4. Practical information for everyday operations
4.1 Your first day at Vega IT
Welcome to the company! Your journey is about to begin. The book that is before you provides you with an insight into our company's operations and organizational culture.
Your hosts, members of the People Operation team, will give you information about us, most of which you will later be able to learn of from this book. Afterwards, you will be walked through our offices and introduced to other members of our team.
Our Marketing team will talk to you about marketing today, why it is important to be aware that you are part of the marketing of our company and how your activities affect the success of the company and yourself.
A computer with configuration made up of state-of-the-art hardware awaits you on your desk. Your colleagues from the IT Admin team will help you create user accounts and set up all applications necessary for the performance of your work. Happy beginning!
4.2 "Knowledge Base" website
"Knowledge Base" (KB) website is a platform containing the following information:
- Coding Standards
- Development Best Practices
- Meeting Minutes from internal meetings, lectures and workshops.
Access to the KB site is possible only from our internal network. If this is done from home, you need to connect to our VPN.
At the beginning of working with us it would be ideal if you visit the KB site in the first two days and read the Coding Standards for technologies you will work with, together with other topics that are relevant to the job you do.
4.3 Google + Communities
At the end of 2015, we started using Google + Communities as a way to exchange information among colleagues and make announcements important for all of us.
The announcements that are important for all of us are made within the “Community” named “Vega IT - Internal” (https://plus. google.com/communities/107735316920820982843). Apart from this one, we created a few more groups where membership is obligatory for some colleagues:
Vega IT - Internal -- obligatory for all the colleagues,
Vega IT Developers -- obligatory for all the programmers,
Vega IT .NET Developers -- obligatory for all the .NET programmers,
Vega IT PHP Developers -- obligatory for all the PHP programmers,
Vega IT Mobile Developers -- obligatory for all the Mobile programmers,
Vega IT Front-end Developers -- obligatory for all the Front-end programmers,
Vega IT Fun -- optional for all the colleagues,
Vega IT Fitlife -- optional for all the colleagues,
Vega IT QA -- optional for all the colleagues,
Vega IT Liga -- optional for all the colleagues,
Vega IT Girls -- optional for all the colleagues,
Vega IT Basketball -- optional for all the colleagues,
Vega IT Recognition -- optional for all the colleagues.
It is very important for you to join all the “Communities” from the upper list that refer to you. Otherwise, you might miss important information relevant for all of us.
Apart from the main goal (exchanging information between colleagues), these communities can be used to exchange knowledge as well, gained both from professional and everyday life.
Only some of the colleagues are entitled to make the announcement that can be seen in “Vega IT - Internal”. This is primarily because we want to avoid email overload. That is why we send all the announcements at the same time when it's necessary (usually at 11.45 or 16.45 every working day.)
In case any of us find it difficult to access any Google + community, they can address our colleagues from the IT Admin team regarding that matter.
4.4 Working hours
The working hours of our company are from 9h to 17h. If you're late up to an hour, it is not necessary to inform anyone about it. If, however, you come to work after 10 am, it is necessary to notify your mentor, team leader in charge of the project/projects you work on, or Maja Neducic if you are uncertain who to contact. If there is a planned meeting with clients or colleagues in the morning, it is unacceptable to be late, except in case of force majeure. For example, if we have a scheduled daily standup meeting at 9.30 am, it is unacceptable that any of the participants is late or does not come, and justifies the same by untimely awakening and getting up.
We all have a right to a 30-minute break in the period from 12 to 12:30 am. Any deviations from this break term are possible only in consultation with our Team Leader.
Any longer break absence from the company implies an equivalent time of staying at work. The same is applied for smoking breaks and using the Fun room. Therefore, time spent on such breaks needs to be compensated by staying longer at work for the same duration.
Also, if we want to leave work early or not to come to work on a certain day, it is necessary to contact our Team Leader and Maja Neducic (if you are unsure who to contact, contact Maja).
4.5 Dress code
Business casual style means wearing simple pants and jeans, that is, sports shirts and polo t-shirts for men. As for women, business casual style means wearing skirts that must have a minimum length of 10 cm above the knees.
Smart casual style refers to sports clothes - shirts, jackets, and sweaters, with optional ties.
Business casual style and Smart casual style do not include wearing any transparent and low-cut shirts, skirts that are shorter than permitted, as well as an inappropriate display of certain parts of the body (stomach, chest, and back).
During the summer, men can wear shorts, but only knee-length ones.
