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The right mix: There's more to HR than carrot & stick The right mix: There's more to HR than carrot & stick
 
Increasing attrition rates have made employee retention an art requiring judicious policies and HR practices. Intelenet has evolved the right mix of policies and promotions and is reaping benefits.

Ramandeep Nehra, EFY News Network  (2 Votes)

Thursday, December 13, 2007: 

Why does an employee quit? Is there a 'tonic' that can be served to the employees at the time of joining so that they remain loyal to the company? These and the like issues keep most human resources managers occupied. There is a constant pressure on HR managers to bring down attrition rate and here perhaps, the best HR practices deployed successfully in other companies, can be of some help.

The need of the hour is for industry to join hands to counter the attrition demon and augment the reduced skilled workforce base.

Obviously, employees quit as they feel stifled for lack of opportunity to evolve professionally and personally. On the other hand, for companies too, frequent investments are called for on recruitment and training heads that in turn reduces profit margins. This further pressurises the management and the vicious circle continues. However, industry has woken up to its losses and has started working on recouping measures. Many organisations have, as such, come up with innovative methods to tackle the issue.

Manuel D'Souza, executive vice president, HR, Intelenet Global Services, discussing the best practices to reduce attrition in the company says, "We have always been a people-centric company. Our policies have focused on making life of employees simple and easy, both personally and professionally".

Intelenet not just boasts of an open work culture, but also promotes it, involving employees in all formal and informal meetings within the organisation. Says D'Souza, "The participation of employees is in keeping with the spirit of a seamless organisation. This has resulted in the creation of a pleasant and open workplace where our employees feel free to voice their views and opinions. They can even skip level if they want to talk to any of the top management regarding their work."

To help young employees evolve, Intelenet has a strategic plan charted out for each employee individually, relating to his/her professional growth, at the very beginning. The company has a special Internal Promotion Programme for employees, designed to incorporate a growth path for employees, supported by their performance and strategic inputs. All growth is based on managing talent in the right manner. Talking about these programs, D'Souza said, "We have implemented I-versity, our Internal Promotion Programme for employees. Various schemes that are included in it are: STEP - Strive Towards Excellence Programme (for agent to team leader (TL) promotions) and LEAD - Leadership Excellence Accreditation & Development (for TL to team manager promotions). There are other customised programmes based on an individual's role in the organisation like the STAR (Striving Towards Achieving Results Program), which is based on enhancing skill set of employees in 'strategy, customer focus, leadership, communication and other managerial skills'. D'Souza adds, "Approximately 80 per cent to 90 per cent of our promotions to middle management level (team leader and team manager) happen through Accelerated Career Growth Programme, specially designed to help employees move to the next level."

Intelenet has regular training programmes as also fast track programmes. The former are more generic and need-based while the latter are comprehensive and equip employees with the right perspective, attitude and skills to move up to the next level. Worth mentioning is the Knowledge Empowerment and You workshop organised for team leaders and an eight-hour training programme, CEO (Complete Employee Ownership) for associates.

It's always better to know if the employees find the policies especially designed for them, actually beneficial or not. To improve the management and development of the human assets of the organisation, the company has to focus on the overall learning and development of the employees. D'Souza said, "We have a Competency GAP Analysis and Training Programme which helps us assess and identify our competency as an organisation and plan training and skill development accordingly. It also helps in identifying competency gaps specific to the level and role of an individual, based on the C-GAP Analysis, the requisite training is provided to ensure alignment to organisational objectives."

Employee satisfaction is the goal of every human resource manager. If the organisation can achieve a high level of satisfaction among employees, then automatically the attrition rate will drop. Like many other organisations that conduct surveys and bring out reports, Intelenet also conducts them, says D'Souza, "but the difference is that the results derived from such survey are not left to to gather dust on the bookshelves of the company or lost among the CDs in drawers. They are used to draw up HR policies that the employees want."

Says D'Souza,"We understand the importance of employee satisfaction both from the service delivery as well as the retention perspective. Areas of improvement are identified and necessary actions initiated. As part of the employee satisfaction survey, we track certain parameters to measure employee satisfaction and their well being such as perception of organisation leadership, company image, quality of work life, compensation, training, performance and career appraisal."

Intelenet also has a social committee that organises events throughout the year to encourage employees. It also holds employee appreciation programmes of 2-week duration aimed towards providing a better workplace. D'Souza says, "Our 15-day long employee appreciation fortnight is a testimony to our commitment towards employees. During this week, we felicitate employees for outstanding achievement in the past year with Intelenet Awards and hold contests and entertainment programmes." He says, "Such activities at the workplace help in encouraging involvement in the organisation as well in individual processes. Organising such events, not only adds zest to the organisation but also help in development of soft skills."

Intelenet has a 24-hour cafeteria with table-tennis tables and carom boards, a well-equipped gym, in-house fitness counsellor and holds yoga classes. In addition, Intelenet also organises free medical camps, Ayurveda camps, eye check-up camps, etc and provides concierge facility for utility bill payment, ticket booking, etc.

To foster a sense of belonging and enhance productivity of the employees such activities are necessary, opines D'Souza. "We are proud to be a part of the personal development and success of our employees. Our employees have made us proud by winning various corporate sports events."

Security of employee has become a top priority for organisations. Intelenet also takes some special measures to safeguard its workforce. Regular background checks are done by the company for outsourced job like cab services and other transport. D'Souza says, "The safety of employees is of utmost importance to us. Intelenet's administrative/operations staff supervise and verify drivers and vehicle documentation on a periodic basis. We have ground supervisor ratio of 1:100 to ensure regular and smooth transportation system." Apart from this, women employees are provided escorts in night shifts.

The attrition rate of the company is considerably lower than the industry average. For this, D'Souza gives all the credit to the company's employee-friendly policies and the way Intelenet has been a facilitator for the growth and accelerated career paths of its employees. He says, "At Intelenet, using some unique HR initiatives, we have consistently managed to keep attrition much below industry average. The turnover for our contact centre employees has been around 45 per cent to 50 per cent and the turnover for back office employees has been between 15 per cent to 20 per cent annually."

It is industry experience, that the main reason for an employee leaving a job is pursuit of higher studies and better job prospects. Presenting his perspective and advising on the ways the attrition rate can be brought down, D'Souza said, "Rather than focusing on attrition, organisations should stress good recruitment practices that build realistic expectations, quality training, brand loyalty and creating a work environment that facilitates personal growth as well as career advancement. We strongly believe that these factors are responsible for the low attrition rate at Intelenet."

Intelenet is one of the top players in the domestic BPO industry. Currently it is a 23,500 strong-company, spread over 24 locations in India, US, Central America, Philippines and Mauritius.


Ramandeep Nehra, EFY News Network  (2 Votes)


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