The employment market for IT talents is becoming increasingly challenging, so being an attractive employer is crucial. To do so we are keen to ensure we have a well-defined profile and identity that makes it clear what ICT offers existing and potential employees. Our goal is to create an environment in which ICT employees can grow, both personally and professionally, based on their ambition and passion for technology.
Promoting sustainable employability is key for ICT to be and remain an employer of choice. This is based on the following pillars:
The well-being of our employees
Continuous training and education
Being an inclusive employer with a diverse workforce
Our key performance indicators to measure sustainable employability, categorised in three pillars, are:
The total number of employees at year-end 2018 was 1,274, 23% higher than at the end of 2017 (1,032).
In the year under review ICT successfully hired 415 (2017: 213) new colleagues, of whom 36% (2017: 15%) joined through the companies we acquired in 2018.
The retention rate came in at 86% in 2018, compared to 86% in 2017, putting the retention rate above our target of 85%. The retention rate at ICT Netherlands was 86% (2017: 87%), above the industry average in the Netherlands and above our own retention target despite the ever-challenging labour market and shortage of IT talent. This rate is partly attributable to our retention programme based on exit statistics and exit interviews, which enables us to react quickly to exit trends. In Bulgaria the retention rate was 80% (2017: 73%), below that of the Netherlands. This is attributable to a lower average employee age and heavy competition for young IT professionals.
Well-being of our employees
Well-being is a key driver of engagement and strongly linked to retention. ICT therefore strives to create a healthy working environment where people feel safe and engaged and can keep growing, both personally and professionally. ICT intends to sustain and nurture the well-being of its employees through:
the company culture, including ethical behaviour
employee satisfaction surveys
vitality and work-life balance
the physical working environment
ICT’s goal is to create an environment in which employees are continuously challenged to develop their strengths and in which they are not afraid to make mistakes. ICT’s well-defined identity and corporate values, including entrepreneurship and freedom to act, are the preconditions for this environment. ICT encourages its people to look beyond boundaries, to be innovative pioneers looking for ground-breaking solutions, to develop and share knowledge and to think outside the box.
Within ICT Group we have adopted the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This is also embedded in our Code of Conduct which states that ICT makes every effort to create a positive, transparent working environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and/or intimidation and in which employees have equal access to information and opportunities.
The result of the annual employee satisfaction survey is a key indicator in tracking the level of engagement among our employees. The 2018 survey, with a response rate of 68% (2017: 70%), showed an overall score of 7.3 (2017: 7.1), indicating that ICT is performing satisfactorily, above our own target of 7. The survey is also very valuable in identifying points for improvement, which ICT uses to increase its attractiveness as an employer.
A key indicator linked to employee well-being is absenteeism due to sickness. The absenteeism rate remained low at ICT, coming in at 2.6% in 2018 (2017: 2.2%), and below the average absenteeism rate of around 3% in the industry in which we operate. Maximum vitality and a healthy work-life balance are essential to delivering the best possible performance on a day-to-day basis. That is why ICT has a prevention programme in place which involves managers and the HR department working together and learning from every case of absenteeism so we can help our employees to stay healthy. Professional healthcare support is available and covers a wide range of issues, from psychological help to RSI complaints and more.
Given the nature of our work, the number of health and safety incidents was again minimal in 2018. A health and safety manual is available within ICT describing the health and safety policies and guidelines. These policies and guidelines are reviewed every three years. ICT also has a prevention officer whose task it is to ensure that health, safety and environmental policies and guidelines are adhered to.
New and improved workplaces
ICT believes that the working environment has a direct impact on employee productivity, performance and morale. In recent years ICT has invested in creating workspaces that are conducive to the well-being of its employees by opening new office locations and upgrading existing ones. Having multiple office locations means that employees can work closer to home, helping them to achieve a better work-life balance. Furthermore we have equipped the upgraded office locations with modern office furniture as well as collaboration areas and social spaces with sustainable climate control and lighting systems.
ICT also has several engagement initiatives in place, including a Council of 20, a group of young professionals under the age of 30. This group of disruptive thinkers has been given the task of coming up with new ideas to fuel ICT’s pipeline of innovations. This increases the engagement and job satisfaction of these young professionals, while at the same time helping ICT to stay connected to the world of millennials. The Council of 20 meets every other month at a different location.
Another element in our drive for employee engagement is our Equity Participation Plan for employees, which increases involvement and engagement by making employees owners of the company. The equity participation plan is open to all ICT employees with a permanent job contract. More than 17% of the employees eligible to join currently participate in the plan (2017: 13%).
