Key Factors for Employee Retention Program

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. Continue reading

Communication: A Key Factor of Outsourcing Success

As many years’ experience shows, one of the essential ingredients for success in software R&D outsourcing is a well-built, transparent communication system between client and developer. Industry analysts have been investigating the key factors that determine the efficiency of the software-development process for a long time. For example, in 2006, experts from Enterprise Systems magazine concluded that most respondents in their research agreed that communication between client and service-provider management and personnel was more important than having previous outsourcing experience, having a properly structured contract and SLA, or even selecting the right vendor.

Characteristics of Successful Outsourcing Initiatives
Communication between client and service-provider management 44%
Communication between client and service-provider personnel 42%
On-going management/government 41%
Selecting the right vendor 41%
Having a properly structured contract/outsourcing agreement 38%
Having a properly structured service level agreement 33%
Understanding the business goals internally 30%
Strategic vision 25%
Having previous outsourcing experience 18%
Note: multiple responses allowed.

In the context of today’s market, the processes of outsourcing service-provider selection and development-process structuring have become quite sophisticated. Just a few years ago, it was enough to go by price proposals and the technical skills of personnel, which in turn factored into the underestimation of the so-called social competencies or soft skills. But in the end, due to fierce competition between providers, the technical skills of different companies have reached more or less the same level, and man-hours calculation methods are now so complex that it is impossible to predict the final cost of a project. Meanwhile, the ability to understand and pursue clients’ goals; communicate constructively on a daily basis; and build teams that focus on proper engineering culture, responsibility for results, and striving for perfect quality often becomes the only reason for the success or failure of a project.

This is not by chance. Back in 1995, US psychologist Daniel Goleman published the book “Emotional Intelligence” in which he proved that for a successful personal life and career, emotional intelligence (EI) is more important than IQ, technical knowledge, or skills. For 18 months, the book occupied the New York Timesbestseller list; over five million copies were sold. Following the book’s success, Goleman published “Working with Emotional Intelligence” in 1998. The book contained research data from more than 500 companies and confirmed that social competencies (or what we now know as soft skills) are responsible for not only the success of individual employees but also the success of the companies themselves. In other words, there is a direct relationship between employees’ soft skills and the company’s success.

Auriga is a perfect example of practice completely sustaining a theory. In the last few years, our company has been enjoying consistent recognition in top lists of service providers in the category of customer satisfaction according to the world’s leading information-analysis agencies. For example, in 2011, Auriga was recognized as the No.1 Engineering Services Provider by Datamonitor based on the results of a customer-satisfaction survey. Nine criteria that influence customer-satisfaction levels were included in the survey, including such soft skills as requirements awareness, problem resolution, and partnership approach.

And when we ask our clients why they are so fond of us, it turns out that it is mostly because we are on their wavelength. Here, we don’t emphasize the fact that our engineers and management speak to clients in fluent English. The most important thing here is that within the frames of Auriga’s projects, we build a communication model without any missing links, and the information-exchange process goes as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

However, our company does not plan to be satisfied with what has already been achieved. Today, our approach to company communication processes and the development of employees’ social competences has reached a whole new level. At the end of May in the Nizhny Novgorod Auriga office, a new long-term corporate training program with a focus on employees’ communication-skill development was launched. The comprehensive program, drawn up by Auriga experts, employs various study modes, including training sessions, webinars, and online-courses. In this way, Auriga underlines the balance between the importance of soft and hard skills training.

A number of training sessions for Auriga employees aimed at advancing the professional and personal skills required for successful team/client communication are scheduled to be held throughout the year. As a result of regular discussions on the difficulties that emerge in the process of work, we believe our employees will show an increased ability to exchange information in a timely fashion, solve problems before they significantly influence projects, and make wise decisions.

Auriga’s Internship Program – Emerging Opportunities for Software Engineering Talents in Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don

Auriga Training Center, operating since 2005, enters a new maturity stage. Auriga launches an internship program allowing Training Center graduates to start a full-time job on a real-life software development project and gradually blend in with mature Auriga engineering team.

This program poses a lot of benefits for Auriga which is naturally interested in attracting highly motivated software developers trained in relevant software R&D areas, as well as for the interns who have a great chance to apply up-to-date software development knowledge from the classes to live projects.

Auriga Training Center was created in November 2005 at the premises of Moscow State University, and has been running and expanding to new locations ever since, providing senior students, graduates, and postgraduates with advanced IT training and hands-on experience in top-notch technologies, highly demanded by Auriga’s customers.

Every semester, several groups of students in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Rostov-on-Don are formed from the applicants that meet the entrance level requirements. There is no tuition fee, and the course is unique in its combination of practical skills training with academic-level theory knowledge. Auriga is especially well-known for its programs in system-level programming technologies such as Linux Kernel Programming Fundamentals and Advanced Linux Kernel Programming. Today the available training programs also include courses on Java, .NET, software testing, and a newly introduced course on banking core systems tools.

“We are glad to offer an intern placement to highly-motivated candidates with solid knowledge and practical skills. The three-month internship program combines working on actual software development projects with training and learning tasks. This can be viewed on as a probation, after which the best graduates get a work placement at Auriga (actually, the most talented and proactive program participants have proven to make it even faster)”.
– Ksenia Zakharova, Training & Development Manager at Training Center Auriga

The Training Center has confirmed its evident efficiency as a source of talented young engineers. The best graduates are often invited to join Auriga engineering teams. One of the Training Center interns in Rostov-on-Don has received Auriga’s monthly corporate award for the best contribution to Auriga projects.

“We are glad to see the program already working – there are at least five currently functioning project teams that received a boost after the arrival of the Auriga Training Center graduates who joined the company in 2010. These promising and dynamic people bring a wealth of ideas, energy, and creativity. We are planning to introduce more complementary classes and elaborate the internship program further”.
– Ildar Gabdulline, Head of the Auriga – Nizhny Novgorod Delivery Center