Mission and Core Values The mission of iPlace is to maximize financial returns to iPlace, our clients, and our employees through excellence in international recruiting. • Integrity: We do what we say and we do what is right. • Performance-base culture: We invest in our employee through performance based incentives and training. • Respect: We treat every one with dignity and welcome different perspectives. • Knowledge and Creativity: We promote and support innovation, risk-taking, sharing of ideas and continuous learning. • Professionalism: We understand our clients needs and urgency on delivering on our commitment. • Partnership: We our true business partner and support win-win relationship based on sharing risks and rewards.
Services • Sourcing: iPlace’s Sourcers find the candidates our clients are missing. The Sourcers work the US night (Indian dayshift). Our clients send job orders and before their recruiters come in the next morning iPlace sends resume of candidates who are precise fits. Candidates are identified from a wide variety of sources - not just job boards. Sourcers can also send candidates e-mails. • Preliminary Qualification (Pre-Qual) Recruiting: iPlace’s pre-qual recruiters save our clients in-house recruiters time so they can close more job orders. The pre-qual recruiters work the US day (Indian nightshift), conduct screening interviews to confirm candidates’ high level qualifications, availability, and interest in the position. When candidates are qualified the pre-qual recruiters schedule comprehensive qualification interviews between the client’s in-house recruiters and the candidates. • Full Lifecycle Recruiting: iPlace’s full lifecycle recruiters perform end-to-end recruiting tasks that may include, sourcing, candidate interviewing and qualification, negotiating pay rates, administrating online tests, submitting formatted resume with detail candidate cover notes, and conducting background and reference checks. Full Lifecycle recruiters work the US day (Indian nightshift) so that they interact with candidates in real time. iPlace’s candidates are ready to be submitted to the hiring manager without being re-qualified.
iPlace Academy iPlace Provides the most extensive international training available in India for our new hires and refresher training for existing employees through iPlace Academy. Graduates of our two month training program receive training in the iPlace way (business ethics and iPlace culture), accent training, effective e-mail communications, staffing industry business practices, advance Internet sourcing techniques, interviewing and qualifying candidates, and negotiating pay rates. All sourcer and recruiters are certified before being assigned to a client – and re-certified every three month to ensure all skills are current.
Benefits Performance-Based Incentives iPlace has a culture of pay for performance. Employees at iPlace can double or even triple their monthly salary through incentives earned for making placements. Placement Bonus Incentives
Comprehensive Annual Leave (CAL) Policy • iPlace has the most generous and flexible leave policy in the industry. CAL provides iPlace employees with time off for vacations, personal or family illnesses, Indian holidays, religious holidays and festivals, or personal reasons. It is accrued by our employees at a rate of 26 days per calendar year. Our employees’ accrual of CAL is worth slightly more than 10 percent of their salaries. In other words, CAL is essentially the equivalent of getting a 10 percent raise. • In addition to CAL, all employees get an additional four paid days off during US holidays. • Highlights of the CAL program: • CAL is accrued for every day the employee works, starting the day you join iPlace. There is no probation period. • CAL balance can be carried over from year to year. • CAL can be cashed out if the employees CAL balance is excess of 45 days. • The employee’s entire unused CAL balance is paid out in cash when the employee leaves the employ of iPlace.
Employee Referral Program The iPlace Employee Referral Program provides strong financial incentives to ensure iPlace employees refer the best recruiters and sourcers to iPlace. Referral bonuses for sourcers and recruiters range from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 depending on the position and level. Longevity Bonus iPlace pays a longevity bonus to employees who have been employed for three or more years with the company as shown in the table below.
Tuition Reimbursement Employees who have been employed for 18 or more months with iPlace are eligible for reimbursement of course fees from the company of up to Rs. 30,000 in any one calendar year. Medical Insurance Employees who have been employed for 3 or more months receive medical and accident insurance. The insurance covers hospitalization expenses up to Rs 200,000. Maternity Leave Women employees who have been employed for one year or more months are eligible for up to 90 days of maternity leave during which they receive 25 percent of their monthly salary
Other Benefits • Cab Facility • Employees who work the Indian night shift are provided free home pick up and drop cab service. • Dinner and Refreshments • Employees are provided free refreshments. Employees who work the Indian night shift are also provided free dinner. • Anniversary and Birthday Vouchers • Employees receive cash prizes from the company on their wedding, anniversaries, and birthdays.
