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  When he graduated from Symbiosis Institute of Management, Pune, in 1994, Rahul Varma did what many top B-school grads would and joined Accenture India, which was then a 60-person management consultancy finding its way in a nascent Indian market.

  Since those early years, Accenture has evolved globally from just management consultancy into an $18-billion (Rs 72,000 crore) technology, consulting and BPO giant and its India operations have grown from one small office in Delhi's World Trade Centre into a massive 35,000-person entity, the company's largest outside its headquarters in the US and Varma has become its Senior Vice President and Head of Human Resources.

  What hasn't changed along the way is the company's focus on people. "We were known initially as a high-brow management consultancy, but we have adapted to the different people requirements of the IT and BPO industries," says Harsh Manglik, Chairman & Managing Director, Accenture India. The firm has had to be quick on the draw, since competition is intense and young employees are always in demand in this booming market.

  We have monitored and measured employee engagement across the globe and Accenture India topped the survey across 49 locations," boasts Varma. His biggest challenge has been to sort through the thousands of employees at Accenture India and identify young employees with future leadership potential and begin grooming them for future roles. All Accenture employees get career counsellors, typically two levels above them in the hierarchy, who are given a budget and specific time to mould the career of their wards. "This is not an activity we take lightly; we measure their competence and help our employees find the right path," says Varma.

  Rather than shackle employees to a single industry, Accenture has a Cross Entity Leadership Program to allow people to switch between businesses, and all openings are posted on internal portals. "We don't believe that everyone should have a straight career path. There may be some employees who have a different way of doing things and we're happy to accommodate them," says Manglik, adding that when Accenture started its technology practice in India, it could seed leadership internally and kickstart the initiative.

  Training and developing the best talent in the country is accorded top priority and unlike many of its peers in the industry that lean heavily on classroom sessions, Accenture has evolved a different model.

   "We have 16,000 courses on Accenture's My Portal, which is, perhaps, the largest such collection in the world and is open to all employees of Accenture," says Varma.

  The company has also tied up with MIT's Office of Professional Education Programs to run the Accenture Solutions Delivery Academy. Accenture's two-year collaboration with MIT PEP includes ongoing review of Accenture Academy of Leadership Excellence's educational content, student assessments, and overall programme design by several MIT School of Engineering faculty.

  Then, it has unveiled a raft of initiatives targeted at its women employees. Accenture runs focussed employee campaigns to attract the best female talent, has regular programmes to sensitise employees about gender differences and a network to let women network among their peers in senior management to ensure the visibility of women achievers across the company. More About