Our company's dress code is business casual and smart casual
4.6 Holidays, sick leave and free days
In our company, our colleagues are entitled to 20 working days’ holiday (annual leave). Each one of us has the right to 1/12 of an annual leave (1.66 days) for each full month of working in Vega IT.
Therefore, if you are entering a new year with the contract with indefinite duration, you are entitled to 20 working days of an annual leave, with the assumption that you will be working in the company until the end of that year. In case you will be staying shorter in the company, you are entitled to the number of days (in accordance with the number of the months you will be working in the company and by applying the calculation the number of working months x 1,66 = the number of paid days of an annual leave).
The same system of calculation regarding the paid days of an annual leave is applied to the colleagues who join us during the year or who enter the new year with the fixed-term contract. This means that they are entitled to 1,66 days of an annual leave for each full working month. For instance, if someone wants to go on holiday after two months of working, they are entitled to 3 (3,32) days of an annual leave.
Each one of us has the right to take a holiday of up to 10 paid days maximum at once. We came up with this rule for practical reasons - because, in most cases, it is difficult to postpone tasks that are assigned to particular colleagues who are on the vacation longer than ten days. Also, the period of 3-4 weeks is too short to introduce the work to a new colleague (a substitute).
Each one of us can see how many days of their annual leave they still have by visiting out timesheet portal.
Free days can and don't have to be paid. Regarding the paid leave, we are all entitled to it and it includes:
- 3 days for starting a marriage
- 3 days for the birth of a baby
- 2 days for severe illnesses of a close family member
- 5 days for the death of a close nuclear family member (a spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents, adopter, foster parent, adoptee)
- 2 days in case of a flood
- 1 day for Family Saint’s Day (if it on the workday)
In case someone is prevented to come to work only one day, because of illness, he or she is not obliged to bring medical excuse notes. That particular day will be considered as paid leave. Regarding such one-day absences, you need to consult Saša Popović a day earlier or that very morning when you decide that you decide you will be absent from work. When someone is absent from work for more days, it is necessary to take sick leave and bring a medical excuse note. It is important to inform Maja Nedučić about it (either via mail or by phone).
In case you have a mild cold, but we do not want to infect other people around us, we can consult our “team lead” or Saša Popović regarding working remotely (from home) until we get better.
Everyone is, by law, entitled to have free days during the public holidays. Taking into account that those rules and regulations sometimes change, and in accordance with the calendar, we take into consideration only the holidays that are always celebrated by the general public as free paid working days:
The 1st January and the 2nd of January - New Year
- The 7th of January - Christmas
- The 15th of February and the 16th of February - Candlemas (Sretenje)
- Easter holiday (Friday - Monday) - for Orthodox Christians, Catholics and members of other christian religious communities
- The First of May - Labour Day
- The 11th of November - Armistice Day
- The 25th of December- the first day of Christmas (for Catholics and the members of some other christian religious communities)
4.7 Private health insurance
Each of us who spends more than 3 months in the company is entitled to voluntary health insurance.
We started using private health insurance in 2014.
You can get exact information about your health insurance from our colleagues from the Accounting team.
4.8 Kitchen rules
There is a Czech proverb that says: "Warm food, warm friendships". In the kitchen, hygiene should be at a very high level. Leave the used cutlery, plates, glasses and cups in the sink.
Milk should be opened with scissors and left in the fridge door in order to show that it is open, and also to avoid opening more packages at the same time.
The same goes for juices which should be returned to the fridge after use. These are natural juices that spoil quickly if not kept in the fridge.
The fridge is designed for everyone to use and there you may keep food that you bring from home. Food from the fridge that is no longer in use should be timely removed.
The food that remains after the Happy Hour is available to anyone at any time. Bon appétit!
We are all obliged to take the cups and glasses which we used during the day and leave them after our working hours in the kitchen. Empty plastic bottles should be put in a special garbage, while the caps of the same should be placed in bags provided for this, which are also on the counter. Through this procedure, we participate in the "Cepom do osmeha" humanitarian campaign.
"When nature calls, either slip away quietly or excuse yourself from the group. Leave it clean, always flush and never discuss."
Cleanliness is next to godliness. Restrooms should be left, after use, in the state in which we would like to find them. Or, more specifically, using brushes in toilets is not degrading for any of us who work at Vega IT. The use of paper or cloths is also normal and no one will blame us for leaving a tidy toilet behind, even if we have previously had a slippage :-)
For better hand hygiene, we provided an electric hand dryer. Dryers are safe, cause much less damage to our environment and are far more economical than paper towels. If we dry our hands completely only by using electric dryers, we reduce the number of bacteria that are spread around the space in which we work, compared to how many bacteria we have on our hands and transmit them further if we wipe them with paper towels.