Rewards and Recognitions • Mission Award • The mission award is given once a year to an employee who best demonstrates iPlace’s core values. The winner is selected by iPlace employees through voting and not by iPlace management. (Last years mission award was 3 nights and 4 days all expenses paid trip for two at the Five Star Executive Cidade De Goa Resort, Goa.) • Performer of the Month Award • Every month the best performing recruiter and sourcer receives a cash prize. • Star Employees • The two recruiters and two sourcers who make the most placements in a month have their pictures posted on iPlace’s official website.
Achievements • The two engines of any offshore RPO are their clients and employees. iPlace has made sure that both the engines are fueled with a good work culture, the best HR practices, and always looking at a win-win situation for both clients and employees. iPlace has been successful in achieving “customer delight” through constant feedback and implementing processes that integrate effectively with clients. • The collective efforts of employees and management together for the last three years have helped us script our achievements.
Client Satisfaction Every quarter iPlace conducts a Client Relationship Survey in which the client scores us on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the least and 10 being the best). Our average score for the last quarter was 8.7 and it was 8.4 the previous quarter. This means that most of our clients are highly likely to refer other clients and that we are working as true partners to our clients • Placements iPlace sourcers and recruiters have made 164 confirmed placements till date. • Attrition Success of every company is based on retaining its top performers. Our attrition for last year was just 4 percent per month. We achieve this by promoting performance based culture and excellent retention policies (see page 6 to 11). • Revenue Growth iPlace recorded a growth of 196% in its revenue in 2008.
Articles Increasing Profitability through Offshore Sourcing and Recruiting Hank Levine Corporate recruiting departments have been working with staffing agencies since the first employment agency in the United States, Engineering Agency, was founded in 1893. Although working with staffing agencies is expensive, until recently there have been few other ways for companies to supplement their internal recruiting capabilities. A single corporate recruiter may handle up to 60 simultaneous job openings. It simply is not possible to conduct quality searches for this many positions. Many corporate recruiters also have human resources responsibilities, which make it even more difficult to find the time to recruit for so many openings. Therefore, companies turn to staffing agencies to ensure critical openings get filled. In the last three or four years, progressive companies have discovered a better alternative: Working with an offshore recruiting partner can increase recruiting productivity by 30 to 50 percent while lowering staffing agency costs by up to 80 percent. Sound too good to be true? While these types of results are certainly possible, they are not always achieved. The quality of many offshore recruiting firms is inconsistent and some firms are less than totally reputable. So selecting the right partner is critical.
The conceptMany of the tasks involved with recruiting mid to fairly senior ($50,000 to $130,000) information technology, finance, and accounting professionals are not done face-to-face. Recruiters often identify candidates through Internet-based sourcing and then communicate with the candidate using the phone and e-mail. These "back-office" activities can be performed equally effectively from a lower cost center—offshore. The majority of offshore recruiting firms are located in India, but some offshore recruiting firms can be found in other Asian, Eastern European and Latin American countries. Offshore recruiting servicesOffshore recruiting firms provide a range of services. Full lifecycle recruiting allows corporate recruiting departments to outsource recruiting functions that do not require in-person interactions. Tasks can include sourcing, candidate interviewing and qualification, negotiating pay rates, administering online tests and conducting background and reference checks. Internet-based sourcing and/or candidate screening services are simpler than full lifecycle recruiting, yet can free up to 50 percent of corporate recruiters' time. The offshore sourcers and recruiters work as "assistants" to the corporate recruiters and typically provide support for the most critical and time sensitive job openings. The offshore team performs the time-consuming tasks and leaves the highest-value, highest-touch tasks to the corporate in-house recruiters. As a result, corporate recruiters can close up to 50 percent more job openings, focus on complex tasks requiring the greatest skill, provide a more positive experience for candidates, and delight their hiring managers through presenting higher quality candidates
What to look for in an offshore recruiting partnerSelecting an offshore recruiting partner can be confusing. The "sales pitches" of many firms sound suspiciously similar. Oftentimes, these "me too" firms end up competing almost solely on price. This can be dangerous because at a certain price point, it becomes impossible to provide quality sourcing and recruiting services without significantly cutting corners—or worse. Recruiting is not a commodity business. It would be foolish to hire an internal recruiter based solely on the cost of the recruiter and with no regard to the recruiter's capabilities and experience. The same is true when hiring an offshore recruiting firm. The checklist below outlines thing to look for when selecting an offshore recruiting firm. With careful due diligence in selecting a partner, the promise of offshore recruiting is likely to be realized. Challenge: Recruiters who are not trained Solution: Offshore recruiting firms work on low margins and some cannot afford to hire experience recruiters or provide training. Insist on the offshore firm providing bios of the recruiters on your offshore team. Verify that the recruiters have received training and be skeptical of firms that claim to provide on-the-job training. Challenge: Recruiters who do not speak clearly Solution: Insist on speaking with the recruiters on your offshore team. Verify that the recruiters have received voice and accent neutralization training.
