HYDERABAD: Over the last two days, HSBC India has undertaken a massive layoff exercise showing the door to as many as 200 employees ranging from assistant manager to vice presidents from its centres in Hyderabad alone.
The axe has fallen on over 350 employees at HSBC’s Pune centres. It is estimated that a total of 750 employees have been asked to leave across locations and designations. So from assistant managers to vice presidents have been summoned to the meeting room in the last two days, asked to choose between termination or resignation, pack their bags and leave. Every couple of hours, employees were escorted out of the building by guards after quick meetings with the human resource department.
No time was given to bid goodbyes to friends and colleagues. They were later packed off in cabs after their access cards were taken. A manager who was asked to leave said, “I was asked to log off from my computer and leave in ten minutes. Even those who have done well were asked to leave.”
An “adequate” compensation (one month’s salary for each year spent in the company plus three months salary) has been part of the layoff deal. While the new entrants into the international bank are crying hoarse, the senior ones are taking solace in the cash with some having made Rs 8-15 lakh.
Sources said that most lower level employees heaved a sigh of relief as they were spared while many from the middle and high level management were given the boot. However, the last two days saw the bank taking precautionary measures including closing its balconies to possibly avert any aggressive reactions to the layoff.
Vijay Kumar (name changed), a manager in HSBC India, was enjoying his morning coffee in the cafeteria when within minutes he saw himself signing his resignation letter stating that he was leaving the organisation on personal grounds. Employees have been sacked from the two HSBC global service centres and its invest direct and commercial banking and software development departments in Hyderabad.
Even the bank’s corporate communications team was trimmed from five employees to just one. The company refused to divulge numbers.
Sources said that restructuring of the company was in the offing since mid-2011 and that employees have been on tenterhooks ever since. Videos had been posted on the intranet to create awareness that some could lose their jobs soon.
“Project Nemo, a de-layering exercise was initiated at a global level to remove people across levels because of which assistant managers, managers, vice-presidents and even presidents who had put in years of loyal service were asked to leave. Around 10% of staff has been laid off,” claimed a source.
Sources said that the project was started to improve organizational efficiency and cost cutting. Further, a target saving of $1 billion was sought and the corporation was aiming at spending between 48 cents and 52 cents against the current 61 cents for earning a dollar.
Rajesh Joshi, HSBC spokesperson, declined to comment on the sackings but said that India is a key market and that HSBC would continue to invest here.
“The HSBC Group is going through a global programme that is aimed at improving efficiency, increasing our revenue capability and ensuring our long-term, sustainable growth. HSBC India, as part of the group, will also be implementing this global programme.
“We are not going to comment on rumours and speculation about our people,” he said, adding if the staff are impacted, HSBC would make every effort to support them through redeployment, counselling, in-placement and out-placement services.