Our society has reached a time where employers can differ like night and day. We have suits versus flip flops, bean bags versus office chairs, a two minute walk to our home desk versus an hour commute to an office, clouds versus papers, innovation versus tradition, and just about everything in between. Navigating the world of increasingly varying employers can feel like entering a new country with a malfunctioning GPS.
Considering these six key factors when choosing an employer can help with getting you on the right road:
Company Values and Mission
When it comes to an employer’s values and mission, there are two main things to consider: how do they align to your own values and what you care about, and how actively does the employer incorporate them into their day-to-day operations. There’s a significant difference in work satisfaction and intrinsic motivation when the work you do is something you feel truly matters. Similarly, when an employer’s values align with your own, you’re more likely to feel comfortable with the actions and way in which actions are taken by the employer.
Most employers will have a mission and a set of values but whether they are kept front of mind when decisions are made, is not a given. Understanding how values are incorporated into day-to-day operations is key.
As an example, here are are our values and some of the ways we keep them front of mind:
- Purpose First: Our mission to close the global tech skills gap by enabling education that is an accessible alternative to traditional university degrees, remains at the heart of everything we do. We know that what we do is bigger than just us, and this means that decisions are always in line with our mission – even when that makes our work more difficult.
- Progress Always: Our teams work collaboratively to ensure that we have new ideas from various team members, in different departments, contributing to our plans. This allows us to constantly learn from each other and come up with innovative ideas.
- Problem Solving: When we hire, we ensure that each new team member has an entrepreneurial spirit and a growth mindset. We always want to remain a team that can hit a wall and find an interesting way to get around it.
- People Forward: Our team members all have growth plans so that we as a company, understand their aspirations and how we can assist (this is explained a bit more below).
This is probably one of the most important for your day-to-day happiness. We spend more than 50% of our waking hours a week at work. Among others, whether the environment is high pressure and fast-paced or relaxed and slow, casual or formal, remote-friendly and flexible or office-centred and strict on hours, is vital. The types of people you will work with contribute so much to culture as well. It’s not always easy to understand this through a hiring process, these are good questions to ask to probe this: How diverse is the team, how social is the team, what type of personality would fit into the team and how do teams collaborate? A company culture fit is a very personal thing, one type of culture can be perfect for one person and horrible for the next. Our team for example, likes collaborating, being social and lighthearted, and relaxed but we’re also fast-paced, high energy, and flexible and agile in our approach.
Where are you in your career? When you’re someone who still wants to develop, challenge yourself and grow in seniority, you need to consider how an employer will support that. The key things to understand is how fast the company is growing, what they consider a specific role’s progression path is (and whether there even is a more senior role to grow towards), how they would support your personal development and whether current employees have been promoted, and how fast. As mentioned we use personal growth plans to ensure our team is always allowed opportunities to develop. Every team member has a plan that they discuss with their line managers outlining where they want to grow and how we, as a company, can contribute to that growth and allow exposure to new challenges.
When you work in tech, chances are you’re going to be attracted to a start-up at some point in your career. Start-ups offer amazing opportunities that are rarely found in established, corporate type companies. The drawback however is that financial stability is often not as guaranteed. Always, but especially when considering a start-up employer, you need to make sure you understand where the company is financially, how stable their funding is and how established their product/service is in the market. Researching the rate of growth can be a key indicator that a specific start-up is financially stable – or not. Although HyperionDev probably shouldn’t call ourselves a start-up anymore, indicators of our stability would include aspects like Facebook and Google funding, our recent Crowdfunding campaign that raised almost £2 million, more than double our initial funding and the fact that we’ve achieved >600% in the past two years.
Every person is different, some of us want constant support, some of us want to focus on our own, some of us want to run with ideas and get feedback later, and some of us want to check in with someone every step of the way. The management style of an employer tends to be consistent throughout their company, however it’s worthwhile asking about the management style of who would be your direct line manager to ensure it would be an environment you flourish in.
At the end of the day, the vast majority of us work to sustain our lives. Considering remuneration is a given but the same total cost to company from one company to another can be structured in vastly different ways. It’s important to consider how this is structured, and what non-financial benefits are being offered along with it. HyperionDev for example offers generous leave to allow our employees the time they need outside of work as well as medical benefits, and flexible hours and remote working options, among others. These are important to consider because the amount of income tax you pay on benefits often differ from when you need to pay for these after your salary deductions are made. Having flexibility with your hours means you often don’t need to dip into your annual leave to see to day-to-day admin and necessary appointments and additional annual leave – of course – means you get more time to yourself.
Choosing an employer, within a society of such vastly different approaches to work, can be difficult to navigate. But focusing on key factors like these can help make some sense of the journey you’ll be starting when you walk into the office or log in on that first day, and where it will take you. If the examples of our company culture above, sound like something you’d flourish in we’d love to meet you!