The European Financial Service Centre of the multinational industrial corporation was established by merging four European service centres in the early 2000s. The service centre provides financial and acquisition services to the companies within the multinational corporation.
The spread of domestic service centres presented a major challenge also to the company in 2009, because finding and retaining adequate staff became even more difficult. In Budapest and within the catchment area of Budapest and the major industrial centres, growing shortage of young labour with excellent foreign language skills and highly competent in a profession (finance, accounting, acquisitions, IT, etc.) emerged. It was particularly true in case of less common languages (Scandinavian languages, languages of minor countries, Slavic languages), and most often the service centres were / have been forced to hire language teachers as well.
The service centre referenced in our case study has also operated in such an environment.
In the last quarter of 2009, the approximately 100-strong company lost nine employees to the draining effect of the competition. The departing co-workers included experts with special knowledge and key managers. Internal uncertainty and a bad work climate became commonplace. The departure of the No. 1 leader also added to the inner tension. It was at that point that a new company head arrived, who was an experienced financial expert, knew the company well, and was also esteemed in the market as a leading authority.
The renewed senior management recognised that it is retention of the best staff and the organisation’s general level of motivation that have the most influence on high service standard, and this is why at the end of 2009 they involved Develor in launching a comprehensive Retention and Key Personnel Programme at multiple operating levels of the organisation.
The first step in the process was a comprehensive diagnosis of the organisation; our consultants examined the situation of the company, sought to gain an understanding of the symptoms and to find the root of the problems. Based on all these, we recommended a complex package of solutions for comprehensive organisational development and training, which is based on the Develor Value Chain, and strongly affects individuals (particularly, key personnel and managers), but its organisational effects are also clear and well measurable; all these to be implemented at the lowest possible expenses.
As the first step, we identified the internal systems and processes that most heavily affect employee satisfaction and commitment, and in turn the retention capability of the company. These included the channels of internal communication, the meeting structure, and the systems of remuneration, internal recognition and training. We recommended both minor and comprehensive changes, and also subjected the systems to thorough inspection in cooperation with the management.
Meetings and encounters were fully re-designed, some were discontinued and replaced with others, and everything was set up consciously and in line with specific objectives. While the time spent at meetings decreased, employees were better provided with information.
Not much attention had been paid to moral recognitions in the previous period; which had to be thoroughly changed. The management cancelled the employee benefits and recognitions that did not have sufficient motivating force, and replaced them with a structured multi-component system.
We determined a set of criteria for selecting key personnel, and at the managerial workshop appointed the key personnel in the organisation. We also evaluated them using multiple criteria in Develor’s Key Personnel system, and we also specified the actions to be taken (in the form of motivation and retention tools or prompt steps or actions). We introduced a quarterly system of review, and the first such encounter has taken place already.
In terms of retention, we consider long-term and complex skills development programmes to be of key priority. Instead of holding individual training courses, we believe in delivering the key personnel a programme that is of real value to them; a program which expresses that the company counts on them in the long term, and invests in them. We paid special attention to choosing of the training programme and their adequate communication.
Consequently, a comprehensive employee and management training programme has been developed, and implementation has commenced. The key objective is to develop a shared language, to adopt a sequential structure and a long-term approach, all these focusing on retaining staff.
Prior to the training courses, an Orientation programme was held, which was a change management element in the programme; we make skills development training courses animated and effective by Case Discussion and team coaching encounters. Learning and development are measured.
The effects of the programme are visible already, positive internal processes were adopted, and co-workers stopped leaving the company. In the first quarter of 2010, only two employees left, which is a major change in comparison with the 10% seen in the previous quarter. The climate is clearly improving, managers understand their leadership role and responsibility in co-workers’ retention. All stakeholders consider the programme to be successful, knowing that it is a challenge that requires continuous efforts.