Software product development companies fight for promising candidates and seasoned employees offering the best benefits in IT. They unfold a vision full of great projects and additional benefits. A sports card, remote work, fresh and free fruit in the office’s kitchen – rolling out a red carpet full of more or less expected perks does not equal a satisfactory workplace environment. What is the nature of a friendly and efficient space, and do profits distort what can be an optimal place to realize an employees’ potential while achieving business goals?
According to the 2016 survey by Mercer, involving 35 companies and 25,000 eligible employees, tech companies not only do engage in various benefit programs but also spend a considerable amounts of money to do so. Let’s just say that the 35 questioned companies spend $250M dollars in annual medical bills. These are world giants – 66% of these companies employed people from different countries to where the HQ is present, with the median reaching 32%. This means resources for various benefits. Can this situation be applied to Poland and what do employees value the most?
A 2017 report by the Sedlak & Sedlak company tells us that employees in software product development companies and largely understood IT are the second professional group directly after board members in Poland when it comes to professional satisfaction. IT professionals have a 52% rate of satisfaction, while the overall Polish median is only 33 %. The market is open and extensive but lacks hands to work. Companies are fighting over employees with money - according to the report, professionals can earn 6625 zl gross pay. Seniors can earn between 9500 zl and 13250 zl gross. These sums do not include bonuses and benefits. Access to online platforms with courses, participation in conferences, language lessons and sports cards, with the possibility for at least partially remote work and relax zones with video games consoles, plus launch rooms and of office massages. All of this for the current 211000 Polish IT professionals - however, we lack around 50.000, with the deficit growth rate between 3% to 5% annually. Employees of software product development companies and top softare houses in Poland appreciate benefits but does this constitute overall job satisfaction rate?
Not necessarily. As the report from Antal shows, Polish IT specialists and managers tend to overlook benefits a little. They don’t even come up on the podium. Innovations are important for 22%, management style and culture for 16%, company size and prestige for 15% and finally money, important for only 10%. These data leave us with the impression that Polish software developers for hire are self-aware not only in the terms of their market value but also challenges that lie ahead. 22% pointing to the desire of working in an innovative company translates into an awareness of their upper hand in the wider employee market and skills. Cities like Warsaw, Cracow, Gdansk or Wroclaw, not to mention ‘Polish Silicon Valley’ or Silesia, have become a vital place for local and foreign companies alike.
Polish companies have nothing to be ashamed of and some of them open new sites, even in a matter of months. This gives software developers the ability to choose the place they want to work, which is a very practical benefit. This is for sure our case. At CSHARK we’re not only able to work remotely; we’re also paying for English lessons and team-building exercises. Developers can also choose their preferred form of employment. Our company culture is anything but corporate and small teams advocate agile, rapid development and quick knowledge gathering. Given that we have over 170 employees at 3 sites, and new people come on board every month, a flat structure is quite an accomplishment and it gives opportunity to effectively manage projects.
Krzysztof Kundys, the Recruitment Specialist at CSHARK:
We don’t necessarily value corporate philosophy. What we wanted and have incorporated into our culture are interesting areas of expertise, projects, professional development and technology. This is the future, since technology is present in every area of our lives – professional, transportation, etc. It also takes up a lot of our free time. And if technology is the future, the same goes for our employees. We do have benefits but we don’t want to put a particular emphasis on them. Areas of expertise and projects are what we care about. This approach is respected by our employees – during interviews we hear questions about possibilities and paths for professional development and parking spaces, not about offices massages.
Taking into the account market data, this policy does make sense. The research, ‘Polish professional satisfaction 2016’ conducted by Sedlak & Sedlak, clearly shows that despite very large amounts of resources spent on attracting and keeping IT professionals, representants of this group do not have a higher level of work motivation in comparison to the rest of the population. Their loyalty is also on a ‘normal’ level and it’s not higher than other occupational groups’.
As Krzysztof Kundys says:
I really believe that we at CSHARK did come up with an interesting take on the company culture and responsibility for the employee. For him or her to stay with us a while longer, we don’t use ‘the money argument’ alone. We focus on projects and interesting business areas. We have five of them and we know that is it. Recently we had our 4th anniversary and I have to say – the rotation in our organisation is minimal.
Not every company sees that software developers for hire are a group that wants not only prestige and money but technology and a constant focus on professional development. Specialists also want to have a say about the tools the company is using (they utilize them on a daily basis after all). They also want to work under the guidelines of Agile methodologies, since these allow for effective achievement of business and project goals. When employees don’t get all of the above, they simply leave. Recruitment and HR specialists often focus on secondary details (including benefits) and don’t pay enough attention to the needs of the leaving but valued employee.
As Maciej Stęga, an HR freelancer says:
IT is one of the most candidate- and employer-centered industry out there; it’s often spearheading trends for others to follow. Some elements can still be tweaked, though. Employers create long lists of benefits and forget about basic processes from fields like HR and Employer Branding. They focus so much on talent acquisition that they forget about the larger scope. Acquisitions is one thing; keeping talents in organizations is another. Processes like transparent and honest communication when an employee is not satisfied, is necessary for the creation of the openness policy inside the company.
Meanwhile the Sedlak & Sedlak report shows, that employers value sports cards, 96% of all companies have them in their offer. Professional training is offered by 92% of employers, while private medical care is important for 91% of companies. Language courses are valued by 77% of organisations. It appears things important to employees are mixed with benefits that are meaningful in the eyes of companies employing them.
We can find proof in a report by IT-Leaders from 2017. According to its data, flexible work time is important for 77% of employees, remote work for 75%, knowledge about new technologies for 75% and new and exciting projects for 62%. Specialized training courses are valued by 59% of developers.
IT specialists in software development companies in Europe are a privileged professional group. It’s a direct consequence of technical knowledge, level of competence and high demand from the market. You could say that software developers and QA Specialists are overpaid but in many cases it’s not a matter of money but misguided view on the channels this money should flow to them.