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Table of Contents

Table of Contents Acknowledgement Executive Summary Normality in Abnormality Culture Myself and Trilogy Suggestions Reference










The case study you are about to read is not an individual effort. It consists of knowledge, support, encouragement, insight and convictions given by different people. I would like to thank my classmates from PQHRM 67 batch, who gave me an immense support in preparing this report. The session we had together and discussed about the case “Finding People Who Are Passionate about What They Do” gave me a lot of confidence, because I was able to grasp a lot of information from that session.

Then I would like to thank the lecturers who did the lectures in the Module 2. Without the knowledge I gained from those lectures I would be in a big trouble, because without that knowledge I wouldn’t be able to look at the case in a theoretical point of view. So a big thank should go to Mr. Chandra Gannile, Mrs. Tharanga Samarakkody, Mr. A. D. Gomez, Mr. M. N. J. Jayaratna, Mr. Kaushal Mendis and Mr. G. P. Jeerasinghe.

My Father and mother, Mr. A. Jayasinghe and Mrs. Padmini Jayasinghe helped me a lot with giving their views about the case as well. So I thank my parents for the support they gave me.

Shan Anjana Jayasinghe.



Executive Summary

World is changing rapidly day by day. People around the globe are continuously looking for ways of adapting to the changing environment around them. As a result creative and innovative ideas are generating. There are a lot of reasons for this rapid change. Some of them are as follows.


Evolution of economic development and sources of competitive advantage

Open economies


Competing markets

Changing expectations

These factors are affecting not only the individuals around the world but also for the organizations as well. So to cope up with this rapid change organizations have to have well established strategies. They should identify their resources and should utilize them in a way they can get the maximum out of each and every resource.

Trilogy Enterprises Inc., Austin, Texas, USA seems to be a well established organization which has understood the changing nature of the environment. Because of this understanding the have become a fast-growing company which provides software solutions to giant global firms for improving their sales and performance. Trilogy is currently providing software solution for 3 industries. Their clients in each industry are probably the best performers in world stage in their respective industries. The industries Trilogy is providing software solutions and their clients in each industry are as follows.

Automotive industry - Ford, GM, Nissan, Chrysler, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Volvo, Jaguar and AutoNation

Insurance and financial services

Telecom, technology and media industry - AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Cox, Verizon and ADT

By looking at their clients we can come to a conclusion that Trilogy is a great place to get software solutions. But it is said that many of its approaches to business practice are unusual. It seems to be same for their human resource strategies as well. It is said that, unlike most of other companies around the world, their employees don’t have a dress code. And there is no specific working hours. Employees make their own hours. They tend to socialize together and in most occasions company is sponsoring them to go to local dance clubs and retreats in Las Vegas and Hawaii. These facts show that Trilogy’s company culture is “a bit” different from other companies.

The other most significant factor is that Trilogy seems to have a very strong Business Strategy and the HR division of Trilogy has done a great job to align the HR strategy of Trilogy with the business strategy. Managers at Trilogy have understood that the rapid growth they seek depends on having a staff of the best people they can find, quickly trained and given broad responsibility and freedom as soon as possible. In software industry, if a company wants to succeed and grow rapidly, it is a must to have best people who can write brilliant codes and people who can gain the momentum with lesser guidance. It is clear that the managers of Trilogy have understood the fact really well.

Their CEO is also accepting the fact that for software company people are everything. So they have a recruitment and selection process which checks each and every aspect of the candidates. They don’t look at only at the knowledge of the candidates. It is obvious that a software engineer should have a good computer programming knowledge. Along with that a software engineer should have a good stamina, because in some instances software engineers have to work under an immense pressure.

It is said that annually Trilogy is reviewing nearly 15000 resumes. And they select only about 1.75% out of them all. The cost per hire is $13000. This figure shows how serious Trilogy is about their recruitment and selection process. So, rest of this report is about how Trilogy is “Finding People Who Are Passionate about What They Do”.

Normality in Abnormality

Identify some of the established recruiting techniques that underlie Trilogy’s unconventional approach to attracting talent.

