From reinstating variable pay to hiking salary and giving surprise bonus, IT firms, which were worst hit by the downturn, gave more than one reason to their employees to cheer this festive season.

With the market conditions improving and economy showing signs of recovery, the IT firms such as TCS, Infosys, Mahindra Satyam, Google, NIIT and others, which are now seeing more business trickling in, have started reviving a lot of employee-centric policies.

Buoyed by a 29 per cent jump in profit for the July-September period, software exporter TCS had said it would pay 150 per cent of the quarterly component of the variable pay to eligible employees in India pay roll.

The company gave 100 per cent of the quarterly component of the variable pay in the first three months of the fiscal.

Earlier in the last quarter of the previous fiscal, it had frozen the variable pay due to global financial meltdown.

According to Gartner Principal research analyst Diptarup Chakrovorti, the focus has now shifted back to the people and retaining talent.

“In the past few months, HR heads were not bothered about attrition. Now, with the demands improving, companies wants to secure their talent pool with hikes, bonuses as human capital is the biggest challenge in the IT industry,” he added.

Last year the IT firms had not given any pay hikes. “This year, as the market conditions are improving, two-digit pay hikes will be the norm,” he added.

Infosys Technologies, which has revised its full-year revenue guidance upwards and also managed to maintain its profit margins, has also announced pay hikes and promotions, he added.

Infosys in April this year, had put on hold all promotions and salary hikes for the current fiscal.

The global economic slowdown had hurt the IT industry in the past year as their customers, based mainly in the US and Europe, shelved projects, cut technology spending and sought lower rates for products and services.

But now with the clients finalising their IT budgets and markets looking up, the companies are willing to pay back their employees and using this as a retention tool, IT industry body Nasscom said.

Search major Google gave a surprise to its employees this October, by announcing a bonus after the company posted a better-than-expected results.

Mahindra Satyam has also reinstated the variable portion of salaries of employees, a move which indicates the revival of the once fraud-hit firm.

Along with the variable pay, the company has also decided to reintroduce various benefits like ESOPs and associate welfare programmes.

The company had withdrawn variable pay during the height of the crisis in April when its founder Ramalinga Raju admitted to the frauds.

Another, IT firm NIIT Technologies had also announced to grant ESOP to selected employees of the company

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