What is it really like to work at VALA Group?
Do we try to look good in your eyes and “sell” VALA to you as a great workplace? Absolutely yes. Are we honest while doing this? That’s a yes too. We share the good things and the bad.
Of course we market our company as everyone else does. But where we try to differ is honesty.
No matter how hard we try, we still have some things in place that are not ideal. And we tell you about those too. To prove the point, let’s first go through some of the things where we should improve. After that, some more positive things ;).
Things we could and should improve based on our employee surveys and own observations
Meaningful work tasks
On a scale of 1 to 5 our people in general answered 3,8 to the question My work feels meaningful to me (Nov 2020). That’s a decent score but the score has been going down for a while. This is perhaps the most important aspect that VALA as an employer wants to offer to its employees. Because of that there’s no room for excuses, we have to take action on this.
Status: Even though we have worked on this intensively for many years already, now we need to switch gears and do more. For now, we’ve identified the most potential places for improvement. These include: enhancing individuals’ personal awareness of the factors of meaningful work, new projects that match people’s interests better and more projects where we can work as VALA teams.
Clarification of the admin team roles
According to our satisfaction surveys, some VALA people feel uninformed about the roles and responsibilities of the growing admin team. This can cause uncertainty and negative feelings, especially as one of our core values is transparency.
Status: Taken under work. E.g. The admin team has written descriptions of each role so everyone knows who does what and who to ask for help in what. Internal communication relating to the admin team’s daily work has been improved in other ways too, for example a Trello board with all admin team development projects is on the works.
Transparent and clear salary model and clear steps on how to improve ones salary
During 2020 we learned that our salary model is imperfect. We’ve started improving it already in the spring 2020, but there’s still room for improvement. Things to enhance are at least overall transparency and clarity, and the clarity in terms of what one should do to improve one’s salary.
Status: First communal salary workshop held. Remodeled/improved salary model on the works.
Communality & professional development during Covid
For a consultancy company like VALA, improving the sense of communality has always been on the table. We were just starting to see our work producing some real results when the Corona hit. But where we failed – in retrospect – was that it took a bit too long for us to realise that the remote work is the new normal and we just have to transform all these communal activities to suit the new normal. And the exact same story goes for professional development.
Status: This has been taken under development big time. Leena Saari has begun her work with these and is focusing on our competence development and communities full time. Moreover new members in our People Team team are working hard on new plans on how to keep up the communality in the new normal.
This is something where we can always improve. For some, there’s too much communication, for some too little. Some need even more transparency whereas some wish to not be informed of everything. For VALA, the biggest challenge has been clear: we have struggled in getting some core messages to all VALA people in a way that everyone understands them. Examples of the following are: our option program and its benefits, Siili collaboration and its benefits and VALA strategy.
Status: Always improving. Major aspects on the table right now are: what is the proper amount of communication and perfecting the simplicity and clarity of the messages.
These were the things that have been on the table most recently. Anyone at VALA can always suggest an improvement aspect that our potential employees should know, and we can update it here.
Then to the positive things!
Through the years we’ve collected personal introductions of our people in our people page. Now we decided to analyse and categorise these texts to see if we can find some patterns. As it turned out, there were many delightful similarities. Somewhat randomly categorised, here are some thoughts from our people about working at VALA. Please note that some of the comments are a bit old.
Expectations vs. Reality
As said we’ve always tried to be honest and transparent. One particularly good benchmark for this is to ask our new employees how they feel the reality has matched their expectations. Whenever we’ve asked this we’ve had positive answers. Here are just a few of the most recent ones.
Annina: “Wow”, I thought. What is this place where the employees and their wellbeing is the number one priority? Is this even real? I just had to apply, even though everything sounded too good to be true. Well folks, it is true.
Esa: Before starting at VALA I had been following the company for several years. Sometimes I was wondering that is it true what you can read about VALA. E.g. the vision of happiness and the possibility to choose your own project. Well, now I can tell that it really is true.
Jan: I chose VALA as my employer mainly because of the company culture. It’s been a joy to notice how VALA’s culture and values aren’t just empty rhetoric, but they are present in every-day work.
Teemu: VALA was one of the companies I really wanted to work for. I heard lots of good things about their mentality and attitude towards their people. Every expectation I had, have been met.
Johannes: I wanted to work at VALA because I had heard only good things about their employees and atmosphere, and every bit of it has proven to be true.
