To educate, tolerate and support positive experiences to further strengthen international bonds between our clients and their developers.
The culture statement is a set of guidelines to live by while working in our company. It is the playbook by which our team of employees operate under. If a person is not living by these guidelines then they are out of bounds and need to take corrective action immediately.
In this section we will explain the reasoning behind every common policy of this company. Some developers find these policies strict or annoying, but after they realize the importance of these policies then they understand why we must obey them.
In the world of off-shoring, TRUST is a major factor in keeping clients and getting new clients. Most US companies that have tried offshore tell us the same thing, we never had any idea of what our developer was doing, communication was terrible, and we had no way of keeping track of our projects.
In order to build TRUST we have to be TRANSPARENT to our clients. We hide nothing in this company from a client. We show everything we do, at anytime to them, so they get the feeling that you are just a regular employee working inside their own building. My main goal is to erase everything negative about off-shoring in this company, so clients TRUST us and stay with us for a long LONG time. Again, this goes back to the stability that everyone desires in a company.
Something as simple as BRB is a HUGE factor in gaining TRUST with a client. Example: Let’s say you leave your seat for 5 minutes and did NOT write BRB. Your client comes and asks a question, and there is no response from you. That client is going to sit there and wonder, “How long as he been gone? Am I getting ripped off? As he been gone for an hour?” Worse yet, an AE or TL has to say, “Hold on client, let me try to find your developer?” This shows that our AE and TL’s don’t know anything and makes them look stupid. It creates unnecessary worry in our client’s minds about where their dev is.
If the dev would have written BRB – Getting water… Then the client would come online and see that message and just wait a few minutes. No harm done.
EXAMPLES OF GOOD BRB STATEMENTS:
BRB – Going for water.
BRB – Going to the washroom.
BRB – Quick meeting with my Team Leader.
BRB – Quick meeting with HR Manager.
When you come back to your seat MAKE SURE TO SAY “I”m back.” This way the client knows that you didn’t go for water and never came back. Again, it’s all about building and maintaining trust between you and your paying client.
Why must we give our clients an update of what we are doing each hour? Again, it all goes back to TRUST. Our clients LOVE to see hourly updates as our clients are in the role of your “Project Manager”. Since our clients are your project managers, and you are working 13,000 KM away from their office, this is necessary to help the client feel at ease with the whole off-shoring aspect. It also allows them to make correct decisions on how you build their software projects based on what you communicate to them. Time is money, clients can’t afford to have a developer straying away from objectives for longer than a few hours. Hourly updates, keep developers on track, keep clients at ease, empower clients to make decisions, protect our developers and our company.
Remember our goal is to make our clients feel as if you are working in the same office as they are, so anything and everything we can do to make them feel like you are productive and working in the right direction, we need to do it. Hourly updates allows the clients to know exactly how their money is being spent. It gives them the power to guide and direct your activities.
Example: Let’s say a developer gets assigned a task from his client that he doesn’t know how to do. The developer needs to inform the client that he will need to research this to figure out how to do it. On update time the developer says: Status: Researching the plugin for current task. The client reads this and can make a decision… If the client feels this is going to take too long, then he can guide you on another solution that is easier and faster. If the client doesn’t redirect you, then the client is ok with the time you spent and knows about your research efforts. If you keep researching and keep updating the client, then the client is well aware of what you are doing, and can redirect you at anytime.
If you are not updating your client and you spend three hours researching, then the client will feel a sense of mistrust because he did not have the opportunity to re-direct you or help you. This is a major problem in off-shoring today. Most developers do not communicate their activities leaving clients feeling powerless on how their money is spent. We must combat this feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness and give our clients the feeling that they can have you spend your time the way they want. After all, they are paying for your time, so they should have a say in how it is spent.
Giving hourly updates also protects you and our company. If a client doesn’t redirect you after an hourly update, then he accepts that hour and cannot complain about it later. This helps us when a client is angry about something, we can say, “Have you not been reading the hourly updates? Your developer has been telling you what he’s doing every hour.”
