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We build tomorrow's leaders

Interview with Mr. Ramanand, Head, Human Resources,Vision Healthsource, Chennai

What are your areas of work and operations?

Vision Healthsource, a Perot Systems Company, is a leader in providing complex rules- based transaction processing and call-centre services. We provide medical coding, medical billing, claims processing and adjudication, revenue cycle management and other finance and accounting services for clients in the insurance, financial services and other verticals.

While recruiting, what attributes/ personality traits do you look for in the candidates?

We believe in selecting our people with a lot of care. You can take a rock and mould it into a masterpiece. The same is with people; you need to be able to identify the key traits that would make them successful in the field they would be in.

The first and foremost is enthusiasm or drive to go out and achieve. Clearly, willingness to learn and being flexible to accommodate the varied demands that would be placed by the organisation would, to a large extent, determine the heights of success one could achieve.

Professional pride is also a key parameter to assess a person's fit with the company. Overall, the candidate should have a sense of purpose and direction. Life is like an untamed sea and you have only your instincts to rely on; you would be successful only if you can go on with a sense of purpose and self-motivation.

We are an organisation driven by strong values. Values drive the right behaviour and help you make the right judgement. We believe that people who believe in our values and can lead by example fit well into our work environment.

What is your selection procedure?

Typically, we have a rigorous selection process, which differs for different positions.

At entry level we have tests to assess a candidate's numerical, analytical, English language and keyboarding (typing skills) ability. Typically, 15% of those who apply clear the tests.

After the preliminary tests, there will be a Group discussion for calling roles. Here, around 25% clear the round.

There are multiple levels of interviews - HR and Operations. During the interviews we brief the candidate about the role and also assess the person for role fit and organisation fit.

Finally, just 5% of those who apply make it

For senior positions, it is multiple discussions with HR, the department head and other leaders in the company. The objective of the interview is to assess the fit between the candidate and the organisation's culture, the role requirements and fit with the team. The prospective candidate also gets an opportunity to meet and interact with key people and is more informed while making his career choice.

What kind of growth opportunities do employees have in your company?

Associates can grow at an aggressive pace, within our organisation. We follow certain guidelines for promoting our associates. Historically speaking, more than 90% of supervisory positions are staffed internally. Associates move and have moved vertically, horizontally (training, quality, etc) and across functions (network, systems, finance, etc).

For example, our first employee, Allen Roy, who started his career as a transaction-processing associate, is now heading our technology team as the Head of Networking. He has been able to make it in a span of just 5 years. Our 4th and 5th associates are now handling multiple programmes and processes as Account Managers. Given that we have had over 200% growth in staff strength in less than a year and are also adding client programmes and service lines and new business offerings, growth opportunities are plenty.

We have made significant investments in building a world-class training programme, which covers not just the Domain specifics but also imparts training in key areas such as building managerial acumen, soft skills and specialised training in areas such as Project Management (we have a global tie-up with Project Management Institute). We believe in building tomorrow's leaders.

What is your working environment like? What keeps the employees ticking?

Our work environment is one of trust and mutual respect to associates as professionals.

We focus on satisfying customers and delivering the best value to our customers. We believe in rewarding performance and have created several Rewards and Recognition programmes linked to customer satisfaction for our associates.

We are very informal and address each other by first names. We keep in constant communication through our intranet portal. We run several schemes and contests on the portal to create a vibrant atmosphere. We are, probably, the only organisation in the industry, which has a newsletter for the families of our associates.

This quarterly newsletter, Vibes, is dedicated to reaching out and communicating to our extended family. We also celebrated a Family day recently and could see for ourselves the socio-cultural change we are able to bring about in our associates' families.

We have an associate- friendly work place with facilities such as transport for all shifts, 24-hour snack bar, intranet- enabled HR processes, etc. It makes work all the more easy.

How do you identify employee needs and help enhance their performance?

We have identified competencies required for each role. At associate level, we have an intranet- hosted training portal to help them access training material in their free time. Walk-in training sessions also add to the development inputs provided to associates.

For senior associates and supervisors, we have a wide range of programmes delivered by trainers from Perot Systems, US. Competency areas like Project Management, Leadership skills, Presentation skills, Customer Focus and People handling skills are few of the areas where we provide training inputs.

Apart from these, there are always interesting learning assignments that provide associates with potential an opportunity to enhance their abilities and improve their careers.

What is the attrition rate in your organisation? Do you encourage intra-organisational/ lateral transfers of employees?

We believe that our associates are key to our success and even when we have an attrition rate that is not at all considered serious, we like to bring that down all the time.

We have numerous opportunities for associates to move laterally within the organisation - from one service line to another service line, from one programme to another programme, from one function to another function, etc. A few of our associates have relocated and become part of our US operations.

What is your annual appraisal system like?

The focus of the appraisal is to provide data- based feedback to associates on a regular basis to help them strive towards better achievement and meaningful development.

Ours is a metrics- based appraisal. At each work profile, we have identified key areas of impact of the individual and targets are set against each of these areas keeping in mind the business requirements and the individual's role.

It would be easy for the associate to do a self-assessment of how he/she is performing against the targets set for them.

How do you resolve intra/inter departmental conflict and promote team spirit?

These conflicts are healthy as they bring about different points of view. We bring associates with differing viewpoints to the same table, thrash out the issues and arrive at a decision which the team will implement.

We believe in team spirit and respond to both fortuitous and disastrous events as a team. Communication at all levels is key to ensure that we promote and maintain team spirit in the company. Additionally, we organise lots of fun events at the workplace, and team outings, which helps us create " Fighting-fit Teams" and "not teams in fits of fighting".

Would you call yourself equal opportunity employer?

We are an equal opportunity employer worldwide and at all times in the employee life cycle, from the time a person is selected to the time he leaves the organisation. We do not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, sex, physical disability, region, language, religion, colour, sex, marital status and disability in any of our people decisions.

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