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. As a matter of fact, according to a 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction Survey conducted by The Society for Human Resource Management, the top job satisfaction factor for most US employees are the "respectful treatment" they get from their bosses, not pay. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, in a 2017 Happiness Index Report, the top determiner for unhappiness in the workplace for most Filipino workers is their lack of career development—still not pay.
For many job seekers, though, compensation is the end all be all of a job offer. But should it really be? As someone who has been part of the workforce for over two decades, here are some truths I’ve discovered over the years.
Management best practices matter
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, 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 for that job interview, which would probably only last for a few minutes tops. But you can observe the efficiency of their recruitment process as well as get a sneak peek on their office setup. So 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 friends at the office or cool, fun colleagues, don't you feel more excited to go to work? And because of them, you probably end up forgetting about the time, just because you enjoy your work so much. This also holds true when you have mentors you highly respect and learn industry tips and tricks from. After all, who wants to spend hours on end with people you don't like or respect? Unless you're a masochist, of course.
According to a 2015 research on the effects of relationships on employee engagement in the workplace, having good relationships with superiors and colleagues are not direct engagement drivers in the workplace. However, they do have a considerable influence on an employee's job satisfaction. And the stronger the connection you have with coworkers, the more determined you are to work well with them, which generally boosts productivity. It’s no wonder that most successful organizations have employee relations officers or RnR teams to organize events and activities that foster team camaraderie. The more coworkers enjoy each other's company, the more they help and support each other (especially with tasks or projects), and the more it benefits the organization.
And this is why at Arcanys, we have monthly team dinners as well as major company events to encourage people to mix, connect, mingle, and generally have fun.
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.
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.
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.
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 this 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. After lunch on Wednesdays, everyone gathers around to learn 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? 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! We also have free healthy lunches every day. So we don't have to scour nearby cafeterias or eateries for something edible and healthy to eat. And from those free lunches alone, we get to save around 4k to 5k every month! How awesome is that? On top of that, we have flexible schedules, free gym, movie nights, team dinners, and a ton of other fun benefits.
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? Or is it in a remote place where basic utilities may be questionable? Will everyday commute to and from the office be too much of a hassle for you? If your work needs sparks of creativity, which is often the case for most jobs, does their office inspire that? So be observant when you go for that first interview, or 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, then being able to work at home some of the time or have 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.
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.
According to Glassdoor's Chief Economist, the top predictors of workplace satisfaction are an organization's values and company culture, followed by senior leadership, and then career opportunities... not pay.
The fact that pay is not 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.