Citybook Services, Ltd

13 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2017

See all articles by Elliott N. Weiss

Elliott N. Weiss

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

One of Israel's most important assets was its relatively highly educated population, which included many native English speakers. The founders of CityBook Services, Ltd., determined that one of the greatest untapped sources of potential workers was the female population of the ultra-Orthodox Haredi community, most of whom did not hold jobs outside the home. By structuring a work environment that met this labor market's unique needs and providing extensive training specific to each task and client, CityBook cultivated the work force necessary to grow rapidly, while retaining those employees. Its main challenge was balancing the needs of its workers and those of its existing and potential clients: Could CityBook continue to expand and still maintain its reputation as a singular employer of Haredim?

Excerpt

UVA-om-1508

Rev. Mar. 24, 2014

CITYBOOK SERVICES, LTD.

CityBook Services, Ltd. (CityBook), was founded in Israel in 2003 by three real estate professionals who owned a title agency in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Founders Joseph I. Rosenbaum, Abish Brodt, and Elliot S. Zaks were looking to outsource title searches and other paralegal work from their agency, and they knew that these specialized tasks necessitated a work force that was highly educated and had a strong facility with the English language. For these and other reasons, they determined that Israel, which had a large population of professionally educated U.S. expatriates and other native English speakers, would be a perfect location for their new venture. The time zone difference between the United States and Israel was also beneficial: attorneys and other clients could place orders during the U.S. workday or evening, Israeli workers could complete the requests while the clients slept, and the finished work could be virtually placed on clients' desks by morning.

Founders Rosenbaum, Brodt, and Zaks determined that one of the greatest untapped sources of these educated, English-speaking workers in Israel was the female population of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Haredi community (plural Haredim). All three founders were themselves Haredi. Male members of the Haredi community were, according to religious custom, charged with intense, daily religious study of Jewish texts. Haredi women typically took care of the household and children and also earned the family income, meaning they had to successfully balance their job hours with significant primary parenting and household-management responsibilities, on top of adhering to other important religious lifestyle customs. By structuring a work environment in accordance with this labor market's unique needs and providing extensive training specific to each task and client, CityBook cultivated the work force necessary to grow rapidly from its initial 8 employees to more than 350 workers in 2013. An astronomical 95% employee retention rate meant that CityBook's significant investment in training and customized client solutions did not walk out the door along with an employee who was moving on, but rather stayed with the company as it grew.

Israel and the Haredi Population

. . .

Keywords: operations management, corporate strategy, outsourcing, diversity, gender, Israel, Haredim, Orthodox, Jewish culture

Suggested Citation

Weiss, Elliott N. and Goldberg, Rebecca, Citybook Services, Ltd. Darden Case No. UVA-OM-1508. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2975010

Elliott N. Weiss (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/html/direc_detail.aspx?styleid=2&id=4375

Rebecca Goldberg

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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