A Strong, Creative Culture Leads To Low Turnover at SVOX AG

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By MobileWirelessJobs / MobileContentJobs
June 2006
As part of our new Q&A interview series with hiring managers, MobileWirelessJobs recently caught up with Norman Rohr, Finance & Operations Director at SVOX AG, to learn more about his company’s hiring practices and thoughts on relocation, staffing, compliance and retention. The Q&A series is a new featured column in MobileContent Careers. MWJ= MobileWirelessJobs.com; NR= Norman Rohr.
MWJ: What techniques does your company use to retain employees?
NR: I believe a lot in the importance of creating a work environment where employees feel that they are valued and respected. They should feel comfortable and important. This means, while our salary packages are certainly highly competitive, we consider the creation of an appealing corporate culture to be very important.
In our company meetings, all of our employees are informed about all important issues within the company. We embrace an open sharing of information. I believe that employees with a better understanding about the company, will have higher motivation but will also be better problem solvers. They will simply see the overall picture. Emancipation in consequence is critical to employee satisfaction and retention. The other important factor is our tremendous team culture. Since we have a diverse staff who loves to mingle with each other, our culture basically forges inter-twined interest groups of people that catch up even in their leisure time regularly.
MWJ: What percentage of employees have you retained? What is your turnover ratio?
NR: Well, in six years at SVOX we’ve had four people leave the company. Two of them left for personal reasons. They moved with their families to the US. Another one was a temporary part-timer that we mutually agreed would leave once she had found a full-time position. I consider a turnover ratio of one in 30 within six years to be not bad at all.
MWJ: Do you accept resumes from job seekers in other geographic locations outside of your office locations? If so, what amount?
NR: I see SVOX as a small multinational company. Almost all our revenues are made outside of Switzerland. Add to this, SVOX is a speech technology company. This means our business is global by definition. That is why we openly invite applications from every region in the world. Our company has been diverse since its inception, and we want to keep it that way. To give you an idea, at the moment SVOX’s core team consists of thirty staff members. Of these, only five people are Swiss, another five are from Germany. The remaining two thirds come from around the world. With SVOX you typically work next to a Belgian, a Russian, an American, and so on: The whole world in one company. It is an amazing experience to have all these smart people here in Zurich.
MWJ: What steps are you taking to remove the glass ceiling for women and minorities?
NR: As I said before, SVOX enjoys its diversity. We always hire the best candidates. This need not be the one with the best skills at the moment. Often it is rather the applicant who has the highest potential to grow within our company. In this sense, we do not discriminate based on race, gender, etc.
MWJ: Are resumes submitted on-line and off-line handled differently? Is it better for a jobseeker to submit his/her resume on-line?
NR: We do not differentiate between resumes provided online or those provided offline. They are all treated in the same fast and personal way. However, I encourage everyone to submit their applications online. It is just so much faster to receive them here. While offline resumes often tend to have a more sophisticated layout, it is actually the content, i.e. the information about the candidate that is of interest to us.
MWJ: What can a candidate do to get noticed by HR when applying for a job?
NR: Our HR staff responds to every applicant. It would be a huge conflict with our corporate culture if we disregarded some applicants. After all, each of them is a unique personality. They have spent the time to apply to our company. As such, they may expect a quick answer.
MWJ: What has been your experience with job boards? Have you been more successful searching the resume database than posting jobs?
NR: Based on my experience, I prefer having people send in their applications. You just see that they are available and interested in your job opportunity. Unfortunately, many resume databases are not up to date. You often bump into people who are not available at the time, or who have posted their resumes only to test their market value. From a recruiters point of view this is time spent inefficiently. A more promising way to recruit is have people form personal relationships (i.e. employees’ friends) or communities. Therefore, my advice to users of resume databases would be to make sure that the resume database is up-to-date and maintains a good reputation with employers.
MWJ: Tell us more about your compensation plan.
NR: Our compensation plan is certainly competitive. However, as mentioned above this would not help to retain employees. It is the corporate culture and ever-changing tasks that keep our employees dedicated to SVOX.
MobileContent Careers is the monthly eNewsletter of MobileWirelessJobs. Each issue contains one or more HR interviews of the top employers in the mobile content and wireless industries. These interviews help our candidates learn more about the companies listed on MobileWirelessJobs beyond what can be found in a job posting. Our research has shown that employers who participate in our HR interview receive a much greater resume response for their time and effort.

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