We leave our umbrellas in baskets provided for that purpose.
It is necessary to leave jackets and coats in the lockers located in the halls. By not leaving them on chairs and our desks, we create a more comfortable place to work for all of us.
By moving to new offices, we are given a possibility to leave the things, clothes and the equipment we used during our training sessions in the lockers which are located in “the wet room” on the ninth floor. That room has a separately installed ventilation system which prevents the bad smell from the sports equipment to spread around the working environment where we spend most of our day.
We should keep our desks clean and leave them in such a state in which we would like to find them later. We sometimes use them to have lunch, eat fruit, drink, but it is the duty of all of us to remove the unnecessary stuff from them and make them more pleasant to work on.
4.10 Happy hour, Team building, Social activities
Happy Hour (HH) is an event organized every Friday at 16.30h in our company. At that time, we gather in the place we call the cafeteria and enjoy each other's company with food and drinks, listening to one of our colleagues. The purpose of HH introductions, which last from 10 to 15 minutes, is to allow our colleagues to tell us more about who they are, what their interests and personal values are, etc. Our company has more than 100 people now and HH is a way how to get to know each other better.
Although we spend 8 hours together, sometimes that's not enough time to meet each other, and especially people who do not work with us in a team and who are located on other floors of the building. In this way, we can make the working atmosphere even more pleasant and comfortable. These presentations and lectures allow us to show our own public presentation skills. Everyone can give a lecture and the schedule is organized in upfront in order to allow everyone to present themselves in a different light to the rest of the colleagues.
For more information about the schedule of lectures and public presentations, you can address Maja Nedučić.
Our company is also famous for fostering team spirit. Apart from the already mentioned social and HH activities on Fridays, our company organizes several team building trips a year such as skiing, going to the seaside, rafting and alike. In addition to team building trips, our company organizes at least two parties a year, one during the summer, on the anniversary of the establishment of the company, and the other before the end of the year, as the New Year's Eve party. Besides the two mentioned, our company organizes other kinds of parties from time to time. For example, every time the company opens a new office, we organise a party.
Our company periodically organizes gatherings that involve our families as well (partners (wives or husbands) and children). Each year we organize a New Year's play for children, as well as New Year's gift giveaways, but apart from that, we sometimes also gather and hang out for no particular reason.
Other social activities are held at least once a month and include going to the cinema, ice skating, paintball, laser tag, room escape and so on. Our partners or spouses may also participate in these activities, but we bear the costs for them in that case.
4.11 Giving suggestions / Asking questions
A long time ago, Einstein said that it is most important to ask questions. Anyone can reach his/her colleagues through the mail, Skype or in person and ask them questions.
You can ask anonymous questions and give comments regarding particular issues to our company and their owners. In case someone wants to do that, they just need to go to the "Ask Us" address where they will be provided with the form they can fill in with questions or comments. We can access that page only from our local network or by using VPN, in case we are not in the company. The questions and comments entered in the already mentioned form are sent by email to the addresses of all people in the company. It has been agreed to use that access without the previous checking and approving the questions and comments, until someone abuses this possibility, in terms of writing offensive messages and alike. After we receive the questions, we prepare the answers in order to present and discuss them with all the colleagues on the following Friday.
4.12 Success communication with colleagues and clients
The basic elements of effective communication are as follows:
Given that people react both consciously and subconsciously to each other during meetings, it is particularly important to be well dressed, with carefully chosen details on clothes, including the physical appearance of a person, in order to leave a good impression.
Manners are the models of behavior that show the other collocutor whether he/she can expect good behavior in socializing at work and the like. Selfishness, rudeness, lack of self-initiative in business, disloyalty to the company and people are the traits of undesirable behavior. Punctuality is a sign of good manners. Being late up to 15 minutes for an appointment can be tolerated, but more than that is considered rude. Punctuality shows respect towards the other participants and gives importance to the meeting. It is necessary to respect other people's time so that others would respect ours as well.
Fairness means selfless, truthful and benevolent behavior. As such, it deserves trust that leads to success. A fair person's reputation takes a lot of time to be built, but is lost very quickly. The basic rule of success in anything, even in business behavior, says that fairness must not be questioned.
