September 29, 2020

How We Do It: Talent Management in the Digital Era

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So far in the How We Do It series, we’ve covered the organizational structure at Scalefocus and our role in managing distributed teams, as well as our efforts towards ensuring high code quality. This week, we’re exploring the way our company approaches recruitment, onboarding of new hires and upskilling initiatives to keep our expertise sharp, boost employee morale and inspire innovation.

Wondering what makes our talent management special? It’s quite simple. We stay true to the human factor while balancing the positive aspects modern technology brings to optimize, improve and excel. We treasure our most valued resource: the people that work to bring exciting ideas to life, the ones with a zest for learning and growing together.

Throughout the entire journey – from a candidate’s application to the moment they greet their team and start their first project, to when they celebrate their  work anniversary, Scalefocus projects a personal attitude, consideration and warmth that all contribute to say, “We’re a family and we’re here to make you smile.”

Talent Acquisition: We’re Constant Learners

At Scalefocus, we put a spin on how things are usually done. We are both people and technologically oriented. What does that mean? Well, it means that we place a large emphasis on expanding our understanding of the latest technologies, while always balancing it with the human factor.   Our latest practices in hiring are aimed towards creating a meaningful candidate experience, eliminating hassle, improving hiring strategies, and detecting talent with the highest potential.

In our talent acquisition process, we combine both the technology and personality aspects of candidates in every step of the process. Our HR specialists, who are dedicated to a specific department or technology, over time, accumulate proficiency in many technical areas. Recently, for Monika Pecheva, Human Resources Generalist, that specific area, which has become her favorite is Dev Ops.

Scalefocus encourages our HR specialists to take part in business meetings and trainings that elevate their knowledge and introduce helpful strategies to bring them closer to selecting the best candidate for the job, and how to have a meaningful and insightful conversation for both the candidate and the recruiter. Monika shares:

“In my position, technological knowledge is crucial. Our department often attends external trainings that explain different profiles in great detail. Later, we get together for internal meetings in which we share our findings and any new observations through presentations. We also take part in trainings organized by hiring managers. The latest one was with our Project Managers who discussed key methodologies, a project flow and qualities of a successful candidate for their team.”

We believe another aspect of what makes our recruitment unique is our dedication  towards optimizing the process and having the candidate leave with a positive experience, regardless of the final hiring decision

To ensure the safety of everyone, our entire recruitment process including interviews is currently done online. We still do recommend dressing for the position and exhibiting a professional attitude in order to stand out in the large candidate pool. Monika comments:

“First impressions are important but shouldn’t be used to entirely judge a candidate right from the get-go. That’s why there are a couple of stages in the process. We understand that interviews from a distance are more difficult, so we try to connect with our candidates and express emotion by leaving our webcams on and maintaining eye contact throughout the whole conversation.”

Our HR specialists advise the hiring manager not only on who they believe will fit in best with the crowd but evaluate and share their insight on vital soft skills a candidate must possess. We are staying on the lookout for the strategic skills of tomorrow which would make the difference in our fast-paced digital environment. Interpersonal traits such as a growth mindset, adaptability, critical thinking, problem-solving and emotional intelligence would definitely make you a good fit!

When the hiring decision is made, it’s our policy to give constructive feedback to each candidate through a personal discussion over the phone, being open towards answering any questions that might still be lingering. Whether you join us at Scalefocus or your journey takes you elsewhere, we promise to be honest, listen to your comments and concerns, and encourage you to continue courageously in your professional path to success.

A New Onboarding Experience

Our HR team is currently preparing a complete redesign of the onboarding process with a threefold goal: to empower the best adaption to company culture, ensure high performance in a timely manner, as well as the most positive employee experience that leads to long-term engagement. It aims to develop an individual approach towards every new hire’s first steps with the company.

The approach required to reach this goal includes many efforts of which some key ones are a stronger involvement of direct managers, digitalization of milestones and expectations through our customized platform, along with a dedicated buddy and mentor.

Welcome to the Team!

After being welcomed, our new team members receive our Scalefocus Welcome Kit – wherever they start from! This is a personalized gift box with goodies that will make work more enjoyable and funny office quotes to make you smile. We’ll keep what’s inside a surprise, but let’s just say it might include a prickly plant to take care of and a glamorous beverage bottle.

With remote work in mind, our customized onboarding platform includes a virtual office tour. When working out of office, Scalefocus encourages team members to set virtual coffee breaks in which they can catch up and talk in an informal setting.

