We talked to General Manager Mike Smyth about both the business and volunteer activities of Dell in Slovakia.
He joined Dell nineteen years ago, and his work for the multinational corporation hasn’t limited him to any specific country or continent.
His career led him from Ireland to South Africa, and he currently works in Slovakia. From the position of Finance Director, he advanced to the role of Director of EMEA Global Financial Services, and became the General Manager of Dell’s European Business Center in Bratislava in August 2009.
Dell is a powerful global brand. What is its position in Slovakia?
We’re a dynamically developing US company that launched its operations in Slovakia in 2002 as a shared services and technical support center for German-speaking customers. Dell gradually transformed, opening first the sales and customer care departments catering specifically for the German market. A successful milestone in our development was the creation of our EMEA Business Center, now housed in custom-built premises in Fazulova Street, which supports many key functions in the company. Today, Dell is Slovakia’s second largest IT employer.
The site in Bratislava employs more than 1,400 people and the number is continuing to grow even in the current economic crisis. What does working for Dell entail?
At Dell we strive to hire not just for jobs, but for careers. At Dell’s EMEA Business Center, we can offer high-value career opportunities to our people. We offer a wide variety of job opportunities, at varying levels, across many functions, i.e. Finance, Sales, Marketing, Tech Support, Business Operations, HR, etc. We strive to be present at schools that educate our future employees, and as a very significant employer in Bratislava we take very seriously our responsibility towards diversity and equality of opportunity. We are especially pleased that we have now, for the third time, received the Family-Friendly Employer award from the Slovak Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family for our comprehensive package of family-friendly employee benefits.
When you say Dell, most people imagine a notebook. What else is there to explain the company’s success in Slovakia?
In 2006, we made an investment to develop our sales organization with the aim of replicating our business success and utilizing our experience from the Czech Republic. We focused primarily on Dell’s largest corporate customers who also operate in Slovakia, and we gradually expanded our customer portfolio to include the largest local Slovak clients, customers in the area of public administration and self-government, and mid-sized businesses. At this moment in time, we can say we’re capable of providing services to any customer in Slovakia, thanks also to the broad product portfolio we offer both in terms of client systems (PCs, notebooks, printers, projectors) and enterprise systems (servers, storage, networking).
Globally, Dell has been involved in volunteer activities. Is that also true in Slovakia?
Dell has for many years now supported the volunteering activities of its staff in the community. We believe the role of a model employer goes far beyond looking after your employees and goes into the hearts and homes of the less fortunate members of our society. Each year, in September & October we hold our Global Community Involvement Months (GCIM) worldwide, and most Dell employees get involved in any number of different activities to raise funds and support valued community involvement. Each Dell site adapts the program to local needs and co-operates with non-profit, non-governmental organizations or foundations in their city. Specifically in Bratislava, apart from participating in GCIM, Dell has contributed to the Our Bratislava project from the outset; we’ve had a relationship for many years with Slovakia’s National Transfusion Center, for which we regularly organize blood collection events among our staff; and we support various other projects such as the Animal Freedom organization and the Gate to Life crisis center.
Besides looking for your future employees in schools, do you also actively involve yourself in their education?
Of course. One of the schools we support is the House of Social Services for Children and Adults, Gaudeamus, in Mokrohájska Street in Bratislava, and we assist the Pontis Foundation’s activities in this area. Another school we support is our neighbour, Gymnázium Jána Papánka in Vazovova Street in Bratislava, where, with the help of our employees, we painted and fully equipped two computer rooms. Right now, the senior management team at Dell Bratislava is preparing to again paint the premises of one of the schools we have befriended. We are very fortunate in Bratislava to have a very strong and committed Volunteers Committee who organize and run most of these events. For 2009 and early 2010 they have already proposed a number of great ideas to work on and we look forward to seeing how they can help us give something back to the community that supports us.