Making a difference in the war for talent. What are we fighting for?

9 May 2019
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Reading time: 6 minutes

Global Tech Summit: One of the largest conferences in Bulgaria, running seven events in parallel, with 1500 visitors, 30+ sponsors and recognized by the local community as worth attending, even in the middle of a working day. If you are hiring in Sofia, this is one of the places you need to be.

On the second day of the conference in the Jobs ahead zone, there is a typical late afternoon rest period. Waves and waves of software engineers have dropped by in the morning to pay respect to potential career opportunities or even to feel flattered by the VIP treatment the HRs, hunting for talent, provide. Now the crowd has gone somewhere else and exhausted recruiters, who have been highly productive all day, have finally a little time for themselves.

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One booth is different, though. There is still enthusiastic crowd, where vivid discussion takes place – people are seeming still pretty engaged there. It is the joint booth of Zuhlke Bulgaria and Bosch Software Innovations (Bosch SI). On my way to test myself for the quiz Zuhlke developed, I overhear a comment:

What are they giving away – tickets to Paris?! Gosh, war for talent is becoming worse each year.

I did not feel the need to engage into this discussion, because the huge screen showing a tech quiz, opened for everybody to test his or her engineering knowledge, with both Bosch SI and Zuehlke logos shining in the top corners, seemed like a pretty obvious answer at the time. But it got me. And then it got me thinking. What we, Zuhlke Bulgaria and Bosch SI, have done differently to deserve such an encouraging jealousy among experienced HRs, dedicating all day to generating new ideas for the sake of their ultimate goal – reaching to its majesty – the community?

Both Zuhlke and Bosch SI are as well far seeing enough to understand there are more benefits in collectively fostering talent. (Image: Zuhlke)

Well, I can only provide my opinion on how we reached this success and I am sharing it because the answer might occur to be of some significance in terms of where the HR market currently stands.

The things done right:

We established a dialogue based on ubiquitous language – between ourselves and the community

Conversation between Bosch SI and Zuhlke started far away. A post on Twitter triggered the idea in Stefan Grasmann and Kai Hackbarth – people supporting Zuhlke Sofia and Bosch SI growth from Germany. They thought that if we can partner successfully in other countries, we can as well do it in Sofia. They connected us locally and they left us to find out if we share something in common. And it occurred that we bonded on the strongest level possible – our values.

Both our companies have interest in attracting IoT engineers. We discovered both our companies are as well far seeing enough to understand there are more benefits in collectively fostering talent in Sofia than winning back and forth quick battles for existing candidates. We are companies passionate for engineering. We know successful engineers make their own choices of career development. We decided not to compete for those choices but unite and invest in developing talent in local communites and thus increase our chances. From a larger pool, there is higher probability that hopefully engineers will make a choice to grow with us. Worth the investment and the try.

Late afternoon visitors of the joint Zuhlke and Bosch SI booth (Zuhlke)

Late afternoon visitors of the joint Zuhlke and Bosch SI booth. (Image: Zuhlke)

We walked our talk

Key ingredients for getting engineering talent attention are company generosity, company culture and company know-how – not necessarily in this order depending on individual motivation. There are well-known trends appreciated by the community, therefore established practices and key messages are promoted at recruitment events – team culture, technical excellence, strong expertise, knowledge sharing practices, fun events, cool and branded give-aways. There were real kittens in one of the booths – it can get this interesting on such events.

What we did differently that day – we did not talk about it, we showed it to people. Bosch SI and Zuhlke were the only two companies sharing a booth – united we looked not only stronger, but bigger and we acted as team. We did not talk about passion for engineering and experts sharing knowledge – we gamified sharing knowledge via bug-free tests and showed how we reward and cherish excellent results. Our engineers were there having eye-to-eye conversations with the visitors, openly sharing professional experiences and challenges.

Happy teams (Zuhlke and Bosch SI)

Happy teams (Images: Zuhlke and Bosch SI)

Leadership did little strategizing, we trusted our engineers with all the planning, coordination and collaboration model for the event

Martin Tsarev from Zuhlke with his motivation to bring our meaningful projects to Sofia and Ivaylo Yanev from Bosch SI, who is passionate for IoT done right, owned the event. I can give little details on the efforts they put, I can only judge the effects on Social Media and their audience. They did not do it alone. Wonderful Bosch SI and Zuhlke team members were on fire to do a good job. They were supporting and promoting each other – handing flyers always for both companies, telling stories about who we are, assembling the booth together – that was heart-warming to watch and inspiring to be part of.  I have never felt so useless as a manager in my life and I can share: This is an excellent feeling to have.

So, this first successful collaboration initiative of Zuhlke and Bosch SI was a memorable experience and we continue to invest together in developing talents in IoT space till today. What we learned is that good results come with courage. We are Bosch SI and Zuhlke Engineering – we are not afraid to share know-how and unite for fostering instead of competing for talent, because we know our teams will have new and better ideas in all aspects of our businesses on daily basis. So far it seems that local communities resonate well with our approach and appreciate the effort.

But to answer what we were giving away this day – not much more than a different perspective and probably food for thoughts.

Will partnership for talent fostering between top engineering companies become a success model in the land of competition for career choices in Sofia? We are about to find out – there are planed initiatives to be evaluated, community feedback to be answered, recruitment trends and statistics to be analyzed – it is too early to draw major conclusions, but results are more than promising.

What I am definitely convinced however and think is of significance – when we are speaking about “war for talent”, we are repeating one very important word over and over again. And this word is not “war”.

The author

General Manager

Diana Elenkova

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