Does employee happiness depend on interesting tasks? Tell Badoo, SKB Kontur, Dodo Pizza, Staply and Alternativa Games
Although there are few people who are interested in “cookies” and “kicker in the office”, eychars still automatically describe the vacancy descriptions in a convenient office location, free coffee and cool team buildings. But this, rather, is the tip of the iceberg, a pleasant addition to what should help the employee to retain a passion for his work and not burn out in the first year of work in the company. And “under water” - interesting and diverse tasks that challenge our skills and make us gain new knowledge, and thanks to which we come to work every day with pleasure.
We continue to discuss the qualities of companies for which they receive the highest rating from their employees on our service. In the last issue employees of Kolesa Group, Evil Martians and Wrike told why and how important they need competent management in the company, and today we asked Badoo, Staply, SKB Kontur, Dodo Pizza and Alternativa Games about how they understand the quality of “Interesting Tasks”, such as the presence of such tasks affects the level of employee happiness and the development of the company as a whole.
Badoo is the world's largest social networking site for dating, brings together 350+ million users worldwide, the project has been translated into 46 languages.
Assessment of the company on My Circle.
Eugene Sorokin @Jeksor (Android developer, London):
In my opinion, interest is a very subjective quality. I would say that an interesting task is one that reveals the potential of an employee, makes you think about a solution and brings pleasure from work. In the process of solving such problems, you often learn something new.
An example of such a task for me personally is to launch live broadcasts on several platforms in just a month. This is interesting from the point of view of organizing the work of several teams, and from the point of view of writing code on the Android client.
Or not so globally, but no less interesting, the creation of a common component that will be used in several products.
I can assume that our high rating is associated with a wide range of areas and teams in which you can work in Badoo. Starting from Android Features with classic mobile development and ending with R&D with neural networks (the whole list is very large, Android development alone is divided into several teams, each with its own specifics).
Thus, we get a large market for specialists who are interested in their "niche" and find it interesting.
But setting interesting tasks will always fail. There is a certain percentage of routine, legacy, support, and more. I am sure this is in every team. It is important to maintain the balance and proportions of the necessary routine to interesting tasks.
For the tasks to be interesting for the developer, you need to know and be interested in his views, preferences in work. For example, in Badoo, as in many large companies, there is a 1: 1 tradition (one and one). The bottom line is that every two weeks a small meeting is held between the team leader / employee and employee. The conversation is held on various topics, including in order to understand what you like, what you don’t like, what tasks are interesting, which are not very interesting.
If all else fails, it might be worth a try moving the developer to another team with a different specificity.
In a company where they cannot offer me an interesting job, I would not stay. I think that my peers (20–25 years old) mostly hold the same opinion.
A company that is able to offer interesting tasks can definitely hire established, experienced specialists, experts in their field.
Dmitry Marushchenko @yojick (leading architect of mobile applications (London):
In my opinion, the “interesting task” is the one that you work on because you want to, and not because you asked. It can be technically difficult and solving it is a challenge. It can help develop skills, try something new. Sometimes the task is interesting because the employee himself lacks some features in the product that the company is developing, and he is happy to undertake its implementation.
I think our company was highly appreciated because we have a lot of both technically challenging tasks (associated with heavy workloads, for example) and new technologies, such as Machine Learning. Some of our features produce a wow effect, and the developer can proudly tell friends and colleagues that he did it.
In an ideal world, all tasks should be interesting, but in reality this does not always happen. However, if an employee does not engage in interesting tasks at all, sooner or later he will lose motivation and go where it is more interesting, even if he has a high salary and all sorts of buns in the social package. Many probably have come across a situation where the employee’s eyes are burning, he is staying up late or is busy with the task at home, because he is incredibly interested in solving the problem that he is facing. This is difficult to achieve with financial motivation.
A high score on the criterion of interest in tasks is very important for us, because it is an excellent competitive advantage over other companies in the labor market. All things being equal, valuable specialists will prefer to accept the offer of the company, which solves complex, interesting and important tasks.
The only cost of such a high assessment is the increased responsibility of managers to their employees. We raise the expectations of colleagues to a high level, and we need to make a lot of efforts to meet expectations - constantly monitor the level of motivation and satisfaction of employees and find cool tasks for them that will dilute the inevitable daily routine.
Arkady Gamza @ArkadyGamza (team leader for mobile development, London):
Developers usually find interesting tasks that they have not encountered before. For example, which require the study of new material or the application of new technology for them. Or a non-standard approach when solving, for example, for the sake of optimizing some parameter. When solving such problems, developers satisfy their need for growth and development.