Continuous training and education
To be an innovative frontrunner using the latest technologies and tools it is important that our employees are equipped with the skills to match. Therefore, we continuously make significant investments to increase the technological, innovative and personal skills of our employees. By offering technical and personal training we ensure that employees remain well-equipped for their roles. One of our training courses is the professional leadership programme in which ICT employees are educated and constantly challenged. Ongoing personal development is an integral part of daily working practices and is discussed regularly in employee feedback sessions so we can identify individual development needs.
As one of the most important drivers of success is continuous training, the company has set up its own academy, the ICT Academy, in close collaboration with its specialised training unit Improve Quality Services. Employees are trained by our own professionals or by carefully selected trainers or institutions. To fully support learning needs ICT offers online training facilities in addition to traditional classroom facilities. We offer more than 100 training courses, covering a wide range of knowledge and expertise, from technical skills to leadership skills, as well as access to an array of free e-books.
Furthermore ICT offers several ‘learning on the job’ training programmes. All employees have a personal training budget and can use our self-service tool to help register for training courses and order books and development kits. The ICT Academy initiates and organises a curriculum for managers on leadership skills. Prominent speakers are invited to share their vision on leadership to help inspire our managers and help them reflect on their own leadership style.
In 2018, ICT’s professionals followed a total of 25,751 hours training (2017: 28,505 hours), this translates into an average of 23 hours per professional (2017: 30 hours), slightly below our average aspiration level. This included both internal and external training courses. The use of the Improve Qualities Services training platform accounted for some of this training.
ICT recognises that its employees need to feel appreciated in the workplace. The annual performance review cycle for all employees plays a key role in monitoring this. ICT conducts career development evaluations at least once a year. We also initiated quarterly dialogue sessions between managers and employees to increase the focus on the employees’ development path and to promote a result-driven attitude. Our feedback/feedforward culture is also supported by a specific toolset that was introduced two years ago.
ICT does everything it can to help employees shape and build their careers. Employees can add new specialist technical skills or they can take the opportunity to develop management skills. ICT aims to fill the majority of all management positions through internal promotion, supported by its leadership development programme.
ICT aims to promote the exchange of technical knowledge between employees and teams. We develop cross-functional skills by organising interdisciplinary workshops. Creative workshops are also organised to share knowledge with employees, customers and partners. One of the internal programmes, Dragons’ Den, was launched to stimulate employees to come up with innovative ideas. In 2018 ICT arranged internal workshops and training for employees, which are taken 1,240 times, as well as 55 events and workshops for customers.
Be an inclusive employer with a diverse workforce
ICT welcomes every employee that meets its competence profile, irrespective of gender, age, religion or (ethnic) background. ICT makes every effort to create a positive, transparent working environment that is free from discrimination and gives all employees equal access to opportunities. The inclusivity of ICT is not only due to the scarcity of IT professionals but first and foremost because ICT truly believes that diverse views and perspectives add value and are essential to drive innovation. It is a proven fact that diverse teams perform better and deliver better results.
Last year, ICT continued to broaden its profile in terms of diversity in nationalities, with foreign nationals now accounting for 24% of our total workforce (2017: 21%). ICT employs people from all over the world, representing 29 different nationalities (2017: 30). ICT helps its international employees with the relocation and integration process, offering all the help it can both on the social front and with other more practical day-to-day issues. We also organise culture sessions for international employees and Dutch nationals to create a better reciprocal understanding amongst employees.
The diversity of our workforce is also reflected in the age breakdown of our employees, which was as follows in 2018:
When it comes to gender diversity, we are moving slower than we would like to, despite efforts and ambitions to increase the number of female staff. By the end of 2018 11.4% of total staff were female (up from 9.8% in 2017). ICT believes that getting women interested in technology and ultimately increasing the future female talent pool starts in school. This is why ICT supports initiatives which should result in a better gender balance in this field. To increase the number of female managers ICT gives priority to female employees in its leadership programmes. ICT encourages a good work-life balance, offers flexible working conditions, including part-time contracts and flexible hours. There is no difference in the benefits provided to full-time employees or part-time employees. At ICT Group level 79% of the contracts were full-time contracts (2017: 83%). The percentage of male employees working full-time was 82% (2017: 84%), compared to 63% of female employees (2017: 68%).
With respect to gender equality, ICT can confirm that there is no difference in the base salary and total remuneration between women and men across all employee categories.
Information on the gender diversity in ICT Group’s Executive and Supervisory Boards can be found in the Report of the Supervisory Board.
This is an interactive electronic version of the Annual Report 2018 of ICT Group N.V. and also contains certain information in summarized form.
The contents of this version are qualified in their entirety by reference to the printed version of the full Annual Report 2018 of ICT Group N.V.
This printed version is available as a PDF file on this website.
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