What is the maximum duration one can stay on bench in Cognizant and TCS?

Employee engagement definition by authors


I am not sure if the author of the question wishes to stay in bench / is apprehensive of the fact that he has been put in bench; nevertheless I will provide a slightly different opinion of what being on bench means.

,Since I have worked with TCS in the past, I will provide you with a TCS viewpoint, but rest assured it will be more-or-less similar with other firms too.

,You have to understand that there is no definite answer for this.

Any service based company which has recruited people would like to maximize its resource utilization and billing.

No company will deliberately recruit you and put you into bench.

nMany factors will determine this.

Some of these are -,Business Requirement,Employee Skillset,Resource Management Group target allocation for the quarter,Budget allocation per resource,and many more.

While companies try to maximize the allocation of freshers to projects, sometimes people might be deliberately put into bench in order to bag new projects.

When I was with TCS; the last utilization figure I remember was ~89% with trainees.

If you even consider 10% of the population under bench, the figure is staggering; i.

e 35,000 employees are not under an active assignment ! (Employee Strength = 3,50,000+)nSo the question is what can be done in this period.

How can you hone your skills to match the business requirement ?,Wide array of training sessions are available for your consumption via Ultimatix.

The interface is very user friendly now, and the internal certifications are indeed helpful, plus you will learn a lot.

,TCSers are blessed with huge IRCs (Information Resource Centers) across all major offices.

Not every company will encourage its employees to prepare for GMAT/GRE/CAT/GATE and even provide relevant study materials for easy reference and access.

All major newspapers, magazines and reference books at your fingertips.

Plus an additional free access to Safari Books online!,TCS Maitree initiatives ! Toastmaster club, Dance sessions etc.

are very much employee engaging.

,So as we see, there are plenty of activities to be done to properly utilize this period.

You are getting paid to develop your skills ! Barring a few exceptional cases, these companies do not gain much from the employees at this training stage.

,There is no need to worry about these petty issues.

The company has hired you for a purpose / requirement; and they ought to allocate you today or tomorrow; its their headache.

nMeanwhile work on your communication skills, hone your technical knowledge and be future ready.

Project allocations will come and go, but whatu2019s important is utilizing every moment for self development.


Employee engagement definition PDF

I had an employee do this - u20ac47,000! My company turnover was around US$6m, around 25 employees at the time.

,The thief was Mary, a highly trusted employee, had been with the company for five years.

She started in mid-level management, and was promoted for her excellent work to General Manager, salary of u20ac90k (about US$120k in 2014).

When I took long absences from work (eg, six months), she ran the company, and did well.


5 years into Maryu2019s tenure, we relocated the business from Australia to the Netherlands, and Mary was instrumental to making such a complicated move work well.

,Three years in to her tenure, our Financial Controller was diagnosed with cancer, and after a year, succumbed to it.

He left behind a bookkeeper subordinate, whose supervision passed to the Mary as General Manager.

,Mary did not know much about accounting, but we had a lot of procedures in place, and Mary was good at working with staff to follow procedures, and over a few months, Mary learned a lot about bookkeeping.

,After a year, I became aware of the mess in the accounting department.

I had never liked accounting, mainly because I did not understand much of it (a big danger for any small business owner!).

,After I found out from our corporate accountants that the bookkeeper had booked dividend payments as director loans (and the tax return had been submitted with that fact, so it was basically irreversible), I started looking deeper into the accounting department, and it was a huge mess.

Some examples;,Not all items were being entered into the software.

Sometimes, bulk amounts - all expenses for the first week of July, for example, were booked as one line item, u20ac85,634 for example.

*eye twich*,We were using an Australian administration software (MYOB), but under Maryu2019s direction, we had recently purchased very expensive new accounting software.

Some transactions were entered in the new software, some in the old.

*shudder*,We had a strict rule, one piece-of-paper for each transaction made, so we have records.

That was being ignored, so there were many un-traceable transactions.


