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Unconventional HR Practices - Sky You

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Unconventional People Practices that
Support Agile Culture
Sky You

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Self-Promotion in Scrum Teams
Hiring Decision by Scrum Teams
3 PEOPLE PRACTICES
that I have to share with you today
Salary...

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Sky You
● Originally from South Korea
● Lives & works in Singapore
for 13 years
● Works for Titansoft as
○ Fulltime HR
○ P...

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Unconventional HR Practices - Sky You

Ideas of non-conventional Agile HR practices that positively impact employee retention The creation and implementation of a safe and engaging work culture for Gen Y/Millennials Lessons learned from this transformational journey – what worked and what didn’t

Ideas of non-conventional Agile HR practices that positively impact employee retention The creation and implementation of a safe and engaging work culture for Gen Y/Millennials Lessons learned from this transformational journey – what worked and what didn’t

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Unconventional HR Practices - Sky You

  1. 1. Unconventional People Practices that Support Agile Culture Sky You
  2. 2. Self-Promotion in Scrum Teams Hiring Decision by Scrum Teams 3 PEOPLE PRACTICES that I have to share with you today Salary Transparency
  3. 3. Sky You ● Originally from South Korea ● Lives & works in Singapore for 13 years ● Works for Titansoft as ○ Fulltime HR ○ Part-time facilitator ● Experience with Agile HR
  4. 4. ● Established in 2005 ● Software development consultancy that amplifies value through technology ● 4 Offices (240+) Singapore Taipei Taichung About Titansoft Jakarta
  5. 5. 5 Million Users from 150+ countries More than 100+ Projects 200K+ Concurrent Online Users 100K+ Daily Users Our End Users
  6. 6. TITANSOFT AWARDS & CERTIFICATIONS2005 2010 2013 2016 2012 2014 2017 WINNER 2018
  7. 7. PUPOSE OF OUR AGILE JOURNEY Improvements You Want Problems to Solve Business Outcomes Company Culture People Practices
  8. 8. 10 VUCA Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity
  9. 9. FAST
  10. 10. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT & RETENTION
  11. 11. How can our People Practices support Agile Culture?
  12. 12. Work Experience Autonomy Flexible Working Hours Learning Opportunity & Challenge Meaningful Work Frequent Feedback Early Promotion ENGAGING FACTORS FOR GEN Y/ MILLENNIALS @WORK Source: HRM Asia
  13. 13. AGILE HR PRACTICES RECRUITMENT: Hiring Decisions CAREER PROGRESSION: Self Promotion COMPENSATION: Salary Transparency
  14. 14. OUR AGILE WAY OF WORKING Probe Experiment Feedback Learn
  15. 15. 1. RECRUITMENT: Hiring Decision by Scrum Teams
  16. 16. Filtering: CV, Telephone 1st Round: Technical Assessment 2nd Round: Culture Assessment OUR OLD WAY OF SCRUM TEAM HIRING HR & Hiring Manager Recruitment Committee (Senior Developers) HR Manager & Hiring Manager
  17. 17. Probe Experiment Feedback Learn Why not get team to decide? Train them & Just try it out! Suitable for which team? Get all teams to come up with their “ideals”
  18. 18. IT’S NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH, OF COURSE. THERE ARE CHALLENGES TOO. Team Sub-Culture vs Organizational Culture Changes in Team’s Needs & Requirements
  19. 19. Candidate: Better Understanding of What It’s Like! Team Members: More Empowerment We Know Best! Useful Information
  20. 20. BUT THE SIGNS ARE POSITIVE STILL 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 2016-2017 2018-2019 # of new hire who left during probation •Misalignment of expectations •Dismissal Dropped to None!
  21. 21. 2. CAREER PROGRESSION: Self-Promotion in Scrum Teams
  22. 22. In a Scrum (Self- Managing) Team, how would you PROMOTE a team member?
  23. 23. Probe Experiment Feedback Learn Why not let them decide when to progress? Publish Self- Assessment Points” & Technical Assessment How to ensure fairness & quality of applicants? Juniors: Letter Seniors: Voting + Panel Interviews
  24. 24. 1 2 3 4 SELF PROMOTION PROCESS Self- Assessment 1st round: Technical Assessment by Technical Manager Juniors: Letter of Recommend ation Seniors: Cross-office voting 2nd round: Panel Interview
  25. 25. FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT PASS BUT WHY? The assessors give consolidated feedback
  26. 26. THIS IS A TRUE STORY OF JOURNEY FROM A JUNIOR TO SENIOR REMAINS AT HIS JOB GRADE & RECEIVES FEEDBACK GATHERS INPUTS & ADVICES CREATING IMPACT TRIES FOR PROMOTION NEXT ROUND!
  27. 27. • Conduct retrospective after each promotion round • Review application and passing rate SELF PROMOTION FEEDBACK Inspect & Adapt
  28. 28. 31 Self-Promotion Retrospective
  29. 29. 32 78% feel they are in charge of their own career progression
  30. 30. 3. COMPENSATION: Salary Transparency
  31. 31. Minimize the guessing game & pay fairly Why is SALARY not transparent?
  32. 32. Probe Experiment Feedback Learn What will happen if it’s transparent ? In 2015: Salary & Job Grade sharing 68% responses think it’s good! Continue the process & transparent sharing every year!
  33. 33. 68% think it’s a good practice 32% think it doesn’t make a difference SALARY TRANSPARENCY FEEDBACK
  34. 34. Annual Salary Benchmarking Briefing
  35. 35. HR: We monitor how many cases are as such. If need be, we re-look at our salary benchmarking to stay competitive with our package! Candidate A: “I am paid this much already in my current company. I am not going to lower my expectation to join yours!”
  36. 36. Recruitment Involve team members in Hiring Decisions. Benefits & Sustainability Flexible hour working hours Career Progression Self-promotion in Dev teams. Performance Management Remove Individual Performance Appraisal Compensation Salary Transparency in Dev teams. People Development T-Shaped Talent: Cross functional development. WHAT WE HAVE TRIED
  37. 37. But we are still on our journey…
  38. 38. What will be your organization’s story?
  39. 39. Every Organization is DIFFERENT So….. Don’t SPOTIFY your organization
  40. 40. CONSIDER IF… Your current people practices support the culture you want to build?
  41. 41. THANK YOU!
  42. 42. Interested in Agile HR? I’ll love to connect with you!
  43. 43. ?

