A guide to how we hire and grow talent

Malki Abeygunawardena

Human Resources Manager

This blog post is an updated version of – “A few things before you join.”

Fostering a culture of Transparency

We’ve always been a fan of how organizations like Buffer embrace a level of radical transparency in the workplace. The flow on effect of these policies trickle down a lot deeper than solely an employee being happier about her or his pay. The culture it breeds is one where people have conviction, are outspoken, and an environment which helps question and fundamentally challenge leadership.

This very frame of mind is what we believe leads to constant improvement, innovation and growth for the team members, organization and industry at large.

Organizations that take advantage of their employees by not sharing salary and compensation levels internally, leverage this information for biased wage structures, fostering toxic work environments. We’re not fans of this approach. Transparent pay not only helps employees take home better pay, but forces businesses like us to come up with viable, sustainable models that add value across the chain, from the customers we work with across the world to the workforce we are re cultivating.

Open Salary Policy

In 2018, we launched the “Open Salary Calculator” based on our learnings around the business, the industry and the team. We were focused on Roles, Experience and Skill. The calculator generated a number breaking down your gross pay, taxes and what you end up taking home.

After two years of experimenting, we had learnt a lot.

  1. Experience in the industry rarely maps back to practical skills deployed by Surge.
  2. After the first 2-3 years, experience is not significantly correlated to skill.
  3. Specific individuals index higher on certain skills and significantly outperform their peers.

Based on this, we’ve decided to completely remove “Experience” as an indicator for our team. The new Salary calculator follows a slightly different framework.

As the organizational roles specialized, we started bucketing teams into different categories and broke down the complexity of the roles into levels.

For example: a “content strategist”, would be a Level 02 role in the Content Placement.

This allows us to build a career path and guide them across their journey, as well as allowing different team members to try their hand in different sub-specialties as they grow.

As the business grows, we’ll be building out a complete framework that will showcase how we split level one, two and three. For the time being, here’s a good rule of thumb.

Level 0:
No work experience, active self-learning, Internship positions only
(all Surge Internships are six month full-time positions, with a pay of 25,000 LKR).

Level 1:
Worked in a similar role, with demonstrable capabilities, case studies and fundamental knowledge in her or his domain. This is exempted for hires made through the internship program, which requires no additional experience.

Level 2:
Skilled professional with demonstrable experience solving similar problems across multiple industries, businesses or regions. She or he must have the ability to logic check any decision, understand the “big picture,” present findings and challenge existing strategies, workflows and deliverables in great detail.

Level 3:
Specialized in her or his field of work across multiple disciplines, in-depth knowledge across industries and different markets. Critical thinker capable of analyzing problems and presenting to customers, boards and members of the team. Great leadership and communication skills capable of grooming and upskilling new talent.

New recruits, Internship and Opportunities

We are committed to helping foster new talent. The business maintains a steady intake of interns (twice per year) with the hopes to eventually expand the team. With the increase in popularity, we’ve seen a high submission rate of applicants at any given internship opportunity reducing the acceptance rate below 10%.

To combat this scenario and to give those who are truly willing to learn, and put in the effort, a “leg-up”. We’re introducing the “Surge Academy” A completely free curated experience of lectures, guides and tutorials that’ll help newcomers pick up skills across any placement.

The completion of these tutorials will be accepted as a stepping stone during your Internship interview at Surge Global. The Surge Academy is set to launch in March 2020.

To join the team and see available opportunities, visit our careers page.

Malki Abeygunawardena

Human Resources Manager
Malki leads people, culture and human resources at Surge. Driving the growth of human capital since the early days, she has been a cornerstone in retaining and growing a team of over 100 high performers. Malki holds a Bsc in business and management from the University of London.

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