Recruitment is the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in the organization. Since Trilogy’s HR strategy is greatly aligned with the Business strategy HR department of Trilogy has made finding the right people a companywide mission. Their recruitment and selection process is a very unusual one. I say so because they do it in a very funky way. Though they are doing it in a funky way they have integrated formality in to that process as well. They seem to have only two method of recruitment. They are very conventional methods. They are finding recruits only from Educational institutions/Universities and College Career Fairs. They pursue the freshest over achievers with ambition and entrepreneurial instincts.

When looking at the two methods Trilogy is using for recruiting employees, it is evident that they are only focusing at the college graduates. This is a very interesting thing I say so, because Trilogy is a company based on USA. Out of the world’s 1 st 100 rank universities, about 80% is belonging to USA. So the reason why they are not going for other methods of recruitment is very clear. They don’t do is because they don’t have to. If you can recruit graduates from world’s 1 st

100 ranked universities, I think that company has done a great job in recruitment process. I say so, because the standards of those universities are really high.

“In 1998, the company reviewed 15,000 resumes, conducted 4000 on-campus interviews, flew 850 candidates to Austin for on-site interviews, and ended up hiring a total of 262 college graduates - 33 from Carnegie Mellon, 26 from Penn State, 23 from Stanford, 20 from Harvard, 16 from Princeton, 11 from Cornell, and 10 from MIT. Some students have nicknamed Trilogy "The Firm" because its outsized recruiting tactics resemble those of the notorious law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke in John Grisham's novel. This time-consuming process is expensive, at $13,000 per hire, but the firm is aiming for the "whiz kid" who will develop the next hit software package”

As per above phrase they have done their hiring process mostly from Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell and MIT. Any organization around the globe will do anything to hire people from universities like this.

On the other hand software industry is a place where you need creative and innovative people. That might be a big reason why they are spending as much higher amount as $13000 per head in the hiring process. The basic question a software engineer has to answer while working in any kind of a project is “What Can We Remove?” The top management of any software company

is going to ask that particular question from their software engineers. There is a big reason for

that. Software industry is a very competitive industry. Best software is the software which has

less complexity. An average software engineer could write a particular cod using 100 lines while

a brilliant software engineer could write the same piece of code using only 10 lines. That is

keeping a piece of program as simple as possible gives the better outputs. I say so, because complicated logic for achieving a simple thing should be kept to a minimum since the code might be modified by another programmer in the future. The logic one programmer implemented may not make perfect sense to another. Also, when the code becomes complicated the computational power needed to run that particular code also becomes higher. As a result clients will have to incur extra money for hardware which is going to support complicated codes. So, always keep the code as simple as possible.

So as a software company Trilogy have to identify people who can successfully respond to the question “What Can We Remove?” during their recruitment process. Preparing brilliant codes is not an easy job. Sometimes that might take days and days of hard work. Or even more. So the person who is going to become a “Brilliant” software engineer should have a good stamina as well. So Trilogy has to look at people who have “Knowledge + Stamina” both in their recruitment process. We already discussed that they are looking for people who have knowledge. After conducting on campus interviews they select about 20% and taking them out on the town into Austin for a standard, three-day preliminary visit. There a typical day might begin with grueling interview but end with mountain biking, roller blading or laser tag. So it is clear that

they are examining the stamina of each and every candidate during the recruitment and selection process.

candidate during the recruitment and selection process. Vs Above picture shows an Apple i Pad and


candidate during the recruitment and selection process. Vs Above picture shows an Apple i Pad and

Above picture shows an Apple i Pad and a normal desktop computer. If you were given the option to choose 1 item out of those two free of charge, what would you choose? I’m quite sure 99% will choose the Apple i Pad. Why is that? That is because of the simplicity of the device. You can take it anywhere you wish. And you don’t have to buy a separate keyboard, mouse and

a CPU. All these items are integrated in to an Apple I Pad. That is why people call it a “Great

Invention”. Who had done this Great Invention? It is the software engineers who have done this great invention. They have designed an inbuilt software keyboard and a touch mouse specifically for Apple i Pad. To do an invention like this the thinker of this concept should have a support of

a great set of software engineers. Because he/she has to ask that traditional question from his/her software engineers – “What Can We Remove?” In this case Steve Jobs might have asked his team the same question and they may have come up with this great invention. During the launching of Apple i Pad at MacWorld, San Francisco, Steve Jobs mentioned that it took a team 4 years to develop the device. So it is clear that this team might have undergone a very long process until they reach the destination. To spend 4 years to get a result you have to have great stamina. So now you can see the value of creative and innovative software engineers who have knowledge and stamina both.

