Tata Consultancy Services cuts bonuses for employees who aren't in the office 5 days a week

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Tata Consultancy Services, the main arm of Indian industrial giant Tata, is reportedly clamping down on office-shy workers by cutting their bonuses and hovering the threat of being passed up for promotions.

The $168 billion Indian consultancy is using a carrot-and-stick approach to lure its consultants back into the office full-time after scrapping hybrid working for most employees last October.

The consultancy plans to narrow its bonus payouts to exclude those shunning office work five days a week, and will also begin factoring in attendance to annual performance reviews, which are vital for promotion opportunities, Indian publications Mint and The Times of India reported.

“The last quarter has seen most of you return to the workplace, creating shared experiences, nurturing greater learning, collaboration, and camaraderie,” TCS’s CEO K Krithivasan reportedly wrote to employees in March.

Employees working less than three days in the office will not be paid any bonus, the publications reported. 

From there, bonuses will be tiered, with staff working between 60% and 75% of their time in the office receiving half of their potential bonus, and those working between 75% and 85% of their time in the office receiving three-quarters of their “variable pay.”

Only staffers working more than 85% of their time in the office can expect to receive full pay. 

In effect, that means only those coming into the office five days a week are entitled to receive 100% of their prescribed bonus.

A representative for TCS didn’t respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

TCS clamps down on remote workers

TCS is a major arm of the Tata group, hiring more than 600,000 people from 152 nationalities. The company hires 20,000 people in the U.K. across 30 locations, according to a 2022 press release. The company is the main sponsor of the London Marathon. 

It has been hailed as a progressive employer and has the accolades to prove it.

TCS was one of 16 companies recognized as a “Global Top Employer” for 2024 by the Top Employers Institute, a certification handed out based on employee surveys. The consultancy also made Fortune’s Most Admired Companies list for 2024.

But TCS now risks flaring tensions among staffers as it goes beyond rules and rhetoric to actively punish workers who don’t make it into the office. 

In October last year, TCS scrapped its hybrid work policy, ordering most employees back to the office five days a week. 

The group’s CEO Krithivasan pointed out that in February nearly 40% of his workers joined the company during the COVID, and the company had no hope of assimilating them if they stayed at home.

TCS’s chief operating officer NG Subramaniam said: “Around 40,000 employees joined us online and quit online without any offline interaction during the pandemic and that kind of situation cannot be helpful for any organization.

“We are very clear that we have to get our original culture back.”

The recent memo distributed to workers shows just how serious TCS’s C-suite is taking its own rhetoric.

In addition to capping bonuses based on appearance, office attendance will also reportedly be factored into performance-related reviews.

“Employees’ compliance to work from home will be reviewed every quarter. In the event an employee is found to be in violation of the laid down policies, there will be implications on the annual performance review, compensation, and career progression of the employee,” the policy reportedly reads.

Tying company bonuses to attendance is a novel approach to getting staffers back to the office, but follows a familiar tactic from tech companies that involves using financial incentives to convince workers to come in.

In 2021, several tech giants including Meta and Google said they would cut the pay of staff who had moved to remote areas with a cheaper cost of living than in their hubs in Silicon Valley.

These companies have now introduced stricter hybrid policies that ask workers to come in at least four days a week. 

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