,In Holland, itu2019s typical for small companies to outsource payroll services to a third party, so we were doing this too, but paying twice as much, because we provided them poor data.


,Lots more things like this.

Really bad stuff.

,So, I decided, with no Financial Controller, a largely incompetent bookkeeper, a General Manager who did not know much about accounting, and my long-standing ignoring of the department, that I would learn about accounting, clean up the processes to be correct, and re-enter data into one software system.

This was in June 2014.

,The Dutch financial year was a normal calendar year, January to December (Australia is July to June, and the Dutch company is owned by the Australian company, so thereu2019s some friction there) I decided to go back to Jan 2014, and move forward day-by-day.

,I tasked the bookkeeper to find a piece of paper for every transaction, on every bank statement (for various reasons, we have about 10 bank accounts) - she should have had this done already as part of her job, but had not.

I made a specification of the software weu2019d need to suit the business.

I made a very tight end-of-month process.

I deleted all transactions that had been entered in the 2014 year.

I got clearance from the corporate accountants to make retro-active VAT adjustments.

I got some training in the software I decided to use (all online in a web browser, terrible UI, but excellent functionality, designed for the Dutch tax system).

,With my wife, I started doing data entry, month by month, and following the end-of-month process for each month.

Around 300 transactions per month.

I think I recall Peter Baskervilleu2019s Quora posts on accounting started appearing around this time (or at least, I noticed them then), and they were very helpful.

I also did many 4-hour Skype sessions with our previous Financial Controller in Australia, and she talked me through tricky things, and helped refine the processes I was documenting.

,It took about four weeks to process each month, especially at the start.

I felt like a fine-tooth comb untangling messy hair.

Slowly, we made progress, and it was very satisfying.

Every so often I vented to Mary - who was focusing on other aspects of the business, while I did this - that the bookkeeper was hopeless, and was making terrible mistakes.

Mary defended the bookkeeper, said it was not that bad really (it was much worse!).

,Being busy, I did not realise she was waving me off from proceeding my project - Mary did not realise how driven I was to see this completed up to u201cnowu201d, get rid of the bookkeeper, and employ an accountant to maintain it.

In hindsight, I realise that with alarming frequency since I started on this project, Mary had also been suggesting she resign to save the company money (sales were down, and we were considering other staffing cuts).

I said she was essential to the running of the company, and my strong preference was for her to stay.

,The bookkeeper worked hard (with clear direction, often repeated) to source a piece of paper for every transaction.

Sometimes, where an u201cofficialu201d document was not possible, I accepted printing the transaction from the internet banking software, but only for transactions I knew to be correct.

,One day, I found something weird, and investigated it further.

Hereu2019s the email I sent to our lawyers.

,Hi Joost,,Today I became aware of what seems to be employee Mary stealing around u20ac47.

000 from the company in Jan and Feb 2014.

This is shocking news for me, as she has been a highly trusted employee for more than five years.

,Attached, the supporting evidence:,(1) Filter of our bank account statement, showing all payments to Maryu2019s bank account - note how they are covered as legitimate invoices, including a VAT payment.

,(2) SMS messages between Mary and I last night and today,Becoming awareThe sequence of events how I found this is as follows.

,(1) I am working on accounting duties, since [old Financial Controlleru2019s] passing, and tightening up all our accounting procedures.

This involves checking off each invoice paid against a bank statement, and entries in our accounting software.

,(2) On Friday afternoon, 26 July 2014, I found a payment that seemed to be a double-payment on an invoice from March 2013, paid again in Feb 2014.

,(3) I called the supplier to understand why they gave us two invoices for the same thing almost a year apart.

,(4) Supplier brought my attention to the fact that the second invoice, that had been prepared for me by my bookkeeper, was a actually colour photocopy of the March 2013 invoice.

,He and I double checked the bank account number we had sent the payment to, and found, while the name matched his company, the account number was not his.