The other important thing we should note is that Trilogy is only focusing on external recruitment methods. Though their method of recruitment is unconventional through external recruitment they can attract new blood to the organization. The external recruitment is the main source of new skills and competencies. The external recruitment can deliver the missing skills quickly. Most companies buy the skills and competencies externally. The external recruitment is essential when the business strategy changes rapidly. The change requires a new mindset of employees. The new skills are urgently required, and the company needs to bring new and fresh blood

quickly. The massive external recruitment is the only way to success. It is not possible to change the business strategy without few new people on board. HR is the change agent and has to identify the key roles to realize the change in the business strategy quickly. The external recruitment has to be extremely flexible to find the right mindset and skill set on the job market.

So it is clear that though Trilogy’s recruitment process seems to be an unconventional one it is using conventional recruitment methods along with a bit of funkiness to identify the correct people which have required knowledge and stamina to work in Trilogy. Below I would like to mention a true story to show the unconventionality in Trilogy’s recruitment process.

“Bryon Krug graduated last spring with a 4.0 GPA and a talent for hacking code - in other words, he was a first-round draft pick in the overheated world of software-company recruiters. And they would do anything to win his love. Finding a job won't be a problem for Bryon Krug. He's a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, majoring in electrical and computer engineering, with a 4.0 GPA. He's fluent in three programming languages and has academic awards coming out his ears. Still, he's got his troubles.

He's getting close to graduation, and Trilogy Software, a fast-rising company in Austin, has been wooing Krug with gifts and spectacular attention since February - it has flown him to Austin twice, put him up in luxe hotels, taken him out for expensive dinners, shuttled him around to hip clubs downtown, bought him drinks, laughed at his jokes. Trilogy recruiter Chris Ostroot has spent hours on the phone with him, listening to him weigh and reweigh his options. She has sent him T-shirts and books and CDs of Austin bands - even a silver Tiffany pen with a note attached: "Signing your offer at Trilogy just got easier."”

"Signing your offer at Trilogy just got easier."” Founder and CEO of Trilogy-Mr. Joe Liemandt Logo

Founder and CEO of Trilogy-Mr. Joe Liemandt

easier."” Founder and CEO of Trilogy-Mr. Joe Liemandt Logo of Trilogy Institute of Personnel Management –

Logo of Trilogy


What particular elements of Trilogy’s culture most likely appeal to the kind of employees it seeks? How does it convey those elements to job prospects?

Trilogy’s culture is different. That different has done as a part of Trilogy’s business strategy. Once Trilogy’s CEO was asked a question related to Trilogy’s culture. The question he was asked is “What are your top three challenges?” The answer he gave to this answer gives a great insight about Trilogy’s unorthodox culture. His answer to above question is as follows.

“(1) Hiring the right people, (2) making customers successful, (3) not losing the culture keeping Trilogy a place where individuals can really shine. I want to make it a place where individuals are constantly challenged, are in over their heads and find ways to get out of it.”

The above phase shows that Trilogy is a place where employees have no barriers to do whatever they like. They have given all the independence they need to come up with the solutions to the problems which they were given to solve. But, since the customers and projects they are dealing are people with high expectations each and every software engineer at Trilogy is constantly challenged.

In Sri Lankan market also we find a lot of software companies. In those companies also software engineers are constantly challenged to come up with results. But in most cases most of the software engineers in Sri Lankan software industry are not happy with their jobs. Because of this reason we can find a big employee turnover percentage in Sri Lankan software companies, except a few companies like WSO2, IFS, etc.

But in an organization like Trilogy the pressure level of a software engineer might be really high, due to the fact that the amount company incurring per head is really high. So each and every employee need to come up with results.

