Challenges of Working in IT Industry
There has been a lot of talk about the challenges in employment of IT experts. For years the demand has exceeded the supply, and the mere fact that many employment agencies refuse to recruit programmers is a sure enough proof how challenging it has become to find the right candidates. Therefore, IT companies have no other choice but to be highly creative and persevering in order to attract and retain the required staff. If a company believes that it is important for each new employee to share the company’s values, as we at Serengeti do, then this task becomes even more difficult.
Although our employees enjoy various benefits typical for IT companies (for more information, please visit www.serengeti.hr), we have focused our efforts in two directions, which at first glance do not sound glamorous, but we think that in the long term they bring maximum benefits to our (new) employees and are greatly appreciated by our current employees:
1) balance between private and personal life continually achieves highest ratings in our in-house employee satisfaction surveys, as well as additional vacation days, possibility to work at home, minimal overtime work;
2) continuous improvement of organizational design. Organizational design is a process of alignment of the organizational structure, managerial and business process, information systems, employee awards system, and other organizational elements with the selected strategy (according to Hernaus, 2009.). Here at Serengeti, we continually analyse and re-examine the work organization, whether the right people are placed in the right jobs, how a process can be improved, etc. This is very important for our employees because such a working environment allows them to realize their full potential. (For more detail on the topic, see our article series 'an ocean of opportunities').
As an HR manager, I am particularly pleased that in our company, the sentence – for us, motivation and a deep interest in programming is crucial – is not just an empty phrase. Formal education comes second. For example, we have as part of our team several economics graduates whose transition to programming has been truly fascinating and who can serve as an inspiration to anyone who considers such a career change. This is the approach we also adopt in the selection process itself: the technical part of the interview in which we determine the candidate’s level of knowledge is important, but we tend to put more emphasis on the psychological part of the interview, in which our HR team assesses the candidate’s motivation and personal traits which we consider essential for success in our company, such as professionality, ambition, flexibility and preference for teamwork.
Since we are one of the largest outsourcing companies in Croatia, our programmers have an opportunity to switch between various fields and technologies, teams and clients in a short period of time. This helps them acquire technical knowledge much faster, as well as the social skills that are in ever growing demand on the labour market in all industries, not just in information technology. Today it is not enough for developers to just know how to write a code – they must know how to effectively communicate with clients, team leaders and team members, how to present their work, etc. The various projects we introduced in these areas empower them and help them learn these skills.
There are no easy fixes and shortcuts when it comes to attracting and hiring IT experts. Fruit, rooms for play and rest as well as cool offices can serve as nice addition to a good structured organization, healthy interpersonal relations and supportive company culture, but is not something on which you can build a long-term strategy for attracting and retaining employees.
Ivana Ružička, HR Manager at Serengeti
Graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb with a degree in psychology, currently in the process of completing a final paper to earn an EMBA degree. Seven years of experience in HR, six of which in the IT industry.