In His Hands (not its real name) is a business operating in a poor country, based in a rural city 8+ hours away from the capital. The following was written by one of their local staff posted on their company blog. In His Hands business owners are part of the OPEN Network. This published with their permission. All emphasis is his. (Note 90% of the employees are not believers.)

If you have read some forums on what work life is like in an outsourced Third-World, IT services company, you may assume the following:

  • Offshore employees come cheap
  • Staff are expendable
  • Expect long, miserable hours and horrific working conditions

At In His Hands though, we have an entirely different culture. Our number one resource is people. We don’t just use our employees to reach end-goals. The people we work with on a daily basis are like family. Our goal at In His Hands, is to create an environment where our employees can expand and grow both professionally and personally.

Here are four ways In His Hands creates a healthy environment:

Open and Accepting Culture – Initially, our office only had cubicles. Nobody liked it. We are not just isolated individuals working on individual projects, but a community, working together for a common goal. Now our office has an open layout with few walls or closed doors. We work as a community, not as individuals, learning from each other and mentoring each other, both professionally and personally, formally and informally. We are all members of the same team. Nobody is in charge of another. This is the best way to work together.

Community Outside of the Office – This community is not just centered around projects and work space. Yearly outings bring us all together. Who wouldn’t feel closer to a co-worker after braving a whitewater rafting expedition? Our times together also include camping and weekend marriage retreats. When someone in the office has a birthday party for a child, office employees show up because they truly care. We know how to produce quality websites; yet we don’t just invest in employees on a professional level, we do it on a personal level too. We are dealing with real people and want to take care of them as we would family. Because of the tight-knit community, when business challenges arise, the team comes together, not just for the paycheck, but for each other as well.

Table Tennis and Chess – It seems like a small thing to have games in the office, but people need a break from work. Having the space for some fun creates a bond between co-workers and allows some freedom from work. This helps creative juices to flow as the brain relaxes. We recently had a four-week Table Tennis tournament in the office, complete with a dedicated website for the standings. A simple disengagement from work and friendly competition can actually be just the thing to help you solve that difficult coding challenge.

Development Days – Once a month we have two hours of soft skill training and two hours of hard skill training. These are times that we grow as technologists and as people. It’s an opportunity to cross-train teams so they can branch out. It allows them to be more productive, helpful and beneficial to the company as a whole. Recently, we learned about GULP and the benefits of optimizing Javascript code, alongside practicing some stress-busting meditation techniques. After the training, we often invite families to come and all share a meal together at a nice restaurant.

These four areas are just a glimpse into the culture of In His Hands – a culture that provides you with great service and products.

The turnover rate at offshore IT companies is high. I have seen numbers as high as 25% a year for other local IT companies. At In His Hands, many of our employees have been here for close to 10 years, almost since the beginning. They stay because of the family aspect and the investment they have in the company. They are part of the family. We have employees who have worked in other companies, and when they come here, they say that there is a big difference. They feel valued as a person and technologist.

It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.

 

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for other 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.