This policy is in place to protect our clients, our company and our developers. It’s a crucial policy that needs to be followed as closely as possible.
Hourly updates need to be made at the top of each hour, and need to be as detailed as possible.
EXAMPLES OF GOOD HOURLY UPDATE STATEMENTS:
Status: Working on the contact us plugin change requests, nearly completed.
Status: Researching how to make the contact us plugin shoot fireworks. Should know in thirty minutes.
In the United States punctuality is HIGHLY IMPORTANT. In U.S. culture a person that does not come to work on time or does not make appointments on time are considered lazy, rude, disrespectful and downright irresponsible. Employers in the USA do not tolerate employees that are late very often. It’s a part of U.S. culture that helps teach people there to be responsible adults and we would consider this to be one major part of the success the USA has enjoyed in the business world to date. Showing up to work on time or making your appointments on-time is a basic human act of being responsible adults.
We at Allshore understand that in Pakistan punctuality is not as important. However, we all must remember who we are working for. We are working for U.S. clients who do have high expectations of punctuality. The trade off is we have rare late sitting requirements. U.S. business culture states that they are work hard during their 8 hour shifts so they can go home immediately after 8 hours.
Same is true with the culture at Allshore. We rarely ask our developers to sit late. In fact, the only time it happens is when a client (project manager) asks, but it’s a rare occurrence. Come to work on time, don’t take excessive breaks and leave on time. That’s our motto.
When you are late for work it is HIGHLY EXPECTED that you call the Datum HR manager so he can inform an Allshore Account Executive. This allows us to explain to your client that you are running late and that you will be in shortly. It all goes back to TRUST AND ACCOUNTABILITY. We want our clients to feel as if you are working in their office and we are always doing everything we can to make the “Allshore Experience” as perfect as it can be.
It’s very important for our company to be able to bill our clients 8 solid hours each day. Everyone wants a paycheck, everyone wants more benefits, everyone wants a better office environment. We afford all of these things by being able to bill our clients 8 hours / day. Billing 8 hours per day is GREAT, but they have to be actual worked hours and time. We can’t take advantage of our clients by logging any time that is not earned or productive. So these hours MUST be legitimate hours. So if you go over your alotted break times, we simply ask you to make up the time at the end of the shift, so this company and it’s clients get a full 8 hours of legitimate work.
Allshore Global Resources is the client management, customer support, and sales headquarters, based in Norman, Oklahoma, USA. All of our clients are based in the United States, and Allshore is there to monitor and oversee communication, development work, and client-to-developer relationships for quality assurance. We are here to take care of the client needs, as well as making sure that developers are given a very comfortable and pleasant working environment.
Our sales director works with the Pakistani sales team to find American clients who are interested in working with our company. We are a client-based company, and we focus on finding clients who have one long-term project, or many projects, for our development center to work on.
Tara Waddle, our Chief Administrative Officer, takes care of pairing the American clients with Pakistani developers. Their skills, working styles, and personalities are all matched as best as possible. From there, she establishes the first communication with the client. Additionally, she continues working on customer support issues, assists in Pakistani issues and HR management, EEA, and many other responsibilities. She may give you tips, tricks, or policy reminders, but it’s just a way to have your back.
A Client Relations Manager working with Allshore is always paired with a developer. They are there to make sure that the client is properly using Basecamp, consistently assigning tasks to you, and providing all of the necessary information on their projects. They are also there to help you if you have any communication or English questions, or if you are stuck, your client is away, and you need to urgently contact them. One of an CRM’s primary jobs is to monitor missed updates and break time. Like Tara, they are there to be a helpful reminder and to have your back!
Your client will act as project manager, and will directly assign you tasks. We ask them to add these tasks as To-Do items in Basecamp, our online project management system. You should get into the habit of regularly checking Basecamp for new information or new tasks. If your client does not upload tasks on Basecamp, please inform your team lead or CRM.
When you are finished with a task on the To-Do list (on Basecamp), do not mark it off as complete!! Instead, leave a comment on the task to inform the client that it is complete [Example: "This task is complete."] and any necessary information the client should know about that particular task.
