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Job Changer: is it a lifeline or a threat? Line Manager’s perspective

A year ago, Sii introduced the Job Changer app which is a tool that enables career development by supporting the internal process of project change. We have already covered engineer’s point of view; thus, it is high time we discussed it with a manager. Władysław Bultrowicz, a Service Delivery Manager, talks about its importance in employees development.

Natalia Lankiewicz, Retention and HR Support Manager in Sii: We were supposed to learn more about Job Changer from manager’s perspective but it turns out that you are also a beneficiary of the process.

Władysław Bultrowicz, Service Delivery Manager: I am happy to confirm that I am going to work for the Digital Competency Center. The decision was made at the beginning of September. A few days ago, I received my first challenge which is to create a BID Management, an offer, for a big project. To tell you the truth, I am putting a lot of effort into getting ready to face it.

N.L.: Why did you decide to change your project?

W.B.: The process started a while ago through unofficial channels. Then, I was asked to request for a change via the application, and it all happened pretty quickly. The information about my willingness to change my project was passed around and I got various propositions. By the way, my Line Manager supported me throughout the process.

N.L.: Can you tell me what is your experience with the process as a manager?

W.B.: As far as I am concerned, we should think about it from more than two perspectives. Firstly, what it is like for a person that wants to change a project. Secondly, consider the manager that is taking that person to his / her team. Thirdly, look at the whole process from the perspective of a manager that is losing a team member – I find that very important. I believe that it teaches us a valuable lesson as we get feedback regarding how our team functions which can help us further develop as managers.

N.L.: So, what do you do when someone from your team wants to change their project? Do you persuade that person to stay or do your best and try to find something new?

W.B.: I guess it depends. One of my employees lost his interest and motivation and, on top of that, had a little bit of bad luck. He requested for a change and did not have to wait long for a new project . A year before that, I talked with him and tried to lift his spirits so that he would not give up. I truly believed that with my support he would be able to make it through rougher times. Nevertheless, we need to be aware that if a certain situation lasts for a longer period of time, the chances that something will improve are low.

All in all, the client did not accept any replacement which made work a little bit difficult in the transitional period but I am certain that if he had not changed his project, he would have left Sii. We had to come to terms with the situation, approach the employee and say “Well, that’s ok. It’s great that you still want to work for Sii.

N.L.: Such approach requires a sort of maturity and ability to see the bigger picture. Do you feel like all managers think like that?

W.B.: Not necessarily. In such cases, a system solution, such as the Job Changer, is a great supporting tool that helps managers recognize the value of the process. It is definitely not a threat. At first, I thought that only Line Managers receive the request but it turned out that HR department also gets notified. Managers can no longer hide such information from those that may look for potential team members. What is more, if they want to veto the change, they have to justify their decision to all interested parties.

This tool also helps to eliminate some issues. In Sii, we have various cooperation models with our clients, managers are often responsible for big teams and have many other duties connected with their everyday work. Unfortunately, as a result, meeting employee’s development needs might be pushed aside for some period of time.

Let’s imagine a situation that we have a conflict or a misunderstanding in our team. I do not find it surprising but it might make an engaged and great employee leave the project. The perspective is crucial in such cases, and Job Changer allows employees to show their perspective.

N.L.: You discuss something very important – employees’ development. What are the responsibilities of a manager and a employee himself / herself in terms of professional development?

W.B.: Both sides have to fight for it. From time to time, it is the manager that fully takes care of employee’s development and sometimes he / she might only foster the process. We all have different needs and require varied approach. Having an open discussion and pointing out possibilities that someone might not have considered before is key. A simple question such as: “Hey, have you thought about…?” might motivate employees, including those that are sure about what is right for them. Make them think a little bit differently. Obviously, managers also have responsibilities connected with everyday work such as giving their team members directions and asking to undertake a particular training in a given month or defining yearly objectives and assigning particular project tasks.

N.L.: Did you take any employees that wanted to change project to your team?

W.B.: Yes, I did. I decided to include two people to my .NET team that had not work in this technology before but were willing to learn. People often change project within the same client. Such transitions were easy as we all played in the same team. The risk of having some small issues and losing some expert knowledge in one project was not important because we are able to start a completely new one. The choice was easy and we did what we had to do.

N.L.: Do you feel like enabling employees to change project helps retain the best people in the company?

W.B.: I certainly agree with that. People in the IT industry are often focused on money and the financial aspect definitely influences the decision to change the employer. When you reach a certain level of remuneration, which Sii usually provides, you focus on completely different issues. You want to feel useful, develop, have good relationships with other team members, work in technologies that you want to get to know better or be able to change your environment from time to time in order no to be stuck in a rut. This is all addressed by Job Changer. A bunch of people from the IT industry, that I personally know, look for such possibilities.

N.L.: By now, we have covered the advantages of the tool and project change process but can you tell me a little bit about the risks as well?

W.B.: To be honest I tried looking only on the bright side but I also had to recognize the risks. We might have shortages of people in less technologically attractive or longer projects. Migration might be an issue. On the other hand, migration between teams is something that happened and will happen but owing to the tool, we have more control over it.

Let’s bear in mind that we might work with a difficult client but the project is profitable and a particular employee is hard to replace. Even if the change cannot happen quickly, we are forced to talk with employees about their needs and determine the action plan. This can open new doors and possibilities for the future.

N.L.: What about managers that lose their employees? Isn’t it a drawback of the process?

W.B.: An ignorant manager may be frustrated but a mature and experienced one will be happy that they were able to promote and develop their employee. Self-improvement and being able to adapt to current situation is key. Employees should know that requesting for a change is not received as something negative. I always say to my team that if after a year, someone decides to change the project, I will definitely help that person to develop within the company. Sii’s strong point is not having great offices with slides or providing crazy attractions. We have something more important than that. When we have an employee that is determined to develop and grow, we simply enable it, and Job Changer is a tool that supports us.

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