i2c has recently hired Jon-Paul Ales-Barnicoat to lead its human resources development as the organization plans to massively scale and hire 500 resources in the next 12 months majorly from Pakistan making the total organizational headcount to over 2500.
Jon Paul is an industry veteran with experience of working at Silicon Valley tech companies including Fandom, Pixar, GE. Joining i2c is a new experience because the company is majorly driven by the workforce in Pakistan and most of the human capital too is based here. With the ongoing conversation about the future of remote work, we felt it would be interesting to understand Jon Paul, the new Chief Human Resource Officer’s perspective and how he visualizes that for i2c, given the organization has been working remotely before the rise of the term ‘future of work’ and ‘remote working’.
So, we sat with Jon Paul during his recent visit to Pakistan to discuss the tech ecosystem, i2c, and how the organization plans on scaling effectively right from the heart of Pakistan, Lahore.
Founded in 2001, and headquartered in Silicon Valley, i2c’s next-generation technology supports millions of users in more than 200 countries and territories. It is a common name in the tech circles of Pakistan. Specially fresh graduates in Computer Sciences, Software Engineering and other IT related fields are aware of the organization because of its large scale hiring drives in the north and center of Pakistan.
Jon tells me how he is excited to be visiting Pakistan for the first time and working from i2c’s Lahore office. I ask about how his experience has been so far. Jon tells me, “Pakistani people in particular have been very welcoming and sincere in their intention. The value system is very precious. The sense of community, and the family values are permeated into professional relationships as well. And there’s a tremendous amount of loyalty and respect for one another.” I was curious how i2c is unlocking that value system in the workplace.
Jon tells me,
“You see i2c is built on the shoulders of Pakistani employees. We understand their contributions and provide benefits which are very nurturing for our employees.
We give our employees cars. We have a daycare center. We feed our employees twice a day. Our medical benefits are amazing. And we have education benefits for our employees’ children. And now we have created a real cash plan where our employees are going to get a share in the success of the company. We contribute to the retirement fund as well. Very few companies of our size do that.”
i2c has been quietly setting its foot in different regions of the world. Right now the Pakistani offices have almost 1000 employees in total whereas outside the country, there are over 600 employees based in US, Canada, Europe, Latin America. The organization will be expanding across all regions with specific plans to hire over 500 employees in Pakistan in the next 12 months. I was curious if there is a process for rotational assignments, and internal transfer of employees between different countries. Jon told me that Amir, the founder, and he have been working on it and believe that this is a great differentiator and advantage for their employee base in Pakistan. Due to COVID situations, this program is on halt but there have been several examples of employees moving from Pakistan to the US and later to Canada.
Pakistani tech space is growing tremendously and startups have been raising big financing rounds to attract the right talent and provide them ample opportunities for growth. These startups are built with entrepreneurial DNA and give employees the autonomy to build things, solve problems and learn fast. How is i2c evolving to keep up with the changing work dynamics? Jon has gone through the experience in previous roles in Silicon Valley where for the last 20 years talent has been poached, and retained with the right kind of culture, incentives and growth opportunities. Jon tells me,
“Yes, we understand that the workforce of today want different things. They want quality of life. They want to be paid a premium wage and they want to be able to decide the work that they’re working on. They want to feel like they’re respected and they have equal access throughout the ranks of the organism. And so it’s incumbent upon companies like i2c to embrace that and provide a platform for the workforce to really express what they need.
And we are constantly having a sincere conversation around this internally. How we can change our management style and have effective conversations with employees around career development and career aspiration.”
i2c has 65% of its workforce based in Pakistan and the Pakistan office is reflective of all of the different functions of i2c’s business including product, engineering, security, business, support etc. Naturally, the ongoing hiring involves recruitment for all the departments as well.
The organization plans to bring the facilities of a silicon valley company for its offices in Lahore, including private offices, sleeping pods, zen rooms, outdoor container offices, with cafes and places to hangout and network with other employees.
As we end the conversation Jon adds that i2c will be a game changer with massive opportunities for growth and financial freedom for anyone who joins its family.