We all want to find a job that will cover the rent and all our bills, with a bit left over for fun stuff, of course. But being happy at work does not only have to do with salary. This is even more true now in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and as the world undergoes a significant shift to more flexible work hours and location.
Of course, wages still contribute to job satisfaction, as demonstrated in a survey by The Conference Board. But with the expected ongoing health & safety challenges, the survey notes the following factors are actually the top 5 contributors to job satisfaction in 2020:
- Co-workers (64.2%)
- Supervisors (62%)
- Interest in work (61.2%)
- Commute to work (60.5%)
- Job security (59.1%)
For many job seekers, though, compensation is the end all be all of a job offer. But should it always be? Well, as someone who has been part of the workforce for two decades, here are some truths I’ve discovered over the years.
Management best practices matter
As mentioned above, managers, supervisors, or direct superiors can influence not only the quality of your work but also how you view your work. They’re responsible for assessing employee performances and assigning the tasks or the kind of work you get to do, both of which affect team morale. And true leaders (not just bosses) can guide you to be more efficient and focused on your tasks, all of which help shape your work habits in the long run.
Here at Arcanys, we have a flat organizational structure that eliminates mediators when dealing with important work issues, whether it's with teammates, other teams, or clients. We also have an open-door policy that enables people to directly approach anyone in the company at any time (online or in person), whether they be ideas to share or feedback to deliver. Most importantly, we highly encourage brainstorming sessions because we believe that's where great ideas are born.
Of course, you can't properly judge a company's management when you come in or have a Zoom call for that job interview. But you can observe the efficiency of their recruitment process as well as get a sneak peek on some of their employees (recruiters are company employees, too). Better yet, follow the trend and do some research about the company. Check their social media—and their employees' social media as well, if you can. What does the company post about? Do employees share their content? Do they seem engaged in the company activities?
Be observant, and you will be able to see some signs on whether their employees are happy with the management or not.
Cool colleagues make work fun
When you have colleagues you enjoy spending time with (at the office or online), don't you feel more excited to get to work? Maintaining healthy relationships with colleagues and managers, even remotely, remains a cornerstone of overall job satisfaction (according to a study), even in the pandemic era. And I couldn't agree more. When you start seeing your coworkers not just as other employees or managers but as friends/partners with whom you can brainstorm and collaborate, you know you're in the right place.
So the stronger your connection with coworkers, the more determined you are to work well with them, which generally boosts productivity. It also helps neutralize other negative factors such as fear of illnesses and social isolation. It’s no wonder that most successful organizations have employee relations officers or RnR teams to organize events and activities that foster team camaraderie. In fact, many companies are busy organizing innovative ways to engage employees such as virtual coffee meetings & teambuilding activities, online learning, virtual challenges, etc.
At Arcanys, before the pandemic, we had monthly team dinners as well as major company events to encourage people to mix, connect, mingle, and generally have fun. Now that not all of that is doable at the moment, we encourage teams to nevertheless have virtual meet-ups in which they can regularly interact, de-stress, and chat with each other. And yes, we still foster the open-door policy. It may be virtually at the moment, but still highly encouraged and practised.
Collaborative company culture is a huge plus
We foster the sharing of ideas in Arcanys—whether for projects, management, employee relations, or just about anything. Each developer, QA, SysOps, or VA is highly encouraged to voice their opinions, especially if they’re about improving processes or their own efficiency. In fact, brainstorming sessions are an integral part of our teams' daily standup meetings and sprint planning, w more than ever.
And as we’ve mentioned previously, we implement an open-door policy. Everyone is welcome to discuss ideas with anyone—clients, project managers, or our founders—any time of any day, in Slack, Zoom, or other chat rooms. A round of Among Us, Shell Shockers, or Mobile Legends, anyone?
Now, why do we encourage collaboration? Well, here are some of the top reasons why:
Collab work fosters creative thinking. It gives birth to new ideas and insights on how to tackle problems at hand. The more ideas the team has, the more possible solutions they can execute or try.
It helps teams come up with contingencies. The more people focusing on a particular subject, the more angles they can cover, and the more probabilities they can anticipate for. And the more contingencies there are, the fewer weaknesses the final product will have, which is not only good for the team but also the client.
Collaboration fosters relationships. Group activities bring people closer together. Being able to focus on one goal gives people a shared experience to bond over. And as I’ve mentioned above, healthy work relationships positively affect job satisfaction.
It encourages learning. Each team member will be able to not only hone their expertise but also learn from each other. They'll have an idea what the other team members are doing and how those tasks are being accomplished.
It helps with accountability. For collaboration to work, accountability measures should also be in place. So in Arcanys, each team member fully owns his or her tasks and takes responsibility for efficiently carrying them out. And if they need any help, they need only ask, and team members or mentors will gladly lend a helping hand.
- It gives people the right perspective and insights. Working together helps employees understand their teammates better. It enables them to see how hard other people's tasks are and how long those tasks take. This way, teams can gauge tasks or project timelines better.