You need to understand the needs of the developer. Someone needs to constantly learn something new, and someone likes to deepen their expertise in one type of task. Someone needs the ever-increasing complexity of the tasks, and someone feels calm and confident, solving the same type of problem, because he knows that he can handle it. At the same time, the mood and needs of the same developer can change (and change) over time.
Alternativa Games is an international group of companies that develops and supports multi-user online games and services.
Assessment of the company on My Circle.
Andrey Nikulin (software developer):
I consider interesting tasks to be those that do not have a standard solution that challenge your skills, or you need to show
imagination to fulfill them . Our company quite often comes across such tasks, I think that this is the norm for game dev.
If developers do not dilute the routine tasks (and they still need to be done) interesting (they can end), this can lead to their burnout. I would not stay for a long time in a company where there are no interesting tasks.
Wall of Fame at Alternativa Games Office.
Daria Steel (project coordinator):
Making games is interesting in itself :) There is always an element of novelty and new discoveries even in the usual path.
It is important that people do not come to work just for the sake of money, but are engaged in the fact that they are interested in what develops them and gives them inner satisfaction. The task of the company and a good leader is, among other things, to see what is interesting to the employee, and to give the opportunity to improve their skills.
If the tasks are uninteresting, the employee will not develop, the work will turn into a routine, and sooner or later the employee will leave.
Alternativa Games Office.
Julia Kostyleva (ASO Specialist):
Interesting tasks do not require dry mechanical work. You see that the result depends on your ideas. This may be an interesting approach to the mechanics of the game or an unusual look at an advertising company.
We really really believe in people who work in
companies, and give great scope for their ideas and plans. At least always
Dodo Pizza is the largest pizza chain in Russia, which has more than 460 pizzerias in 12 countries, and combines the classic pizza business with IT technology.
Assessment of the company on My Circle.
Sergey Gryazev (product owner) There
is only one thing to be said about working in Dodo: the only thing that annoys is the road to and from work. This is the best indicator of the quality of the tasks facing us daily.
Boris Gulay (developer):
If you have to think during development, this is an interesting task. Platform tasks are, as a rule, deliberately interesting, and business - as lucky. Here a lot depends on the developer and the freedom in making technical decisions, which allows the culture of the company.
Writing a WEB front is usually dull. But if you take a new framework that you are interested in learning, the task will become much more interesting.
Dodo Pizza office in Syktyvkar.
Our company easily agrees to adapt new technologies. When we rewrote the front on React, we could give this task to a team already familiar with the framework, and it would do the task quickly. But our management understands when it is worthwhile to be patient in order to get deferred benefits. In this case, to build competencies in the development. Therefore, we have such a high rating.
The sane developer understands that absolutely all tasks cannot be interesting. But this only works if there is something interesting on the horizon. Then you can tolerate.
To make the task interesting is the work of the product of the owner and the team, not the business. Business needs a result, how it will be achieved, it does not matter. But the product and the team can offer an interesting solution even for boring, at first glance, tasks. This is their qualification.
The interest of the tasks is the subjective assessment of the employer by the employees. First of all, it should be considered as a way of non-material motivation and retention of employees. If specialists are not interested in working with you, then even salaries above the market will not keep them. Attention in this matter allows cool to reduce the turnover.
Vitaly Pomozov (developer):
An interesting task is a relative concept. What is interesting to one developer may seem like a chore and boredom for another.
The scale of Dodo Pizza allows you to find your place in the company. There are B2B and B2C areas, a beautiful front-end, a harsh back-end, Machine Learning, SRE, BI. If you are interested in being closer to business, the company encourages trips to the pizzeria for testing and monitoring the features that have been made. Do you like system programming? You can sit quietly and do this.
When performing uninteresting, routine, simple tasks, the developer stops developing - this adversely affects the quality of the system being developed, increases staff turnover, which further aggravates the quality of the system. The tasks of the company usually follow the business, it is hardly possible to just come up with ideas that are not important to the business right now. However, any task can be refactored, optimized, redesigned and other things, making the task more interesting.
Too many programmers are changing jobs, motivating this with uninteresting tasks at a previous job. Interesting tasks keep the fire in the eyes of the programmer, make him create better solutions. Few people speak at rallies talking about uninteresting tasks.
Staply is Russia's first business messenger with project functionality.
Assessment of the company on My Circle.
Vasily Ereshko (programmer): I
want to work on interesting tasks. They make you think, apply something new, use innovative approaches.
I expected that our assessment would be high, because I worked in a number of other companies, where the approach to development was radically different. Work there is, with rare exceptions, just a routine when you wait for the weekend as a deliverance.
