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Work at first sight. What makes a company comfortable for the employee?

By: Arina Vasilieva

According to some estimates, to replace an employee that leaves the company, the employer spends 21 % of his/her annual income on average. Obviously, low turnover rates are more favorable than higher ones. So, employers are trying to build long-term relationships with employees, often more extended than employment itself. Businesses train personnel starting from university and keeps in touch with a former employee even after he or she resigns.
This requires certain effort:in the long term, an employee’s loyalty depends a lot on how considerate and responsible the employer is about his or her interests and needs. Such treatment should be demonstrated from first sight (interview) to the last day (resignation).
Results of a responsible approach to employment practices are obvious. Consider, for example, the experience of ICL Services — an IT outsourcing company where staff turnover does not exceed 8-10 %, the rate "advised" for the IT industry, despite the disturbance afflicting the labor market.

"Clouds" for the young

Domestic higher IT education provides a solid theoretical background, but sometimes to the detriment of practice. Graduates have no work experience with modern technologies, which slows down their occupational formation.

Only large IT companies have resources required to change this situation. For example, ICL Services has built a though-over system of young talent development:

• fundamental practice-oriented education based on Fujitsu Labs — traininglaboratories integrated in the educational process of leading IT higher education institutions in Tatarstan;

• short-term IT courses (IT Security, Network etc.);

• work placement at ICL Services, where students reinforce their knowledge on the basis of actual business tasks;
• identification of talented IT students during tournaments and Olympiads and their support through a scholarship program.

The Company’s stance on development of young talent became clear in 2015, when ICL Cloud, the Company’s strategic product, was launched in the market. As early as concluding first contracts to use it, the Company already granted Kazan Federal University students access to the cloud for learning purposes. As a result, they started gaining experience "on the forefront" of modern technologies fast.
The Company’s doors are open to young talent, and ICL Services has become an employer appealing for the young: about 50 students worked and were on work placement at the Company at the start of 2016. But neither scholarship holders nor students are committed to be employed by ICL Services: the Company’s goal is the development of the IT market rather than early recruitment.

"At a glance": vacancy search, interview, and relocation
The Company’s attitude to a prospective employee can be read at a glance. The candidate can evaluate whether the employer’s assessment is unbiased and information and, in the event of relocation, geographic access is available as early as during job search and interview. The Company tries to meet candidates’ expectations by taking action described below.
• To guarantee an unbiased assessment transparent for the candidate and the Company, it is HR, technical specialists, and the future manager that participate in interviews at ICL Services.This results in a comprehensive and balanced assessment.

• To be open in terms of information, ICL Services is available on all major job search channels (websites, social networks, job fairs, career days at HEIs etc.). HR keeps in touch with the candidate to update him or her on decisions that are made.

• To provide ease of geographic access, the Company pays 50 % of the fare for candidates from other cities to come to their interviews, and provides new hires with temporary housing, helps with registration and familiarization with the city.

"Day one": socialization in a new team
To get assimilated into the team and immersed in job duties, the new hire needs an onboarding program. So, every newcomer has a buddy — an experienced employee that is by their side for the first 3 months of work to introduce them to the Company and the subtleties of office life. In addition, an onboarding plan is issued (so that no important aspect is left out), and a shirtsleeves meeting is held with the Company’s top management (to understand the strategic context).

Are you comfortable at work?

The employee feels comfortable in the company that treats his or her needs with consideration. ICL Services follows 5 key principles that mare corporate life more comfortable.

1. Clear performance appraisal. An undervaluation of work outcomes or nontransparent assessment criteria is the most common reason for employee resignation. Therefore, ICL Services has built its appraisal on KPI which decompose strategic business targets to the level of each individual employee. Roughly speaking, KPI answer the question: "How do I contribute personally to the Company’s results?" Appraisal is automated to remove subjectivity, and its criteria are known both to managers and employees under appraisal.
Principles the system is based on are best illustrated by the example of record-keeping of one-time, irregular tasks. Such tasks:

o can be originated by the manager and colleagues, your own or any other business unit (for example, a sales manager can ask an IT specialist’s help in preparing a presentation for a customer);

o take up 20 % to 60 % of an employee’s working time on average (less for IT engineers, more for supporting managers and specialists);

o can be business-critical (as the above presentation for a customer);

o all this taken into account, it is hard to assess their fulfillment with the classical KPI system.