This helps to ensure that the task was done according to the client’s standards, and that it works correctly both for you, and for your client.
At least one Skype chat room is created for each company we work with. Tara creates these chat rooms as a central location for development communication. This is the place where you will directly discuss the projects and tasks with your client.
A CRM and team lead will be in the chat room with you and any of the clients from their company. We also add a dummy Skype account, the Allshore Monitor, to record chat history in case we ever need to reference previous text.
The client Skype chat room is established for all development communication. Your client will use this chat room to discuss tasks and the project with you. If you have any questions about it, you can post them here. In order to protect you from any communication issues, misunderstandings, or false promises, please make sure that you are not speaking to the client privately. If a client contacts you privately, simply add your TL, CRM and the Allshore Monitor to your chat before you say anything to the client. It is always best practice to use the Skype chat room for communication (that is why it exists). Lastly, you will also post your hourly updates within this chat room.
We use hourly status updates as a way to keep our clients updated at all times. As you are working remotely from where your client is based, it’s very important to keep them informed. Our hourly updates are one of the major reasons that clients choose to work with us.
The proper format for posting an update is, “(o): Working on this task, completed this task earlier.” (o) is the text format of the clock emoticon on Skype, and is a symbol for clients and CRMs to easily recognize your hourly updates.
Include as many details as possible on what you are currently working on, where you are at in a task, what you have completed, what you are about to work on, what tasks are still left, etc. You are free to include this information at any time throughout the day, but it is important to make sure you have some of it included in your hourly updates
Your updates will need to be posted in the client Skype chat room hourly. Best practice is to post your update between 10 minutes before the hour, and 10 minutes after the hour. Example: you would post your 7 p.m. update between 6:50-7:10 p.m.
If you are planning to leave your seat for a long period of time, such as for break time or a long office meeting, then you will need to post an update before that. The best example is before dinner break, at 9:30 p.m. If you post an update before you leave, then you will not need to post an update when you return.
If you forget to update by ten minutes after the hour [Example: 7:10 p.m. or after for a 7 p.m. update], then your CRM will remind you to update. This will count as a missed update. Although you will not be punished for missing an update, it may affect your status in EEA. It is your responsibility to remember to update hourly, and the CRM is only there to help you out, as a reminder.
If you need to leave your seat for any reason, including restroom breaks, dinner breaks, or office meetings, please post “brb” or “be right back” in your client Skype chat room. If you plan to be away from your seat for a long period of time, please post the reason you are leaving [Example: "brb â€“ dinner break" or "brb â€“ office meeting"]. This is so your CRM and client know when you are at your seat and when you are not. If they are looking for you and are away without posting brb, it can cause anger and frustration.
When you return, also be sure to post that you have returned [Example: "Back"].
You are allowed to have a 30-minute break period in each workday. Most team members use this break time to have dinner, but you may also take a short dinner break and also a prayer break. We allow ten extra minutes for prayer, drink, or restroom breaks, taken throughout the day.
If you exceed 30 minutes, your CRM will request that you make up your full 8 hours. We will only ever ask you to work up to 8 hours for each workday, except within special circumstances, which will be explained at that time.
Standard American businesses work in 8-hour shifts. In order to limit your shift times, so they do not drag on into late night hours, we only request team members to work within 8-hour shifts each day, unless there is a special circumstance preventing this. Most shifts should never exceed 8 hours of working time.
Basecamp, our online project management system, is also used to keep track of the working time you work with your clients. The hours you work must be logged within the correct project, under your client’s account each day. You will need to match the date with the date your shift started on, list the correct amount of hours you actually worked on the client’s tasks, and a description of what you worked on.
To log your hours in minutes on basecamphq, you will enter it in the format 00:40, and it will automatically calculate the decimal amount for you.
Client accounts are added to Basecamp like Skype chat rooms are added. Each client’s company has an account. Within their account, we add projects titled by what the project actually is. Within these projects, you will find To-Do lists, message forums for extra discussion if needed, necessary files and information, and an area to log your time: you log your time under the specific project you worked with.