Editor's Notes

  • A very good morning everyone.
    Thanks for joining the early morning session!
    Before we start off. Just to get some ground sensing.
    How many of you work in an agile company?
    How many of you work in a company that’s going through agile transformation?
    The rest? Here to learn maybe?

    Today, we are going to question the usual people practices that you know of in most companies!
    hiring?
    Promotion?
    Salary information?
  • Probe the current status quo!
    And see how these should be questioned to better support self-organizing culture!
  • Let me start off telling you a little more about myself.

    > You should be wondering. WHO IS TITANSOFT? And WHY am I here? What can I learn?
  • Over the years, Titansoft has received several awards and ever since we embarked on the agile transformation journey in 2014, we have obtained even more recognitions.
  • In 2017 and 2018, we received the Best Tech Company to Work for Award and Best companies to work for in Asia. We won the award in big part due to our agile culture & non-conventional people practices. And you will be hearing more about what interesting, unique practices we have.

    We were the winner of SME category on part with other big players in the industry.
  • Agile, Scrum. These are buzz words nowadays.
    But what does it really mean to you and to your organization?
  • Of course, you wouldn’t just want to start the agile transformation because all other companies do it.
    These are some things that you can think about before you embark on this journey.
    What improvements do you want to see?
    What problems do you want to solve?
    What is your culture like that can support this?