Respect means respecting collocutors, without underestimating and belittling in mutual relations of any kind. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, and it is rude to comment anyone's appearance in the presence of others. It is necessary to praise frankly and cordially those who perform good work. Greet all colleagues in the same way, kindly, do not make remarks in the presence of a third person, do not eavesdrop on phone conversations, do not look for stuff on another person's desk - is our credo.
Creating an image means building a comprehensive personality portrait, with physical and psychological toning, in order to make an impact on someone for the sake of gaining prestige and advertising. Personality image should be a source of inspiration for the environment in order to be able to devise intentions at the desired level, with one of them being the commercial activity in which we participate as well.
Style and tact
You may learn a lot about someone from their behavior and clothing style. The style of clothing and shoes is individual, but it is preferable to keep it within the limits of business style and suitable for the business world. The colors we wear can also contribute to the sense of professional sensibility. Style and tact in behavior play the role of a controller that excludes reckless statements and actions and even shares unpleasant information in an acceptable way, and with all of the above, it is most important to be natural, to radiate kindness and self-esteem. It is inappropriate, especially in the business world, to show tension, nervousness and excessive gestures and facial expressions, expressions of absence, anger or indifference.
Characteristics of a good business conversation are:
the unity of thought and speech should be the foundation of every good communication.
speech should have a goal, and if it is not adjusted to the level of listeners, it loses its sense, thus becoming meaningless and pointless.
CORRECTNESS OF SPEECH:
This phrase refers to following the rules of literary language, which basically consist of three areas - vocabulary, grammar and spelling.
Accuracy decreases errors, therefore inadequate words and idioms should be avoided in business communication.
These terms are associated with accuracy and are conditioned by it. If a person wants to be understood by another person, he/she must clearly express his/her thoughts. In order to send a clear message to the listener, the person speaking should, among other things, be fully acquainted with the subject content.
4.13 Use of mobile phone, Skype, Youtube and social networks
In the chapter "3.8. Communication with clients and approach to projects" we spoke about how interruptions have an adverse effect on our work and how it is important to maintain their number as low as possible. There are interruptions where our influence is very small, but also those that we cannot influence at all. For example, when we have to have a conversation with a client, when some of the colleagues seek help from us when we have to go to the restroom etc. Such interruptions are relatively often, but since we cannot affect them, we must make an effort to maximally reduce the number of interruptions that we can influence.
Some of the activities that may interrupt our work and/or distract us are chat groups (usually Skype), social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.), Youtube and various activities on mobile phones.
If we want to participate in creating an organization that will appreciate and reward our work, if we want to work in an organization with a sustainable business model and in which we will feel secure, we need to make an effort to be maximally responsible, to strive to make our work as better as possible and work in such a manner that none of us suffers (responsibility, quality, and team spirit are three of our five values).
What does this specifically mean when it comes to chat groups, social networks, phones, Youtube and the like? We will be responsible towards our work, company and colleagues if we try to have as little interruptions as possible and compensate the time spent on private activities and fun by staying longer at work (or coming to work earlier). When it comes to programming, every task can be done in many different ways. We can often perform the same task by doing it hastily in a way that seems fastest to us, and to use the remaining time for fun - this is certainly not the way in which we can contribute the most to the client we work for, but also the company we work for or personal development. If we make an effort to finish the task in a better way, we will feel better after we are done with it, it is quite possible that we will learn something new in the course of such work, we will make our work easier to maintain and make the people around us (colleagues and clients) happier. If we do our work in a responsible manner, we will facilitate the work of colleagues who work with us in our team. Conversely, if we are team members who "shirk" and prolong work by frequent interruptions, it is likely that some of our teammates will have to work harder in order to get the job done on time and improve the quality of what we deliver as a team.
The following are some additional tips that are related to the aforementioned sources of interruptions.
Skype is an application which we use on a daily basis for business purposes, but it is usually the largest cause of interruptions when used for entertainment or used in the wrong way for the purpose of communication. The biggest problem with Skype is chat groups. They are particularly problematic because they suddenly cause interruptions for all people who are part of the group. An alternative to chat groups could be e-mail, because then we decide when to make an interruption and read the message. Another alternative could be portal discussions, with daily or more frequent e-mail notifications.
If we use Skype for private purposes as well, and if we do it often, we might consider creating a Skype account used only for business purposes, when we are at work.
During working hours, it is necessary to turn off the sound on our mobile phones so as not to disturb those who work. Private phone conversations should be conducted outside the office for the same reasons.
Youtube as the source of music is acceptable in our company. However, if we often switch music on it, we will often have unnecessary and harmful interruptions. An alternative to this is creating a playlist that can be selected at the beginning of the day/week and used longer without switching.
