Best Programs of the Year
International Operations Program of the Year
What the company does: Reliable Group, headquartered in Bellmore, NY, provides business management software and IT services to companies that want to revamp operations, accounting, and management.
Program details: At first, Reliable Group expanded internationally to India with the intention of building teams using the same structure and management processes they established with their US teams. “After significant experience, we realized that we needed to gain a deeper respect and understanding of the working culture in the locations in which we did business,” says CEO Mitesh Lakhani. “In particular, the style and method of communication was crucial to establishing expectations and getting team members to be aligned with their work requirements.”
As part of improving communications with the teams overseas, Lakhani and other company leaders provided the entire staff with a big picture of the work the company was doing and encouraged the teams to see the impact their individual roles and responsibilities had on the ability of the company to achieve that big picture. This helped employees become more engaged and creative in finding solutions that were previously not considered.
During the recession, project-based development work was dwindling. Management at Reliable Group became concerned about how this would impact employment of their technical teams. “In order to assist them in getting through a difficult period, we set up Entrepreneurial Boot Camps, which taught them how to use the internet and other local resources to find business opportunities on their own,” says Lakhani. “Typically, this business was perfect for smaller teams, but not the type of work that Reliable Group would take on.” This program allowed members of the company’s technical teams to supplement their income in a recessionary period. Many of those teams established their own development shops and partnered with Reliable, while others were absorbed back into Reliable full-time as the frequency of projects increased. “Reliable is proud to have numerous small businesses started by prior employees who will further help develop opportunities and jobs in the technical space,” says Lakhani.
Reliable Group also began working with start-up businesses with great ideas, but limited capital, by exchanging work for equity. This allowed start-up companies, which are typically tight on funds, to exercise their creative energies and leverage their innovation to get technical projects moving during a period where additional capital raise was difficult. Reliable was recognized by the White House for encouraging innovation and strengthening job opportunities in the small business community through these creative programs.
Tip for implementing your own program: Help overseas employees understand how their work directly contributes to the success of the company, especially when members of the staff may not have face-to-face interaction with other team members on a frequent basis.
Daria Meoli is the Executive Editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org