At DCKAP, we have evolved as a company. We have made many mistakes as well. In the initial days of DCKAP, for new recruits with no experience in the technology industry, we required them to sign a two year commitment (in India, they used to call this a Bond). If the new recruits we hired wanted to leave in the first two years for any reason, we did not provide them with any references (in India, this is also called the Experience Letter). We later reduced this bond time period to 18 months.
What Was the Problem With This Approach?
A lot of people we hired completed the bond or commitment period. However, they were not happy with the policy. One trend we did notice was that exactly after their commitment period with us, a good number of them would turn in their notice and wanted to leave us. However, when someone wanted to leave within 18 months, our policy was clear. He/she can leave, but we will not be able to provide a reference of work (i.e. the experience letter). Some people were okay with it and left us. Others were frustrated (though we were very clear when we hired them in the first place), requested, and even pressured us, to provide them with an experience letter. We did not budge. Some left feeling unhappy and some decided to stay on. All this did not create a friendly atmosphere.
Notice Period and International Travel
When our folks travel abroad, significant investments are involved and we thought the company had to recoup the investment. Our notice period also had a 12 month commitment on international travel. (i.e. if someone travels abroad, they have to come back and work with the company for at least 12 months.) Again, some people did not like this approach.
How Did We Handle This?
We debated removing the commitment period and sticking to the two month notice period. Initially, we thought it might not be possible for a company of our size. Larger companies could do it; however, it may not work for us. What works for a larger corporation often does not work for smaller companies. However, when we started to understand the values of culture and hiring, we wanted to keep things simple. We removed the commitment period for international travel. We went ahead with a two month notice period. Two months became one month, in due course.
Though we had a one month notice period, we did our best to leave them the same day or as soon as possible. Now we had a different problem. Some of our folks were upset that we sent them the same day they put in their resignation. This was a good problem to have.
Keeping Things Simple
One of our most significant lessons learned throughout the years is keeping things simple. In the last few years, we have overhauled our entire system. In our offer letters, we now have a two week notice period (if they want to leave us). We also try hard to leave them sooner than two weeks. However, irrespective of the notice period, if we do not see a mutual fit and if we were to let them go, we will support them for a month. We also go the extra mile to help them find jobs. A lot of our employees who have left us, for these reasons, still stay in touch with us, and we always wish them the best. They are a part of our community and we thank them for their contribution.
Employee Friendly Policies
Our biggest learning has been to keep our policies employee-friendly. At times, this approach may not work in the company’s favor and may get misused by a few, but that is okay. These HR policies have helped improve our #retention rates, and people work at companies not because they have to, but because they want to.