05
May
2021

Uptime’s CEO: What does an IT firm need to offer, to attract and keep top talent? 

When it comes to the IT sector, there are almost always more open positions than there are people capable of filling them. This means that people looking for employment can look beyond just their salary when it comes to choosing a new company to work with; and pay greater attention to other values and benefits the employer can offer: excellent culture, opportunities for developmentinteresting and challenging projects, and so much more.  

People who have worked in the sector for a while know that their skills are in hot demand, as such they know that if they as much as pick up the phone, they can line up a series of interviews for the next day and get a highly competitive offer salarywise. However, every company operating in the sector is willing to pay such a salary, which has created a situation where financial compensation is relatively high everywhere and a job seeker can make a decision by looking at the bigger picture and asking: what else can a company offer me? 

This means that in order to build a successful and long-lasting team, you need to look beyond the numbers to understand what motivates and encourages people, and what makes people love their jobs. Of course, everyone is different, and everyone has their own preferences, but thanks to Uptime’s nearly 30 years of experience, during which time the company has expanded from Estonia to Denmark, Norway, and Poland as wellwe’ve come to an understanding that in order to find the best people, you need to be able to offer:  

Freedom and flexibility 

Bureaucracy and multiple levels of managers are never something that motivates people. We believe that people must be able to make their own decisions, take responsibility, and have a say when it comes to the projects they are working on. Of course, this does not mean that there is anarchy in the workplace and that everyone does things the way they want. Rather, a good example of this is our teams’ structure, where every team has almost complete discretion over the approach and organizational matters when it comes to projects assigned to the team. 

Freedom must also be expressed in flexibility. No human being is a robot, and although work is an important part of life for many, family and leisure are just as important. That’s why ensuring a proper work-life balance is something every company should focus on. 

Good people 

No one is excited to come to work when you know that the place is filled with people you cannot stand. As such, we have taken strong focus on recruiting people with the best technical skills, but who are also well-suited to our culture, share our values and who are just nice to work with. Unpleasant people scare away all the pleasant people quite quickly. 

Opportunities for development 

Most developers have a passion for learning something new, refining their existing skills, and understanding the finer points of any systemWith this in mind, we try to offer our people every opportunity to develop themselves if they feel that a new skill or experience can in some way positively affect the projects they are working onIn addition to that, we understand that the best can only learn from the best. 

As a result, we pay great attention during the hiring process to ensure that ounew hires’ skills are at a level where they can successfully contribute to ongoing projects, but also share an insight into something their new colleagues may not know.  

Stability 

Changing jobs is a rather tedious process for most people, especially when they must change jobs for unpleasant reasons, such as the bankruptcy of their current employer or because the company decided to pivot to a new technology that they can’t master. 

As such we see the stability that Uptime offers as something that suits a great many people  we are not an investment-dependent company whose future is still somewhat uncertain, and we do not chase the newest technologies just because of hype. If a new technology is indeed something that would be beneficial to our customers, we make sure that everyone who needs to master it to contribute to the project can do so within a reasonable timeframe. 

So much more 

This list could go on and on, because in addition to the points listed above, a person’s desire to work with a company is affected by a myriad of other aspects that are not easily quantifiable and includethe projects that are being worked on; a sense of belonging; smaller rewards and bonuses; excellent work environment; clear strategy and vision; and much, much more. 

This does not mean that the salary is not important 

However, this does not mean that a competitive salary isn’t important and that top performers in their field are willing to join a company just because you can offer the right soft values. People know their worth well, and if a company can’t meet their expectationsno amount of fruit in the office or fun team activities can compensate for that. 

Salaries in the IT sector are not high because someone thought it should be this way. Just as it is proper for a market economy, the level of supply and demand determines the level of wages  if there are very few people who can do something and a lot of employers who need people with such skills, it is relatively logical that wages are high. At the same time, it is important to understand that there is always someone somewhere who has even more resources than you, so you cannot expect that just money is enough to keep and attract top talent. 

This is also the reason people lured away from other companies with just piles of cash don’t usually stay for too long – it’s only a matter of time till the next recruiter comes along who is willing to make an even bigger offer. And although working for the next company may be a step down considering any softer values, a person motivated just by the financial aspect of the job will most likely accept the offer. 

As a result, we have taken a clear approach in our recruitment process, where we do not try to attract competitors’ employees with just large numbers. The reason for this is simple: firstly, the person’s current employer will most likely offer the same number in a few seconds to keep them, and secondly, because we are looking for people who will stay with us for more than a year. 

So, when we happen to talk to a competitor’s employee and realize we’d like to have them in our team, we want to make sure that he or she sees some other benefit in working with us in addition to a potentially increased income. Usually, we can find this added motivator. 

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