The importance of culture in technology talent acquisition in Israel

I’m not sure about you, but some of the moments where I’ve felt most valued and appreciated at work haven’t come from a positive performance review, receiving an award, or even getting a promotion or raise – they’ve come from my personal interactions with colleagues.

When someone takes a moment to step out from the normal buzz of work to say, “Well done on that project,” or “I really appreciated your input the other day.” When I reflect on those good days at work, those are the things that stand out for me. I have felt most valued and happy working within organizations that have a great culture, and I’ve always appreciated working for leaders who place an emphasis on building and strengthening a positive culture for employees. That’s what attracted me to Webcollage, and that’s what I will continue to foster as General Manager of our fast-growing Tel Aviv office.

In my experience, most engineers and developers want to be a part of a successful company, one that shows continuous growth and expansion by solving problems using advanced technological solutions. The developers I know, need to feel like the technology they are responsible for is innovative, progressing and that they are contributing to that.

I believe that the company’s vision, strategy and development pathway must be transparent and communicated to all employees. A team needs to understand the company’s vision and they want a strategy that they can believe in. They want to buy into their business and their technology’s purpose.

A healthy and attractive working environment should support team work, collaboration and empower new ideas and innovation, but it also needs to be a pleasant place to work. The team needs to be encouraged and enabled to cultivate personal relationships with their colleagues.

The office should be a fun place to arrive at in the morning and the actual, physical working environment needs to be modern, comfortable and fit for purpose, containing “thinking corners,” collaborative spaces, as well as being as open as possible.

A company should also do its best to retain its top, senior engineers. Young engineers and developers and new joiners need people to follow, learn from and look up to. The best way of retaining talent is to empower an engineer’s or a developer’s technical career path (not only management’s development). As well as letting your team learn, push the boundaries and experience new technologies/methodologies.

While it is vital that a company invests in its engineering and developments team by sending them on relevant professional courses and along to useful meet-ups and conventions; teams also need to know that they enjoy a level of trust to learn, to develop and to take risks.

I believe that improving a team’s technical knowledge and abilities helps a company move forward faster and better. It also demonstrates to your engineers and developers that your business is one that invests in and trusts them. Somewhere that will help them grow.

For me, the keys to building the right environment and culture are:

  • Collaboration
  • Transparency
  • “No bad idea” culture
  • Innovation empowerment
  • Clear development process

There is a lot of research to support the idea that a fully functioning organization working at the peak of its ability is based on something more than simply salary, title, special parking space or a corner office. For employees, and ultimately the company, to go from good to great, the organization must do more to promote positive and rewarding workplace cultures.

In order to remain competitive from a recruiting standpoint with other companies in our space, businesses generally have to offer the perks and salaries similar to their competitors. But ultimately a person’s choice of where to work will come down to one of a few criteria: Does it pay me well enough? Will I get enough recognition working here? Does the work fulfil me? I would suggest that totally meeting 100% success criteria in each of these areas is tough, if not nearly impossible to achieve.

Sure, it’s difficult not to be attracted by large, global companies and brand names, who have scale and seemingly unlimited resources (and sleeping pods at their disposal). As a young developer or someone starting out in their career, I know it is a siren call that could be hard to ignore. I can certainly understand that. But at the same time, I would suggest that in a hyper-competitive landscape, such as the tech space in Tel Aviv, there are distinct benefits to working in a small, driven, company that is dedicated to the growth of its employees, as much as the growth of the organization.

As the Harvard Business Review notes, “people choose jobs—and, more important, become engaged with their work—on the basis of how well their preferences and aspirations mesh with those of the organization.”[1]

I firmly believe this and I’m dedicated to making our workplace reflective of the people who work here. It must be more than simply the “name” of your employer or what you can write down on your CV as an accomplishment. My belief is that if we are competitive from a basic table stakes perspective of an employee (i.e. salary, benefits, etc.), but can also provide a richer, more stimulating workplace culture at the same time, then we will not only be successful as a company, but we’ll be successful as individuals too.

[1] What it means to work here. Harvard Business Review, March 2007

About the Author
My current role is as Senior Director of Engineering and Israel General Manager at Webcollage. I am a high-energy manager, successful in building and motivating dynamic and global teams and have extensive experienced in building and assimilating Agile (Scrum/Kanban), dev-ops, CI-CD processes and culture.
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