Silicon India

The story of how Jaswant became Jack, as India became the world's back office, is out-of-date. Here's a look at how Jack became Jaswant as Indian firms increased their global footprint.

It started in the late ‘90s when Indian IT companies started opening new centres and acquiring companies from Japan to Mexico, South Africa to Australia.

Every such move meant adding local employees to their rolls. It also meant training them about the company's work culture and mindset.

“In global workplace, ignoring cultural differences can heighten the risk of miscommunication,” explains K Venkataraman, director, Cognizant.

In fact, there's a growing demand even among clients preparing for their maiden visit to India for help with understanding the cultural traits and differences that separate them from their Indian counterparts. Realising this need, most IT companies have now created capsules and e-learning courses for their expat employees and clients. While each country has its own national culture, there is an overriding commercial culture that makes MNCs tick.

This works for Indian firms too. Wipro, for example, has over 26 development centres across the globe but it has some core values that are rooted in India.

These values give them an identity as an Indian organisation.

We simply do two things for our expat employees. Everyone is made to go through a 'Spirit of Wipro' workshop which initiates them about our core values. Then they are given a cultural orientation about India,” says Supriti Bhandary, GM talent engagement and development (Americas), Wipro Technology.

Similarly, Cognizant has an e-learning tool for foreigners. "It helps them understand Indian communication styles, social courtesies, body-talk, facial and other gestures, personal and social conversation," explains Venkataraman.

NIIT, which has been actively recruiting locals abroad since 1999, has a vision document. "We take them through the document when they join. Also, things like events in the social calendar of the company are followed across the globe uniformly," says Ashish Basu, President, Corporate Learning Solutions, NIIT.

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