The right collaborative process is the proverbial glue that can make any teamwork successful. And this is why, here in Arcanys, we believe that two (or more) heads are better than one.
Learning opportunities are gold
If you think learning is not that important anymore after you finish college or get your degree, think again. Learning is a vital part of living, especially in the digital age, and most especially if you work in the tech industry. Not only does the habit give your neurons that much-needed exercise but it also keeps you relevant in your field. You will be able to keep yourself up to date on the latest trends and technological advances, and not become as obsolete as those Betamax tapes.
You see, not all jobs will give you the opportunity to learn new skills or enhance your expertise. In Arcanys, we believe that continuous learning is a huge part of being an efficient employee and expert in your field. That’s precisely why we offer paid weekend training, and we also have regular Wednesday classes in which we share insights to just about anything—from good coding practices, financial planning, time management to all kinds of health, fitness, and lifestyle tips.
Nifty extra perks are super neat
Extras are always welcome icings on the employment cake. But which perks are pretty negligible and which actually have value? Yes, aside from salary packages, you should also check the so-called extra benefits that go with those seemingly attractive job offers. For instance, do you really need those 10% off gas charges when you don't own a car and can even work from home if need be? Or how about those "Employee of the Month" certificates, would the recognition really help you or your team perform better?
At Arcanys, we offer extra perks that make our employees worry less about other stuff, so they get to focus on work when they need to. One great benefit we have is our HMO. All our employees have free health care services from day one, and this extends to three of their dependents, too! And now, we also have the ComPsych Employee Assistance Program, with which Arcanytes and their loved ones can have counseling services from professionals.
And since March 2020, we have successfully transitioned 85%-95% of our workforce into the virtual workroom. So we have not only flexitime but also flexplace for all Arcanytes.
Money is definitely NOT the end all be all
Earning a stable income is nice, but being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor is even nicer. Don't you think? There are just significant intrinsic values on other aspects of a job that you don't get from merely getting a hefty paycheck. And we're not just referring to those additional perks either because there are definitely other things you need to consider when you assess a job offer. What are they, you ask? Well, below are just some of them:
Not all companies are actually stable or have a great reputation in terms of employee relations. And not all of them have the capabilities to survive the industry for the long haul. So carefully assess their relevance in the industry and how they generally treat their employees before making your choice. To help you with this, you can check out their Glassdoor review.
Where is their office located, and is their setup conducive for work? Is it in a business or commercial area where you can easily shop or eat? And, of course, the work environment is more than just the physical location. It’s also (or perhaps, more so) the people you work for and the teammates you work with. Moreover, how tech-forward is the management when it comes to flexibility. As the world has witnessed since last year, mobility may be one of the crucial keys for business continuity. As such, are they ready to accommodate work-from-home setups whenever needed? This will assure employees that even during extraordinary circumstances, they will be able to not only effectively continue their work but, more importantly, keep their jobs.
If your work needs sparks of creativity, which is often the case for most jobs, do your superiors and teammates inspire that? So be observant when you go for that first interview, and again try to do a bit of research, if you can.
With the advent of telecommuting, more and more companies are giving employees the choice to adjust their work hours. If your life outside the office is a bit irregular because you have kids, you’re taking care of a parent, or you have other activities equally important to you (or you just need to hole up for two weeks because your entire family is under lockdown) then being able to work at home some of the time or having a flexible schedule could be very beneficial.
Career Growth Opportunities
Can you imagine being stuck doing the same tasks over and over again for years on end? Not moving forward or in any other direction whatsoever? You will be bored out of your mind in a couple of years, or even a year. And have you ever known bored people to be happy? Like anything else in this world, you need diversity and growth. So you should find out beforehand if the company offering you a job supports all these.
Aside from that, do they also support various avenues for personal growth and development? Do they foster clubs for employees with different interests such as health and fitness, hiking and trekking, travel, photography, or enhancing leadership and public speaking skills? Any leisure activity that may boost employee “rest & relaxation” and confidence can only bring good things to the table after all.
Are you inspired by the work that you do? Do you feel fulfilled by merely envisioning the final output of your tasks or project? Do you believe it has worth in the grand scheme of things? As Steve Jobs once told the graduates of Stanford University, "You’ve got to find what you love... Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." Well, the man was one of the most successful innovators in modern history, so it's safe to say he knew what he was talking about, eh?
Just because you love your job doesn't mean you have to bend over backwards to keep it. A company that doesn't ask too much from its employees is one that cares not only about the bottom line but also its people. After all, you're only human, and you also need to have a life outside of work. Not only is this essential for keeping you sane, but it also helps you destress and be more creative at work.
The fact of the matter is...
Pay not being the primary driver of employee satisfaction does not come as a surprise, even to economists. Adam Smith, considered the Father of Economics, once wrote that material gains often make us less happy, not more. He stated this in his book The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which was published more than 250 years ago. Yup.
Knowing all that, it’s only wise then to also look at other aspects of a job than the most obvious one—the pay. Here at Arcanys, we’ve actually identified 8 major factors that bring talented software developers to us, which incidentally, also make them stay.