Considering about the amount of work and pressure in a company like Trilogy, still thousands of candidates are applying for positions in Trilogy. That is because there are some elements in Trilogy most likely to appeal them.

No dress code

As I mentioned earlier also Trilogy being a software company, the employees working at Trilogy might have to work under pressure. When working under pressure, you might have to spend long hours at the office. If you are an employee working in such a company and asked to work long hours wearing a nice shirt, trouser and a tie, would you like that? I don’t think so. Dress codes need to be appropriate to the workplace, the culture of the workplace, the workplace environment, and health and safety standards. Construction workers, some production line

workers, game developers, software developers, and outdoor workers as just a few examples, may well wear denim as the most appropriate fabric for the work they do and their workplace

culture. Because of this and the dynamic culture of Trilogy management has decided not to have

a dress code.

Flexi hours

A system of flexible working hours gives employees some choice over the actual times they

work their contracted hours. Such a system can be a good way of recruiting and retaining staff - since it provides an opportunity for employees to work hours consistent with their other

commitments. And Working Relations between employees and supervisors/managers can

improve. Flexible working can replace that old fashioned concept of what was is often referred to

as "Face Management" i.e. the boss needs to see the employee at work to prove work is being

performed. This is a cultural thing that can be overcome by organizations realizing that a more far sighted approach can be taken. Indeed if we can call Face Management an "old culture device", its preservation can lead to all sorts of situations e.g. an employee can feel he/she has

to stay late, irrespective of what is actually being achieved, just to impress a boss. In a modern

working environment, employees can resent such an approach, often knowing themselves that by comparison flexible working engenders a “task oriented” environment. At Trilogy also the flexi

hours is giving the employees to make their own hours.

The average age of employees is 26

Most of Trilogy’s job prospects are youngsters. Besides hiring a younger work force you should treat and pay as if they were the force behind your business, because after all you are only as good as your employees. Young working professionals respond well to fast results and positive environments. If you can create this in your work environment you should have a motivated, loyal, and strong work force driving your company to prosper. A good example of this is Google. They treat their employees as if they were VIPs, and in a sense, they are. Google's employees are happy to go to work every day and get every benefit you can imagine. In the end Google may have spent more money on their employees than most companies but they have created a fun and loyal work environment where everyone strives to benefit the company that treats them so nicely. As per my view Trilogy’s situation is also same. Job prospects would love to join such a company because they know that it is easy to get support from people in the same age levels.

Company sponsored events

It is said that Trilogy is sponsoring their employees trips to places like dance clubs and retreats in

Las Vegas and Hawaii. It is very important to show your employees how much you value their hard work. Trilogy’s management might be offering their suggestions, but they seem to be

clearly understood that these parties are for the employees and should be planned by them.

Trilogy University

After selecting the correct employees Trilogy is giving the new employees a few weeks of intensive training at a place called Trilogy University, which Trilogy’s employees call them as a “Boot Camp”. The participants are given training on technology and the business. And then they are allowed to loose on the world. This can be considered as a kind of an induction program for the new comers. Induction program is a feat thing for any new comer, because he/she can get to know what is happening in the company and who is around him/her before go to the real working environment.

As per my view those are the most appealing things for the job prospects. They know that the life at Trilogy is going to be a bit tough. But the management of Trilogy also has understood that and they have taken necessary steps to make sure that their employees are happy all the time despite whatever the situation they are in.

Myself and Trilogy

Would Trilogy be an appealing employer for you? Why or why not? It not, what would it take for you to accept a job offer from Trilogy?

I would give the answer “YES” to above question. That is because of many reasons. The first

thing I look at before accepting a job offer is, whether the company is a growing one. I say so, because if the company I’m going to join is not a growing company, I will not have the chance to go up the ladder and achieve my career goals. On the other hand, with the rapidly changing environment, a company which doesn’t have the ability to grow can’t offer its employees with job security as well. When it comes to Trilogy, it is said that Trilogy is a fast-growing software company.

