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People first to achieve customer delight

As a people-centric employer, Optimum Solutions often organises fun activities to bring employees together. On Valentine’s Day this year, employees were encouraged to give roses to their colleagues as part of the festivities. PHOTO: OPTIMUM SOLUTIO
As a people-centric employer, Optimum Solutions often organises fun activities to bring employees together. On Valentine’s Day this year, employees were encouraged to give roses to their colleagues as part of the festivities. PHOTO: OPTIMUM SOLUTIONS
(From left) COO Vinod Martin, CEO Balwant Jain and MDs K. Saravanan and Sumit Malik. PHOTO: OPTIMUM SOLUTIONS
(From left) COO Vinod Martin, CEO Balwant Jain and MDs K. Saravanan and Sumit Malik. PHOTO: OPTIMUM SOLUTIONS

IT consulting and services company Optimum Solutions shares best practices from its talent management playbook

IT consulting and services company Optimum Solutions believes people are its most valuable assets.

With much of its business driven by client-facing IT consultants and analysts, it understands the importance of employee engagement and growth at the workplace. This is the guiding principle that has contributed to Optimum’s transformation from a start-up 23 years ago to one of the largest IT services companies in Singapore today.

“We place great emphasis on inclusion, engagement and providing growth opportunities, to create a people-centric culture where our employees have a great time being part of the Optimum family. With happy and productive employees comes greater client satisfaction, which has been a defining contributor to Optimum’s success,” says chief executive officer Balwant Jain.

The home-grown IT powerhouse is now a partner to more than 50 Fortune 500 companies spanning industries such as banking and financial services, technology, insurance, manufacturing and public service. Optimum provides a whole gamut of innovative technology solutions such as digital transformation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, predictive analytics, cloud and mobility services, robotic process automation as well as IT applications and infrastructure management.

Optimum operates out of eight offices across Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Philippines, India and the United States with over 2,800 employees, the majority of whom are transformation programme managers, project managers, business analysts, digital experts and software engineers.

Best practice 1: Promoting a culture of openness

Keeping such a big team united and everyone motivated is not easy, but Optimum has figured it out. To managing director K. Saravanan, the culture of growth begins at the time of recruitment and is coupled with open communication and a strong peer-support system.

“We are always available for every single employee and make sure that support is around the corner should they need it. There are multiple touchpoints for each employee, and also a buddy and mentor system for new joiners,” says human resource senior vice president ER Sreejith.

Adds senior vice president Rajat Sharma: “Our people also know that the management has an open-door policy. They’re always welcome to come into our offices to have a chat with any of us.”

Optimum conducts employee satisfaction surveys and roundtable discussions at regular intervals. “A proactive HR department is an integral pillar of our company, to execute a vision where every employee feels a part of the Optimum family. Listening to and engaging with employees is key to Optimum’s people-centric culture,” says assistant vice president of talent management Cindy Ng.

Best practice 2: Encouraging personal growth

Assistant vice president Kristine Pan explains that Optimum invests heavily in employee training and development. This is especially important as technology is constantly evolving.

Employees are given ample opportunities to learn and grow their knowledge through in-house and external learning programmes. Optimum regularly identifies and invites industry experts to share new ideas and methodologies with its employees. To support continuous learning, employees are encouraged to upgrade their skills through company-sponsored industry certifications and courses from online learning platforms.

 
 

Optimum has been investing significantly to grow the local talent pool in the IT services industry. As part of the Company-Led Training Programme (CLT) under the aegis of Infocomm Media Development Authority, Optimum conducts a six-month full-time programme to equip fresh graduates with technical skills needed in the IT sector. Since 2018, Optimum has hired and trained over 110 university and polytechnic graduates through this programme.

“Maintaining a robust talent pool is essential in our business. By making learning opportunities accessible to everyone, and incentivising them to focus on growth, we are not only helping them, but also keeping our company ahead of the curve,” says managing director Sumit Malik.

As the company continues to grow, a structured approach to leadership development has been put in place, involving significant investment by senior leaders through mentoring high-potential talent, to build a highly empowered, engaged and energised workforce.

Best practice 3: Excellence is rewarded

While the developmental opportunities provided by Optimum contribute to the personal growth of employees, the company closes the loop by affirming hard work with suitable recognition and career growth opportunities. The various platforms for recognition include enhanced roles, bonuses and pay raises, commendation in company e-newsletters and performance awards.

Optimum continues to provide a best-in-class experience at work and extended workplaces for employees by rapidly enhancing capability to support them with efficient, effective and innovative work processes, digital ecosystems, infrastructure and services.

Its efforts to create a strong culture of appreciation and openness at the workplace have clearly paid off. More than three in 10 employees have been with the company for over a decade. Besides having a laudable employee retention rate, the company is listed as one of Singapore’s Best Employers this year in an inaugural study compiled by The Straits Times and global research firm Statista. This is best encapsulated by project manager Jimmy Lin. “The past six years at Optimum have been a fulfilling journey. I trust the organisation to do what is right by me whether it’s in terms of career growth, personal development or a healthy worklife balance. Above all, I enjoy the sense of camaraderie I share with my colleagues.”

Says chief operating officer Vinod Martin: “Being ranked as one of Singapore’s Best Employers is something we greatly value. It is an honour, and we take it as a responsibility to continuously improve ourselves to remain an employer of choice and a great place to work.”

Visit Optimum Solution's website to learn how you can be a part of this exciting and rewarding journey at Optimum Solutions.