Therefore, the SMART Tasks functionality was incorporated in ICL Services’ performance appraisal system. Every employee can set a task to any colleague through an online form. As its name suggests, the expected result should be clearly defined together with assessment criteria and due dates. The task becomes mandatory once it is approved by the manager of the designated person, and the latter confirms he or she can fulfill it by the deadline. Next, the automated system reminds the designated person to fulfill the task in time, and the author — to assess the result.
From the viewpoint of employees and managers, this is a convenient and transparent system for evaluating effort expended and results achieved.
2. A compensation package designed to improve the quality of life in 4 off-work spheres of life.

o Health (annual physical examination and vaccination, VHI for employees and family members, compensation of health resort trips for employees’ children) and an active lifestyle (compensation for sports, free grounds for gaming sports, corporate discounts at fitness clubs and swimming pools).Working mothers are offered a monthly children’s day, employees with disabilities — extra days to their vacation.

o Recreation and entertainment (a vacation bonus, colorful corporate events for employees and their families, a corporate recreation facility, athletic tournaments inside the Company, corporate discounts at 25+ stores, tour agencies etc.).

o Support in extraordinary situations of joy and grief (interest-free loans for personal needs, financial assistance for weddings and childbirth, and burial of close family members).

o Housing (a cottage estate for employees, compensation of mortgage interest).
As concerns their working time, employees are guaranteed convenient offices (with parking areas, shower rooms, medical rooms, athletic grounds, office kitchen, corporate canteen) and well-equipped workplaces (safety inspected by independent experts).
3. Corporate training. The employee and the Company share responsibility for his/her development. ICL Services’ objective is to enable the employee to:

o learn at in-house courses (technical, soft skills, foreign languages);

o learn at external courses (more than 50 providers) and take certification;

o customize a development plan;

o use the corporate library of business literature;

o be enrolled in corporate training programs for managers (talent pool), TechLeads (high-level IT specialists), trainers, speakers etc.

Up to 2.5 % of the payroll is invested annually in training, and the Company pays for all required courses and certifications.
More than 90 % employees take their opportunity to develop every year. Their responsibility in this is to achieve expected learning outcomes. It is stipulated in training agreements.
4. Uniform rules of the game. Work processes are regulated by corporate policies that are publicly available to and binding on all employees. Developed by employees themselves and approved by the management, the Corporate Code should be used as a guide in nonstandard situations.The Red Button can be hit in critical situations associated with violations of laws and corporate policies, reputation and financial risks for the Company. This is an anonymous online service, through which a concern can be instantly reported to the Compliance manager and the Company’s management.
5. Managers are open and available. It is an open secret that employees should be aware of the Company’s position and prospects, the outcomes of their work. E-Xecutive, the managers’ community, believes that this even improves performance by 10-30 %. Still, it is important to be able to address a manager directly, even a senior manager. So, ICL Services has arranged two-way communication channels:

o the corporate Intranet regularly publishes news about the Company’s life;

o the Company’s Director and Executive Director meet with the team every 3 months to speak about the Company’s strategic position and answer the employees’ questions. These meetings are usually attended by 40-50 % of team members — in person or online;

o every employee has to right to write a personal message to his/her managers up to the Company’s Director.

There is no end to cooperation
Useful connections are a wealth. The Company keeps in touch even with employees that decided to leave. Those who "leave decently" (without giving up a project at its high, warning of their leave in advance) are welcome to corporate events and informed about new opportunities that become available at the Company.
In turn, such employees often serve as the brand ambassador: the Company gets promising new hires with their help. Sometimes, they even come back themselves. For example, two former employees returned to ICL Services in H1 2016.
To a great extent, this is the result of a responsible attitude to employment practices.



ICL Services are pioneers of professional IT outsourcing in Russia.To date ICL Services has about 1,000 employees working successfully with over 50 major clients from 26 countries providing IT maintenance services 24 hours 7 days a week in English, Russian, French and German: http://icl-services.com/eng/

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