We use an online screen sharing system called Go To Meeting. It allows you to share your screen with a group of people, or you to see someone else’s screen. You can also remote control from either end. It works best using Firefox or Chrome browsers, and can be set up at any time by asking a CRM to start a Go To Meeting.
We will use Go To Meeting to give clients any demos, as they can see your screen and anything else you might need to show them.
The CRM team or your team lead can call your client to ask them any questions you might have, or request that they come online to speak with you. If you need to talk directly to a client who is out of the office, please ask a CRM to set up a conference call with that client.
If you are out of tasks and the client is not on Skype, you should double check basecamp or any other task management tool your client may use. Post in your client room “I am out of tasks” then contact a member of the CRM team, or a team lead. They will be able to contact your client outside of Skype and request more work.
If the client has no more tasks for you, then you should inform your CRM and your team lead. They will add you to the R&D room to work on other tasks in the meantime. Your team lead can assign you these tasks.
The R&D chat room is somewhat of a training, practice, or study room. We add new developers to this room to practice posting hourly updates and notifications, and to keep track of working hours. Also, if your client runs out of tasks and you have no work free, we will add you to the R&D chat room to update there while you wait.
The main difference is that there are no formal clients within the R&D room. Instead, the CRM team and Datum management uses this chat room to make sure new developers are properly learning our processes, and free developers have tasks to work on. You will still post hourly updates and “brb” notifications like you would in a client Skype chat room.
If you are new to our company, you will stay in the R&D chat room until the time you have a client assigning you tasks. We use this time to make sure you are able to learn our processes at a relaxed pace and for practice.
If you are currently working with a client, you will only stay in the R&D chat room until the client has assigned you more tasks.
If you know that you will need a day off, or you would like to request a day off, there is a process you must followâ€”please send an email to both your team leader/manager, and the HR manager (Hammad Amin). You will need to include what dates you would like to request off, and a reason for your request.
HR will discuss your request with management and Tara. Tara will then discuss this request with your client, to make sure that they do not have any important plans or arrangements already made for the date you are requesting off. She will then inform Hammad of what the client says, and he will inform you directly whether or not your request has been denied or approved.
It is very important to us that you are able to have all personal matters taken care of, and we only deny requests in very urgent situations.
If you are sick, have an urgent emergency to attend to, or are not able to come into work for any reason, we ask that you notify us immediately. The sooner the better, and please try to call at least two hours before your shift begins. This gives us plenty of time to inform your client about your absence.
Our shifts actually begins at 5:30 p.m. however, please plan to arrive at least ten minutes before (at 5:20 p.m.). This will give you time to boot up your PC and begin your shift relaxed. The shift start time is the time that you will actually begin work, not the time that you should arrive! It is very important to be prepared and ready to begin work right at 5:30 p.m.
If you are late for any reason, the same situation appliesâ€”please call to notify us as soon as possible, so we may inform your client immediately. We ask that you do everything possible to arrive on time, as Americans are very punctual and prefer that you be on time.
The CRM team is here to answer any communication and English questions you may have. They are all native English speakers, born and raised in the USA, and able to answer any pronunciation questions, questions about what a phrase, word, or slang means, or any other issues you may face. We have encountered it all, and we love to help!
The CRM team works with these tools, also, and will be able to answer any questions you have or guide you in the right direction. Additionally, your team leads or other team members may be able to answer your questions.
Here at Allshore Global Resources and our partner companies, we operate under a client-based business model meaning that we directly hire our developers out to clients based in the United States who act as project managers working directly with our developers each day. We only look for long-term clients who want to hire developers for six months or longer, enabling us to keep our developers consistently working for years. Once we establish a successful developer / client relationship, we move right on to the next one. Strong client / developer relationships and our drive forward are two of the reasons we have grown so quickly over the last two years and why we can proudly say that we have never laid anyone off from this company, and with your work and assistance, we never will.
