Increasingly, working professionals are spending the better part of their lives in office. 24x7 is today, more often than not, the sum total of our existence. With automation invading our lives everywhere, it's little wonder that ennui has become a part and parcel of any profession. Ironically, monotony and stress too have increased with increasing levels of professionalism. There is generally a feeling of being wrung out and a change of environment seems to be the only answer to whip up energy levels as well as interest. While employees seek change and new challenges in other organisations, the issue has translated into a major HR dilemma for companies. No wonder, everywhere move is afoot to bring in positive changes at the workplace by transforming it into a more professional, secure and welcoming set-up, thereby increasing employee retention.
First Advantage Offshore Services is among those companies that have successfully created a work environment that has increased employee retention dramatically. The company has provided its employees unique facilities not just on paper but in reality too. It promotes the 'stable employees' concept and as a matter of policy, honours and rewards employees who have been with the organization for long.
Talking about the various facilities provided in-house, Tarun Jauhari, director, First Advantage Offshore Services said, "We are an off-shoring arm of FADV, USA, engaged in software development, BPO and KPO activities. Like many other companies in the industry we offer facilities like free transport and food as a part of the total package. However, we have a unique policy whereby we assure those who join us a long and happy stint."
Jauhari said,"We have a very elaborate re-location policy for our employees. This is one company which goes out of the way to make its employees feel at home even in strange locations." The human resource manager or the employee relations manager of the company not only assists in re-location of the employees and their families, but also helps with arranging all the basic services: from finding a suitable accommodation to getting children admitted in schools.
"As soon as the employee shifts to the new location, the company takes over providing corporate stay for the family for the next two weeks. The traveling expenses of the employee and his dependents are also borne by the company. The company provides 10-11 month loan for advance rent and security deposit for rented accommodation which can be payed back by the employee later. The company has tied-up with a service provider to take care of all the basic requirements of the employees, like booking tickets, paying bills, arranging for local transport, etc. In short, it is a program to help employees lead hassle free personal lives while fulfilling their professional obligations competently," said Jauhari.
After completion of three years, an employee is eligible for various other benefits. He/she can avail car loan upto Rs 5 lakh from the company. This loan can be payed back in next 5 years. After completing five years with First Advantage, more incentives in the shape of soft loan policy that grants loans upto Rs 5 lakh come in force under which the employee is not even required to disclose the reason for taking the loan, Jauhari said adding, "It pays to be with us."
The company also has a medical insurance policy for employees and his dependents that covers previous ailments. "It is a necessity as it takes off the burden of paying hefty health bills from the employees," said Jauhari.
In an industry like BPO/ ITES wherein every other day employees are tempted to leave the organization, it has become imperative to evolve an employee-centric policy. As part of its incentive plan, the company provides 20-30 percent of the salary as performance reward. Besides this the employees also get night shift and overtime allowance. "We recognize the fact that working late nights is stressful at times and hence we take care of the food and nutrition needs of the employees," says Jauhari. However, he puts the latter in the category of fun and says, "Employees are provided juice and Horlicks. This boosts their energy levels."
The company's security system too is foolproof, claims Jauhar. Apart from the regular security measures that are taken by all companies, First Advantage is particularly concerned about the security of its woman employees. "We have license to issue pepper spray to our woman employees, a self-defense product which can be used in times of emergency. It is issued to all woman employees and they have to carry it along with them when travelling," Jauhari said. Further he added,"We don't allow our woman employees to travel alone. However, if it is unavoidable, we provide special woman security guard." Proper police verification of all drivers is mandatory in the company and the routes of the drivers are not changed without prior notice to employees. The company also runs a helpline center for its employees. Now the company is planning to install advanced vehicle tracking system, to further beef security. "We are also working on a pilot project with Airtel to install GSM system of tracking vehicles," Jauhari said.
The company as a policy tries to make special days of employees even more special. Each employee is wished on his/her birthday or anniversary and presented chocolates and bouquet. After the completion of three years, an employees receives gift vouchers worth Rs 10,000 on special occasions like anniversary. On annual foundation day, the company gifts shirts, jackets, etc., with company logo to employees. "These shirts are a big hit with the employees and although there is no compulsion to wear it, most love to," said Jauhari.
No wonder, First advantage has the lowest attrition rate in the industry of 6-7 percent with the average of 5 percent over last 8 years of operations. The 400 plus employees are working from the Bangalore center. It is located in the ITPL campus which also houses several other MNCs. The company has been named the 'Most Talented' in the inter-company outdoor activities and functions category.
Ours is an open work culture, so every employee has access to intranet wherein he/she can directly post queries to senior authorities and get answers. "The company has a paper free department and an advanced in-house HRM system," informed Jauhari.