CEO INTERVIEW Avvanz
New Success Stories - Asia
CEO Interviews - Exclusive for HR Digital Today with market leading HR Tech pioneers -Avvanz
Kannan Chettiar Managing Director of Avvanz
Well-known recruiter Jörgen Sundberg puts the cost of onboarding an employee at $240,000.
And, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee's first-year earnings.
For a small company, a five-figure investment in the wrong person is a threat to the business.
And most of these mistakes could probably be prevented if thorough background checks were conducted pre-employment. Many companies would want to do so, but most are not sure where to begin.
Enter Avvanz - a background checks solution provider.
We speak with Managing Director Kannan Chettiar to learn more:
1. Please share with us briefly what you do.
I’m co-founder and managing director of Avvanz, a Technology based Employee Lifecycle Management company. As a thought leader and international trainer, I blog and speak at various conferences globally with a focused emphasis on Industry 4.0. This future-oriented focus has gained me recognition including an Executive of the Year – HR Technology award by Singapore Business Review.
2. What were you doing before this?
Across my 22 years of corporate life, I’ve mainly held leadership and management positions in Technology companies with global responsibilities. Just before Avvanz, I ran the Asia sales for a global background screening company.
3. In one sentence, how would you describe what your product does?
As people can be the biggest asset whilst being the most significant risk as well, Avvanz through the 3 business pillars – Screen, Onboard, Develop, helps to conduct background checks to screen for “right” and “safe talents”, onboard the new joiners to get them to hit the ground running in the shortest time and then train and develop them through innovative solutions to drive profitable growth for organizations.
4. How did the idea for your business come about?
When I used to hold leadership and management positions in Global MNCs, I was exposed continuously to common people-related challenges like hiring the “right” and “safe” people, getting them to be productive quickly, engaging them and retaining them. In the entire lifecycle of managing employees, I felt there was no real integrated solution, and there were too many vendors offering “spotty” solutions which do not make it any easier for business leaders and HR to figure out how to seamlessly make them work together.
I also envisioned a tremendous opportunity to leverage technology through the entire value chain so that business’s top issues and risks can be addressed cost-effectively, effectively and efficiently.
Lastly, apart from Global MNCs, the 2nd tier and 3rd tier companies were not getting compelling solutions to address their potential needs, and Avvanz is gaining massive success in this segment to get them Future-ready. Like what Jack Ma says “turn issues into products and services”.
Even the Avvanz name means “Advance” in the Maltese language; we strive to be perceived as A to Z of Employee’s Lifecycle.
The Double Vs in Avvanz infer 2 strong messages:
· ** Avvanz closely aligns with your vision, your goals, needs and requirements and be your trusted partner.
· ** In line with meaning of Avvanz which is "advance", Avvanz strives to ensure your advancement in strengthening your talent as an enormous Asset leading to a sustainable profitable growth.
5. How does it work? What are the key benefits?
Screen - Background Checks and Due Diligence
Given that more than 35% of CVs or resumes have some form of discrepancies, Avvanz’s award-winning Avvanz ScreenGlobal platform (www.avvanz.com/screenglobal) can help to conduct background checks on any individual.
We cover more than 100 countries globally, and the individual could have studied in, lived in or worked in any part of the world. We can typically complete the report between 3 to 15 days.
On the contrary, a typical background screening company will take about two weeks just to complete the formalities to onboard a new client then work on their candidates’ or employees’ background checks.
Avvanz also does company level due diligence before partnering the company.
Onboard - New Employee Integration
Leveraging a partner company’s technology, Avvanz can build a complete employee integration program in the form of micro-programs that can be accessed via mobile (or desktop).
This is to ensure the new joiners are aligned with the company’s mission, vision, core values, purpose statement, organizational structure, culture, lines of business, HR related policies and so on.
This technology facilitates 2-way interactive assimilation of information to heighten engagement. Gallup study shows that employees who are not onboarded correctly will leave their organisations in less than six months. This calls for a productive, interactive and engaging integration into the organisation.
Develop - Virtual, Mobile, E and Classroom Learning
Blended Learning proposition with the right contextualization, customisation and localisation is our USP.
The content developers, international trainers and learning architects all have actual domain experiences which enhance our differentiation in this space. Companies work with Avvanz for a complete blended offering in line with their short-term and long-term business goals.
7. Who are your closest competitors?
We compete with a few global companies in each of our business pillars, but no one in the market offers an entire integrated and modular approach to how Avvanz does.
8. Who is your first customer and how did that happen?
We have clients in the following market segments and our 1st client was from the financial technology space. They are globally known to be extremely stringent on approving a vendor due to their award-winning and tight risk and security management framework. After months of laborious rounds, we managed to partner them at a regional level to support all their background check needs. This paved the way for more wins across several market segments as below.
9. What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
They used to work with a global vendor for background checks, and they had been getting inferior service. Having known the industry-wide issue and shortfalls, ScreenGlobal was built to specifically address the problems, and that’s how we have successfully converted several global clients over.
10. How does the Asia market influence your overall strategy
Asia like Europe and unlike NA is very diverse regarding their needs and requirements.
With more than two decades of international commercial experience, we managed to go global from Day 1, and though we are a Singapore headquartered company with a global presence now, our first few clients were from Hong Kong then Philippines, US, UK and now very Asia focused. Exciting global market with tons of opportunities to serve.
11. What’s your business focus for this year?
Our focus hasn’t changed since we started and that’s a testimony to show that we got the right strategy from day 1. Asia is our focus where all our three business pillars have great potential. Technology is our “holy grail”. We are looking for more partners like HRMS, Applicant Tracking Systems and Freelance platforms. We are in midst of API integration with a number of them and we desire to grow into this space.
12. What is your favourite failure (and what did you learn from it)?
Wasted too much time to entertain all sorts of companies who wanted to partner Avvanz and now we are cautious in ascertaining the “chemistry” and synergistic possibilities before even starting a conversation. If I could turn back time, this is what I would have corrected.
When things were going tough, I would keep on reminding myself that “failure is not an option and this is the only path”. This imbibes me with a high level of energy to bulldoze through all challenges. Entrepreneurism is very different from taking a large comfortable salary in a MNC role but the adrenaline rush from what I’m doing now is completely mind-blowing. We live only once and it’s important to do what we love.
13. What’s one productivity hack you would recommend to everyone?
If you think of every minute as $100, you will maximise it. I get sleepless with lots of brewing ideas even in my sleep and in the middle of the night, I would jot it down on my scrap board or SMS myself.
While I don’t recommend anyone else to be insomniac like me, I would strongly suggest using a good calendar app to schedule time for everything including even a chilling time. Time management is the key and I learnt this trait from my parents and Singapore’s founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
14. Where can people find out more about your product offerings and you online?
www.avvanz.com Target audience includes business leaders, HR leaders, risk & compliance and finance.
More about Kannan:
- Born: True-blue Singapore and a total foodie – Could not bear to live in NA without my belachan and Bar Chor mee. I think I can’t live anywhere else LOL
- Marital status: Married with two kids
- School: University of Birmingham and NTU
- First job: Future Electronics in Montreal, Canada
- Favourite book: Good to Great
- Favourite Film: No one particular movie. I like corporate movies and comedies, and these are my first preferences even for in-flight entertainment.
- Favourite Music: Latin music with a glass of wine in my hand
- Favourite Gadget: My Jabra headsets including the fitness version
- Last holiday: New Zealand both south and north islands in December. I still miss the fish and chips at Hokitika.