,(5) I wanted to question Mary about it directly, as she had prepared most of the paperwork I was working on, but she had left early on Friday July 26 for an appointment.

,(6) Around 1730 Friday 25 July, I called our Bookkeeper to my office to ask her about this invoice and payment.

She said u201csomeoneu201d had given her the invoice in Feb 2014 saying it had not been paid, and was well overdue, that it must be paid immediately.

I questioned her on who specifically, she said maybe Mark or Anthony (the invoice is for antivirus software, so logically would come from our IT person, James).

,I asked her to look into it on Monday, that wed like to get our money back, she agreed.

,(7) At 2226 Friday evening, I received a text message from Mary (very unusually late for her to message regarding what I thought was a routine error), asking to meet at the office on Saturday morning to discuss the invoice.

Being so late, I chose not to reply, thinking wed just discuss it on Monday.

,It seems the bookkeeper had contacted Mary about the invoice which is VERY unusual - I presented it to the bookkeeper as a routine matter (we had uncovered a lot of similar errors, that turned out not to be suspicious over the last few months, and I assumed this was a similar issue).

,(8) Saturday afternoon, I chose to reply to Marys text message, saying that I was at work until 1600, shes welcome to come in to chat (she often does come in to work on Saturday afternoons).

,(9) Mary wrote back a convoluted message, saying she was not able to come in to work, that the invoice was part of a test payment, and that it was not meant to be authorised, that it was accidentally authorised by Anthony (who was in Australia at the time), its not the bookkeeperu2019s mistake its Marys, and that I can fire her on Monday (presumably joking, as she often does in text messages).

,(10) I said that we need to know which account it went to, so we can get our money back.

Mary agreed, and said she would look into it Monday, that she was sorry, said she felt bad for stressing out the bookkeeper.

,(11) At this stage I started having suspicions - the last four digits of the bank account seemed familiar to me, though I could not recall why? I asked her directly - by SMS - if she knew which bank account it was transferred to.

,(12) Mary responded Yes I think so, I need to check the account.

I did not respond.

,(13) I found Marys personal bank account number (that we use for monthly salary payments), and saw that it matched the account number the funds had been sent to (despite the payees name on the transaction being the supplier, the name on the duplicated invoice).

,(14) I spoke about the matter with my wife.

It seemed that:,- The Bookkeeper knew about the payment to Marys personal account, and contacted Mary immediately on Friday evening,- If this really was part of a training exercise, its pretty weird - an invoice from March 2013, used as a test in Feb 2014, photocopied, entered again into the accounting software, paid to Marys personal bank account, not transferred back to the company.

,- Mary u201cdid not noticeu201d the additional deposit to her bank account,- The bookkeeper, who prepared some of the paperwork, did not recall this was a test transaction that accidentally went through,- A training exercise could easily be done with REAL invoices that ACTUALLY had to be paid, no need to use one from 2013.

,(15) I decided to call a friend in Australia, a fellow employer and mentor.

We discussed the issue, and we agreed it did not look good - the employee had clearly deliberately stolen money.

,(16) My friend suggested I look for any OTHER transfers to her personal account - I had not thought of that possibility yet!,A search for Marys bank account number returned a total of three transactions - the one I had just found, another one for u20ac33k for the Tax office on 14 Jan 2014, and another duplicated invoice from Dec 2013 (9 Jan 2014, though for a different amount) - all paid to her personal bank account.

There is no evidence of the payments being returned.

The total is u20ac47.



,(17) I searched for other employees bank accounts, and found no other suspicious transactions, though there is room for more advanced searching.

,Please advise how I should proceed.

,g,I located the pieces of paper the bookkeeper had been presented (in a sheaf of 200 other docs).

Hereu2019s what one looked like, I have omitted some personal data and added to reference points, (1) and (2):,Note at point (1), the invoice is dated March 8, 2013, but payment was made on Feb 2014 (Payment was also made in mid-March, 2013)! Mary had made a photocopy of the original invoice, but at point (2), had covered the bank details for KNS in the footer.

