What is the secret of healthy hair Meghan Markle, tried to reveal Konstrakta in her hit "In corpore sano" which won the hearts of those who would swear they don't like a more abstract approach to music.
What is the secret of a happy life, a good look, a young spirit... the questions keep coming, and we all dream of a recipe for magically solving the challenges we face.
What is the secret of success at work, which makes up (at least) a third of our lives, we discovered in a conversation with Niners, employees of Levi9, who have been growing, together with this company for the past decade - and more.
But let's go back to the beginning for a moment.
Comet Levi9 has been conquering the IT sky since 2005.
Did you know that YouTube and Reddit were founded in early 2005? Tennis fans may also remember that in 2005, Novak Đoković started playing in important ATP tournaments, and the results he achieved brought him, for the first time, to the list of top 100 tennis players.
On April 1, 2005, the IT company Levi9 was founded, with headquarters in Amsterdam, and the first employees were in Novi Sad. The Niners' mission is to make a visible impact with technology, just like the comet Levi9, they are named after.
In the past 18 years, the company has increased its capacities and ambitions multiple times, but what still hold things together are the same values and a good #empowerment culture. Although double-digit anniversaries are not typical for the IT industry, fifty employees are celebrating more than a decade of work in the company.
More than 10 years of work in the same IT company - how (sur)real is that?
"Fifteen years is a long time, especially in the IT industry. Honestly, I have never felt pressured to change companies to gain new experiences or work with other people. Why? It's very simple, I already have it all in Levi9. Every new project usually means a new team of people you work with daily. When you add to that, different technologies, other clients, and business domains, the dynamic is very present." Miroslav Radujkov, who works at Levi9 as a Java Tech Lead but also leads the Niner team, shares his experience.
Svetlana Zakić is part of the leadership team in Belgrade, and as she says, she herself is surprised that she has been part of the same company for so long. From about 60 employees, when it started, to 700+ Niners and two Development Centers.
"At the beginning of my career, I had the idea that after 3-5 years, when I had acquired certain knowledge, I would go on to new challenges. However, as the company grew, I grew with it - from Junior Project Manager in 2008 in the Novi Sad office, I reached the position of Delivery Director in 2018 in the Belgrade office. Levi9 is definitely a company that recognizes the talents and potential of people and creates an environment for the development and growth of each individual." She adds that despite the age and growth of the company, Levi9 has managed to preserve and nurture the values and culture of team spirit.
Their colleague Milić Vuletić, Cyber Security Lead, celebrated 10 years of work last year. As he says, the most important people in his life are the people around him. "Colleagues with whom I am in daily contact are on the same wavelength as me, and I can rely on them. It is important for me to feel that I am doing something purposeful and good."
Projects, technologies, culture - what is the x-factor for job satisfaction?
Jelena Kutlača Milošević, a Delivery manager who leads the team of Delivery managers in the Levi9 team from Novi Sad, will soon celebrate 18 years of working in the company. As she says, it is difficult to single out one thing that is the main motivator for her, because it is a combination of everything that makes up our working environment.
"I enjoy projects that are a challenge from both the technical and business side and the constant acquisition of new knowledge." In the past period, there were plenty of challenges, and at the same time, the company always supported the adoption of new knowledge and its application in projects."
Working with a purpose, following personal beliefs, has become imperative in the market. The projects Niners work on, help clients define products, deliver them to the market, go through digital transformations, and improve processes and products. They often receive recognition from the clients themselves, and the fact that they are outside the business brings insight into how the products they work on directly affect many end users.
"Seven and a half million people in a Southeast Asian country will have the opportunity to register through the system we worked on, which is one of the first steps towards realizing civil rights such as issuing personal documents, entering the health care register, and the like. Such applications are one of the systematic ways for children in all parts of the world to exercise their rights, which are prescribed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Levi9 teams are part of that process.” this is how Miroslav shares his experience from the last project he was involved in, as an example of a project where the impact of the work is very tangible.
In developed countries, awareness of socially useful engagement is at a much higher level than here. But in recent years, we have also seen positive changes here, both in individuals and in companies.
"Social responsibility starts with support to family and health care, where Levi9 supports its employees through work-life balance and various benefit packages. Then through a series of educational activities, from internships, lectures at faculties, organization of meetups, since last year, and the Levi9 conference in cooperation with NURDOR, which also had a humanitarian character, we give back to the community and support its development. In addition to the above, Levi9 also organizes an internal Bazaar of humanitarian auctions and various donations with the aim of supporting the local community." says Svetlana.
Market dynamism and change - advice from the future
With the interlocutors from the company Levi9, which is celebrating 18 years of work in Serbia, and is considered one of the pioneers of the IT scene, we also discussed financial compensation for work.
"We all want to succeed. For some, success is wealth in money, for others in children, fame, or the legacy they leave behind. We all prioritize differently. However, what is common in today's world is that it is very difficult to live without money, especially if we are used to all modern things. Wages are a very important factor, but not the deciding factor." Milić conveys his experience.
This opinion is also shared by other colleagues who, in addition to the salary, verify the importance of other benefits at work, the most important of which are private health insurance, opportunities for learning and development that are available for Niners within the Levi9 Academy, as well as a flexible way of working with the possibility of location selection.
"We notice that those with more seniority and experience have a harder time changing jobs, and as one of the main reasons, I would state that they value the business environment in which they find themselves more. Personally, I think that service organizations, such as Levi9, offer more diversity in terms of the type of clients, projects, and technologies and provide more opportunities for learning and development compared to manufacturing companies."
Often changing jobs can be, in a way, running away from problems, instead of facing them, says Jelena. Miroslav adds that there are also those stories where it is shown that the changes were rushed, that is "the grass is not always greener somewhere else".
Finally, we asked them what, from this perspective, they would say to themselves from 10 or more years ago. We believe these tips may be useful to you as well:
"Be braver and think about whether to accept every feedback." Jelena
"Follow your instinct, plan, and know plans are there to change." Svetlana
"Don't skip any Happy Hour, football, or drinks after work, it gets harder to fit it in with the responsibilities as you get older." Miroslav
"Maybe this is just what you're looking for - give it a chance, then judge." Milić
Although nowadays it is increasingly difficult to maintain employee retention, and companies are fighting for exactly that, we saw in this example that with the right conditions and people, it is also possible to achieve it.
Sometimes the projects we work on - and more importantly, the people we work with - are more precious than the constant desire for change or something new (better). Let's not forget, maybe we have that "new" right where we already are.