Much of the security and success driving our model forward where other client-based companies have failed in the past, comes from the partnership with a strong US-based company, Allshore Global Resources. Allshore provides leadership for navigating an American market as well as excellent U.S. based customer service. Allshore is responsible for finding new clients, maintaining existing client relationships, handling any customer service related issues with clients, and leading our partner companies. Allshore is able to handle much of what goes into making a business successful while allowing our developers to focus solely on development.
The reasons we are very successful at what we do are listed below:
- Only hire 5 year experienced or more developers that can communicate well in English
- U.S.A. company leading and educating our Pakistani brothers and sisters on the right ways to interact with international clients.
- Strong time tested policies in place (BRB, Hourly Updates, Punctual Show-times) to exhibit to American clients that people in Pakistan are dependable, highly skilled and dedicated workers.
- U.S.A. based customer support team. Responsible for getting to know each client, their likes and dislikes and helping diffuse angry clients.
- Strong bond between senior leaderships and Allshore, to ensure our companies do what is necessary to accomplish our goals and missions.
As you can see, we have so much more positive qualities and assets going for us than most client based businesses in our market do. We strive to diversify our portfolio of clientele so that when any one client leaves us, it doesn’t cause us to suffer too badly. However, all clients are to be treated as precious commodities that we absolutely never want to lose or damage our relationships with.
It means that we put our developers in direct communication each and everyday with a U.S. based client. Our clients are your project managers. Our clients guide and direct your daily tasks. We do not hide anything from our client, so when a developer makes any mistakes we tell the client immediately upon knowing of the mistake.
We are not hiding our developers behind project managers like most off-shore firms. This means we have to hire the best software developers that Pakistan can offer us. We have to have our software developers continually improving their communication skills and technical skills. Our clients are top-level US companies that have high expectations. We promise them that Pakistani people are just as educated and skilled as American software engineers and we rely on our developers to back us up and prove this.
We have client relation managers and team leaders that help guide our developers and help them do the right things. Always follow their guidance and lead, as they are experts in succeeding in our business model.
The number one way a developer gets into trouble in our company is failure to improve on glaring weaknesses that have cost them two clients.
We give Developer A to Client Z. Dev A and client Z start off their relationship strongly, but after a few weeks client Z tells an Allshore CRM that Dev A is not checking his work thoroughly and is calling tasks completed when they obviously are not. The Allshore CRM informs Dev A’s team leader of the complaint and we log it into the system. Then Dev A’s team leader speaks to Dev A about this problem and coaches him on how to fix it.
IF: Dev A resolves the issue and the client never complains again, problem solved!
IF: Dev A doesn’t resolve this issue and it becomes such a huge problem over time that makes the client request a new developer, then Dev A has lost ONE client due to a recurring issues that the developer failed to improve upon.
Now Dev A is back on the bench, and we will take this opportunity to provide further coaching and guideance on how to better adapt to our business model. After sometime, we will again put the developer with a new client, Client Y.
IF: Dev A and Client Y work together with no issues, then problem solved and the developer’s past mistakes are forgiven.
IF: Client Y brings up the same exact issues as Client Z did, then we know we have a developer that is really struggling to adapt. We will again provide coaching and counseling and work to improve the developer as much as we can, but at some point the developer has to pull his end of the rope and adjust better. If after several attempts to correct the developer fail and the client leaves or requests another developer, then Dev A will have lost 2 clients to the same issues.
If a developer loses two clients to the same issues or related issues, then we simply cannot trust to give him a third client. We cannot risk all the hard work our sales staff does everyday in finding clients to a person that either doesn’t care or is incapable of working in a client based business model. Dev A in this instance would be better suited in a project based business where he has a local project manager guiding him each day.
A few other ways that a developer might be terminated would be…
- Developers that refuse to acknowledge they have problems or refuse to take ownership of their actions, will not last long in our company. Please refer back to the living ABOVE THE LINE section on the developer information portal to learn what this means.
- Developers that cheat our clients and company out of time by taking excessive secretive breaks.
- Developers that have bad attitudes or spread false rumors also need to be aware that their time may be short.
- Developers that repeatedly break policies and fail to improve themselves to better fit in, these developers will be given SEVERAL opportunities to improve.
- Insensitive remarks made to clients or people of other cultures, genders, religions or societies.
