Five most important aspects of working at VALA
In terms of workplace satisfaction, what are the most important aspects for VALA people? How have we succeeded in those? These things and more in this post. As transparency is one our core values, we’re not shy with the negative things here either.
On top of our internal bi-annual satisfaction surveys and daily surveys (we have this new tool called Vibes, more about this later here in our blog), once a year we conduct a Siqni survey for our people. All surveys have their own purposes and strengths. The main strength of Siqni is that it helps us track what is important to VALA people and how we are doing in those aspects.
In the survey, people were asked to choose 5 most important things for themselves. Here are the top 10 most important things in a workplace for VALA people (according to how many people included the choices in their top 5).
In this post we’ll focus on the top five of those.
1. Work-life balance (56% of VALA people mentioned this as top 5 things for them)
This is probably not a surprise to anyone. As in many characteristic things in IT industry, this too has become even more important since Covid-19. When people work at home, sometimes workdays tend to become longer and work and freetime blend with each other. A very important aspect to focus, according to the survey, the most important.
How are we doing
Luckily, this is something we’ve done well in. A score of 91/100 can be consider very good. Moreover, the variance is not too bad. Meaning that VALA people agree strongly that work-life balance is in order.
Work-life balance has always been important at VALA. Because of this we haven’t had to make any significant changes in our culture to make it better. Little tweaks here and there over the years but the main principles have stayed the same:
- No overtime work if you don’t want
- Take as much vacation as you wish (as long as it’s agreed with the customer)
- No one is interrupted during their vacation (if not agreed before hand)
- We generally strongly encourage everyone to hold on to their work-life balance and consciously focus on it
2. Meaningful work (46% of VALA people mentioned this as top 5 things for them)
For many years now we’ve had a goal of being the happiest company. Since the beginning, our take on workplace fe happiness has been strongly correlated with meaningfulness of work. In our opinion it’s the most important factor affecting workplace happiness. It’s nice to see how this has stuck with VALA people as it’s the second most important factor in this study.
How are we doing
Let’s be honest, we didn’t do so well on this front. 75/100 is not a totally poor result but it certainly isn’t along our standards. A deep long look in the mirror is at place here.
As mentioned, meaningful work is our utmost objective and we really try our best to excel. How did we not get better results in this then? There can be many reasons which we will try to dig out. At this point it’s merely guessing but one affecting aspect could be that since we’ve talked about this so much, our people are really actively thinking about this and the standards are high. But that’s not an excuse! And the standards should be high. What we can do now is to find out the reasons first and then start improving. Until that we will continue focusing on the current actions, most important of those being:
- As much power as possible to our people when choosing their projects to find meaningful assignments to begin with
- Continuous dialogue to see how meaningfulness comes true in the assignment
- Even more effort from sales to enable meaningful assignments for everyone
- Maintaining and improving the possibilities for professional development and learning
- Increasing the importance of meaningfulness when choosing our customers
- Further enhancing VALA’s general business to be more ethical, sustainable, inclusive and responsible. In other words, making VALA a such company where people get the sense of meaningfulness by just being a part of the company
3. Work environment where you can truly be yourself (42% of VALA people mentioned this as top 5 things for them)
I would guess that this too is affected by our company culture where empathy and tolerance have always played an important role. This culture has partly consciously and partly subconsciously steered our recruiting in this direction, we want people who cherish these kind of values. It’s nice to see in numbers that this is important to VALA people.
How are we doing
Luckily, we’re back on track with this one. 91/100 is satisfactory, though naturally there’s room for improvement. A bit more variance here but fortunately the long tail is on the preferred side.
As said, this comes directly from our company culture. You can try to force people to be tolerant and respectful towards each other but to make a real impact, people need to have these qualities and values in them. Though we are happy that VALA people live by these values, keeping up the current status requires work. What we have been doing and continue to emphasise in the future:
- Zero tolerance for any kind of discrimination, harrasment, bullying etc. This is a no-brainer in today’s work life but still it should not be taken for granted
- We actively think about how to further improve these aspects at VALA
- We concretize these things in written form and as guidelines/rules. People make the culture but in things like these, it’s important to have code of conducts and other written rules/guidelines too.
- We try our best to support and emphasise these aspects (inclusiveness, tolerance etc.) in our internal and external communications
4. Freedom to work where you want and according to your own schedule (40% of VALA people mentioned this as top 5 things for them)
It industry is fortunate in a way that most of the work can be done wherever and whenever. This has resulted in people demanding that more and more. Moreover, Covid has naturally accelerated this development further.
How are we doing
At the moment, almost all of us work remotely because of Covid. Thus it’s not a surprise that a survey at this moment yields a result like this. However, we believe the result would have been very good in normal circumstances too.
VALA has always cherished freedom to work as one wishes. VALA as a company has basically no restrictions on this front. As long as it’s okay to the customer, everyone can work whenever and wherever they like.
5. Fair salary and benefits (33% of VALA people mentioned this as top 5 things for them)
For most of us, the main reason for working is to get paid so it’s no surprise that fair salary is important for VALA people. Actually, it’s a bit of a surprise that this isn’t higher on the list. Think about it, for two thirds of VALA people, fair salary and benefits isn’t a top five priority. Interestenting…
How are we doing
This is the second unsatisfactory result here. 78/100 is just not good enough. Here we have quite a lot of variance, more respondents who are not satisfied. This suggests that the majority of people are satisfied with their salaries but there are still too many who aren’t.
According to our research, our salaries have been on par or above compared to our competitors and industry standards. Our salaries have increased significantly this year and we’ve been working actively to create a more comprehensive, fair and transparent salary model. Moreover, we have a salary workshop coming (with all VALA people invited, naturally) in the fall where we try to find ways to improve together. Much work ahead but we are certain that we will improve!
Employee Net Promoter Score is not directly related to the subject of this post but I wanted to include it here because we now have the most recent data. So, according to the Siqni survey, our eNPS is 67.
What does a score of 67 mean?
Generally, according to HR technologist, any score above 0 is acceptable, scores from 10 to 30 can be considered good and above 50 scores are excellent. This is only one interpretation and should not be taken as one and only truth. Moreover, eNPS is better suited to act as an internal benchmark, rather than comparing it to others.
In our case, the score has risen from last year (62 to 67) and is at a very high level. From the above picture you can see that only three people out of 57, answered 7 or below to the question of how likely they would recommend VALA as an employer.