Youtube could interfere with us more significantly if we play a video on one of the monitors and if switches from it would be in our field of vision. Therefore, keep the Youtube videos in the background and use it only for listening to music.
4.14 Communication via email
To use emails for internal purpose, within the company, the usual communication procedure is informal and consists of adequate providing of information, clearly and precisely presenting the facts, questions and closing an email with appropriate sign-off, like in the following example.
I would kindly ask you to prepare the necessary documentation for the application of a new colleague. I will need it by 15.01.2017.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Thank you in advance.
When more people have to receive the specific message, then we use the field CC.
CC is a shorter form of the English expression „Carbon Copy“, which means copy. In this field you need to enter all the addresses of the recipients of this email and to separate them by using the sign „;“. Such an email will be received by all the listed people at once and each one of them will know all the people who received the same email. In this way, by entering the addresses of all recipients in CC, we allow them to be informed by sending them copies of the message, although the message was not initially intended to be sent directly to them.
When we reply to the email sent to many addresses, and not to only to ours, we must use the “Reply to all” option, so that all the participants in the conversation would receive our email.
We do not use the option “Reply to all” only when we want to omit other people from the conversation on purpose.
If we want someone or no one to find out who else received the message that we sent, then we should enter the addresses of those people in the field BCC („Blind Carbon Copy“). In the window for writing the text, you cannot see it until you turn it on by clicking on CC. The addresses of the recipients from BCC field are entered in the same way as we enter the addresses in the CC field ( by separating them with „;“).
When we are answering the email referred to many addresses, and we want to remove someone from the conversation, because the further discussion is not useful for that person, then we will enter that persons address in the BCC field and point out in the email that that person was removed from the conversation because the further discussion is not relevant for that person. The person who was removed from the further conversation will receive our email, but will not be informed about the future emails from that specific email thread.
AUTOMATIC EMAIL REPLY WHILE WE ARE ON A VACATION OR A HOLIDAY
During the period while we are on holiday, even for just one day, we need to set automatic email reply, which will be sent to all the people who send us emails so as to inform them that we will not be able to (maybe) answer them immediately. The automatic reply must be written in English.
In order to set an automatic reply, is necessary for the users of Outlook 2013 to follow the next steps:
1 Home -> New email
2 Write a message:
3 Save As -> Save as type -> Outlook Template
4 In the field Filename box, you need to enter Out of the office -> Save (our template is saved and should be set to send automatic reply)
The example of a template:
Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the office and will not return until (the date until you come back to work).
If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact (the name of a colleague/team lead-a /Project Manager-a). Otherwise I will respond to your emails as soon as possible upon my return.
For questions of a more general nature, please contact Vega IT at +381-21-661-65-57 (during working days and from 9 AM until 5 PM CEST)
Name and Last Name
4.15 The obligations that apply to all of us
Leaving jackets in the wardrobes meant for that specific purpose
Our working place should represent the oasis of clean space where we can function comfortably without being distracted all the time. Our offices tell much about ourselves and about the message we want to send to the potential clients, and all the others who are somehow connected to us.
We are all obliged to take off our jackets, sweatshirts and upper pieces of clothing when we arrive to work and leave them in the wardrobes meant for that specific purpose and which are located on each floor of the building. That is why we do not have hangers in each office and why our chairs and desks are not meant to be used for hanging our clothes.
The use of glass bottles instead of plastic bottles
During 2017, we bought glass 1 litre carafes with the aim to pour the water from a plastic bottle into those carafes which will the preserve the quality of water, but also, indirectly have a positive impact on the better appearance of the working space and the way we present ourselves to the clients during everyday video calls or when they visit us in the offices.
The advantage of these carafes is that we can put lemon or any other fruit that we occasionally supply into them. Each carafe has a lid in order to preserve the water cleanness in case we do not drink 1 l of water in one day.
Turning on lights in the offices
The new working space is equipped with many details that make our work much easier. For instance, there is one switch on the ninth floor behind the counter that we use to turn on and turn off all the lights in all the offices on the 9th and 10th floor. By pressing the button “all the office lights” we will automatically turn on all the lights in the offices, therefore, there is no reason that each one of us turns off the lights in the office where they work after finishing their work.
There is exactly the same button on the 8th floor, but it is not marked. Therefore, there is no need for anyone of us to turn off the lights separately in each and every office, regardless of what floor their office is. The cleaning ladies will turn them off when they leave the company, and some of our colleagues who first arrives at the offices will be obliged to turn on the button “all the office lights” behind the counter on the 9th floor and turn the lights on in that way.
