Sunday, January 13, 2008


"Be the change you want to see in the world", Mahatma Gandhi.

The Infosys Technologies Ltd. (Infosys) selected the author along with other faculties from various professional colleges across Andhra Pradesh for 5-day workshop from 23 to 27 Oct 2007. It is named as Special Training Program (STP) and conducted in Hyderabad . It is a Campus Connect Initiative. It is a type of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) many companies are doing towards society for all-round growth and development. Infosys has come out with such a wonderful program that connects the students to the industry thus minimizing the gap between the campus and the industry. It conducted along with Institute for Electronic Governance (IEG), Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) and Rajiv Udyogasri. The aim of the program is to train the teaching faculty across Andhra Pradesh so that each faculty will form a core team of 5 members for imparting soft skills to their students in their respective colleges. When a stone is thrown into water the ripple effect will be felt slowly. Similarly we can expect the impact of this program slowly in the years to come. Let us take brief profile of Infosys.


7 members under the leadership of Mr. N.R.Narayana Murthy started Infosys in 1981 with 250 dollars and it emerged as IT giant in India. Its strength rose from 7 to 80000 approx. and 80 percent of the Infocians are from non-IT background. What drove them up to here are their core values like credibility, commitment, values and excellence in their services. It has very low attrition rate as it treats every boy and girl as the king and queen. Everyone feels like a family member of Infosys. When the author visited the Infosys camp in Hyderabad he was deeply moved and motivated by their dedication and discipline. During the course of the Campus Connect, the author found Narayana Murthy in the eyes of K.Sudheer Reddy and Devendra Choudhary who conducted the sessions professionally. They have the passion to do their best and towards the organizations. The author found fairness, sincerity and integrity in the eyes of the Infocians. They do not believe in red tapism and they are practical and pragmatic and free from organizational politics because they can not think of such politics as they have passion to do best and to bring out the best from others.


The skills and abilities that are required for passed out student so as to get adjusted at the industrial front that are more specially related to communication skills are known as soft skills. It is known as social skills, people skills and also as emotional intelligence. A few call it as life skills. It is all about everything other than the domain knowledge. Besides, it is all about interpersonal relations, attitude to develop as an individual and as an institution and above all about the personal grooming to face challenges in the day-to-day life in the corporate world. Soft skills lay stress on 'how you say?' not 'what you say?’

Soft skills are a collection and reflection of many skills and abilities. A few basic skills are - Team spirit, Interpersonal skills, Social grace, Business etiquette, Time management, Motivation, Leadership, Negotiation skills, Stress management, Change management, Conflict management, Goal setting, Problem solving, Listening skills etc., All these are essential in order to survive and succeed in one's professional career. Emotional quotient is one of the major factors in soft skills.


There is an adage in business; "People rise because of their hard skills and fall because of (the lack of) soft skills". Soft skills believe in nurture rather than nature. It manages the interactions between subtle and fickle human beings. It enhances efficiency at the work place and minimizes the attrition rate. It always makes an individual stay ahead of time.

Soft skills enhance employability of the candidates and provide a solid ground to get adjusted and get along in the organizations more effectively and efficiently. These enhance the core competence and confidence of an individual. The growing widening gap between the talent supply and technical demand can be narrowed down. In a nutshell, proper training in Soft Skills creates more opportunities for the fresh candidates.


The candidates those who pass out from colleges are basically good at their core subjects and concepts but they find it very difficult even to face the interview boards. A few students are found to be socially inept. A few do not know even the basic communication skills. For instance, candidates say 'he is no more' instead of 'he has left' and say 'he passed away' instead of 'he went' and so on. Such silly mistakes spoil the very basic impression of getting selected in interviews. In interviews when questions asked like 'Tell me something about yourself' or 'What makes you different from others?' or 'Why should I choose you only?’ the candidates crumble because they are taken aback.

At the corporate level, the technical graduates find themselves in a difficult place to articulate and communicate with their clients. It is more difficult in the case of candidates who hail from socially challenged background.


Because of the cutthroat competition, the industry always looks for plug and play recruits. They expect everything on a platter. The day the employee joins in duty the employer wants them to be on their toes. But unfortunately the fresh candidates are not ready and they are not equipped with the requisite skills and abilities. During the interview itself they look for the candidates for flexibility, adaptability and mouldability towards their institution. And they may take 5 to 10 per cent of the candidates who can get onto the tasks without providing spoon-feeding. They look for passion and the ability to learn and absorb with in its fold. Whether the candidates can add any value to its institution is also a parameter they look at. Goal setting as a tool is really interesting to note. According to research, 15 percent of the selected people have goal setting. Questions like 'what position do you expect after 3 years or 5 years within the institution?' indicates the ability on the part of the candidates towards their goals.


The free soft skills training provided by Infosys with IEG, JNTU and Rajiv Udyogasri is a step in a right direction. Each faculty should make sincere efforts to touch the lives of students. Some of the students climb the ladder and after climbing they realize that the ladder is on the wrong wall. Onus lies with the faculty to direct the ladder on the right wall. Every individual has responsibility towards society and the society as a whole develops when all individuals put their best footing forward. To put it in the words of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "Nothing strengthens the judgement and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility".


Anthony Robbins, "Life is a gift and it offers us the privilege, opportunity and responsibility to give something back by becoming more". Let all of us try to make the difference by contributing our best towards society. If there is Narayana Murthy not only in the eyes of Infocians but also in every individual in India, our country will prosper from all spheres and will become a developed country much before the vision 2020. JAI HIND


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