Overcommunication with the manager is encouraged in order to give new colleagues a peace of mind and a sense of belonging in their position.

At the end of the first week, the new hire has seen and met his team, as well as dived in the culture of the company and the nature of his own work. Our colleagues from HR also make a personal call to the employee and checks how things are going. They see if there are questions left unanswered or any support is needed. A personal touch is always appreciated, especially during the first few days in a new company and Scalefocus keeps that in mind. By the end of the second week, work begins on the new hire’s first internal or training project.

What Happens Next?

Up until the end of the new employee’s third month at Scalefocus, the onboarding journey enters a series of trainings. These are client interview trainings, effective meetings trainings organized by HR staff, culminating in a third-month feedback session for giving and receiving feedback.

Afterwards, there are a few presentations including a specific project orientation, an in-depth discussion on corporate values and culture, as well as an opportunity to meet with Executive Team Representatives in a fun, informal setting.

Our Learning and Development department’s role is to build an onboarding process so that it covers all necessary steps, maintain it, evaluate its efficacy, and strive towards excellence – constantly improving the overall experience.

Hristina Bogdanova, Learning and Development Manager at Scalefocus, shares what makes her role exciting:

“Communicating with people and making something for the people is very exciting. My duties and the ones of the L&D team are very different – from personal development plans to internal corporate calendar, preparation of upskilling programs. Developing people’s potential is the best part of my job. Current long-term goals are related to building new programs for the people reflecting the needs that the pandemic brought forward.”

 

Knowledge Transfer & Upskilling

At Scalefocus, the transfer of knowledge doesn’t stop at the end of the onboarding process, in fact it never does. Our company takes pride in offering our employees several avenues for technical and interpersonal growth – from external though internal opportunities to develop and learn, always looking to provide support and mentorship along the way.

We approach the development journey of our people through several different aspects: from career paths linked with training passports, through focused development programs; internal knowledge and experience sharing initiatives; self-paced learning from different platforms; to inspirational leadership talks. Let’s also not forget the opportunity to learn and grow on the job.

We believe that there is a personal development path for each one of our employees, and we provide our colleagues with the opportunity to work on what is suitable for them. We help them build themselves up and venture successfully through it together.

One of the proven successes we have had throughout the years has been our training academies for junior specialists, in which they learn new skills side by side with an expert, supporting them throughout their entire journey.

The Spirit of Scale: A Versatile Approach to Employee Engagement

The Spirit of Scale is a brand-new employee engagement program driven by our employees, inspired by our values. Its goal is to spread team spirit and engage everyone in meaningful activities while creating precious memories and contributing to our company culture. This is also a great opportunity for our employees to practice their interests and passions, alongside colleagues from other departments. In the current social distancing environment, both from COVID and from the digitalization, we strongly encourage community-building initiatives and support bringing people together.

Employees can choose to participate from four different streams that reflect both our company values and their personal interests. The first stream, We Play, focuses on sports and fun initiatives such as mountain trekking and board game tournaments. The second stream, We Care, shines the light on social responsibility, education and green initiatives like school supply donations and tree planting.

The third stream, We Thrive, brings personal well-being into the picture and gives the opportunity to join events on topics like smart financial planning, overcoming remote work challenges, and effective parenting strategies. The final stream, We Share, is centered on the power of exchanging inspirational ideas and knowledge that each one of us carries with us. This may be technical, creative, physical or spiritual initiatives such as tips on discovering your leadership voice, yogic dieting, or DIY home hacks.

After selecting a stream, employees can either enroll to become an ambassador and be the driving force in its event organization and execution, or they can simply join a stream and become a community member joining other colleagues to discuss topics of interest and stay up to date with internal and external events. Scalefocus is excited to be rolling out its first Spirit of Scale events for each stream in the weeks ahead!

We Owe our Success to You

Well, that’s a wrap on this sneak peek behind our talent management processes. We hope you found it honest and insightful. What do you think about our approach to talent management? Let us know on social media – we’ll be happy to hear from you and start a discussion.

We’re always striving to optimize, improve and grow into an even more diverse, inclusive and exciting place to work at. Breaking new ground in software development innovation doesn’t come easy, and we know our continued success wouldn’t be possible without the hard work, dedication, passion and teamwork of each Scalefocusarian. And that’s a fact.