By TAMARA JAYNE
As the global next generation IT systems integrator, Arvato Systems Malaysia (Arvato Systems) focuses on “Digital Transformation Solutions.”
It uses the technology talent and expertise of over 3,000 people at more than 25 sites throughout the world. Being a part of the Arvato network and belonging to Bertelsmann, Arvato Systems has the unique capability to create entire value chains.
Together with its team of global experts, Arvato Systems understands that its main assets are its talents. Which is why it seeks to retain and attract talents by cultivating a good culture within the organisation.
In today’s world, you might find yourself constantly working. You spend 40 hours in the office but you are still thinking of projects and new ideas, and are making decisions as you drive, eat, and even sometimes before you sleep. The work-life balance concept seems like a myth.
It can’t just be blamed on heartless managers sending e-mails with an unspoken expectation for you to check your inbox outside of office hours. There seems to have been a cultural shift in society today.
It’s not about work-life balance anymore, but about an integration of both worlds that makes it conducive for both employees and companies today.
Arvato Systems has nailed this concept down incredibly well. It is no surprise that when its employees were asked what they love most about working there, each of them mentioned how he or she loves the work time flexibility.
Benyamin Shafabakhsh, software engineer from Iran at Arvato Systems, says that as a non-Malaysian, he appreciates Arvato Systems’ flexibility as it has given him the opportunity to work from his home country.
“As long as you have received approval from your manager and you can remain efficient with your job, it is fine to work from home or from your country. This is remarkable and unique. I haven’t seen any other place like this.”
Olivia Irma Sari, technical consultant, feels the same when she needs to work from her home in Indonesia. “When I want to go back to see my father or there are things to do, I can work from there by utilising the work from home country policy. I also like my co-workers. They are like a family to me.”
How do they manage work flexibility?
At Arvato Systems, it believes and values the authenticity and diversity that every employee brings to the business.
It seeks to provide a supportive and empowering workplace i.e. a working environment that is positive, open and flexible.
This is also to fit into the demand of millennials and married employees to create a trust-based work environment through Arvato Systems flexi-work schedule and remote options.
To ensure the successful implementation of this initiative, Arvato Systems focuses on the following goals:
• a corporate culture focused on results rather than requiring employees to be physically present in the office
• increased levels of employee
• an improved work-life balance
Instead of monitoring employees’ schedules, it understands that different people function best at different times of the day.
This is Arvato Systems’ commitment to accommodate the lifestyles of its employees. It trusts employees to prioritise their work and personal responsibilities to carry out their tasks effectively.
“With the approval from the management, working from home or in their own country gives employees a sense of ownership,” says Benjamin Dorsch, managing director of Arvato Systems.
“We have 30% to 35% foreign talents and some from other states like Sabah and Sarawak. We understand the pain of being away from home so we want to appreciate our employees by allowing them to work back home in their country for up to a month every year,” says Chloe Gan, human resources (HR) director.
This flexibility has also helped Sharon Tan, finance planning and controlling manager at Arvato Systems, who recently gave birth to her first child.
She mentioned that she struggled after giving birth because she wasn’t used to handling work and taking care of her baby. She was given two months’ maternity leave and an additional third month where she could work from home.
“This additional third month allowed me to adjust back into work duties while looking after my baby. This really helped me a lot,” says Sharon Tan.
“We are committed to provide a supportive and empowering workplace – a working environment that is agile, open and flexible,” says Dorsch. “Our work-life policy didn’t happen overnight. It started with small steps and changes were implemented one by one towards our goal. From my perspective, I’ve noticed that it works quite well with our employees,” he adds.
On top of being trustworthy, Dorsch believes that creating a positive team spirit, having a sense of ownership, being honest and authentic, and, last but not least, being accountable are key traits on the never-ending path towards good leadership.
Trust is undoubtedly a firm belief at Arvato Systems. It’s not just a notion practised amongst senior management as it too has trickled down to employees.
