Campus Reach Programme


HCL uses a focused recruitment practice to increase the labour pool from non-traditional markets (Tier 2/Tier 3 cities in India). The objective is to increase gender diversity in the workplace and tap into the abundant talent that is available in the non-traditional markets.

The problem addressed by the campaign: 
  • In 2012, 40% of new university graduates joining the India-based IT services company will be women – up from 28% only three years ago. A significant percentage of those women are from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities (basically, cities smaller than India’s largest cluster of cities). The culture in these smaller cities and towns often restricts a number of students, importantly girls, from moving to bigger cities to pursue their education. Accordingly, many deserving, talented, employable candidates miss out on the opportunities found in Tier 1 cities.
  • The HCL programme focuses on increasing the employability in these regions and also helps capitalize on the abundant available talent.
  • A successful campus reach programme uses non-traditional recruitment methods to engage with students through game-based Employees First, Customer Second (EFCS) workshops.
  • The MAD (Make a Difference) initiative encourages students to float their entrepreneurship ideas with HCL.
  • HCL teamed up with knowledge organizations such as Jawaharlal Nehru Knowledge Commission to hire from the pool of colleges aligned to them. This ensured that the reach to the non-traditional labour markets was effective. Several smaller institutions that lack the infrastructure to host an independent event leveraged this option, thereby giving their students opportunities to present themselves to HCL.
  • HCL has created training programmes – communications, assertiveness, and life coaching – tailored to the needs of these new recruits. Such support, along with HCL’s open-opportunity organizational structure, results in a sense of professional engagement and personal achievement that motivates employees to tackle difficult challenges. Professional success prompts women from these non-traditional labour pools to reach out to their social networks and encourage more women to choose careers in India’s fast-growing technology industries.
  • For those joining the HCL BPO division, the Aspire programme allows deserving employees working with HCL’s BPO division to train on specific technology and programming skills and later move into the software services division. Last year, over 150 such employees were identified for this career move. In FY 2011–2012, HCL is aiming for 300 such moves. The Aspire programme has streamlined cross-functional movement.
  • Through the Make a Difference initiative, the HCL recruiting team reached out to over 100,000 students. Over 500 ideas were received, which the team winnowed to one. HCL will help the winner implement her idea.
  • Just over half of the graduates recruited last year (53%) were from India’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities; 47% of first-years who joined HCL last year were women.
  • HCL has created employment options not just for women in general, but for women from non-traditional labour markets.
  • In 2010, 59% of the women that HCL hired came from so-called Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities – that is, smaller cities that haven’t usually served as labour markets for India’s technology companies.
  • The company’s recruitment drive in these cities has provided opportunities for talented women who have not generally enjoyed the fruits of India’s economic boom.
Why has it worked?: 

The campus reach programme:

  • Created a dedicated fresher hiring and campus relationship management team
  • Targeted smaller town campuses for recruitment
  • Created engagement programmes with the campuses beyond just recruitment
  • Created training and assimilation programmes for the new recruits
  • Provides opportunities for gainful deployment and career management
Conclusions and Recommendations: 
  • Think beyond traditional campus recruitment activities.
  • Engage with students through projects that convey how it is to work in a company.
  • Partner with local educational institutions to ensure reach to non-traditional labour markets.
  • Adapt your recruitment strategies to the different needs of students depending on their background (women, underprivileged youth, elderly).
  • Integrate your training and development with your recruitment strategy.
Foundational Issues: 
Widespread unemployability
Level of Collaboration: 
Level 2: Collaboration across organizations within a country
Economic and political context: 
  • In February 2005, Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Technologies, introduced a new management philosophy approach called Employees First, Customers Second (EFCS).
  • EFCS aims to create a unique employee organization, drive an inverted organizational structure, create transparency and accountability within the organization, and encourage a value-driven culture.
  • Part of the EFCS philosophy is inclusion and a focus on the development of women.
  • HCL has innovative methods of training and developing talent:
    • 5 methods – computer-based training, instructor-led training, web-based training, on-the-job training, blended learning
    • 4 tracks – in campus, refresher, ongoing, re-skill
    • 3 streams – technical training, domain training, behavioural training
    • 2 channels – leaders teach (an internal training programme), Talent Transformation and Intrapreneurship Development Team
About the Author(s): 

HCL Technologies is a global IT services company with over US$ 2 billion in revenues.