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April - 2014 - issue > Cover Story
HR Excellence Powering Growth in UST Global
Anamika Sahu
Saturday, April 5, 2014
While every other Company is caught in a rat race to add clients to their catalog, UST Global - an IT Services and Solutions provider, has successfully kept themselves out of it. UST Global believes in providing the maximum attention and the best service to its customers, and thus serves 'Fewer Clients with More Attention'. The Company has been enabling clients around the world including the three largest retailers, the largest shipping container line and a host of other Fortune 100 organizations in over 18 countries across four continents with a distinctive engagement model. In its engagements with clients, UST Global strives to go beyond operational efficiencies to provide superior value to its clients and their customers, which is the Company's ultimate goal. UST Global fulfills this through the vigorous process it has developed over the years working with a Fortune 500 client base, and with a commitment to quality & transparency and its intellectuals. Today, UST Global has grown from a modest 1000 square foot office in Trivandrum, Kerala, housing 14 employees to over a 15,000 strong workforce, and world class facilities spread across the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Far East, with expansions currently underway in Africa and other parts of LATAM and Europe.

From new geography expansion through rapid ramp up readiness to giving back to the community, the HR organization plays a pivotal role in all facets of business growth at UST Global. "With unique best practices and out of the ordinary thinking, the Human Resources strategies at UST Global have enabled and equipped our employees to deliver and support growth plans. Over the past 24 months alone, we have steadily ventured into LATAM beginning with Mexico, Brazil and Panama, and most recently into Spain thereby extending our global footprint, with the HR infrastructure being built in a very short time frame, mostly within 30-45 days," explains Manu Gopinath, Global Head of Human Resources, UST Global. This is made possible with the integrated people processes and systems in place globally. This will also result in the expansion of the Company's services to support the Latin American operations of international businesses as well as local organizations in the region. Further, this has equipped UST Global to serve clients outside of the traditional healthcare, financial services and retail domains. It is now engaged with several global corporations in the Energy & Utilities, Transportation & Logistics, Telecom, Media/Entertainment, BPO and the public sector. "Our organization around specific industries has given our associates expertise that runs both deep and wide. Equally important is our ability to look across industries to take best practices from one sector and apply them in unique and distinctive ways in other sectors," adds Manu.

Celebrating Work with Life

Fulfilling business commitments require a pool of intellectuals well versed with technology and industry insights. To do this, Manu and his team took an entirely different approach of innovation, hiring, locating offices, educating the workforce and delivering the next technologies that will power its clients forward. Manu puts copious effort in shaping the skills of his employees. While several companies are still engaged in a faceoff with attrition, UST Global proudly boasts of over 89 percent retention of its workforce.

UST Global believes that employees leave managers and not the Company, thus insists on managers owning up efforts towards retention of employees through various measures. Manu's HR organization in UST Global facilitates this through various engagement programs, special & differentiated reward systems, best in industry benefits, in-house training & development wing, multi-model training delivery methodologies, manager enablement workshops, fun@work, onsite opportunities, career advancement framework, flexible work hours, the UST Global MBA program, industry & analyst recognition, innovation lab, philanthropic endeavors, and others. The Company also offers hyper-care and hyper-growth opportunities to its employees. This helps in developing passionate employees through multi-pronged training and development programs, high level of engagement not only at the employee level but even connecting with their families and inviting them to participate in the success of the organization & its celebrations.

"As a people-focused Company, we have adopted some of the most innovative and effective HR practices. The empowering work culture at UST Global provides the perfect opportunity for those who want to grow and be in the forefront of the industry," says Manu. UST Global has been successful in providing opportunities that have sky rocketed the careers of its employees. This has been noticed by its alumni that in 2013 it had significant success in getting a good number of its ex-employees.

In addition to these tangible efforts, the values and culture that the organization practices and propagates everyday has provided additional impetus to the Company's retention efforts. The work culture celebrates achievement & teamwork, and promotes the UST Global way of life. The Company's values and culture are engraved in the hearts and minds of every employee who then embodies these values and shares them throughout the country and with clients. Through sharing of anecdotes and personal experiences, the Company ensures that the core values of the organization are kept alive in the minds of its associates. The "Chairman's Quotes", a collection of quotes from the late Founder Chairman, G.A Menon, is one way in which UST Global shares the vision about the organization's culture.

India and UST Global's India based workforce: The Turning Point

India is no longer considered an IT destination only because of cost efficiencies. The country has come a long way from just being an outsourcing destination for the American and European corporations. India-based workforce has moved up the value chain by providing end-to-end delivery capability, expertise in domain & technological skill, improved process efficiencies and others. The quality of education and ready availability of engineers have given India the edge over several other countries. The Government of India is also committed to developing foreign policies that favor increased FDI especially in the area of IT.

With increased business and career opportunities in India, the Indian workforce has become increasingly mobile and flexible. "This is why over 60 percent of our workforce is out of various locations in India - Trivandrum, Kochi, Chennai and Bangalore with new centers being set up in Gurgaon and Pune," explains Manu. The major focus of India business unit of UST Global is to provide solutions for India-based clients. The Company is strengthening its preparedness to meet business demands in India and globally by proactively identifying IT professionals and engineers and providing niche skill training on analytics, mobility, cloud and virtualization.

The Bangalore center is slated to double its headcount over the next one year. A state-of-the-art development facility spread over 36 acres is also near completion in Trivandrum. This development facility will encompass five elegantly laid out buildings - 3 software development blocks, a hospitality block and a sports & cultural complex with multi-level car parking. The building will have LEED platinum rating certification making it one of the first Green Buildings in Kerala.

En Route to Success

Developing an environment for innovation and embedding it into the very fabric of its life is critical to the success of UST Global. The Company's focus over the next few months will continue to be innovation and creation of intellectual property while providing superior value to its clients. While the Company continues to enter new geographies and markets, it will also be purposeful in creating a global scalable organization. With its hyper growth plans, UST Global has already begun the ground work to set up establishments in China, Egypt, Morocco, Brazil, Rwanda, Chile, Poland and Ireland.

Step IT Up America, a national program to create 5000 new tech jobs for inner city women by 2020, is launched by UST Global. This will provide vital formula to train and employ minority women to equip them with the technological skills to launch successful IT careers. With a commitment to help those who are less fortunate, UST Global partners with various global and local organizations for some of its CSR initiatives including PATH, Communities in Schools and
Kanthari International. The Company is also a corporate sponsor of Peace thousands of organizations. “We will be steadfast in sustaining an agile and nimble entrepreneurial culture internally and at the same time serves the needs of the communities around us,” concludes Manu.
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