The culture of Arvato Systems stems from 3 pillars:
• Digital Transformation Enabler – seeking to break new grounds every day with passion and creativity to deliver the best possible solutions to clients
• Safe Entrepreneur –management and teams practise openness and transparency at every level
• Togetherness – they are driven by strong values of inclusiveness and openness in working together as a team from top management to junior developer
Not just talk
While talk is easy, Arvato Systems applies what it says to what it does. And it is evidently heard by its employees.
“It helps that the opinions and feedback of the employees are heard as well,” Tan admits when asked how Arvato Systems differs from her previous workplaces.
“We have a feedback box, a new-hire pulse survey and an annual employee survey, and we use these as valuable feedback tools to find out what they think. It is not only a gauge of the work climate, but above all, a strategic indicator to guide us as managers.
It is our job to identify areas for potential improvement through dialogue with our team members, and to create an action plan to maintain our competitiveness and strengthen it in the long run. And over the years we’ve learnt that we should deliver on the promises we’ve made,” says Gan.
“Each of us, as a team member, has unique skills and experiences; we combine all of this to get things done and overcome challenges. I entered this company as a fresh graduate. During my interview, I loved how Arvato Systems did not see me as who I was but as who I could be,” says Shafabakhsh.
Other benefits of working at Arvato Systems
While some companies allocate certain amounts of money for areas like medical or dental support, Gan noticed that many of their young employees were not benefiting from it.
This is where Arvato Systems stands out. In 2011, Arvato Systems took the time and effort to invest in its employees by providing flexi-benefits which provide a set of incentives.
Employees are able to choose from this set depending on their needs: medical, dental, gym, premium personal insurance, maternity, passport renewal, flight tickets, gadgets, Internet, and phone bills are some of the benefits to choose from.
In addition, Arvato Systems provides childcare leave for parents and a nursing room for new mothers. Single employees also receive parental care leave.
On top of that, Arvato Systems sponsors company activities such as badminton, futsal, company trips and annual family days.
Employees also receive opportunities to upskill through soft skill and technical skill training. Some of these training programmes are hosted overseas and thereby give employees a chance to travel, particularly to the company’s headquarters in Germany, to gain exposure and to experience a different work environment.
We strongly believe that our valuable assets are our employees as their performance will have a strong influence on the company’s performance and growth.
“We focus on the importance of HR management (HRM) to align the organisational objectives of the company with the interests of the employees. We believe that a good HR team adopts a holistic perspective on the strategic planning of the company and enmeshes the HRM policies fully with those of the organisation goals.”
Arvato Systems’ HRM plays a critical role in integrating the overall organisational strategies to develop and nurtures our people to achieve the company’s goals as well as individual goals,” says Dorsch.
Bringing it all together
Arvato Systems understands that if people enjoy their work, work-life integration is a much easier concept to grasp and implement.
“I always believe that if you love what you do and are passionate, you won’t find it difficult to do the work. Gaining trust from staff and stakeholders is also important as it drives you and motivates you to go further,” says Gan.
There’s freedom to think, act, and grow as an entrepreneur at Arvato Systems.
Not only is one able to break new ground in the work of digital transformation but one is also able to exchange ideas with other creatively-driven people.
The principle of decentralisation is at the heart of Arvato Systems’ management philosophy, and it empowers its people with considerable independence and flexibility – along with a superior sense of ownership – in determining Arvato Systems’ way forward to innovation and commercial success.
Top 3 2016 awards
• HR Excellence Award
Employee Work-Life Balance: Gold
• HR Asia Award
HR Asia Best Companies To Work For In Asia 2016 (and 2015)
Employer of Choice (silver), HR professional of the year (silver)
To learn more about Arvato Systems Malaysia, visit https://IT.arvato.com/malaysia
Tamara was previously an assistant editor and writer with Leaderonomics. She loves thought-provoking conversations over cups of tea. If she is not writing, you might find her hiking up a mountain in search of a new waterfall to explore.