The year 2020 was not an easy one for any company. The pandemic forced everyone to review internal processes and implement necessary changes to streamline the transition to remote working. It was no different at Applover, and while indeed quite a few things have changed, one thing has remained the same – the initiatives and commitment of our employees. They and their contribution to the company proved to be crucial.
Improvement of the recruitment process
In an IT company such as Applover, recruitment is a constant process. New projects come up, and clients need additional support. What pandemic changed was that that we had to move our work to remote mode – with no exception for the recruitment and onboarding process. It was an excellent moment to verify that the candidate and the employee are in our focus.
To adjust the recruitment process, make it clear and transparent for the candidates, together with the HR team, we went through the path that each of the applicants goes through before starting to work with us. As befits IT, we focused on automation. Thanks to this, candidates are being informed about their application status. We have also changed the knowledge verification process itself. Till the middle of the year, candidates were filling out long tests before receiving an invitation to an interview. Our mobile team took the initiative to try something different. We tried out pair programming, and it turned out to be a great idea. The solution allows us to verify candidates on the fly, and our developer can always help with the task. Thanks to this, both candidates and our programmers have a chance to check how they cooperate in practice. Pair programming passed the test, so we plan to transfer this process to other positions as well.
All recruitments carried out in this way turned out to be successful, and 14 new people joined our team in 2020. Those hired work at Applover and their competencies are ideally suited to the project and the position.
We have also taken care of onboarding. A welcome package and a structured induction process await new employees. Each of them also receives a manual containing the essential information about Applover and tips that facilitate acclimatization in our team.
Integration events are paramount at Applover! Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we could not organize our legendary terrace parties. Because of numerous restrictions, we were forced to move most of our integration meetings online. It turned out that thanks to the engagement and support of our employees, the whole Applover team found the new form perfectly fine and had much fun during the remote meetings. This transition helped us to get to know the unique talents of our employees. It turned out that our Project Manager is an avid fan of PubQuizzes and feels excellent in organizing such entertainment for the whole Applover team. Thanks to him and other team members, we organized 7 different integration events last year, including 5 entirely remotely!
Due to our company’s constant development and growth, we cannot organize big events for 50 people every month. That is why we have seen integration microbudgets for teams. Each team can decide to manage their integration with a pizza or participate in a chosen training or workshop together. This reinforces team spirit and having fun together, which we highly value at Applover.
Development paths and PGFs
Another of the employee initiatives were PGFs, which you can read about here. Zuzia, our backend leader, led a project to create career paths for IT employees. Thanks to this, employees know in which direction they can develop and what is vital in working at Applover. However, this doesn’t mean that our employees don’t have the opportunity to change their plans or add new goals on an ongoing basis. Each of them can freely add changes to their development path directly in GitHub. Applover is created not only by developers but also by marketing, HR, or sales experts. With them in mind, we are currently deploying PGFs for non-technical positions as well.
Building the PGF from scratch in cooperation with all Applover team members has been an incredible process that enabled us to evaluate the values that drive us in our everyday work life. PGF is something more than just a set of values and career paths - it is a living organism that develops along with Applover members’ needs and acts as a guide in their career development.
The role of the leader and the HR team
As the organization grew, we faced more barriers. Until then, as befits a small family business, all employees’ questions went directly to the management board. With new projects and challenges, the board no longer had as much time as they once did to properly take care of each employee. To maintain a high level of care for each team member, we invited employees to participate in a workshop where we identified vital needs and generated solutions for them. As a result of the workshop, we identified leaders, i.e., people responsible for contacting the employee. Each team at Applover has at least one leader whose task is to find out employees’ needs and problems and address them in the right place.
The idea behind bringing to life a leader for each team was to professionalize processes and delegate responsibilities that had previously largely rested on Applover’s management team’s shoulders. With the company’s rapid growth and the number of duties, we no longer had enough resources to make each employee feel appropriately taken care of. We have always been extremely keen on our employees’ well-being, and right now, I can say that the leaders help us a lot in this matter.
The leader is also tasked with nurturing employee development and collecting and providing feedback at the bi-annual evaluations. After three months of establishing a leadership role for each team, we gathered for a retrospective and summarized each team’s process. We need to implement some changes, but our most important goals have been achieved. Employees feel that someone cares about them, and know whom they should turn to with their questions and needs.
Additionally, 2 HR professionals joined Applover in 2020, creating an HR team fully focused on employee development, solving their problems and responding to their needs.
Plans for 2021
In our plans for 2021, we put people first. The board has set new goals for the year, and among them, there are 2 that directly affect employees. We want to maintain the fantastic, informal atmosphere while professionalizing processes and giving more initiative and decision-making power to employees. We cannot imagine working without people and their support.
We will tackle communication first. We want everyone to be well informed about what is happening in the company and where to find the relevant information. We will also systematically notify employees about the tasks and activities in the individual departments, run more face-to-face communication and feedback.
We are currently working on a description of the organizational structure and culture at Applover. With a clear mission and vision and the company’s values, we will all know what activities are essential for the management and how we should act in certain situations. We want employees to have more responsibility and opportunities to perform. So they need to know what direction we are going in and what is important to the board. As the number of people working at Applover grows, and there will be even more of us, we already see the need to systematize and describe each person’s responsibilities and tasks. So the decisions are made quickly and efficiently.
Like most companies, Pandemic opened us to remote working, which turned out to be a big, positive surprise for us. So we decided to take it a step further and allow remote working altogether, and as a result, we hired a few people from other cities. In future actions, we will adapt our HR processes to such a work model.
Do you want to find out more about growing with Applover?
We’re growing – join our Applover’s team
The continually growing number of projects and dynamic development of the company set our main focus in 2021 on expanding Applover’s team with new experts. Developers and specialists who will join us this year will have the opportunity to participate in exciting projects and create a unique atmosphere here at Applover. Take a look at our career page if you are looking for new challenges!