These are the ways in which a developer gets in trouble here.
NO! This is a common misconception. If you miss a few updates here and there, then an Account Executive will simply remind you to give your update. If you are talking to a client when it is update time, you need to simply write, “Status: Discussing tasks with my client.” Try not to ever miss an update, but if you do, just try harder next time. Again, part of the CRM’s job is to remind you if you forget, but this is NOT a fireable offense by any means.
NO! You are not in trouble. The EEA is to reward excellence in a non-biased way. By having a set of very tough standards in place we can reward those that achieve near perfection. If you do not win EEA, then try harder next time. You are certainly not in trouble if you are disqualified from EEA.
Our number one (#1) goal at Allshore is client satisfaction. Keeping our clients happy keeps us stable and keeps us with long term stable clientele. Your salary increment is primarly based on your client’s satisfaction with your work productivity, your work ethics and your ability to maintain a healthy client relationship.
The following break down on how a salary increment is deteremined is as follows:
80% Client Satisfaction. (Measured by client complaints, client appreciations, client surveys)
10% Management Decision (based on attitude, performance, helpfulness, professional growth)
No. A Client Relations Manager has been assigned the responsibility of not only taking care of clients and customer support issues, but to also look out for our development team. They may send you helpful reminders, tips to improve your communication or English-speaking skills, and any other information that may be necessary to help you perform your shift. Additionally, they host English sessions, and will meet with you to schedule a time of day and date that will work best for you.
Everyone in this company is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED TO LIVE ABOVE THE LINE. When you live above the line you are behaving like a man or woman should. You are being responsible, taking ownership of your actions and being accountable to yourself. Behaving below the line (blaming others, denying your weaknesses and having excuses for everything) is highly discouraged and quite frankly will result in a bad experience for you in this company.
Most people in this world live below the line. Only the smart and successful people of our world live above the line. Always remember one thing, if an Allshore or Datum manager ever come to you with ways you can improve yourself, always have the positive attitude of, “Yes sir, how can make things better?” We have been highly successful in our business model for many years now. We are experts and we are only trying to make you better. Try to never get defensive, only look to understand why a manager says what he/she says. If we perceive that there is something wrong, we will tell you and we will educate you on how to fix it. It’s your responsibility to live ABOVE THE LINE, take ownership and be accountable for your own actions. Strive to change that perception or issue as fast as possible. We are not biased here, we would never try to hurt you or insult you on purpose or for no reason.
Hello I am Randall Agee and I would like to outline all of my expectations for each and every employee in this company to live by.
This company is only as good as the people in it. We all must work hard and produce results for each other as we all depend on one another. Developers depend on the sales staff to find them clients, the sales staff depends on developers to fulfill the promises made to prospective clients. Client Relations Managers depend on Team Leaders to help developers technically and to motivate developers each day so the Client Relations Managers are not being yelled at by angry clients. Team Leaders depend on Client Relations Managers to keep clients happy as much as possible when things to do wrong. Our clients depend on our system to deliver results and the system being the entire “Allshore Experience” and people in it. We all depend on our clients giving work, managing the work and paying their invoices on time. Managers depend on employees to be productive and work hard, employees depend on managers to guide, educate and lead this company.
It’s a global team effort with each role playing an important part of the overall success of our firm. Always remember to police each other, hold each other accountable. If you see someone breaking the rules, cheating the company or having a bad attitude, talk to them and get them on the right path. These bad actions could lead to losing a client and that is always counterproductive to reaching our goals.
The number one concern of most Pakistani people is job security. How secure is my job? Well, my simple answer is, your job is only as secure as the people in the company. Are the people in the company living “ABOVE THE LINE”, are they acting with integrity and honesty? If so they this company is VERY stable and your job is stable, but the minute people start living “BELOW THE LINE”, finding little ways to cheat the client’s time, not following the rules and policies made, then we become unstable. So if you want job security, then you need to hold your fellow peers accountable for bad actions. Tell them, I love my job and you are jeopardizing it with your laziness or bad habits. Please change your ways immediately.