The lights in all the offices should be on the whole day. The lack of light causes physical tiredness, faster eyesight fatigue, sleepiness and the loss of concentration which can lead to potential injuries and the decrease in the productivity. Therefore, according to the Law about the safety and health at work, working space must have, to the maximum extent, enough natural light. When curtains are brought down (because natural light causes reflexion on the computer monitors), the offices must be equipped with the source of artificial lightning which must provide the offices with the adequate light with the aim to create safe and healthy work conditions. Also, according to the same principles, the lights must be equalized throughout the entire working space and must have the same intensity during the working day. This is the reason why we do not have to turn on and turn off the lights during the day - we can solve everything just by pressing a single button.
Leaving the food in the fridge
As we mentioned earlier in our book, the kitchen is the place where hygiene must be at the top level.
Therefore, our colleague Lidija Šegrt will take out and throw away all the food that was left in the fridge the previous week and remained during the weekend every Monday morning before 9 a.m. so that the food would not stay in the fridge for too long and get spoiled.
Disarming and the alarm
If we are the last ones leaving the offices, we are obliged to do the following: turn off the lights, turn on the alarm and lock the door.
If our office is on the 8th floor, we turn off all the lights by pressing the first button on the left side of the exit door. If our offices are located on the 9th and 10th floor, we turn off all the lights by pressing the button marked as “all the lights in the offices”. It is important to keep in mind that it is not necessary to turn off the lights in each and every office.
It is necessary to lock the entrance door on the 8th floor when we are leaving the company after 17:30 h, regardless of whether there are colleagues who decided to stay longer in the company. If we are leaving the company on the 8th floor before 17:30 and there's no one left on the 8th floor, in that case, we also have to lock the door after we activate the alarm and leave our working space.
It is necessary to lock the entrance door on the 9th floor when we are leaving the company and there is no one behind the counter.
Every time the alarm gets activated, the Securitas crew comes to our offices and that service is paid by our company every time. In case you accidentally activated the alarm, we kindly ask you to deactivate it, and you will do that by entering your password into the keypad and go to the landline phone behind the counter on the 9th floor and wait for the Securitas’ call who provide us with protective services.
In case you are not sure how to deactivate the alarm system or you are doubtful about how the system works, please address Saša Popović or the colleagues Dragan Čačija and Stanislav Perinović on that matter.
We are all obliged to fill in the timesheet with the projects we have been working on for 7.5 hours every working day in Vega IT (we do not include a 30-minute break, that is, one working day including the break lasts for eight hours). To fill the timesheet go to
http://timesheet.vegaitsourcing.rs (username: „the first letter of the name“.“ last name“).
The base is developed in a way that it allows you to enter more or less working hours than expected. In case you forgot to enter the hours for the previous week, each following Monday you will receive an email informing you how many hours you still haven't entered. The program enables you to go back to the previous week and fill in the timesheet with the hours you failed to enter.
Also, the drop-down menu gives you the possibility to enter the number of working hours for one or more days you took for either your sick leave or the vacation.
It is necessary to enter the hours that we spent during the working week, which means that we do not have to enter the working hours we spent during the weekend. The base is developed in a way that it allows you to enter the working hours you spent on Saturdays and Sundays, in case there is a need for that. In our timesheet, we need to enter the working hours that we used. For example, if we have been working on some assignment for about 10 hours, we will enter 10 hours, regardless of whether our request for working overtime has been approved or not. Also, if we have stayed at our for 6 hours, we will enter 6 hours for that day.
We need to enter extra working hours both in the portal and the timesheet. Taking into account that we are paid extra working hours, in order to be adequately paid for working overtime, we need to enter those extra hours on the company’s portal as well.
4.16 Relaxation and a friendly chat during the lunch break
During our first “company retreat”, more colleagues pointed out that there is much noise during the lunch break which distracts other colleagues and prevents them from relaxing and enjoying their meal and a nice chat with other colleagues.
After the short discussion, someone suggested that it would be a good idea not to use the canteen for fun and entertainment between the noon and 2 p.m., that is to avoid playing pool, foosball and alike. We agreed that this would be a good idea and we agreed that, instead of that, we will play a quiet music between the noon and 2 p.m., and, in that way, use our 30-minute break for a quality break and a nice chat with our colleagues.
One of the most important topics when it comes to satisfaction and happiness at work is a regular feedback about the working performance of the colleagues.
