#WHYINFY

Infosys’s attempt to calm its employees is anything but inspiring and authentic

Quartz india
Quartz india

It’s business as usual at Infosys.

At least, that’s what India’s second-largest information technology company would like everyone to believe in the wake of the abrupt departure of CEO Vishal Sikka on Aug. 18. His leaving after three years at the helm of Infosys followed a growing rift between the company’s management and its promoters and sent shareholders and stock markets into a tizzy.

Understandably then, the $10.4 billion company has jumped into damage-control mode: On Aug. 24, Infosys released a video shot at one of its campuses, showing employees talking about how it’s “business as usual” at work, despite the ongoing tussle at the top. Shared on Facebook and Twitter, the video was likely released to allay the concerns of shareholders, and the company’s 198,000-strong workforce.

In the video, employees appear unfazed by the boardroom drama, with one saying, “Though this is a big change, how does it change what we are?” Another adds, “I have no control over what happens in the boardroom. What I do have control over is my next big idea and how it will impact my clients.”

The video has so far been viewed 167,000 times, shared over 940 times, and liked by 2,400 people on Infosys’s Facebook page. Infosys did not respond to our queries at the time of publishing this piece. But its attempted nonchalance stands out amidst the current uncertainty, with the company yet to announce who will succeed Sikka, and branding experts aren’t convinced that this will be enough to soothe investors.

Here’s what some of them told Quartz:

Santosh Desai, chief executive officer, Future Brands: When you look at this, it isn’t a particularly compelling piece of communication. It is very clearly scripted. You see, denial is not necessarily the best form of strategy. In today’s day and age, if you have a scripted effort where people have used the word ‘deliverables’…it’s unlikely to create any stir.

To be fair, we don’t know what the rest of the communication package really is, but this film is unlikely to do anything by itself. However, there are a few honest things they said there—that for example, for employees, this is a board-level decision and it won’t impact their day-to-day work. Clearly, this seems to be more effective for employees than for clients.

Kiran Khalap, co-founder and managing director, Chlorophyll Brand & Communications: “In the age of social media, rather than remaining silent on issues like this, it is good that they have gone ahead to address issues—they should be lauded for this. But will I share this with anybody? I doubt it. It isn’t that inspiring; which stakeholder is this for is not very clear to me.

I think the stakeholders who have reacted the most (to the management crisis) are investors. How this will reach the investors in any way, that is the biggest worry. My concern with this is also its authenticity. One aspect of any social-media communication is authenticity. I’m not sure this passes that test.

Instead, it would have helped if it were a heartful message or some strong writing without any kind of corporate trigger, then, maybe, I would have shared this, and would have believed it is real…but it isn’t the case. This is very generic messaging. Maybe best-suited for their employees.”

Jessie Paul, founder and CEO, Paul-Writer, a marketing advisory firm: “It was a good response to uncertainty, and an attempt to shape employee voice and messaging. It is intended to reassure their employees that what happens at the top has no impact on the bottom’s need to ‘Stay Calm and Keep Coding.’

However, since Infosys did find a quick way to stabilise the ship, this piece is now redundant. It doesn’t seem to be doing well on Facebook anyway, and hasn’t been promoted. The actors aren’t tagged either. Perhaps the team decided to not push it now that things are back to normal.”

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