As the year comes to an end, we would like to highlight the major achievements of 2013 in the areas that we consider strategically important for Auriga and its clients in the long term.
Retention has been a buzzword for the last year or two. Highly motivated, loyal, and reliable employees are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for every business owner. Meanwhile, a recent North American engagement survey conducted by Gallup found that 70 per cent of the work force is actively or passively disengaged and only 41% of employees clearly understand what makes their employers’ brands unique. Combine this with the high costs of training and hiring; then factor in lost revenue, severance, lost productivity, and lost opportunities when replacing an employee (which takes from nearly three times an employee’s monthly salary to 20% of his annual salary); and it’s no wonder retention keeps business owners awake at night. In the IT industry—with its rapid day-to-day evolution, high demands in terms of employees’ education and mindset, and countless headhunters—the situation is even more of a nightmare.
But employee retention is not just about pizza parties or $50 gift cards to the local mall. Understanding how to motivate people to perform at their best is the key to developing retention strategies that drive results. The most effective organizations are those that closely align the aspirations of their employees with the goals of the business. Elements such as culture, values, work environment, leadership, and organizational behavior are critical features that influence your employees.
Being a top-class software vendor, Auriga understands the importance of and shows deep commitment to corporate social responsibility and makes its impact in providing a platform for positively engaging employees and communities on issues that are important to them. This year, we focused on training, leadership development, and the implementation of a values-based culture as the main factors of our retention program.
Training at Auriga
In 2013, we introduced a number of new training programs:
- Series of training sessions for project managers in the “lesson learned” format. This program makes the connection between theory and practice by focusing on case studies.
- Combined English/communication skills training project: Personality. Motivation. Possibilities. (PMP) aimed at improving the verbal communication and presentation skills of employees operating in an international business environment.
- One-year succession pool program aimed at building up an internal pool of highly qualified candidates with relevant experience and skills for the position of architect. As a result, after the completion of the program, we expect to have a team of architects who will be able to efficiently fill vacancies in key projects.
Learning and growth are fundamental principles at Auriga. We are devoted to the individual development of our employees and provide a great number of training opportunities that encourage our employees’ personal and professional development and assist them in reaching their full potential and pursuing Auriga’s business objectives. Our educational program tailors its curriculum to our evolving business environment, offering various study modes, including both classroom and online instruction.
The year 2013 was marked as the year of medical software development standards training sessions. At Auriga, on a regular basis, we conduct in-house training sessions in these standards for engineers working on relevant projects.
In addition to the in-house training sessions, in 2013, additional training sessions were conducted for the international standard IEC 62304 (medical device software development) in the Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod development centers. Over 40 Auriga engineers participated in the course and received international certificates after completion. An additional series of training sessions conducted by one of Auriga’s customers—a global leader in medical devices and software development—helped to solidify the gained knowledge.
As a result, we can guarantee that the medical equipment Auriga works on complies with generally accepted global standards (i.e., FDA 21 CFR Part 820, ISO 13485, IEC 60601-1-8, and IEC 62304).
In total, the training programs attracted over 900 participants in 2012/2013, which is 50% more than in the relevant period of the previous year. In 2013, Auriga employees received an average of six hours or more of training, representing more than 3,500 logged training hours.
The key objectives of the leadership program are as follows:
- Establishing a leadership-development culture in the company
- Strengthening the managerial, functional, and technical competencies across Auriga to enable superior performance
- Grooming the best talent within the organization to build a strong group of future leaders
- Building standardized leadership competencies for all Auriga employees
Our employees have always been the key factor for Auriga’s growth and development. A new leadership-development program has been developed in 2013 to encourage the individual development of our employees and assist them in reaching their full potential and pursuing Auriga’s (and Auriga’s clients’) business objectives.
The following are the leadership-development activities highlights from 2013:
- Series of leadership-development training sessions for project managers and team leaders
- Soft skills development training sessions for all employees (topics: mastering persuasion, emotional intelligence, goal setting and pursuing, time management, etc.)
- Further development of the leadership program SENSEItion that was introduced in 2012
SENSEItion is a combination of a mentorship and leadership program where experienced employees introduce newbies to the company’s values and rules, help them adjust, and supervise their activities. One year after the program was implemented, we can now see improvements to the knowledge-transfer process, better adjustment of new company employees, the development of technical expertise, and an overall improved leadership-development culture.
- New succession pool program Fresh Leads aimed at building talent pool for the position of Team Lead. The program consists of eight modules that include classroom training sessions, case studies, and workshops. As a result, we expect that the participants will develop and/or improve leadership competencies and that Auriga’s own employees will fill 70% of Team Lead positions open in the company.
Implementing a Values-Based Culture ‑ Values Realization System
The four core values are:
- Focus on Results
- Exceed Expectations
- Be Responsible
- Work as a Team of Individuals
In recognition of the benefits of strong alignment between business operations and corporate values—in the form of high employee satisfaction, reduced intent to leave, high levels of employee commitment, and financial results—Auriga revisited corporate values in 2013 and started the implementation of the values-based culture in the company.
The primary goal of this long-term project is to strengthen organizational credibility, and thus engagement of employees, by ensuring that the actions of company leaders and employees are aligned with the company’s stated aspirations. The secondary goal is to provide employees with a credible and specific set of values that effectively guides them to make the right decisions.
Auriga’s approach to values-based management is unique in many ways. There are clearly defined, specific behavioral expectations for employees, managers, and executives related to newly introduced values. At the same time, Auriga actively reinforces expected behaviors by integrating its values into key HR processes and programs. Thanks to this values realization system, the company creates accountability for living its core values through constant, open communication with internal and external stakeholders.
Additionally, Auriga also embedded these values directly into its performance management system. These component values and associated behaviors also serve as the basis for screening and selecting potential hires.
Seamless integration of values, behaviors, performance standards, selection criteria, development, and reward components has been identified as a critical factor for the company’s future growth.