Also I like the fact that it has been mentioned as a company which has a unique and unorthodox culture. If you join a software company to do a job, you sometimes have to do things a bit strange, like sleeping in the work place, cooking in your work place, etc. So, if the culture of a software company would be the same culture as in a normal organization it would be really hard to manage your work. That is because, normally software companies are considered to be places which employees have to undergo a lot of pressure. So any software company’s culture definitely should be different from other companies. Trilogy’s culture is considered as unorthodox because of many reasons. Some of them and why I like those things are as follows.

Flexi hours – I’m a person who like freedom. But when join to a software company I, the attitude

I have is that there won’t be enough freedom to do my personal stuff. But at Trilogy, I can go to work and any time. What they ill expect from me is to do the work which was assigned to me on time. On the other hand I can dedicate some time from my week’s time table to my father, mother, girl friend and everyone who loves me. I have a few friends who are working for Sri

Lanka software companies. As per them they don’t have flexi hours and they are getting the chance to go home only about once a month, which I think as a “TRADEGY”. So, even though I’m going to accept the offer from Trilogy I’m not going to accept any “software engineer” job offer from a Sri Lankan software company.

No Dress Code Frankly speaking I hate dress code. I see it as a barrier for productivity in a software company. At Trilogy it is said that there is no dress code. When working with denim covering your lower part of the body and a t-shirt covering your upper part of the body, I can feel like being at home. Frankly those two dresses create a home like environment around me. But there is another side of this. To my way of thinking, receptionists and other front office people, and anyone who will be meeting clients or the public, ought to observe a dress code appropriate to the work of the company and their position. But what about back office people, who may never meet with the public? Software engineers are supposed to be the back office people, who never meet the clients. So there is no need for them to wear a formal dress.

Socializing together By doing this I can relief my stress. Normally whatever facilities and benefits you have given by the organization; normally it is obvious that the environment in a software company can be a bit stressful. So, it is important to have a stress relief method. The most important thing is that Trilogy’s management has understood the importance of this and they are sponsoring the socializing events, which I think as a great thing. I can’t see many organizations do this kind of thing for the mental well being of their own employees.

Training Training of employees takes place after orientation takes place. Training is the process of enhancing the skills, capabilities and knowledge of employees for doing a particular job. Training process moulds the thinking of employees and leads to quality performance of employees. It is continuous and never ending in nature. Training can be categorized in to many parts. In this case I’m speaking about the training which the new candidates are being given. This training familiarizes them with the organizational mission, vision, rules and regulations and the working conditions. It is great to see that the Trilogy’s management has understood the importance of training the new comers at least for a few weeks at a place called Trilogy University. Training is crucial for organizational development and success. It is fruitful to both employers and employees of an organization. An employee will become more efficient and productive if he is trained well.

Apart from above mentioned factors, I see Trilogy as an organization which obeys to the Robert Reichs “The Social Glues of the Future” concept. I really see this concept as a thing which the employer and the employee can end up in a win-win situation. The concept is as follows.

“The successful 21st Century companies recognize the importance of talented people and the tremendous opportunities available to them. These talented individuals' loyalties are not taken lightly. Progressive firms acknowledge that loyalty is a two-way street. Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under

President Clinton, identifies six "social glues" for the high performance companies of the future:

1. Money Makes It Mutual. Rather than competing for money, company founders are enlisting employees through the use of stock options. If you want talent to work for your organization with the enthusiasm that comes with ownership, then you have to trade equity for it.

2. Mission Makes a Difference. Talented people want to be part of something that they believe in that involves spiritual goals that energize an organization. A powerful mission is both a magnet and a motivator.

3. Learning Makes You Grow. People recognize the importance of intellectual capital in the new economy, and want to join an organization where they will be given every chance to learn continuously.

4. Fun Makes It Fresh.

Hard work requires that the work be fun, that it support

friendship and camaraderie. Hard work must be "harnessed" to shared enjoyment.

5. Pride Makes It Special. We all like to be assoicated with an enterprise that feeds our sense of pride. Membershiip in these companies confers status - and status is a form of captial.

6. Balance Makes It Sustainable. Balance is not just a set of programs to support work and family - rather it is a way of doing business. The choice is moved to the employee, not the firm.”