After “the company retreat” in Vrdnik in 2017, we introduced the official process of giving “feedback” to our colleagues. Everyone has the right to voluntarily apply for receiving feedback from their fellow colleagues. Therefore, nobody is obliged to do that.
This kind of “feedback” is distinguishable from others because it does not represent a feedback given by the company. This feedback is given by our fellow colleagues who we work with and all the information we gathered in this way is provided by the colleagues we work with on a daily basis, who sit with us in our offices or who we collaborated with at some point in the past.
The invitation for receiving this kind of feedback is open throughout the whole year and is conducted at the end of each quarter - in March, June, September, and December. Each colleague has the right to choose which of the given periods he or she would like to receive the feedback.
How does the system function?
- On the following link, there is an application form which can be filled in by any colleague interested in getting the feedback: https://docs.google.com/a/vegaitsourcing.rs/forms/d/1MJVtZsW1upekKYclBYd_ndKt6Yz0G1OOoyII6bJWkVk/edit?c=0&w=1
- We create a list of colleges who have been working closely or who used to work on some of the projects with the colleague who applied for feedback, and we ask those colleagues if they want to give their feedback. Therefore, each colleague will have the right to refuse to give the feedback about that specific colleague by not filling in the survey.
- The colleagues who give the feedback will be given the anonymous survey, that is the set of questions which are listed at the end of this chapter.
- After collecting all the feedback about one colleague, we will organize the meeting which will be attended by our CEO Saša Popović and HVMs. The gathered information about the colleague will be presented during this meeting.
What is the advantage of this system and what distinguishes it from other systems?
Apart from the standard questions, each colleague who applies for the feedback has the right to ask additional questions which are not initially included in the set of questions, and which he or she finds important. (for instance: Do I adequately share the information I receive from the clients with my colleagues? Am I too loud while having calls with clients or other colleagues?)
Also, apart from that, each one of us can name a colleague we would particularly like to get the feedback from.
How to give a constructive feedback?
“Feedback” is the objective information about the behaviour and the consequences (that is, the information about how the colleagues’ behaviour influences other colleagues, their result, the achievement of the company goals…), regardless of whether we acknowledge and praise somebody’s successful work performance or would like to suggest that someone should improve their work performance.
The purpose of the feedback is to provide us with the information about the things we do well, as well as about the things we can improve (that is, the things we do not do well enough). People are often not aware of the things they do well, as well as the things they don't do well. In that case, the feedback can help them find out something new about themselves. On the other hand, in particular situations, people just need the confirmation that they do the things they do in the right way, and in accordance with the values shared by all the colleagues in the company.
Since everyone should be given the adequate feedback, everyone should be familiar with how to give it in an appropriate manner.
Giving feedback should be a purposeful process and a positive experience.
While you are writing a feedback, keep in mind that it can be constructive only if:
- It reflects our personal opinion (our point of view regarding a particular situation)
- It refers to a particular behavior (not the personality!)
- It must not include emotionally emphasized words. It should reflect the level of our dissatisfaction. We should use the vocabulary that contains terms such as: “I am not satisfied with…”, “He/She distracts me…, “He/She doesn't return my calls…. However, under no circumstances should we use the terms such as: “always”, “all the time”, “never”, “because of you”, “I am deeply disappointed with…”, etc. These negative remarks are not semantically accurate and they do not have any constructive influence on the potential change of the colleague’s behavior
- It can include a suggestion regarding the change (a constructive solution)
The examples of non-constructive feedback
"He/She does not behave like a psychologist”
- What does “behave like a psychologist” mean and where does it say how a psychologist should act?
- Who is “the judge”?
"Sometimes, Maja has sudden mood changes. I think that this is caused by both private issues (rarely) and the situation at work.”
We should not express a subjective conclusion.
"Advice: He/She should choose a moment and find a way how to appropriately express criticism! Also, my advice to him/her is to continue doing a great job in our company!”
Here, it is not quite clear what are the reasons to change the way how one expresses criticism (jumping to conclusions). How should I know what I need to change?
The examples of a constructive “feedback”
"He/She doesn’t behave like a psychologist.”
- In my view, someone who works as a psychologist in the company should have a more objective attitude towards their colleagues. Here I am referring to the method of communication where the words such as “dear…” should be avoided.
- "Sometimes Maja has sudden mood changes. I believe this is caused by the private problems (rarely) and the situation at work”.
- I have noticed that Maja has sudden mood changes. This affects me because sometimes I don't want to ask her a question because I don't know how she would react…
- "Advice: She should choose a moment and the right way how to express criticism! Also, I advise her to continue doing a great job in our company!”