    What’s the vision of the Agile Transformation?
    What kind of improvement do you want to see?
    What problems do you want to solve?
    If you have started the journey, what business outcome do you expect to achieve?
    What’s your company culture like that can support agile transformation?
  • For us, we had 2 main aspects we wanted to improve. Business & People.

    First, in response to VUCA environments that we are in. very fast changing software industry.
  • We wanted to deliver our products faster!
    In traditional waterfall method, as part of full SDLC, developers do the coding.
    And like many others, we had QA dept to do the testing before the release. However, things were moving slow. And it seemed that QA dept was the bottleneck.
    Developers pointing at QA dept for doing things slow. And QA dept was blaming developers for buggy codes.
  • Second. Employees.
    There was high employee turnover- due to long working hours
    They often had to work overtime to finish up their work and deliver on time.
    Staff felt the lack of work-life balance.

    > Through agile transformation, we wanted to better engage and retain our employees
  • (emphasise – try not to repeat the same point)

    In many cases, everyone wants a change because most of the time, people are not satisfied with their current situations.
    However, when you ask- who wants to change?
    There is great deal of resistance initially.
    How many of you resonate with this?
  • Changes are uncomfortable, chaotic if there is no support.
    We didn’t just change the work processes to fit into agile development.
    But also, re-looked at our people practices at organizational level to support the agile culture.
  • Of course, some factors are in common for all generations
    But what I would like to highlight for GenY and millennials are
    Frequent feedback
    Flexi work hours
    Early promotion in 1 – 2 years
    And through our experience, we realized that an Agile culture helps create a safe and open work environment that empowers Gen Y & millennials to perform at their best


  • - Among many other unconventional people practices we have at Titansoft.
    I will be sharing with you these 3 today.
    Typically top down in most companies> hiring & promotion
    Biggest pillars in HR: recruitment & career progression
    Salary transparency to support hiring decisions & promotion
  • Probing the status quo
    Experiment
    Gather feedback
    Learn and iterate
  • As other functional teams, the final round interview used to be done by HR manager & hiring manager.
    And the last round was for culture fit.
  • We asked. It is the team who will need to work with the new hire. Why not let the team to meet them earlier and get them to decide if they want him/ her to be onboard with their team? Which team would like to hire this candidate?
    Experimented by training the selected members from the team and to sit in the 2nd interviews. We have also gotten 1st interviewers to recommend which teams to invite for the 2nd interview.
    We received feedback from the senior developers (1st interviewers) that there is no basis of recommendation. It was all based on their feeling/ best of their knowledge.
    So we learnt from this experience. We have gotten all scrum teams to come up with their ideal candidate. Who would suit them (in terms of mindset). Also, what kind of technical skill sets the team would need.
  • Challenges
    Team sub-cultures vs company culture
    that is why hiring manager is in the interview as well to align to company direction
    We have 2nd interview form assessments to company values

    Changes in team’s needs & requirements
    Sharing through weekly inlink-outlink meetings where all scrum teams attend, share knowledge & information


  • Team members: “I feel more empowered to make such a decision. And of course, we have more information about the person before he joins the team (which is definitely useful to smoothen the onboarding)!”

    Candidate: Candidate:
    “I got a better understanding of what it’s like to be developer in Titansoft and team dynamics!”


    We continue with this hiring practice as we have heard positive feedback in general from both candidates (the new comers) and the team members.

    Team members generally felt greater sense of empowerment, autonomy in getting to make hiring decisions. These information also gave them better position to prepare for the new hire’s onboarding!

    As for new hires, through this, they had clearer picture of what makes a developer in Titansoft as they get to hear from developers from different teams and also, what makes up their team.

  • Over 2016-2017, we had 4 developers who left during probation.
    Misalignment of expectations
    Dismissal

    Since we had this new process in 2018, we had not encountered any case! (FIGERS-CROSSED!)