Note: We understand that people might not want to tell if they feel that their expectations haven’t been met. But these kinds of comments haven’t come up in anonymous surveys either.
Culture, values & atmosphere
Esa: The atmosphere in the company has been very positive, welcoming and supporting since day one. Nowadays there are more than 100 of us at VALA, but the small company vibe still exists.
Jan: Right from the start VALA felt like a home and the people were great.
Juha: When I started at VALA the people here made me feel really welcome. From day one it has been obvious to me that people, their interests and their feelings are valued here. The atmosphere at the office is fun and relaxed, and the colleagues are friendly.
Johannes: VALA as a company is very relaxed and the people are nice and knowledgeable professionals.
Alessandro: The first impression at VALA has been very positive, and VALA’s atmosphere and colleagues have proved to be just as comfortable and encouraging as in my expectations. I have been very well received!
Leena: To balance the challenges we’re facing in our projects, VALA has a caring and accepting company culture – we are enough as we are. VALA suits especially autonomous, driven personalities, who enjoy doing things their own way.
Panu: At VALA I particularly like that people are so kind and helpful. It’s always easy to get help and everyone is easy to approach.
Mika: It’s important for me that we have motivated and positive people here at VALA. People that support each other and work together as a team.
Matti: People are respected here, and everyone can be themselves.
Tatu: I feel like VALA’s values are close to my own values in life. VALA does a pretty solid job going by these values although you can always do better
No hierarchy or bureaucracy
Annina: A year at VALA has passed by and I couldn’t be happier. The atmosphere is great, colleagues are fun and the fact that there’s no hierarchy makes you feel like an equal with everyone.
Tomi: The culture is just great, no unnecessary bureaucracy and you can make your own decisions without asking for permission.
Arthur: VALA has clear goals for the future and in what comes to these goals, VALA always considers employees’ opinions.
Lauri: The atmosphere at VALA is very positive and there’s no unnecessary bureaucracy.
Panu: Moreover, there are no hierarchies.
Mika: It’s great that there is a culture of low bureaucracy at VALA which enables us to use our time efficiently for the actual work of helping our customers.
Esa: Despite the fact that things are extremely well at the moment, the company is continuously developed. And the best thing is that every VALA employee is involved in the development.
Jan: VALA listens to my professional ambitions and what kind of projects I would like to work with, not to mention taking care of my personal well-being. At VALA people are truly #1.
Alessandro: One of the greatest positive things in VALA is the emphasis on people rather than simply employees
Lauri: From the first moment at VALA, I’ve realised that people are valued and respected here.
Mika: Here people are respected and the wellbeing of each individual is taken care of. Development discussions are not just a yearly tradition but rather a continuous interaction and discussion.
Ilia: VALA, in its turn, provides ample opportunities to realize yourself as an engineer. It offers the projects of all tastes, keeps a culture with all kinds of liberties, gives a warm care of every employee, encourages education and cultivates happiness.
Annina: At VALA you really are encouraged to develop yourself as a professional. Before I started, I had zero experience of test automation. Now, I have been doing test automation using Robot Framework in my customer project.
Alessandro: Another fact I consider important is also VALA’s support for personal development. I believe that, from the point of view of professional development, VALA is one the best places to work in this field.
Teemu: VALA wants to support my professional development and really wants to ensure that I’m feeling good. That makes VALA maybe the best place to be for me right now.
Lauri: Everyone’s professional development is supported.
Panu: VALA constantly supports professional development and learning new technologies.
Mika: VALA supports me by providing the needed tools and education and also the best QA professionals to work with.
Matti: In VALA caring and personal development show itself through concrete actions.
Bardhyl: Working at VALA has given me everything that a young and aspiring person like me needs, challenging projects in a friendly and compassionate environment.
Tatu: At VALA I feel that I have the power to affect my career path and where I am going with the support of the company.
Juha: I like that at VALA, my interests are taken into account when looking for a suitable customer project.
Tomi: I’ve been given the opportunity to work on projects that I find interesting which tends to make all the difference when your working days are spent with bright colors of text editor.
Lauri: At VALA, I can work with projects that are important and meaningful to me. Moreover, projects, where there’s just the right amount of challenge to enable constant development.
Whoa, you made it this far, congrats! Check our career page to see if we have an open position suitable for you. We are constantly and vigorously further improving our company culture and we can safely say that working at VALA will be even better in the future!