How Global Trends are Influencing the Way We Work and Recruit Talent at U+
The movement known as The Great Resignation has put a spotlight on the shift in global trends related to the values of workers today. More people are looking to make career decisions based on enlightened, humanistic ideals that lead to a positive work-life balance and a greater sense of satisfaction in their work.
Employees are asking companies for increased workplace flexibility, more time to be with their families, and roles that provide greater professional development. The companies that embrace this more progressive outlook carry an advantage not only in recruiting and retaining talent, but also in helping to ensure steady growth and customer satisfaction.
U+ is devoted to crafting an environment and culture that evolves according to the personal and professional needs of its international team of people, while achieving success as a remote-based workforce serving clients across North America and Europe.
People-first as a policy for success
“Listening to what makes our people happy is the smartest way to build a successful company—that’s always seemed like common sense to us,” says John Lowe, Head Recruiter at U+. “By creating a work environment based on what our employees need to feel satisfied, we’ve been able to thrive alongside them as an organization.”
U+ has reaped the rewards of its people-first culture, as the Digital Product Development firm with Czech roots and offices in Silicon Valley, Toronto, and the Middle East has doubled in size over the last 12 months.
A key component behind acquiring talent has been adopting a 'hire for talent rather than geography' model. This recruiting model allows the company to find the best people globally without the challenges of forcing people to relocate. The 100% remote-based teams stay connected online with colleagues and clients, while getting face-to-face time at seasonal team building events, where employees connect to share strategies and ideas.
Some of the U+ crew enjoying our fall 2021 team building in the Krkonoše Mountains
While offering a 100% ‘work from home’ policy has become an emerging trend among hiring companies trying to recruit talent, it is something U+ has actually been offering to its employees for years.
“If someone is at their most productive working as a digital nomad and changing their scenery,” Lowe says, “we’ve always encouraged our people to go for it.”
On the road with our CTO/Expeditionist
One U+ employee benefitting from the freedom that remote work affords him is Chief Technical Officer Jakub Kovar, who has taken things to an adventurous level that most people only dream of.
“I’ve been travelling around the USA in a 40-foot RV with my wife, three kids, and our dog Rubble since June,” says Kovar. “Last night we arrived in the Ozarks in Arkansas after crossing the Mississippi River. There’s surprisingly good Wi-Fi here.”
Kovar started working with the leadership of U+ seven years ago, starting as a freelance engineer before being promoted to CTO in April 2020. Even with the long hours required from him due to his high position in the company, indulging his wanderlust has always been an important part of life for him.
“In the past, I spent all my money on traveling. My wife and I have loved visiting new places for as long as we’ve been together. Then along came the pandemic and it all became difficult because of restrictions around flying. That’s when we had the idea of traveling around America in an RV.”
Life on the road with the Kovar clan
After a two-month test run living together in the RV, he and his family have hit the open road and not looked back, staying in 11 states over the last four months. Kovar’s wife, a kindergarten teacher on maternity leave, teaches their young children during the day while he does his job helping run the company’s most important technical affairs.
While Kovar talks about the joys of seeing the awe-inspiring beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina or spending the night in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, he admits that remote work while on the road has its unique challenges.
“I’ve got three different internet providers and a 25-foot antenna on top of my RV in order to get better reception,” says Kovar. “Still, some days I need to drive around to find a good spot with connectivity to have a 6AM meeting with my colleagues in Europe. It’s not always peachy, but you always find a way to make it work.”
Kovar working hard to get internet on the family RV/home office
Kovar knows that even with the challenges, this is a great experience for himself and his family.
“People tell me all the time how they love what we’re doing and wish they could do the same. I tell them they just need to make some compromises, and, of course, work for a company that allows them the opportunity and flexibility to pursue what they want, and they can do it too.”
Home office is where the heart is
The desire to live the life one wants while working from anywhere is a common sentiment these days. For some, however, the freedom to work remotely isn’t about traveling far away, but the exact opposite.
Based in Tirana, Albania, Iris Damani started working with U+ as a QA Automation Engineer in the summer of 2021. A major reason behind her wanting a remote job was so she could stay in Albania rather than having to move abroad for work.
“It’s important for me to stay near my parents, my cousins, and my friends,” says Damani. “Working remotely allows me to get the experience of working for an international company and earn an international salary, but what I really love is that it allows me to stay close to home.”
While the global demand for IT engineers is high, Damani says that opportunities to work for a local company in Albania are currently limited.
“Most engineers in Albania are working part-time for different companies. The IT job market is not mature enough here right now as there are not enough market players. So I am happy to have the opportunity to work for U+.”
U+ also realizes how important it is to have people from different national and cultural backgrounds, like Damani, working within its ranks.
“We know through experience that a diverse team leads to greater results”, Lowe says. “We have brilliant IT specialists here at our home office in the Czech Republic, but for me to be able to go beyond borders and find the most talented candidates to work for us has been tremendous in creating success for the company and our clients. It’s why we’ve now got people from 23 different nationalities working with us, and we’re always looking to add more international people to our team.”
Damani agrees that her experience working within a group of international colleagues online has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The team is listening to each other and everyone is very supportive of each other, which leads to us all being more effective,” she says. “The opportunity to learn from other people with different cultural and technical backgrounds has been important for finding unique solutions to achieve a goal.”
Giving employees the potential to grow by trusting them to succeed
Ines Arriaza, Commercialization Lead at U+, has had to deal with one of the most common issues facing workers today: working in a confining corporate environment that left her feeling demotivated about her professional growth.
“After finishing university I worked for a large bank in Guatemala and then when I moved to the Czech Republic, I worked for a major pharmaceutical company,” says Arriaza. “Being part of a big corporation was exciting at first, as it gave me good experience and structure, but then it began to feel monotonous.There was no room for different opinions, experimentation, and spontaneity. My work was limited to my specific role, and I felt my capabilities as an individual were not being used. I soon realized it was not something that I wanted.”
Arriaza was enticed into joining U+ due to the higher level of flexibility and independence offered to employees compared to the rigidity and conformity of the corporate structure.
“Working here has provided me the opportunity to be more agile. Being able to make decisions, work efficiently, and get results without the bureaucracy and politics of a corporate environment has been great.”
Ines Arriaza, U+ Commercialization Specialist
This work culture at U+, which gives employees the autonomy to achieve results their own way, has provided Arriaza with experience that has elevated her ability to grow as a professional.
“The trust the company has given me makes me feel accountable,” says Arriaza. “It has given me more responsibility and improved my knowledge and skills, and I definitely find satisfaction in that.”
Paying attention pays off for U+
Listening to employees, giving them the freedom to grow professionally, and providing a better work-life balance are the new tenets of the workplace that global working trends like The Great Resignation and full-time remote work have spawned. Throughout the transformation spurred by Covid-19 we have preached these beliefs as a fundamental pillar of our company.
“Our goal is to be a company that shapes itself around making our people happy,” Lowe says. “Ultimately, the talent we’ve been able to recruit, the results and growth we’ve achieved, and our client satisfaction attest to the benefits of putting our people first.”
If U+ employee values such as career growth, a healthy work-life balance, 100% remote based work, and teaming with a wonderful and diverse group of people captures your interest, we’d love to hear from you!
Or contact us via email@example.com to discuss how our global team can help accelerate your business.