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ICT – an ambitious employer

In an employment market characterised by an ever-growing shortage of IT talents, it is crucial to have an appealing profile as an employer. ICT’s well-defined identity makes clear what ICT can and will offer its (future) employees. ICT is keen on maintaining its attractiveness as an employer. ICT conducts an annual employee satisfaction survey and aims to use the outcome to improve its score on a continuous basis. But more importantly, we see the survey as a tool to engage with our employees and to gain the insight necessary to continuously improve the working environment at ICT.

More than 1,000 people

The total number of employees in headcount at year-end 2017 stood at 1,032, 6.5% higher than at year-end 2016, passing the milestone of 1,000 employees.

In the past year, ICT successfully hired more than 213 new ICT colleagues, with 15% of these joining ICT through the companies we acquired in 2017. Of the new people ICT recruited last year, around 36% were young professionals, around 35% were mid-level professionals and around 29% were more experienced senior professionals. The retention rate came in at 86% in 2017, compared with 87% in 2016. In 2017 ICT initiated a retention programme based on regular exit statistics and exit interviews. The retention rate of ICT Netherlands at 87% is above the industry average and in line with our own targets, in a very challenging labour market. In Bulgaria the retention rate is lower (2017: 73%) than in the Netherlands. This is attributable to a lower average employee age and more intensive competition in the young professionals labour market, both increasing the fluidity.

Well-being of our employees

ICT strives to create a healthy working environment where people feel safe and engaged and where they can develop continuously, both personally and professionally. Well-being is a key driver of engagement, and is therefore strongly linked to retention.
ICT Group intends to sustain and nurture the well-being of our employees at various levels, including;

  • the company’s culture, including ethical behaviour
  • employee satisfaction surveys
  • the physical work environment
  • vitality and work-life balance
  • recognition
  • engagement initiatives

The company’s culture
ICT has a well-defined identity and corporate values. Entrepreneurship and freedom to act are at the heart of ICT’s identity. ICT’s goal is to create an environment in which people are challenged to continuously develop their strengths and in which they feel safe enough to make mistakes, as this is one of the most powerful learning mechanisms. ICT encourages its people to look beyond boundaries, to find new solutions and think outside the box.

Employee satisfaction
The result of our annual employee satisfaction survey is a key indicator in tracking the level of engagement among our employees. Last year’s survey, with a response rate of more than 70% (2016: 73%), revealed that employee satisfaction was stable in 2017, with an overall score of 7.1, compared with 7.0 in 2016, on a scale from 1(poor)-10 (excellent). The survey also identified areas for improvement. ICT uses this valuable input to continuously improve its attractiveness as an employer.

Below industry average absenteeism rate
Absenteeism due to sickness is another indicator that is linked to employee well-being. The absenteeism rate remained low at ICT, coming in at 2.2% in 2017 (2016: 2.4%), and below the average absenteeism rate of around 3% in the countries in which we operate. Maximum vitality is essential to delivering the best possible performance on a day to day basis. That is why ICT has a prevention programme in place: managers and the HR department work together to help employees by 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 reported in 2017 was minimal.

New and improved workspaces
ICT believes that the working environment has a direct impact on employee productivity, performance and morale. In 2017, ICT invested in creating workspaces that are conducive to the well-being of its employees, by opening new office locations and upgrading existing office locations. The multiple office locations mean that employees can work closer to home, helping them to achieve a better work-life balance. Furthermore, we are equipping the upgraded office locations with modern office furniture, plus collaboration and social spaces and sustainable climate controls and lighting systems.

Engagement initiatives
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.

Another element in our engagement drive is ICT’s Equity Participation Plan for employees, as this 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 13% (2016: 9%) of the employees eligible to join already participate in the plan.

Learning and development

To stay at the forefront in this fast changing world, in which technological skills and innovation are evolving at an incredible pace, it is critical to be able to adapt to continuous changes and to be fully up-to-date on the latest technologies and tools.

Ample training and education opportunities
ICT makes long-term investments in the knowledge of its professionals and in their extensive expertise in customers’ operations and industries, to ensure that employees remain well-equipped for their roles. ICT’s employees are educated and challenged on a continuous basis and encouraged to develop talents and skills in a Professional Leadership programme. Progress on 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.

ICT makes significant investments in technical training for its professionals and aims to promote the exchange of technical knowledge between employees and teams. We are developing cross-functional skills by organising interdisciplinary workshops.

ICT Academy
As a consequence of regarding training as one of the most important drivers of its success, the company has set up its own academy, the ICT Academy, in close collaboration with its specialised training unit, Improve Quality Services B.V. Employees are trained by our own professionals or by carefully selected trainers or institutions. To fully support our employees’ learning needs, ICT offers online training facilities in addition to traditional classroom training facilities. We offer more than 100 online training courses, covering a wide range of know-how and expertise, technical skills to leadership skills, plus access to a wide range of free downloadable books.
In addition to this, ICT offers several “learning on the job” training programmes. All employees have a personal training budget and we have a 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. Top speakers are invited to give their vision on leadership to inspire our managers and prompt them to reflect on their own leadership style.

In 2017, ICT’s professionals followed a total of 28,505 hours training, an increase of 25%, an average of 30 hour per professional. This included both internal and external training courses. The use of the Improve Qualities BV training platform accounted for some of this training.

Career development
ICT recognises that our employees need to feel appreciated in their workplace. The annual performance review cycle for all employees plays a key role in this. At least once a year, we conduct career development evaluations. We also aim to initiate quarterly dialogues between managers and employees to increase the focus on the employees’ development path and to support a result-driven attitude. In the fourth quarter of last year, we started a pilot to support a feedback / feedforward culture by implementing a specific toolset.
ICT does everything it can to help employees to 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.

Knowledge sharing
ICT regularly organises creative workshops to share knowledge with employees and with customers and partners. In 2017, ICT launched a “Dragons’ Den” programme to stimulate employees to come up with innovative ideas. In 2017, ICT organised internal workshops and trainings for employees which were followed 1,100 times and 25 events and workshops for customers.

Inclusiveness

ICT welcomes every employee that meets ICT Group’s 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 that gives all employees equal access to opportunities. And ICT Group is not inclusive only because of the scarcity of IT professionals. It is first and foremost because ICT Group 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 Group continued to broaden its profile in terms of diversity in nationalities and cultures and foreign nationals now account for 21% of our total workforce. ICT employs people from all over the world, covering some 30 different nationalities. It is worth noting that the growth in the number of female professionals was particularly marked among our new international colleagues. ICT helps these international employees with relocation, in the integration process, and offers all the help it can on the social front, and with other more practical day-to-day issues. We also organise culture sessions for internationals and Dutch nationals, to create better reciprocal understanding between our employees.

Gender diversity
On the gender diversity front, ICT Group is moving more slowly than it would prefer, despite efforts and ambitions to increase the number of female staff. By the end of 2017, 9.8% of total staff were female (up from 9.6% in 2016). ICT Group believes that getting (young) women interested in technology, to increase the future female talent pool, starts at (primary) schools. This is why ICT supports initiatives which should ultimately result in a more balanced proportion of male/female professionals 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. On ICT Group level 83% of the contracts are full-time and 17% are part-time The percentage male employees working full-time amounts to 84%. For female employees the full-time percentage amounts to 68%.
With respect to gender equality, ICT can confirm that there is no difference in the basic salary and total remuneration between women and men across all employee categories.

For information on the gender diversity in ICT Group’s Executive and Supervisory Boards, refer to the Report of the Supervisory Board.

Employee age distribution