If the tasks are uninteresting - a decline in the quality of the product begins, eternal debag instead of development. No, chore is important too. The main thing is that there should be something besides her and not only after the full moon on Sunday on the even months of the year. Developers need to be forced to think, not copy-paste the same thing from project to project.
Ilya Tarasov (senior iOS developer):
An interesting task is not “another stool” that I made, received money and forgot, but a process in which you get a bunch of new knowledge, “bumps” and, as a result, job satisfaction. We make our product, native, and not soulless "outsourcing."
Developers are different, for someone it is enough to close cards and get paid, but for the most part, good specialists need food for the brain in the form of interesting tasks. If the brain is starving, the body is looking for the best conditions for development. To make the task interesting, you need to give more freedom in making decisions to the developer.
Without interesting tasks, the company will not have the best specialists, there will be a staff turnover and burnt deadlines.
Julia Trofimova (QA Engineer):
An interesting task is a task from the field of human interests. Feasible, but difficult.
In our company, you can and should invent tasks for yourself. It is easy to interest a person in the process, if you give him complete freedom to realize his creative potential.
Interesting tasks are important for maintaining the team. If a company gives a person the opportunity to do what he likes, then the person will not leave such a company.
Alexander Momotov (junior product designer):
In my opinion, “interesting tasks” are tasks in the process of solving which you can discover something new. It can be both a technology and an approach to work.
At our place, any member of the team can try on the authority of a colleague and thereby learn something new. It is considered absolutely normal for us that the mobile developer can help with the backend, and the designer himself will correct the layout. That is why our company has such a high rating. Did I expect this? Perhaps yes.
If the developer sets uninteresting tasks, then there will be many bugs. It is necessary to interest the developer in improving the product. If the developer thinks about the quality of the product, the code will be clean and easy to maintain.
My personal experience suggests that if an employee works on the same tasks every day and does not feel growth over himself, this leads to burnout and loss of motivation. A person in such a situation would rather change his job or try to find other interesting tasks (for example, change technology) than continue to work further. This is a very delicate point on which it is difficult to give advice, but I will try: try to feel your team and give colleagues a little more freedom in choosing their place in the processes of the company.
SKB Kontur is a developer of web services for business and accounting, which is used by both global corporations and small entrepreneurs.
Assessment of the company on My Circle.
Alyona Mokrousova (development manager):
A task is interesting if it has the creation of new value, the solution of significant problems, the development of new technologies. It contains a study.
It all depends on the personal qualities of the developer. Someone is interested in research, a new tool or a way to solve it, someone is interested in the significance of the task, why this task is needed, how many users it will make happy, bring money. Someone is interested in competitiveness, someone needs discussion and collaboration.
That is, if you want to make the task interesting for the developer, you need to go from the specific developer, and not from the abstract characteristics of the task.
Daria Svalova (developer):
Everyone has their own interests, and besides, they change over time. If your interests at this moment coincided with the topic of tasks in the company, then the company has interesting tasks.
It all depends on the person. Someone from work needs interest, someone needs money, someone does not need to touch. On average, it seems that you need to alternate uninteresting tasks, if any, with interesting ones for the developer.
Contour booth at Innoprom 2018.
Igor Lukanin (devrel):
Each engineer decides for himself what tasks are interesting for him. As a rule, these are tasks that allow you to prove yourself as a professional, but at the same time leave the zone of professional comfort.
The contour is large and continues to grow. In it you can find products and teams in which engineers will work on tasks that are of particular interest to them, and if desired, change the team to one where they make a product that is more interesting to them, use a more interesting programming language, and solve larger problems. We expected a high mark, because from the inside we know what our tasks are.
Summer festival “Music of the Summer”, July 2018.
At the same time, we understand that for some engineers our tasks will not be the most suitable: Kontur makes products for business (B2B), while some are interested in working on products that solve the tasks of “ordinary people” (B2C).
Uninteresting tasks will not allow developers to grow, their motivation will drop, and they will leave. Maintaining the motivation of team members, including through interesting tasks, is an important function of development team managers and team leaders. We need to learn this in order to professionally grow the engineers for whom they are responsible. To make a task interesting, you need to understand the motivation of the developer - to understand what arouses his interest in order to either select the appropriate task or change the requirements for the task in such a way that it becomes interesting. It is remarkable that after reaching a certain high level, an engineer gains the ability to find interesting tasks for himself, find interesting in familiar tasks and independently bear responsibility for his professional development.
Having interesting tasks helps bring talented engineers to the company and keep them for a long time. It may be a problem that the “interesting task for the engineer” is not always the task that will directly benefit the business. Therefore, the desire to find interesting tasks for each engineer can lead to local inefficiency, but over a long period of time - which is typical for product development - more experienced engineers who have grown up on interesting tasks will do more good.