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Pennsylvania-headquartered enterprise software developer EPAM Systems, Inc. won silver awards in three big categories at the Employee Experience Awards 2022, Singapore, namely: 'Best In-House Certification Programme', 'Best Onboarding Experience', and 'Best First-Time Manager Programme'.
On the achievement, we interview Olesia Kyrylchuk, Senior Director, Head of People, APAC, EPAM Systems, Inc., to find out how the onboarding process is helping to shorten adaptation times for new hires, as well as boosting employee engagement.
Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs-and-lows of your winning strategy?
The onboarding process is one of the most essential elements of people management. The first impression an employee forms of the company is vital to preventing future attrition challenges. People partners help shape that impression through timely and transparent introduction from professional, psychological, physiological and socio-cultural aspects. As such, EPAM enhanced the people experience in the APAC region by improving and unifying the onboarding process.
First, we analysed gaps in the onboarding process to discover areas of improvement. These gaps ranged from insufficient training in some cases to a lack of connection between teams and managers who support the newcomer, limited process automation, or no unified approach to company swag designs and distribution to enhance the people experience within EPAM.
Second, we defined who our main stakeholders are (e.g., new hires, managers, people operations, etc.) then designed the programme with established implementation timelines for each location.
Next, we tracked the progress and made frequent adjustments with the goal of reducing new hire attrition and creating a winning strategy to enhance partnership with business leaders on people-related matters.
One of the success factors was that all stakeholders were focused on efficient cooperation from the very beginning. This was instrumental for implementing the programme and achieving successful results. We continue to improve and adjust as we see the positive impact on retention and company perception grow.
Q Understanding and meeting your employees’ needs and expectations is never an easy feat. How did EPAM identify the business & employee needs, and craft out the perfect solution?
EPAM uses feedback mechanisms for identifying the needs of our employees. This includes a bi-annual people engagement survey and regular pulse surveys to collect general overviews that help craft and refine our policies. These questions cover different categories of an employee’s experience, from career vision to personal development and recognition. Also, to better understand the findings and create impactful solutions, we organise focus group discussions and one-on-one meetings with employees.
Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation, in terms of ROI, when it came to fruition? Share with us the benefits of having such a strategy in place.
I am proud to say that all the efforts have helped shorten the adaptation time and prepare employees to quickly become productive. The last People Survey results proved this. EPAM’s engagement index and eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) have increased from 78.3 to 86.5 points among year one employees. In addition, the attrition level among new hires was reduced by up to 15% at some of our locations.
Q Could you offer some recommendations to your peers across industries into implementing something similar for their own EX foundation?
First, start with addressing why you would need to improve the onboarding process then get buy-in from key stakeholders.
Also, it’s important to work with feedback efficiently and incorporate lessons learned into the strategy. Lastly, automate what is possible to reduce the workload for operations teams.
Q If you were to reflect, what is one thing you’ll do differently in executing this strategy?
One thing that could have been done differently is to automate and gamify the process even more. For example, one way to complement our onboarding efforts and gamify the process could be to reward EPAM culture advocates.
Q Looking ahead, how is EPAM going to take this winning strategy higher and further in the coming years?
As EPAM continues to grow its presence in the APAC region, we’re committed to strengthening our culture for employees by keeping all communications channels as open as possible, as trust is the bedrock of a strong work culture. This means being in sync with the needs of employees with respect to their career development and the impact of social and environmental changes we are increasingly experiencing today.
Most people want work to be meaningful and one of the ways to do this is by contributing back to our communities. At EPAM, we do this through education and innovation programmes, as well as supporting local communities to make an impact where we live and work. Moving forward, we want to empower our employees to spearhead more events they are passionate about.
Likewise, we also understand flexible work arrangements are highly appreciated by employees. We empower our employees to choose whether they wish to work from the office or home, depending on their work requirements.
Q 10 years down the line, where do you see the future of HR?
The future of HR as a profession will require more focus on managing relationships between people. HR will still be focused on improving and differentiating corporate culture, but the angle and methods of communication will change with less processes and more trust and freedom for employees.
Photos / Provided (featuring the EPAM team)