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The fight for employees: how companies are arming themselves to win on the labor market
Each company is a kind of planet where its own laws and gravitational forces operate. Companies go to great lengths to avoid being jettisoned into open space outside the employment market. First of all, they try to do everything to provide employees with a comfortable work environment. ICL Services has been using labor best practices for 13 years, which includes introducing new processes and replacing what is no longer relevant.
The first contact with the employer occurs before the candidate decides to find a job. At student events («open house» events, job fairs, etc.), company employees answer questions about working conditions, training, the job, and give recommendations on how to get a job and useful knowledge. This removes the fear of the first employer and facilitates entry into the company. ICL Services sponsors student events (Information Security Olympiad, I-TEAM student competition, ICL Programming Olympiad together with KNRTU-KAI), actively working with applicants, parents, and students along the way. In 2018–2019 alone, the company has taken part in 40+ events for talented youth.
Many students intern at the company and write their theses under the guidance of ICL Services specialists. After successfully defending their thesis, many young people continue their career path.
ICL Services also offers a paid internship. For young professionals, this is an advantage in the labor market. It’s not easy finding a job without experience. The intern is assigned a mentor who gives practical and educational tasks and helps adapt. The internship lasts 3–6 months. If it’s successful, an in-house job is offered.
A unique line of support for talented youth is the ICL Services Schools for students and graduates. The regional labor market does not have enough candidates who possess the necessary business knowledge. In response to this challenge, the company’s management decided to teach these technologies for free, using all of ICL Services’ resources, from equipping classes to finding experienced professionals to lecture. As a result, in 2018–2019, 13 schools have been held with a total of 200+ students. Over 50% of them were hired by the company. In addition to these schools, there are current technologies in different IT fields. These include service desk, project management, system administration, databases that are not taught at universities, as well as a flexible study schedule in the evenings and the program’s rapid pace.
On the same wave
Today, when the boundaries between the employer and the applicant/employee are very tentative, it is important to use all possible channels of communication and quickly respond to questions. This gives a competitive advantage over other companies and creates transparency at all levels of interaction with employees:
- The company has business accounts on Facebook, Linkedin, and YouTube. The accounts feature success stories, information about innovations, and insight into the company’s plans.
- It also has pages aimed at corporate culture on VKontakte, Facebook, and Instagram. Their goal is to show how employees live and to get closer to subscribers by promptly answering their questions.
- You can evaluate the expertise of the people you’ll work with in the future in the Habr professional community.
- A bot is currently being piloted to help the HR team conduct an initial screening.
The internal communications network for existing employees also covers a wide area:
- news portal (850 news articles in 2018);
- «Thanks» button;
- meetings with top management 3 times a year;
- opportunity to contact a leader at any level.
A smooth landing: adaptation according to plan
When a newcomer joins the company, everything is done to quickly get them situated and adapted as comfortably as possible.
- The mentoring program that assigns a buddy to the new employee is a great example of this approach. Mentoring lasts 3 months and helps the newcomer to socialize in the team. The new associate always has someone nearby to answer job-related and office-related questions. The program received the prestigious IT HR Awards.
- The electronic adaptation plan shows what kind of training the employee has to take and what he/she can expect ahead.
- Induction training guides the new employee through all of the company’s departments. The employee also learns about lean manufacturing and volunteering and can personally ask the company’s directors any questions.
- Evaluation 360 at the end of the probationary period (self-assessment plus evaluation by colleagues and the manager) offers an effective evaluation of the new employee.
- Three times a year, the company holds a Strategy Update. These are major events involving the company’s directors where all aspects of the company’s operations are discussed. The average attendance at these events is 500+ people. Managers answer over 50 questions during each event.
A pleasant atmosphere in a pleasant office
In addition to the built-in communication processes, staff evaluation, and recognition programs, ICL Services’ modern office, Technopark, plays an important role. It was part of the Best Office Awards 2018.
Employees took part in developing the sleek modern design of this office, which meets all modern requirements. It is environmentally friendly and is equipped with game rooms, recreation areas, modern meeting rooms, workstations, and fail-safes in case of power failures. Work stations in the open space format are designed in such a way that soundproof partitions allow you to work quietly while you’re surrounded by colleagues. The company offers another perk to environmentally conscious employees: containers for collecting batteries and separate garbage and recycling collection.
Growth, compensation, and recognition
The company’s principles of work are transparent to all employees. Evaluation is based on KPIs, which are negotiated by the manager and the employee. KPIs depend on the employee’s position and department. As a rule, rewards are given for accomplishing supertasks and performing high-quality work. The system is automated, which protects against the human factor.
Employees receive their salary and a competitive benefits package.
- Training at the Company’s Cost
- Work—Life Balance
- Employee Recognition Programs
ICL Services invests in its employees’ growth and provides an opportunity to take internal technical and skill courses, to learn foreign languages during the workday at the office or online. The fact that the company also picks up the cost of international certification and training through expensive external courses is also a significant plus for the employer. About 90% of employees take certain courses and certifications every year.
The company supports its employees’ growth through individual plans and a manager training program (personnel reserve) and allowing employees to gain experience in new roles, such as an internal trainer, media expert, or Tech Lead.
Health and Well-Being
While the company pays special attention to observing all the requirements of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, it also takes note of its employees’ health. The company offers an annual medical examination, fluorography, vaccinations, lectures on preventing office illnesses, stress management, an expanded private health insurance plan for employees and family members. The company offers a host of perks. For example, it reimburses membership costs to fitness clubs. It also rents space for its employees to play football, volleyball, hockey, and table tennis. Twice a year, it holds trials to the running club and it partially reimburses participation in athletic events (the Kazan Marathon, the Race of Heroes, the National Half Marathon, the Belgrade Marathon, etc.)
Financial assistance for important events in an employee’s life is a definite perk that offers interest-free loans from the company, financial support during childbirth, marriage, or in the event of a close relative’s death.
The company compensates for the costs of mortgages, provides special conditions for purchasing housing in the IT village for employees and new residential complexes near the office.
The relocation program includes housing location assistance to employees from other cities, as well as initial financial assistance when moving.
The company holds 80+ events a year, not counting team-building events. These cover various areas, from entertainment (the company’s anniversary, professional holidays, etc.) to social events (eco-races, support for nursing homes, trips to animal shelters, etc.).
Additional vacation days, additional days off for working mothers and additional days off for the disabled are also among the opportunities available to employees.
Annual awards at the end of the year among all colleagues, the Professional Award in each department, awards for volunteers and the personnel reserve, receiving team ratings from customers are only a small part of the recognition programs at ICL Services.
If paths diverge
The company added over 300 new employees in 2018. However, there are those who decide to leave the company. ICL Services works with them as well.
HR managers hold an exit interview with the outgoing employee to understand why they are leaving. If possible, the company offers another solution: transfer to another department, to a new position, or another work format. Reasons for leaving are recorded to resolve problems and improve conditions for other employees.
A distinctive feature of the company is the fact that ICL Services maintains contact with former colleagues. They still have the opportunity to attend corporate events, recommend new employees and get a bonus for the recommendation. They can also return to the company, which is not uncommon for ICL Services. After all, you always want to go back to where things are good.
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