  • hook
  • Not all 5 defined core skills are able to evaluate the capability of Developers.
    Allow Developers who didn’t pass 1st round technical assessment to proceed to Panel Interview
  • (slide 27) First, our staff will do a self-evaluation.
    After which they will go through a technical assessment and a panel interview to see if they are qualified to progress to the next level.
    People who are sitting on the panel are 2 team members, PO, DM and HR to provide different perspectives and feedback to the candidate.
    For those who don’t make it, our assessors would provide feedback on improvement areas.
    This is how we manifest our value: continuous improvement.
  • Put in a story about PD who did not get promoted.
    His learnings?
    What did he do?
  • Timeline for story

    “We could see that you can identify problems within your team. But we see less of your actions to help to solve the issues. As a senior, this is what would be expected of you.”


    In the next 6 months, Developer sought advices on how he can influence his team members!

    He tried for promotion the next round & he successfully got PROMOTED!

  • Generally, we have received positive feedback from our employees regarding this process. involving assessors and promotion applicants

    Fail > but still get feedback for their learning & growth
  • PD promotion retro photo
  • It’s almost like a standard practice to keep salary info confidential in most companies and you might get into trouble if discussing salary with your colleagues.
    But has anyone wondered- why isn’t salary transparent?
    This was the probing question we had and we thought, what would happen if it wasn’t?

  • In 2015, HR conducted a briefing and shared salary & job grade information to Developers.

    In the feedback survey, 69% responses that it’s a good practice and the rest says no difference.

    Continue with the process and conduct annual salary benchmarking briefing on how the salaries are derived.
    -----------


    In Titansoft, staff in scrum teams’ salaries are transparent.

    One of the pillars of Agile is transparency, so we wanted to minimize the guessing game because even if it is made confidential, we knew people still talked about it. We believed that any unnecessary communication that does not help the company move forward is a waste of time and resources. We also wanted to minimize unconscious bias in salary decision and aim to pay fairly and have employees’ trust in that fairness.

    Probe > Experiment> Feedback
    Learn: continue with the process but note that it is important to have a process whereby employees are informed about how their salary is determined. So be transparent in this process. Every year, we have an annual salary benchmarking exercise and share market salary info with our employees.

    In January this year, we did the info sharing and published new salary info for this year.
    After the briefing, we collected feedback from our staff about how satisfied they are about the compensation package and how they felt about the salary transparency. About 68% of our staff thought that it is a good practice.

  • (slide 21) Every year, we have an annual salary benchmarking exercise and share market salary info with our employees.
    In January, we did the info sharing and published new salary info for this year.
    After the briefing, we collected feedback from our staff about how satisfied they are about the compensation package and how they felt about the salary transparency.
    About 68% of our staff thought that it is a good practice.
  • Salary benchmarking briefing to company wide annually
  • SOME WORDS that staff say about salary transparency
  • Well, of course things are not always positive.
    We do have cases where due to our fixed salary and job grade, we are unable to hire candidates.
    We monitor those cases. And if needed, we re-look at our salary benchmarking. In 2018, we had mid-year salary review for scrum teams and adjusted the salary.
  • (slide 17) These are the things that we have tried:

    But this may not be the same if I were to share after 6 months, 1 year. We are constantly inspecting & adapting, iterating our people practices to better support scrum teams and overall, Agile Culture we are trying to build.

  • Do not SPOTIFY your organization, because your organization is different from Spotify. What worked for us, might not work for you.
    Ask yourself. “Do your current people practices support the culture you want to build?” If not, then what are you going to do the next?
  • Do not SPOTIFY your organization, because your organization is different from Spotify. What worked for us, might not work for you.
    Ask yourself. “Do your current people practices support the culture you want to build?” If not, then what are you going to do the next?
  • What questions do you have?
  • Over 2016-2017, we had 4 developers who left during probation.
    Misalignment of expectations
    Dismissal

    Since we had this new process in 2018, we had not encountered any case! (FIGERS-CROSSED!)


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