EDS - The Advantage of Size
EDS Israel was founded in 1995 with a staff of six. Over the years the company has grown, primarily through outsourcing agreements. In the year 2000 some 300 new workers joined EDS Israel through the acquisition of the Israeli operations of Liraz Systems. Today the company has a total of 1,000 employees. We spoke with Simone Ronen, vice president of human resources, about the company’s development in Israel and patterns of employee management.
How did the company grow and develop?
Give us a few examples of such deals.
It’s no coincidence the first deals by EDS Israel were with traditional companies that were undergoing recovery processes at the time, and not with high-tech companies. Veteran companies felt they needed a specialist to run their computer systems, while high-tech companies felt they could run these systems by themselves. Later high-tech companies also discovered management by an expert service provider was more efficient. By 2001 you had already signed an agreement with ECI.
Correct. At the time it was the largest agreement ever signed in Israel, a five-year, $82-million deal. This agreement was also extended recently.
Another deal, a special deal with a high-tech company, was signed in 2004 with Comverse. What made it special was that EDS Israel signed its first global outsourcing deal. In the process we took responsibility for supporting 80 Comverse sites around the world.
In April 2005 we signed a similar agreement with Lumenis. In addition to its sites in Israel we also manage its computer system in the US, China and Japan. The workers in these countries are handled by the local EDS human resources staffs. As Israel’s human resources department we have no direct connection to them.
What is the company’s human resources policy?
The Human Resources Department is responsible for providing internal service for the employees. We want to meet their needs to their satisfaction and to achieve this we run a range of management tools.
Which tools, for example?
The worldwide survey focused more on general questions like the quality of leadership at the company, the level of job satisfaction, whether you would recommend EDS to a friend, etc. We also wanted to know how satisfied they were with the services provided by the central office in Israel, such as human resources services, how satisfied they were with the employee portal, how satisfied they were with the employee benefit and activities program, etc.
The worldwide survey is conducted once every year or two. The new local survey will be conducted once a year.
Give us an example of improvements made following the survey.
Another management tool is the Round Table Meeting with the CEO. At the meeting the CEO conducts an open, unmediated conversation with the employees.
Another tool is the implementation of the “open door” policy, which entitles every worker to elect to meet with any manager at the company, in a discreet manner.
What good does this do and how does it work in practice?
A direct supervisor does not feel he is being bypassed?
Do the services the Human Resources Department provides the workers vary from day to day?
We attach great importance to our reaction time as a human resources unit. Our actions have to be in step with the pace of company activity. That means if the workers in the field are required to provide solutions to their customers, who demand frequent changes, we must adapt ourselves to this situation. An example of this is the “Hot Request” service, which allows the employee to send a request online to the contents specialist at Human Resources, from any location and at any time at his convenience, and receive a response within 24 hours.
There is a Hot Request link on the intranet site. When an employee wants a quick response to a question that came up he does not even have to leave the screen and enter internal e-mail, but can simply click on the link and write in the question. The manager then receives the question, whether it relates to pay, benefits and activities, etc. For instance, there might be a request for an explanation regarding a certain detail of the share-purchasing program we’ve issued.
What are the principles of compensation at EDS?
The first two levels are considered the level of excellence and this is reflected in terms of monetary compensation as well. Through this process the manager considers allocating funding for raises and bonuses, with the employee’s performance the main factor in the decision.
When a manager assesses a pay raise he assesses three components. The employee’s level of performance is one of them. The second component is his salary relative to the job market at the time, and the third component is the availability of budget allocations for these purposes.
So how do you distinguish between outstanding workers and workers who are less than outstanding?
When an employee executes a task successfully he has to wait until the end of the year to be rewarded?
For example: Let’s say a team of workers was supposed to move a computer room to another location. This is a task that demands special effort and long workdays, possibly weekends too, in order to reduce the amount of time the computer room is out of commission. At the end of such a project, if the customer is satisfied, there is room to consider compensation and a show of appreciation.
What is the company’s policy on benefits and company activities?
The employees are covered by one of the best health insurance policies in the country and have disability insurance based on concerns for the worker and his family in hard times as well.
There is a learning program in which workers take part during their free time in the afternoon. The subjects are numerous and varied and are held in three tracks:
What is the level of participation in these programs?