Verizon Data Services India (VDS India) is a global complement of Verizon, performing a range of IT and non-IT functions to support Verizon's global operations. Verizon Communication Inc., headquartered in the US, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline services for the mass market, government and global businesses.
Established in June 2001, Verizon Data Services India is a 100% subsidiary of Verizon Communications and employs around 5000 people from across the country who work at four facilities in Chennai and Hyderabad. Connecting high-calibre IT talent from India to cutting edge technologies that sweep the world, VDS India creates and nurtures career opportunities that are domain-intensive, intellectually rewarding and financially sound. The Hindu Opportunities spoke to Ramesh S. Kumar, Head – HR, Verizon Data Services India on the HR initiatives of the company.
Tell us something about your employee driven initiatives.
Considering we have a vast pool of high-calibre talent in India, our employee-driven initiatives have been developed to nurture an inclusive and diverse work culture, and a strong sense of belonging to the Verizon values. Our employees also extend their collective ability to the community at large to make a difference.
An organisation such as ours also invests in our employees, taking a lifecycle approach to development. It starts right from induction and on boarding. We provide bridge development programmes to help employees succeed in new responsibilities. The employees have access to a vast and diverse knowledge resource to go for self-paced learning and they are encouraged to participate in peer learning and coaching. Combined with the above, we drive continuation of formal education including certifications. Once they have developed capabilities, we also ensure that we provide them the opportunity to move into more complex roles, and then the cycle starts again.
How do you recognise employees for exceptional performance?
We at VDS India have a number of employee recognition programmes devised to encourage and boost performance for individual or team excellence. These are closely tied with the strategic initiatives and values of the organisation. The company also recognises its employees for patent filing.
Give us some details about your employee development and talent management initiatives.
We have a lifecycle approach to talent development and are committed to the investment it takes. To begin with, every employee has an individual development plan which is developed in consultation with one's supervisor which identifies clearly the corresponding training and development needs. These needs are then broken down into classroom training, online self-paced classes and on the job learning. In this scenario, every employee typically goes through a minimum of 80 hours of training in a year. It is important that the individual development plan draws from one's own career plans as well as organisations' business needs and is focussed on the individual's growth as well. We strongly advocate individual ownership of one's career, strongly supported by Verizon.
Tell us more about your education-in-career initiative and how the company and employees have benefited from it?
Contesting the common perception that the beginning of career marks the end of one's formal education, organisations and employees alike are embracing the idea of continuous education in different ways to further the cause of professional advancement. Learning on the job has limited meanings, mostly restricted to enhancing skills and knowledge relevant to one's job responsibilities. However, for aspiring Indian professionals with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, the value of a holistic education is far more compelling.
We, at Verizon, have a broad-based approach to the educational advancement of our employees, addressing employee needs in a three-dimensional way: (a) on the job learning to enhance skills and domain expertise, (b) access to a vast knowledge resource to go for self-paced, informal education and (c)continuation of formal education to pursue degrees or diplomas with academic institutes.
VDS India framed its Education Assistance Policy to provide financial assistance along with an inspiring work atmosphere to support employees' higher education plans. The option is open to employees for Distance Higher Education Programs, Certification courses and Management Education, during their employment with the company, subject to some basic guidelines. We have a lot of takers for this program which is a win-win both for the employees and Verizon.
What do you think makes you unique in terms of HR practices as compared to other companies in your domain?
Being an extension of the global IT arm of a leader in communications, Verizon affords us a lot of opportunities to work on technologies that are future-oriented. Our HR practices create an enabling environment around this opportunity for professional advancement and personal fulfilment. The focus on development is all pervasive. We track the development interventions that employees have availed on periodic basis. These range from well-structured learning programs to self-driven employee initiatives at enhancing life skills and creative talent. Some of the HR initiatives VDS–India has taken are:
Diversity Council: VDS India focusses on sustaining an inclusive work culture. The Diversity Council organises events and celebrations that showcase and create appreciation for the different cultures of India.
Women's Association of VDSI Employees (WAVE): The women's network at VDS India provides an empathetic forum for women employees to interact and discuss common interests and challenges for professional advancement and personal enrichment.
Personality development clubs: Employee forums for enhancing presentation skills, public speaking abilities, communication skills, etc.
SPICE (Software Professionals Inspiring Community Empowerment): Verizon is a responsible corporate citizen. Our India employees reach out to communities through education enrichment activities, which are also supported by funding from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon.
What are the HR policies you have planned for your employees in the future?
Our HR policies reflect emerging needs of business and organisational commitment to the employee community, our supreme asset. Based on this, we review and renew our policies addressing organisational needs and industry trends.