When a salary rise alone is not enough

Polish IT specialists aren’t complaining about a lack of jobs. In December alone, the largest recruitment web portals for employers published more than 500  job offers – reads a Goldenline analysis. Global prognoses for the next couple of years seem to be equally optimistic. According to the European Commission, the IT industry in the entire Union is about to create over 700 thousand new job posts.

However, there are two sides to every story. What constitutes a professional prospect for some, might be a source of challenge for others. We’re talking about recruiters here.

A booming IT industry generates new job positions, that are increasingly harder to fill with qualified workers. The best ones, highly qualified and versatile, find jobs immediately, quite often abroad –- says Remigiusz Efinowicz, Hicron’s Board Member – For this reason it is worth looking for rough diamonds – talented individuals without experience. People at the beginning of their career are easier to shaped and train. Here in Hicron we pay a lot of attention to training and internship programs, that are in all honesty, quite hard to qualify for, but which for a lot of people end up with the signing of a contract. The job offer alone stands out on the market since it involves participation in IT system development for some of the largest companies in western Europe: among others MAN Group, Volvo, etc. –- he adds. Currently the company employs 230 people, 50 of which joined the team last year.

Companies try to attract the best students and graduates mainly through cooperation with higher education institutions. With these people in mind they create a complex internship system or organise competitions that let them fish out young talents. The majority of such programmes in the IT companies are paid, which is an additional motivation to work.

Students, graduates, experienced specialists

Students and graduates can certainly also be encouraged or motivated to work for profits as in paid internships, if the perspective of further employment or the company’s reputation come into play. Experienced specialists are usually harder to find. Most IT companies have similar, high-level compensation systems, social benefits or healthcare. As a result, IT employees consider these elements as standard and pay added attention to their ability to fulfil their own professional ambitions and passions. What do employers do to meet these needs and expectations?

An example to follow can be found among the winners of the “Best Polish Employers 2012” competition –- companies which actively try to work with the expectations, talents and aspirations of each employee to use them to the fullest in future organisational needs. Training can be one way to do this. Such initiatives benefit both sides. Participants can work for instance on soft skills development, which most often include time management, stress management, interpersonal communication, but also less common skills, such as, pilot training or yoga. Training of this type complements classic educational methods, that have also undergone transformations as well.

Most important is continuous professional development

Increasingly, traditional forms of training are being replaced by solutions which stimulates participants. In our case, what has proven successful has been the “Training 42” platform, based on the idea of knowledge exchange between employees. Short, 42 minute meetings aim to familiarise employees with the specifics of the IT solution being developed by them. In this way, a natural space was created, in which everyone;from programmer to consultant to the coordinator of a given project, has the ability to broaden their competence level or even to find a new path for growth –- says Ireneusz Czapski, Hicron’s Board Member and the author of the “Training 42” programme.

Many companies create individual training programs dedicated and customised for employees of the greatest potential. Within the boundaries of such programme, a subsidy might be offered for language courses, post graduate studies, MBAs, training abroad or exchange programmes organised by company’s departments from all over the world, as well as a perspective to further one’s career on an international level.

Human resources policy

Human resources policy of Polish IT industry companies have undergone a great transformation in recent years. Among employers the phenomenon of a career path emerged, which means defining the path and direction of the employee’s development, as well as the criteria used to decide which position he or she might be assigned to in the future. –says Remigiusz Efinowicz –. In our company nobody gets hired as a junior and stays junior for five years. Mentor supervision allows for gradual integration of the employee up to full autonomy. Our workers do not have to limit themselves, there is a possibility to switch departments to challenge themselves in a different setting, which additionally increases their competence level. We also help them in that process through the Hicron Competency Checklist (HCCL) initiative, used to verify base knowledge and IT skills of the youngest employees. The basic idea behind the HCCL is the autonomous education of junior consultants. Under the watchful eye of mentors, young workers complete a precisely defined set of tasks. Their choice is not random – these are typical problems that, experienced specialists face on a daily basis during their projects. The program ends with an exam, with results helping to choose the right career path for the young staff – he explains.