These are the reasons why I think Trilogy as an appealing employer for me. By working with an employer like Trilogy you are not going to lose the creativity and innovativeness one possess during the University life, because at Trilogy it seems like every minute you are being challenged and to cope up with that challenge you need to learn new thing and you have to think creatively. When doing product development you have to think innovatively.

doing product development you have to think innovatively. Before becoming an entrepreneur and community organizer,

Before becoming an entrepreneur and community organizer, Goswami worked at Trilogy Software. He says that the experience he gained from Trilogy helped him to come to the level he is now.


What suggestions would you make to Trilogy for improving its recruiting processes?

The recruitment method the Trilogy is using at the moment is external recruitment. It is clear that they can gain a lot of advantages by doing external recruitment. But they are using only 2 recruitment methods. According to my view that limits their options of attracting people. So it is better if they can go for other conventional methods of doing external recruitment. Some of the recruitment methods I suggest Trilogy are as follows.

Newspaper advertisements

Business magazine advertisements

Television and radio advertisement

I’m not suggesting them methods like recruitment agencies, outsourcing, walk in interviews, etc, because I think they are not suitable for the culture of Trilogy. By expanding the methods of external recruitment Trilogy could widen their options and they can create element of competition as well.

Also I suggest them to go for internal recruitment as well. I suggest them that option, because they can gain extra advantage from the existing workforce by doing internal recruitment. By using only the external recruitment methods, sometimes undesired problems might occur among employees. Also external recruitment is a costly and a time consuming operation. This can be seen from the fact that Trilogy is spending nearly $13000 per recruit annually. By using internal recruitment techniques they can utilize the internal talent in a better way. Also they can do the recruitment process in an economical manner. The cost side is a clear internal recruitment benefit. The internal recruitment can be quicker and cheaper than the external recruitment. The employee who works with the organization usually does not ask a huge salary. On the other hand internal recruitment can be a motivational factor for other employees in the organization as well. Internal recruitment makes sure that the carrier development for employees will be there in the organization. So the career development is a huge benefit of the internal recruitment process. The career development has to be communicated openly and the employees cannot be worried about their application for a new position within the organization. The career development can define special rules for the application for the new position. The rule is usually about the necessity to stay at one position for a defined period of time before applying for a new one. In case of necessity, the HRM Function can act quicker, but the current manager of the employee has to agree to allow the transfer. When the career development functions well, the employees are motivated to train themselves to get more skilled and develop their competencies as they see the career opportunity in the organization.

I think Trilogy should have a plan to develop their future leaders. I don’t see any specific plan as such. Considering the amount of money they are incurring on the recruitment process there is no reason why they can’t develop a method to develop their future leaders. I would like to suggest them to start a “Graduate Trainee Program”. Most large companies employing graduates, have graduate training programs in place. These companies tend to invest thousands in recruiting graduates who have demonstrated impressive academic ability but who have little or no experience in the world of work. A graduate training programs is a way of bridging the gap. Graduate training programs ease candidates into the world of work and give them the skills necessary to become part of the larger team. They tend to last either one or two years. Some will offer students the opportunity to experience several different areas of business before choosing a final career path within the company. Graduate training programs have long been popular with banks, insurance companies and financial institutions but they have become increasingly more common with employers across all sectors, particularly the IT and technical spheres. Advantages of graduate trainee programs are as follows.

A good level of support when starting your career.

Training and development opportunities.

A mentor to talk through any problems.

The opportunity to study for a professional qualification (normally funded by your employer).

The chance to rotate through different departments and gain experience of different functions.

So, I believe that expanding the number of methods of external recruitment, introducing internal recruitment and introducing a graduate trainee program will enhance the recruitment process of Trilogy.

-The End-


“Changing World of Work and Organization”, lecture 1 tutorial, module 2, PQHRM by Mr. A. D. Gomez.

“Finding People Who Are Passionate About What They Do”, Application Case.

“Recruitment and Selection”, lecture 5 tutorial, module 2, PQHRM by Mrs. Tharanga Samarakkody

“Human Resource Management” by Snell, Bohlander and Vohra

“Recruitment – External Recruitment – Advantages of External Recruitment”,

“Culture – IBM v. Trilogy”,









“CNNMoney - Where are they now?,

Flexible working hours - overview,