“Globally, we had already put the infrastructure in place to enable home working for every member of staff so, when lockdown happened, everyone could continue their work from home with big monitor screens and secure internet connections,” says Graham Curren, Sondrel’s CEO, “we have always been flexible on work hours and this enabled us to create individual work timetables to adapt round the challenges of home schooling that the lockdown caused for example. People who work at Sondrel are not just staff, they are members of our global family that looks after each and every one.”
As a result, there is an influx of expert engineers wanting to work at Sondrel India which is perfect timing for the company because rival companies around the world struggled to meet work deadlines and disappointed customers are now placing work with Sondrel as the company has not missed a project deadline due to COVID.
“The high quality of engineers that have suddenly become available in India means that our Hyderabad office will play a key role in enabling us to handling the global flood of new business,” added Curren. “Key to this track record of successfully meeting project deadlines in these challenging times is recognising and empowering talent to ensure enthusiasm and dedication.”
Sondrel does not have a hierarchical structure. Work is assigned to the person best able to do it — not on a basis of seniority. For example, one engineer with only 3.5 years’ experience was recently given two of the most complex blocks on a project to do that would normally be assigned to someone with over 10 years’ experience in another company. He has risen to the challenge and is really enjoying the assignment.
And that is typical of the management style in Sondrel where each individual’s career development and job satisfaction is paramount with quarterly reviews to ensure that they are being appropriately fast tracked on their career progression and rewarded accordingly.
Architecting the Future family of IP platforms is also helping the company handle the influx of new business by making optimal use of engineer time. These are predefined chip layouts that have been specifically created to provide a nearly finished design for a customer’s ASIC where all that is needed is to integrate the customer’s own IP.
This semi-custom approach cuts design time by up to 30% which enables Sondrel to handle more designs. The customer also benefits from the reduced design time costs and a faster time to market.
Another way that Sondrel India differs from its local rivals is job satisfaction for staff. So often, multinational companies send the boring routine work to their subsidiaries in countries like India and keep the interesting parts to be done in head office in Europe or the US. Not so with Sondrel.
“Sondrel operates as a fully integrated global operation,” says Satish Sunkari, the Regional Head of Engineering in India, “theteam assigned for each customer project is selected from the most suitable people independent of which office – UK, India, Morocco or China — that they are physically located in. The recent dramatic improvements in video conferencing technology makes this as easy as being in the same office now.” Globally, we had already put the infrastructure in place to enable home working for every member of staff so, when lockdown happened, everyone could continue their work from home with big monitor screens and secure internet connections,” says Graham Curren, Sondrel’s CEO, “we have always been flexible on work hours and this enabled us to create individual work timetables to adapt round the challenges of home schooling that the lockdown caused for example. People who work at Sondrel are not just staff, they are members of our global family that looks after each and every one.”
“This also ensures that engineers have the chance to work on a variety of cutting-edge projects to challenge and intrigue them. And, because we have a turnkey service, they can be involved from the initial specs and see a design right through to final silicon, which is great job satisfaction. Sometimes customers don’t even have a spec when they come to us so we can become really involved in the initial creative process of defining a solution to the problem that they want to solve with a chip and that’s really interesting.”
“We started off as a core of four people in 2017 after Sondrel bought part of Imagination Technologies,” added Sunkari. “Since then, we have recruited people who are like-minded to build up an engineering team that is now 28 strong. Each new hire has fitted perfectly into the family and that is very important to the success of the team. Our target is to add more than 30 engineers by the end of the year. We are looking engineers who want to be empowered to have initiative, solve problems, work on a variety of interesting cutting-edge projects, be part of project teams made up from people from our offices around the world, and rapidly progress their career as having the right skills to do a new task is everything and seniority means nothing. We do miss the strong social life that we used to have pre-Covid as that was great for bonding but, hopefully, we can start doing that again soon rather than over video links. A family that plays together stays together.”