Challenge: Recruiters who do not understand the nuances of American business Solution: Some offshore recruiters will not understand the urgency of American business or the importance of delivering on commitments. Some will be hesitant to say "no" or "I do not understand" to an American client. Verify that the recruiters on your offshore team have experience working with Americans and training in American business practices. Challenge: Recruiter turnover Solution: Turnover of recruiters in India is extremely high and can undermine performance. High turnover is mostly caused by the enormous demand for experienced international recruiters. Other reasons include health problems from working the night shift, proposals for arranged marriages that stipulate no night shift jobs, and leaving a job to take care of an ailing family member—even when the ailment is not life threatening. The level of turnover is much lower in offshore firms that offer their recruiters higher pay and better opportunities to learn and advance professionally. Ask your offshore firm about their recruiter attrition rates and retention programs. Challenge: Lack of processes Solution: The offshore firm should have well-established work processes and procedures to monitor the progress of each job opening. Ask detailed questions about the work process and make sure there is experienced management overseeing the recruiting team. Challenge: Poor infrastructure Solution: Effective offshore recruiting is not possible without quality infrastructure for both voice and data. Talk with your offshore team to confirm voice quality is acceptable and check to make sure the offshore firm has redundant ISPs in case of an outage.
Challenge: Disreputable companies Solution: Some offshore recruiting firms, especially those competing on price, will cut corners. Some common dishonest practices include billing "dedicated" recruiters to more than one account, not fully staffing teams that are supposed to have multiple recruiters, not providing backup recruiters when recruiters are absent and submitting candidates to multiple clients (be especially leery if the offshore firm has its own U.S. staffing agency). Make sure that your agreement is with a U.S. firm in case there is a need to enforce disputes. Challenge: Contract terms Solution: Some firms insist on long-term contracts that provide little recourse if performance is not acceptable. Look for firms with flexible contract terms. Published in: www.recruitingtrends.com www.consultingmag.com www.interbiznet.com www.naccb.org
Best HR Practices for Troubled Times Paula Santonocito The overriding question today, it seems, is how HR and other management professionals can best navigate a difficult business environment. Many challenges The current economic climate calls for tapping into best practices with attention to short-term concerns and long-range goals. While arguably this is always an ideal strategy, rarely have the consequences of not doing so had the potential to have such impact. Yet, keeping an eye on the future is difficult to do in the unprecedented present. As organizations struggle in the current environment, cutting staff and implementing changes that affect remaining workers, attention must be given to the immediate. And although the HR function always juggles multiple priorities, the number of priorities has increased, as has the urgency for action. For many HR professionals, and other members of the management team, today's challenges tend to be so consuming that they affect long-term planning. Indeed, some top HR priorities have taken a backseat to issues related to downsizing, restructuring, payroll and benefits changes, and new legal requirements. Still, what gets ignored today may cause problems tomorrow, or at some point in the not-so-distant future.
So where should HR focus? Continue to recruit One area where companies have cut back is recruiting. The philosophy at many organizations has become "we're not hiring, so why invest time and money." Nevertheless, the current climate provides an ideal time to further employment brand and focus on relationship building. For one thing, technology enables organizations to do so with minimal investment. As important, social networking sites, blogs, and other online tools allow for organizations to recruit differently. Even when an organization's objective isn't immediate hires, attention can easily and economically be given to various recruitment initiatives that will pay off in the long run. Hank Levine, president and CEO of iPlace, an offshore sourcing and recruiting firm with operations in the United States and India, advocates building a talent pipeline. Not only does Levine recommend this to clients, he practices what he preaches. "We're doing that at iPlace," he tells HRWire. "When we find really good candidates we stay in touch with them, and we have a huge pipeline of really good people.“ Develop staff members In tough times, training is often one of the first expense categories to get cut. Yet, ironically, as organizations operate with less staff, more is required from the remaining workforce. Training is important in getting tasks accomplished now, and it impacts the long-term in several ways. As important, employees understand the connection training has to business and their careers. "The company has invested a lot of time, money, and energy to improve my skills and prepare me for the future. This gives me immense pleasure and a sense of security, and motivates me to achieve my goals. iPlace cares about me and this has influenced my decision to remain with the company," says Sophia Simon, a recruiter for iPlace India.