We later found, she had destroyed the original invoice.

When I sent this to our contact at KNS, he was pretty surprised to see this invoice with his logo, but his bank account details removed.

Fair enough, too!,On Monday morning, per advice from our lawyer, I met with Mary.

Here are my notes from that difficult meeting.

,0915am, Jul 28, Garion met with Mary, with [Garions wife] present;,* I asked about the KNS transaction, Mary advised it was a training,exercise, as she had texted to Garion on Saturday,* She had not done payment transfers before, so did this as a test with,[bookkeeper], before [bookkeeper] went on leave.

Not intended to be,approved, but seems it was anyway.

,* Mary checked on in the last few days, and found that the KNS amount was in,her account, she had missed it when it occured,* I asked specifically, she said she was not aware of any other transactions,to her account,* The KNS invoice was used in this training as it was assumed to be unpaid,,was in a random folder on Steves desk.

,* Not aware of any other transactions to her bank account, apart from this one,I asked her to look, and let me know.

She said she would.

,* Mary said that it must look like she had been stealing money, but thats,not the case!,* Mary said that if she were in our position, shed fire the person,* I said that it did looks suspicious.

So, I have to place her on,administrative leave, effective immediately.

She must not talk to any staff.

,She can collect her personal items from her desk now, and I will escort her,to the elevator.

,* I asked if she had any questions, or any other ideas about where the money,is.

She asked what administrative leave was, I said, its gardening,leave - she gets paid, but does not work.

,* We left my office to go downstairs.

She did not say anything during the,walk.

,* She quickly gathered her personal items on her desk, logged into her,computer (to log out of her gmail, I think?).

Other staff were arriving, but,she made no comments.

I engaged them in casual conversation.

,* I walked Mary to the elevator, and said that Id contact her as soon as I,knew what was going on.

She seemed to be in shock.


,Directly after she left, I followed up with an email to Mary:,Mary,,Have you had a chance to check your bank account for the amounts we discussed?,(1) 09 Jan 2014 u20ac8.

682,57,(2) 14 Jan 2014 u20ac33.

773,00,(3) 14 Feb 2014 u20ac5.

293,75,Perhaps there are also other amounts that we have not found yet.

,If the money is there, you could transfer it back to [company bank account number].

If the money is not there, perhaps you could supply a PDF that indicates same? (between Jan 5 2014 and Feb 28 2014).

,Can you please get back to me in the next hour and let me know?,Thanks,g,Andg, hereu2019s the email I sent to the lawyer to keep him updated:,Hi Joost,,As discussed, at 11.

10am today I emailed Mary and asked her to return the funds if she had found them, or provide a PDF of her bank statement if for the relevant period if not.

I asked her to get back to in within an hour, 1.

5 hours ago now, 12.


,I spoke again with ING Bank who confirmed the payments were deposited into the listed account (however, mainly because the amounts did not bounce back).

They can do an investigation that will involve ING bank sending a letter to the account holder asking them to return the accidentally transferred money, and provide us with the recipients contact details in case they do not comply.

I said not to bother about that.

He suggested I contact the police.

,[My wife] worked with our bookkeeper, who also does the filing, to find the original KNS invoice from March 2013, and it was not in the expected place, or any logical mis-filing places (eg, under K for a different company we operate).

So, its possible it has been maliciously removedu2026 or just poorly filed somewhere.

,I Skpyed with Anthony to see if he was aware of the payments.

He was in Australia and USA at the time of transfers.

He said that he probably approved at least one of them, possibly all of them (which was part of his job at the time).

He was not provided with the PDF invoices for each approval (as our company process dictates), but was swayed by Marys argument that the payments were urgent, and that shed send the invoices later (turns out, she never did, and he forgot to ask).

However, he also recalled some payment approvals around the same time he was provided with invoices for (possibly, the legit ones).

