When we say "time at work", whether you still work remotely or go to the office, we usually mean work tasks, sitting in front of the computer, deadlines and the absence of physical activity, and very often the lack of communication with colleagues. All of the above can sometimes be a source of stress.
Is it familiar to you? Surely, because we have all been in a similar situation at least once.
Some of us, however, are less ready and insufficiently motivated to initiate and design activities to further relax the mind and body.
And what if you can have all that at work? Here we are not referring to extracurricular activities organized by the company itself, as part of the benefit package, but to activities initiated by you or by your "friends from the bench"?
Running club within the company, dancing, learning a foreign language (but not business English), cooking course or game night? Maybe you have a special hobby or interest that you would like to hear from one of your colleagues?
That IT companies are not all about tasks and deadlines, it has become clear with various work-balance initiatives that companies have been insisting on in recent years in order to additionally motivate employees, and retain or attract talent.
An increasing number of IT companies will leave this process to its employees. That way, employees themselves are figuring out new ideas for activities that will initiate and bring together whole teams, while discovering that they have other things in common besides their interest in IT. This trend is becoming an increasingly common practice in the Serbian market, so we looked for adequate examples among the local companies as well.
We present to you Endava Engagers - a group of enthusiasts who organize various hobby clubs, internal events and humanitarian actions within the Endava company, in which all employees who are interested in a certain topic can participate. This project, which you will learn about later in the text, took a high second place among the most successful of the 51 reported HR stories.
The individual as a piece of the puzzle
As Endava Engagers already have a good experience behind them, and over time they have adapted to the circumstances and wishes of the employees, we talked with them about how the organization of this kind of employee engagement looks like, what are the challenges and most importantly, what effect do such initiatives have on people and the organization.
The essence of this approach is that everything starts with the individual. He or she is the one who listens to the personal interests and interests of colleagues, and in informal conversations with them receives suggestions for improving existing activities or suggestions for completely new ones. That's why Engagers like to say that they are the eyes and ears of the company.
"In companies with several hundred employees, it is clear that there are a large number of hobbies and interests, and in our culture, it is to support the individual, share his interests and involve other colleagues", explains Jelena Beličević, Communications Business Partner at Endava.
As they say, their priority is to provide employees with the opportunity to express what they are passionate about in the business environment, as well as to help them find like-minded people in the company.
What is the role of employees?
If you are afraid that you need to have special knowledge, skills or previous experience to participate in such a concept - don't worry, because it is not necessary.
Anyone can create and implement events and initiatives for their colleagues in cooperation with the teams in charge of this part of the work, in a common mission to make all colleagues fulfilled and happy in the workplace.
With this program, they took the first steps in this company back in 2015. The Engagers initiative actually appeared as support for the integration process of Endava and PS Tech, as a way to recognize the needs of people in a transition period in a more immediate and informal way and to respond to that through the cooperation of employees, as creators and implementers of initiatives.
From the initial activities such as office decoration, movie night, fruit or family day, today they also include oriental dance and Spanish language classes taught by Tamara, Senior AM engineer, yoga, with Jelena, Senior UX designer in the role of instructor, Board games night led by Zoran, who is also in the position of Senior Tester. From group initiatives, in which all Engagers participate equally, there are regular monthly knowledge quizzes, children's art competitions, Endava runners, kayaking, humanitarian actions and much more.
Start "something of your own"
There are even those in the company who have turned their hobbies into businesses, which is why the internal project "Small producers supported by Endava" was created with the intention of supporting them to grow into businesses that are being talked about.
"We were surprised when we realized that a large number of our colleagues, in addition to their regular jobs, manage to run their own businesses. Some of them are family manufactories such as producers of honey, brandy, and prosciutto, while individuals already have serious small businesses with developed branding, distribution, and marketing. A really great effort was invested in each of them, which the company recognized and gladly supported." - says Ana Bogdanović, tester engineer and one of the small producers in Endava.
This initiative currently brings together 11 small producers, such as "Spajsoje sauces", "Poonsa natural cosmetics", wooden products "Dar od malena", "Laffela keksića", honey producer "Medarija" and many others. Their products are part of the packages they give away during engagement activities, while some of them are one of Endava's biggest suppliers since their items have become the trademark of the gift packages that are distributed at external events. So far, Engagers have organized an internal sales fair for them - small producers!
"What always makes us happy is that we see that with new employees, the number of ideas and activities is constantly growing! These events always attract those who are interested in a certain topic, but we are especially glad when someone develops a new hobby in Endava" - points out Jelena.
A hybrid hobby
As everywhere and in everything, it doesn't always go according to the plan here either. There are always challenges, and the coronavirus pandemic has left a special mark, since the remote work regime has, as expected, reduced the level of engagement among employees.
In Endava, they say that during the pandemic, like many other companies, they had a situation where employees did not feel the same connection with the company as was the case before the pandemic. Engagers, however, switched to a hybrid model, and their commitment remained during the pandemic, when they moved a large number of their activities online and, through increased interaction on interim channels and listening to employees, maintained connection with colleagues and continued communication and support.
The result is that since the beginning of 2021 alone, they have had 1000+ participants in Engagers activities and more than 20 online and offline events.
Benefits for both employees and the organization
Finally, why encourage employees to create a better environment for each other by encouraging more collaborative activities?
In an environment that fosters openness to new ideas and new knowledge, progress is inevitable.
Regarding the benefits and positive impact of Engagers for employees, in Endava they first highlight: a sense of belonging, connecting with colleagues through fun activities and socializing, work-life balance and what should not be forgotten - support in the onboarding of new colleagues.
Happy employees are also more productive employees, and a good atmosphere and satisfied people are a good and comparative advantage for a company on the market.
By nurturing this concept of employee engagement, companies additionally strengthen company culture and get to know it faster and easier, encourage better mutual cooperation, and perhaps most importantly, create magic within the company - without hiring external collaborators.
Have you participated in any similar project so far? Or would you like to try yourself as the initiator of some fantastic initiative that will make you and your colleagues happy? While you are thinking about possible ideas, take a look at the Endava company profile on the Joberty platform, as well as the currently open positions they offer. Who knows, maybe the new Engagers are hiding in you.