Create a performance-based culture Now more than ever, organizations must achieve results. By creating a culture where employees are encouraged to contribute, and valued and rewarded for their contributions, an organization can truly leverage talent. Levine tells HRWire this approach has made all the difference at iPlace, particularly in India where employee retention is much more difficult. Still, he points out that it's not a guarantee. "We expect our employees to produce, so it's not a free ticket," he says. Here again, employees recognize and appreciate what the company offers. "iPlace treats its employees as business partners. The company nurtures entrepreneurs and not just employees," says Rakhi Kolhe, sourcing team lead for iPlace India. And others agree with Kolhe's viewpoint. "The single most important aspect of working at iPlace is the performance-oriented culture," says Allen Cash, a recruiter for iPlace India. "Every employee at iPlace is passionate about his/her job and achieving performance goals.“ Focus on improvements As businesses experience a drop in activity, the time is ideal to review operations and make necessary changes. "A slow period gives you an opportunity to improve yourself," says Levine. Part of the process should involve listening to employees. In any environment this is crucial; but now, as workers face difficult times, feeling valued can provide a much needed sense of security. Encouraging staff involvement is regular practice at iPlace, and employees know it. "Fresh ideas from employees are always welcome. The management strives to understand employees' concerns and to provide reasonable solutions," says Jason White, a recruiter with iPlace India. Soliciting employee input pays off in numerous "HR" ways, including increased retention, better morale, and higher levels of performance. But employee suggestions also often lead to business improvements.
Leverage technology When focusing on business improvements, don't neglect technology. Studies show that technology tends to be underutilized at many organizations, and HR technology is no exception. HR should encourage managers to take advantage of the efficiencies technology offers, and explore additional ways to use HR systems. Sometimes using technology may require changes to processes, but other times it's merely a matter of becoming familiar with features of a system and putting them to use. Communicate Communicate, communicate, and communicate. And, oh yes, communicate. In fact, in this environment, experts recommend over-communicating. Employees are eager for information and HR can provide a valuable service by staying in close contact with the workforce. Online communication makes it easy to get the message across to large numbers of people, but don't neglect "live" meetings, whether in a group or one to one. If this isn't possible, consider a phone call. Sometimes a voice can offer more support than the written word. HR is in a unique position to encourage other members of the management team to communicate more frequently, and should take the lead in doing so. The impact of ongoing communication cannot be underestimated. Levine tells HRWire that all employees attend iPlace monthly town hall meetings, where the company shares its board report and financial performance. The practice does more than keep employees informed; it involves them in the company's progress. Remain optimistic Finally, these are difficult times, and although it's smart to acknowledge this, it's equally important not to dwell on the negative. Employees and other members of the management team look to HR for leadership. By maintaining a positive attitude, HR professionals can help the organization move forward to better times. Published in: HR Wire
Best Practices for Managing Offshore Recruiting Teams By: Sojwala Joshi and Aswathy Pillai The deepening economic downturn is causing corporate recruiting departments to search for ways to lower costs while increasing recruiting productivity – and some recruiting departments have turned to outsourcing. Outsourcing can take many forms including retaining a US-based recruitment process outsourcing firm, sending job orders to staffing agencies, or hiring US-based contract sourcers and/or recruiters. A less expensive solution being implemented by progressive US companies is partnering with an offshore recruiting firm. Most offshore recruiting firms have recruiting operations in India. The cost of partnering with an offshore recruiting firm can be as little as one-fifth the cost of working with a staffing agency. Offshore recruiting firms allow corporate recruiters to offload time consuming but important tasks such as candidate sourcing and screening. With the additional time corporate recruiters can work on and close more open positions, focus on complex tasks requiring the greatest skills, provide a more positive experience for candidates, and delight hiring managers by presenting higher quality candidates. However, to achieve success with an offshore recruiting firm the corporate recruiting department must first select a high quality offshore recruiting partner (See Hank Levine’s Recruiting Trends article on this topic) and then implement best practices for managing its offshore team. You cannot outsource your problems Offshore recruiting is not a magic tonic. A dysfunctional recruiting department will not suddenly have success by outsourcing – whether the recruiting functions are outsourced to a US-based or an offshore firm. Like with any partnership, management should pay close attention to make sure the relationship with the offshore firm gets off to a good start. Undoubtedly, success requires that the offshore firm be run professionally and consistently conducts high quality work. However, management should be aware that if things go wrong, the problem could also be due to internal problems not associated with the offshore team. It is human nature to avoid blame, especially when it is easier to blame an overseas partner.