- Separate the two comments: I would advise her to talk with the colleague in private and then express criticism, and not in front of the others. // I would like to encourage her to continue organizing the workshops and conducting job interviews, etc.
The example of giving “feedback”
1.1. Pointing out the facts//observed behavior
"I have noticed that Maja has sudden changes in her mood, so sometimes does not want to communicate with the colleagues from the office early in the morning.”
1.2 Pointing to the consequences of the behavior
"Because of that, I don't know how I should talk to her. Should I ask her something or not?”
1.3. Giving a suggestion to make a change
"I would suggest that she should openly say when she is not in a good mood - so that we would know that it is about her, and not about us.”
1.4 Emphasising the things that should stay the same
"I like to talk with her in the morning because she cheers me up, and I wouldn't like to stop doing that just because she is not in a good mood.”
- Feedback: The person's characteristics
I am very disappointed in you.
For some period of time, I felt hurt by your comments regarding my attitude towards work. I know that you are not the kind of person that would hurt my feelings intentionally, but I have to say that I was hurt by those comments because I felt like you really meant that.
- Feedback: Particular behavior
I think you are excellent at answering emails.
You are never late with answering emails, I do not have to wait for the answer for a long time, you provide all the relevant information, and still, your mail is not too long. Keep up the good work!
- Feedback: How to change the behavior
I think that the presentation lasted for too long.
I think you should cut out the last 2 slides because those are conclusions that you already mentioned during the presentation. In that way, you will save 10 more minutes.
Initial questions included in the survey:
1. How would you evaluate the willingness of your colleagues to help other colleagues:
- He/She will offer their help themselves
- He/She will help only when someone asks them for help
- He/She is not willing to help others
2. How would you, from your own point of view, evaluate the technical knowledge of your colleagues:
1 - the colleague does not have sufficient knowledge to work in a current position
2 - the colleague has the minimum knowledge to work on a current position/projects
3 - the colleague possesses adequate knowledge to work in a current position/projects
4 - the colleague's knowledge exceeds the knowledge level needed to work on a current position/projects
5 - The colleague possesses an exquisite level of knowledge and distinguishes himself/herself as a specialist in her/his field of expertise.
3. In your view, to what extent (how often) will the colleague make an effort to do the task he was assigned to well and by using an adequate method that is in accordance with the values we as a company advocate and nurture in our work:
1 - Never
2 - Rarely
3 - Sometimes
4 - In most cases
5 - Always
4. To what extent, in your view, the colleague approaches the assignment in a responsible manner (for example, do they make use of their lunch breaks, fun rooms and alike in an appropriate manner; or do they use the working time they are given effectively and efficiently):
1 - Never
2 - Rarely
3 - Sometimes
4 - In most cases
5 - Always
5. In your view, how fast does the colleague do the job and how good is he/she at meeting deadlines:
1 - Slow
2 - Not fast enough
3 - Fast
4 - Fast enough
5 - Too fast (negative connotation)
6. I have an absolute trust in the colleague (for example, that he/she will complete the assignment on time, as we agreed or that I can assign the task without having to worry if it will be completed or not, etc.)
1 - I absolutely disagree
2 - I partially disagree
3 - I am not sure
4 - I partially agree
5 - I absolutely agree
7. The colleague is a very cooperative and nice to work with (he/she accepts suggestions, proposals, willingly express his/her opinion, supports ideas, listens actively, etc.):
1 - I absolutely disagree
2 - I partially disagree
3 - I am not sure
4 - I partially agree
5 - I absolutely agree
8. The colleague is open for collaboration (he/she understands suggestions, is open for proposals, respects an interlocutor, etc.)
1 - I absolutely disagree
2 - I partially disagree
3 - I am not sure
4 - I partially agree
5 - I absolutely agree
9. What would you recommend to the colleague? (a book, training, seminar, advice…).
10. We kindly ask you to evaluate the colleague’s knowledge of the English language. This answer should include your observation about whether the colleague’s knowledge of the English language is good enough for communication with clients and whether there is a need for improvement of particular language skills (for example, grammar tenses, pronunciation, phrases, vocabulary, etc.)
11. We kindly ask you to evaluate the communication skills of your colleagues. By answering this question, you can write down your observation regarding the way the colleague communicates with clients and with other colleagues, whether he conveys the message clearly enough, etc.
12. In my view, regarding the colleague’s performance, there is a big room for improvement in…(e.g. the knowledge of English language, the method of communication, etc)