QBSW has grown from 100 to more than 180 employees over the past four years. We talked to Rastislav Cisár, the COO of QBSW, about how the company’s growth affects various aspects of its operation.
What changes occurred at QBSW when you expanded to the international market?
First of all, there was a significant increase in demand for experts with the appropriate skills. We have had to cope with the increased demand. We did this in form of an elaborate, controlled expansion of our staff, hiring new members in such a way so as to protect the quality of our deliveries, on which we pride ourselves.
In order to meet customer requirements, we have had to raise our performance whilst building capacities in all directions. Whether it is by new recruitment practices, expanding our activities to other regions or by working more substantially with external communication. There has been a growing need for cooperation between experienced senior staff and new colleagues, which increased the demands on the flexibility of both individuals and teams. Requirements for technological skills and different forms of education have also increased.
All of these factors come naturally with the growth process, and we therefore view it positively. Of course, we see both the obvious and latent risks that such growth entails.
In addition to your constantly growing headquarters in Bratislava, you are also opening new branches across Slovakia. Are you experiencing any problems finding enough qualified people in the regions?
Basically, the regions pose no greater problems than Bratislava. Skilled people come from all regions without distinction. However, only a few of them can and want to work in Bratislava. The fact that in each of the last three years we were able to open a growing development center in another regional town proves that even in the regions there is an interest in joining the QBSW team.
How does the growth of the business affect its internal processes?
As our growth has accelerated in recent years and has exceeded 25% per year, the impact is greater than we were willing to accept in the past. We have to place much greater emphasis on the organisation of work and the exchange of information. We have a lot of colleagues in our company without a long-term common work history, but at the same time, there are natural efforts to maintain the good practices from the past.
However, those logically may not work after the conditions change. This is why we are constantly innovating not only the decision-making processes and inter-team cooperation, but we are also adapting how we care for our employees and are very much committed to communication.
Does the situation on the job market have any impact on the growth of the company?
We have actually got quite used to the limited number of qualified candidates. However, we also view the gradual change in the expectations and intrinsic motivation of young people today as a complex issue. We are happy to include them in our ranks and the company must pay attention to understanding their needs. Nowadays more than ever the company must communicate its expectations in terms of the added value of employees. For example, with students our investments in a collective future pay off in the long run in the form of loyal employees with a strong work ethic.
How do you ensure a pleasant work environment for your employees when you are taking on so many new hires?
By significantly increasing the energy we put into care and communication and, above all, we pay attention to mutual relationships. Although this might not seem to be difficult, we put in a lot of effort on several fronts so we can say that we still respect the simple principle that everyone should enjoy coming to work.
With the number of people in the company, and with the age of the company, the organisational structure inevitably becomes more complex. The age differences among team members are increasing, and it is more difficult to circulate information. Fortunately, the vast majority of the management and leaders at QBSW have grown along with the company. They remember the times when enthusiasm, solidarity and a family atmosphere existed spontaneously across the company.
All of this can no longer work automatically and without a targeted effort. However, at QBSW we know it is worth fighting to maintain these values. These are the special relationships and atmosphere that every employee can benefit from. We want to be more attractive compared to other companies and we are confident that these values contribute to our results in every way.
How does QBSW differ from other IT companies?
I would say that we focus on quality relationships, engage in dialogue on all levels, and we employ a fair, individual and equitable approach to everybody. This applies outwards – to customers, partners and suppliers, as well as inwards – to employees, whom we still consider to be our most valuable asset.
What makes us different is perhaps the fact that even when we exceeded a hundred or a hundred and fifty employees, we never lost the joy of coming to work. We are still determined not to become a corporation where everything comes down from above, where there is no room for individuality or change, and where any changes are usually for the worse. And finally, the most direct response – our quality makes us stand out from the others.