,He admitted that, when approving payments, while he checks the invoice for the company name, amount and currency when approving, he does not check the bank account numbers or dates on invoices (honestly, I do not either!).

Overall, I believe its unlikely Anthony was involved, other than as an unwitting participant.

,After discussing with the bookkeeper - a sub-standard employee at the best of times - my wife and I believe she is also not involved, other than, again, an unwitting participant.

[The bookkeeper] definitely loaded some of the payments into the ING bank, but they were invoices that appeared legitimate to her.

Frankly, we do not think she is smart or brave enough to do this, but there seems no way to prove it either way.

,Id like to wait another few hours for Mary to respond, Ill SMS her asking to respond to my email, if no response I will call and remind her that it a criminal matter.

If she does not respond favourably, Id like to move ahead with the seizure approach you outlined.

,regards,,g,Two hours later, I got an email from Mary, on July 28:,Garion,I did take the three amounts you listed below (total u20ac47.


I acted alone, no one else was involved.

,I have transferred u20ac5.

293,75 to [company bank account number].

,I will transfer another u20ac15K during the week.

I suggest you keep any annual leave (I think about 20 days) that would be paid out as part payment.

,I will need some time to raise the other u20ac20K, when I am back in Australia, but can commit to having it paid back to you by the end of the year or sooner, if this is agreeable to you.

,I am very sorry.

,Mary,Turns out, she was also in a romantic relationship with another employee, a web developer.

A stoic and quiet man, incredibly competent, lead architect for our various software projects.

He was scheduled for a day off on Monday (which I forgot at the time, and which had me scared for a while on Monday when all this was going down!).

,The next day, he was in my office crying, incredibly upset at what his partner had done.

He resigned a few months later - Mary had moved back to Australia, and he went as well.

I suspect they are still together, but I have not asked.

Heu2019s done some contract work for us as well.

I am sure he was not involved.

,Mary did pay all the money back, six months later.

I did not go to the police, but in hindsight, I wish I had.

,,Now, I check every transaction made, and always check the bank account numbers match the invoice.

The new accountant also provides detailed end-of-month reports, meaning there are many checks-and-balances built in to the processes.

I have learnt a lot about bookkeeping, accounting, and higher-level finance matters.

It was incredibly stressful at the time, but Iu2019m glad I learnt about accounting.

,Another employee approves payments regularly now, too.

I trust her.

,Trust, but verify, right?,[All names changed]

Types of employee engagement

Those with a genuine interest in the wellbeing of people (physically and mentally).

Gallup employee engagement

Gallups meta analysis report will probably answer some of your questions.

,You are right in that different questions have different predictability.

,Completing the survey is voluntary yet some people potentially could click random boxes just to get it out of the way.

There are some back end algorithms that would try and establish these patterns, but with only 12 questions it would be hard to weed out these people.

Overall, at least in my experience people are fairly genuine in their responses and have a intent to try and make the company better.

Drivers of employee engagement

I have about 20 people on my team.

Some have worked for me for over 10 years.

I think that most people want the same things from their employer:,Meaningful work,To Feel valued,Fair compensation,Respect,Flexibility to deal with life,You will have the occasional person with a broken work ethic, but most people want to do good work and be treated well.

,I think humans have a tendency to push or test boundaries.

So, clear communication is key for everyone.

Once you understand each other and establish mutual trustu2026itu2019s really just relationship maintenance.

,You have to expect that sometimes people will leave.

If you are lucky enough to have great employees that are content with their role for the long-term, then you have less turnover.

However, a lot of people, especially those new to the work force are seeking growth.

You either need to have a future path for them, or expect them to leave after a couple years.

,To use a tired analogyu2026I like a team with a good mix of tortoises and hares.

My rockstars come in, add perspective, make improvements for a whileu2026then move on.

I either have a path within the company for them, or I donu2019t.

My slow and steady team members are my backbone, and we finish the race together.

All are valuable to me.