Wipro's pay hike surprised many: TK Kurien

Bangalore: Wipro entered Q4 with multiple challenges, including market volatility. Despite these, it could deliver within its guidance range. CEO TK Kurien talks about the mission he is on in an interview with TOI. 

Your flat guidance pushed the markets into a tumble. How do you react to this? 

We are playing a long-term game. It's very important that we remained consistent to what our beliefs are, that's exactly the reason why we have announced a compensation increase and I'm sure that caught everyone by surprise. People were expecting us to follow our competitor and not announce an increase. On an average, the increase will be in the 6-8% range, while critical skills like software architecture, program management and domain depth will get more. The hike will be effective across the board from June. 

Is it not natural for companies to freeze salaries during tough times? 

Industries go through good times and bad times. But what you do in hard times and not in good times defines the culture of the company. We can't announce in one year that June 1 will see a salary increase and next year, say December 30, will see a salary increase and then say 'no salary increase'. You have to remain consistent. 

Is there a concern in retaining senior talent? 

Great people build companies. We would like to be in a position where the greatest people work for us. When they work for us, we want to make sure that they are comfortably happy and extremely productive in what we do. That's where impact comes from. The reality is in our business in a hyper-competitive world, your ability to make an impact keeps you in the company. Just because you're around, it doesn't mean you've to keep senior management. You have to go everyday and make an impact. That's the strong belief. Performance keeps you in the job. 

You have posted a negative hiring this year. Has your hiring focus changed? 

Our hiring policies have not changed. Our investment in training people will significantly go up. We will do far more assessments. You create people who are employable. The minute you have employability as the criteria, you start treating people like assets and not just tools of delivery. We can't head for the hills at the first sign of trouble.


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