TCS Targets Global Image, Gives Staff The Language Edge

New Delhi: | Updated: Sep 29 2003, 05:30am hrs
In a bid to become a global player in the knowledge sector, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is training all its employees to speak and understand at least one foreign language. The move is not limited to employees just learning a language but also making them conversant with the culture and etiquettes of at least one foreign country.

In an exclusive interview with eFE, TCS foreign language initiative head Indubala Ashok, who was hired by the company last year to spearhead the initiative, said, TCS has a vision to be among the top 10 global companies and we will have to transform its people into global citizens. It (language initiative) has been taken up as a corporate project with a strategic aim. Its high time that Indian software companies understand that only technology skills will not be able to take them ahead and their people need to have soft skills too to compete in the global market, she added.

TCS has set up a dedicated department for taking the language training programme across all its offices, development centres, departments and groups. This is different from the need-based foreign language skills training that is imparted by software companies to their engineers before assigning them a project from a non-English speaking country. In fact, TCS was also imparting only need-based foreign language training till recently, she said, adding that the company was focussing on non-language learning such as eating habits, table etiquettes, etc of different countries.

TCS has created a special foreign language learning centre at its Thiruvananthapuram facility where all newly recruited employees are sent for initial orientation and training before being inducted into the company. All the new employees are required to undertake a course in one language of their choice. Moreover, the company has also started running similar programmes at all its major offices and development centres to impart language and cultural skills to the existing employees, she informed. The company uses several methods (besides classroom and online learning) such as role plays, games and quizzes to invoke interest in foreign cultures among the employees.

Our vision is to expose TCS to a multi-culture environment where each employee is well-trained on at least one language and culture of the world, she said. Language skills are set to become as critical as technology skills for the selection of engineers for projects, she added.