Managing an offshore recruiting team for success The keys to success with an offshore recruiting firm are the same for achieving success with most US-based outsourced recruiting partners. 1. High Quality Job Orders If the corporate recruiting department sends all its “near-impossible-to-fill” positions to the offshore team, it is unrealistic to expect the offshore team to submit the same number or quality of candidates as the corporate recruiters who are working on highly “placeable” positions. The corporate recruiters should work as partners with the offshore recruiting team. The offshore team should receive urgent-to-fill job orders with a complete position description including the behavioral characteristics (as defined by the hiring manager) of the ideal candidate. 2. Communications and Motivation Working remotely, especially when you are half way around the world in India, can be lonely. Furthermore, cultural differences between the US and India can lead to misunderstandings. Therefore, the best way to achieve a high performance end-to-end recruiting process is to treat the offshore team members like you would treat recruiting assistants who are company employees. When the offshore team does good work the corporate recruiters should express sincere appreciation. Most Indian offshore recruiters are very dedicated, committed, and care deeply about how they are viewed by their American clients. As a result, a little bit of praise goes an exceptionally long way in motivating offshore recruiting teams to work extra hard. The corporate recruiters should provide prompt and detailed feedback on candidates submitted by the offshore team so that the offshore team can learn and improve. Frequent communication is especially critical during the initial phases of the relationship until the styles of corporate recruiters and preferences of hiring managers are understood by the offshore team. Before starting work develop a detailed end-to-end recruiting process and decide what tasks will be performed by the offshore team. Both parties should diligently follow the agreed upon work process. If the offshore team makes a mistake, give them an opportunity to improve just like you would with an assistant working for you in your company.
Effective Working Relationships with Hiring Managers One of the tenets of Lou Adler’s Performance-based Hiring is that the level of success achieved by corporate recruiters is directly related to how well they understand the needs of – and are able to work as partners with – hiring managers. Because offshore recruiting teams work as assistants to corporate recruiters, success requires corporate recruiters who can work effectively with hiring managers. The corporate recruiters should create job orders based on a performance profile and secure detailed feedback regarding what the hiring manager liked and did not like about submitted candidates. Getting the offshore team involved in discussions with hiring managers will help close communications and improve results. Ability to Close Candidates on the Opportunities Another critical element of the corporate recruiters’ job is to build strong relationships with candidates. Even if the candidate is not hired, the impression left by the recruiter can enhance or detract from the company’s brand. Corporate recruiters should promptly get in touch with the candidates submitted by the offshore team, address concerns that cannot be resolved by the offshore recruiters, keep the candidates interested in the positions, and inform the candidates about what to expect at each stage of the hiring process. Because working with candidates can be very time consuming, the offshore recruiter and the corporate recruiters should work as a team to address candidates’ needs. The ideal corporate recruiter for working with an offshore team An effective partnership with an offshore recruiting firm can dramatically lower recruiting costs and increase recruiting productivity. However, achieving these results is not automatic. In most cases the best results will be achieved by pairing the offshore team with senior corporate recruiters. Offshore recruiters work as assistants. Senior recruiters will know how to select the proper job orders to send to the offshore team, communicate with and motivate the team, work effectively with hiring managers, and close candidates on the opportunities. Senior recruiters will appreciate and be able to take the greatest advantage of the time that is freed up through working with the offshore team. Conversely, junior recruiters often perform many of the same tasks as offshore recruiters and an offshore relationship could possibly be seen as threatening. Few junior recruiters will have developed the recruiting skills and relationships to make the most of an offshore partnership.
About iPlace iPlace is a global recruiting company with headquarters in Vienna, Virginia, USA and international recruiting center in Pune, Maharashtra, India. We provide professionally managed sourcing and recruiting services for American companies from our facility in Pune. iPlace specializes in information technology, engineering, healthcare, and finance and accounting positions. About Sojwala Joshi and Aswathy Pillai Sojwala Joshi Senior Sourcer iPlace USA email@example.com Sojwala has two years of international recruiting experience and seven years experience working and managing teams for leading international companies in the customer relationship management industry. She has completed her Bachelor’s in Arts from Pune University and is a graduate iPlace Academy specializing in sourcing. Aswathy Pillai Sourcer iPlace USA firstname.lastname@example.org Aswathy has one and half years of experience in international sourcing. She holds her Bachelor’s in Management Studies from the University of Mumbai, is pursuing her Master’s in Personnel Management from the University of Pune, and is an iPlace Academy graduate with a specialization in sourcing. Published in: Recruiting Trends magazine www.byond.com
Pictures iPlace 2nd Anniversary Party