Managing and Developing Strategies for Employee Attrition at IBM GPS.” – I was right in the middle of a live project, to not only observe and understand but to help find out the ‘why?’ I was allowed to conduct telephonic interviews of former employees of IBM GPS India who had left the organization in the past one year and ask them ‘why?’ There were carefully formulated questions to understand the reasons. It took me more than a month to conduct this exercise, armed with an excel sheet full of employee details across 8 locations and numerous offices spread across length and breadth of the country. Armed with the information, I was told to analyze & find patterns in the data I had collected. The rest of my time was spent understanding how to look for these patterns and what they signified. Each reason was backed by data and then with this data and data from other sources – company database, exit interviews and employee surveys, the team I was working with formulated and re-formulated strategies to curb attrition. The most exciting stages were when I could actually participate in my own small way in implementing one of these – ‘100% Retention Champions’ an initiative to recognize and share stories of supervisors who had retained all their teams members in a quarter, a half year, or even annually. In one such ceremony, which I attended at one of the locations, we were joined by 4 other locations through video conferencing and the excitement level was amazing. What did my internship experience teach me would be difficult to sum up briefly, but if I have to, it would be apt to use their motto – Think!.

They taught me to think like an HR professional – something which no course or textbook can teach in a short span of 90 days, and I will forever be indebted to my mentors Mr. Shailendra Rajan, Ms. Pooja Sardana and Mr. Raj Kumar Nehru for this.

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