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How Maxis woos young talent in

Young talents make up almost half of the headcount in Maxis. Young talents make up almost half of the headcount in Maxis.

Not many people in their mid-twenties get to say that they shadowed the CEO of a public listed company around his/her daily schedule. But at Maxis Berhad, opportunities like this and more are readily accessible through some of its initiatives under its Young Talent Programme, an effort to remain competitive in attracting and retaining top talent.

According to Maxis Berhad head of people and organisation Adzhar Ibrahim, about 45% of Maxis employees are classified as young talent, that is, below the age of 35 years.

“Finding the best talents has never been easy, but we have focused on doing this through specific efforts to address young talents as well as the overall efforts to create a modern and highly engaged company with strong culture and values, and very challenging ambitions for the future,” he said.

Adzhar Ibrahim. Adzhar Ibrahim.

To be accepted into their Maxis Management Associate Programme (MMAP) in itself proves a sizeable challenge.

Receiving round about 1000 applications per intake, the rigorous selection process for MMAP involves combination of interviews, assessments, and case studies that allow the Maxis HR team to identify a candidate that is worthy of their selection criteria.

“We have structured the selection process to emphasise on strong communication skills, intellect, passion and ability to work well together with each other,” said Adzhar.

A large part of the selection process revolves around group work as well, to determine if the candidates reflect Maxis values of being positive, passionate and collaborative.

“So, over and above having top grades and having relevant experience, you also have to prove that you’re good at communicating, you’re good at managing time, you’re good at managing expectations, and you love working with people,” said Adzhar.

The MMAP runs two intakes every year, and selects around four to five candidates per intake to join the two-year rotation programme.

Once in, MMAP associates are then rotated to different parts of the organisation, to learn and understand how the business is managed in different departments.

One of the highlights of the programme is the C-Level shadowing, where the associates are able to attend meetings, have personal chat sessions and even travel with a member of top management.

“One of the most important aspects is that they get to see the big picture of how the business operates,” said Adzhar.

“The idea is to get them to understand the key strategic items that we’re pushing for, stuff that you wouldn’t normally come across as a regular employee.

“While they may not understand everything immediately, they’ll start having a feel of how businesses are run.”

Talents are encouraged to get comfortable to heighten the collaborative spirit. Talents are encouraged to get comfortable to heighten the collaborative spirit.

Other than the MMAP, young talents have other opportunities to learn and grow at Maxis.

The E-MMAP is a similar concept to the MMAP programme, except it runs for six months, and is open to talented and experienced hires under 35 years of age, who are looking to switch industries.

The What’s Next Scholarship is open to Maxis employees as well as external candidates. Targeting high achievers with a minimum of three years of working experience, the scholarships allow successful applicants to pursue a post-graduate degree or diploma in any field of their choice, whether at a local or foreign university.

Beyond scholarships, Maxis also offers study loans for employees who may want to pursue further studies and certifications.

Apart from these, through their I Grow initiative, Maxis is committed to the constant personal development of their employees by using a talent review process to drive clear actions that help employees learn and grow through various new experiences, exposures and education.

This includes specific and dedicated leadership programmes to groom the current and future leaders of the organisation.

Says Adzhar: “Growth and development is like a handshake –Maxis will do everything it can to help employees grow and develop, but the employees themselves must be positive, forward leaning, push and challenge themselves to grow and develop.”

To complement these initiatives, Maxis boasts a new modern and vibrant office space to reflect its culture of openness and rollback of hierarchy.

From corporate to current

From an organisation that held more traditional corporate practices, Maxis re-evaluated and underwent a major culture transformation to reflect a more flat and collaborative environment.

“Among the things we did was flatten the organisational hierarchy and the benefits structure, so that everyone in the company gets exactly the same benefits, and reduce the number of managers to yield better quality managers,” said Adzhar.

Maxis has revamped its interior to be more vibrant, positive, and collaborative. Maxis has revamped its interior to be more vibrant, positive, and collaborative.

“If you’re a manager in Maxis now, you’re a head - no fancy titles involved. There is no unnecessary energy spent on fighting for prestige and respect. We have taken away the unnecessary layers, and given people the opportunity to learn and develop on merit, rather than just seniority.”

To reflect the new culture, their workplaces went through a revamp as well (get a better look at it here). Eliminating all offices and cubicles and decorated rooms previously assigned to higher ranking employees, Maxis workspace now consist of standard desks and a set of lockers for employees to keep their belongings in.

Whether you’re a fresh graduate, an experienced employee, or even top management including the CEO, everyone sits on the same type of workstation. “There isn’t a single cubicle or office in Maxis right now. I could be sitting next to the CEO today, and tomorrow I could be sitting in front of my team mate,” says Adzhar.

There is no standard "meeting room" design in Maxis. Each room / discussion corner is unique in theme. There is no standard "meeting room" design in Maxis. Each room / discussion corner is unique in theme.
No ordinary meeting room, this meeting table doubles up as a ping pong table set for employees to blow off some steam. No ordinary meeting room, this meeting table doubles up as a ping pong table set for employees to blow off some steam.

The interior of Maxis was redecorated with bright coloured feature walls, artwork, and furniture, which were sourced mostly from local manufacturers and artists. This vibrant theme was chosen to exude positivity and openness, two important elements that form Maxis’ culture.

Tying all this in with the needs of the Gen-Y, Adzhar believes that catering to the younger generation is not very different than catering to others, as ultimately everybody wants the same thing.

This cute diner-inspired setup serves as a breakout pod - one of the many scattered around Maxis. This cute diner-inspired setup serves as a breakout pod - one of the many scattered around Maxis.

“They want to be challenged with worthwhile goals and ambitions, recognised for a job well done, have a say in the company direction and enjoy working with people who share the same values and who care about working well together and having fun,” he said.

“Our efforts have been to deliver all these, both to the young millennials as well as to the rest of our employees.”


Adzhar Ibrahim will be an official speaker at the HR Conference by myStarjob.com held on Oct 26, 2016. For more information on this event, email a.yussof@thestar.com.my. To know more about Maxis Young Talent Programme, visit maxis.com.my

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