Working for the company, project/product or Person?

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This post is carrying onwards what Usman said in his blog, you can read about that here Be Loyal to people, not to companies and a portion of techlahore’s blog post Why VCs aren’t investing in Pakistani companies where there is a suggestion that there should be an emotional attachment to the product. Part of the techlahore post is below for reference

“Due to the supply problems in the labour pool we’ve identified earlier, it’s just hard to see how you motivate a workforce that’s getting 30-50% year-over-year salary increases without having to demonstrate the emotional investment that builds great companies.

It can’t just be about the money! How do we get people to care? Your thoughts?”

So above you see two different views on how an employee should attach himself to a company should it be an attachment to a personality inside the organization — say his immediate boss, the CEO or the director, or should it be the product/project the person is working on? Or infact should it be the organization itself (or the brand of the organization)?

My observation for the few years that I have been in the Industry places them in the following order.

1. The Personality

This perhaps in my opinion is the most compelling factor which makes an engineer continue a job or run away from it. I have seen great managers able to gel together with his team in the worst of scenarios like low pays or fierce market competition and dangerous organizational situation.

There have been instances where people have refused higher salaries and better job opportunities just because they feel emotionally attached to their managers and for them leaving them seems like an unlikely thing.

However there have also been instances where an employee leaves a perfectly well balanced job and good pay and goes for a low pay and an inferior job if the attitude of his supervisor is not healthy.

I would place the personality factor as the top most in our local industry — rest assured, if you have got managers in your team who care about their team not only in professional levels but connect to them on a personal level you will be able to drastically reduce the turnover ratio of your organization.

2. The company

This is the second factor which gels an emplpoyee in pakistan to the organization he works for, so if you are a well known company and the candidate can describe the company proudly in his social circle (i.e. saying “I work for xyz organization” receives an envious “ahh nice”) then that company has a higher retention than the unknown ones.

For most candidates sometime this status of a company takes precedence over the job functionality that they are doing in such an organization. So you will find brilliant minds getting wasted in most low level jobs just because they like themselves to be associated with the big names. This is also the reason why you would accept a 25k / month job at say Standard Chartered bank but perhaps nothing below 40k elsewhere.

3. The product/project

This fares the least respect when a candidate decides to leave or take up a job, for most professionals I’ve met they think that projects come and go and its not important — even product-focused companies face this problem because people fail to attach themselves with the product and their career decisions are hardly related to the value of the work that they have done.

This is a bit unfortunate because the work that a person has done really defines — in many cases — the career growth that this person is likely to see. Wouldn’t you like to say you were part of the interface design group for the iPhone in Apple? That would give you a proven track record to show off your skills.

People from some companies do this here as well — professionals from Ultimus, e.g., frequently point to the release and module that they were responsible for.

In general though, I hope professionals realize that their project becomes a definition of who they are and their capabilities in this industry, and thus that they should think about that project as a demonstration of their skills in the future.

We can only succeed and build world class products if we get our sequence right. I’ve heard of people leaving at crucial junctions of really innovative projects because they had a fallout with their manager, and due to all this the main loser is our overall industry which gets the tag that we can’t deliver on time and quality products, and also to a lesser extent that person who misses out the opportunity of adding some incredible track record to his experience.

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3 Comments

  • Very nicely written! Good work!

  • Ritely said Qazi!!

    I would like to add just a little bit.

    I beleive in “Giving The People What They Want”

    Every organisation has its own environment and its own missions and values and same is the case with individuals. Hiring process is very critical in this regard and the most neglected. Organizations should hire ppl who can satisfy their own personal missions/values working in the company and together they can grow. Unfortunately, we just fill slots neglecting what the applicant wants to have in the long run and whether the organization would be able to satisfy him.

    If i, as an employee, am going in the right direction(satisfying my very own carreer objective and my values) i can coup up with a bad manager even (Frankly! i consider it to be a part of the job). Similar could be the reasoning for the big company and a large scale project.

    In the book, GOOD TO GREAT, three ingrediants are defined for a successful company and they apply to a carreer as well

    1. What you do is your passion
    2. Satisfies your economic needs
    3. Growth

    Every one’s carreer recipe is mix of these three. A wise manager or a good company should provide every employee his very own mix to avoid turn overs and keep them motivated, AND, if the company is not in a position to provide this mix, PLZ DONT HIRE HIM/HER.

  • sanjeet kumar

    respected, sir/madam
    myself sanjeet kumar,2nd year engineering studentpersuing my B.E.in E.C. stream from truba institute of engg$inf.tech.aff.to RGTU,BHOPAL.i want to do minor project work from this organisation.please kindly tell me the required criteria to do project from this org.i shalll be very greatfull to you.
    thank you

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