It has been a tremendously busy period with many major developments and changes happening on the work, personal and test community front. I will share another blog post shortly regarding the work on the test community side.
This post is slightly different from my normal posts as I reflect on the end of a rather rewarding and a proud journey personally.
This post is as much a personal “Thank you” message as it is a reflection (in my view) on what could make a workplace increase employee loyalty and job longevity.
This is a message highlighting the end of a rewarding job, a goodbye to a valued workplace and a ‘until we meet again’ to my work friends who are now more like family. I am hoping that what you and workplaces in general can take out of this post is a path to creating a happy, engaged and challenged workforce, who thrive on giving of their best daily to make personal, team and company wide impact, by increasing job tenure. Something that as a Test Leader or general leader you can try to enforce within your company culture.
A reflection rather than a goodbye
As I near the end of my almost 12 year journey at my current company, to now take up a position internationally at a multi-national company, I reflect back on what has made me so loyal, engaged and dedicated to my employer. Tenure and job longevity is something that is considered very, very rare in today’s rapid changing, competitive world, so naturally the topic of staff retention or employee job satisfaction is something that most companies share a vested interest in.
*For a more detailed account leading up to my career moves over the years check out my two posts on https://toyerm.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/wait-how-did-i-get-here-time-for-reflection-part-1/ and https://toyerm.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/wait-how-did-i-get-here-time-for-reflection-part-2/ *
So after being considered a job hopper walking into my current employer was not an easy task, but after a solid tenure I reflect back on what is it that has kept me here for so long? Is this something that you as a leader can look to adopt as part of your company or team culture?
Apart from amazing offices in one of the trendiest places in Cape Town, South Africa, the people of the company is something I value the most. To be surrounded daily by talented, knowledgeable and innovative colleagues makes one give of their ultimate best every step of the way. The relationships one gains from people and colleagues over time can have an impact not only on what one does but also what resides in their hearts as well. This was 1 of the major key factors for me. Celebrate achievements and have time to bond as a team every now and then.
Each conversation, interaction and relationship is what I take with me as a building block to what the future throws at me regarding challenges and interactions.
Space to do what you love
As an automation tester coming in to the company, I was given the opportunity to do exactly what I love doing, I was given the space and responsibility to drive solutions relating to particular problems. Playing to my strengths and knowing what made me tick were master strokes in giving the best for the company at the same time, giving whats best for me, the individual. Leaving a lasting legacy on test automation and performance testing is something that prides me as I move forward to take on a new adventure abroad.
As my role evolved, with it changed my needs and what I loved best at a given time. The evolving hunger was met by the opportunity to contribute to a space that I was passionate about, for example growing my leadership skills when I felt I was ready. More on this below.
Growth on multiple levels
I am and will be ever so grateful for the multiple growth opportunities, from a personal growth perspective and a career growth perspective.
I have so much to be thankful for to the company where I spent over 1/4 of my life at. Over the years I was fortunate enough to be sent on many courses, development programs and conferences.
Courses ranging from ISTQB and Certified Agile Tester from a career and testing perspective
Then development programs including Leadership development which not just helped to grow leadership skills but focused on helping me shape myself personally. A blog post will not be enough to count and state the many ways here.
Conference participation: the opportunity to attend both local and international conferences was another aspect that I am grateful for, obviously this is something that one earns based on performance- but also the push to earn it yourself, I could try to attend subsequent conferences if I had the courage to get up there on stage and represent. Something which I grabbed with both hands.
One thing that I personally valued was empowering others, this for me goes both ways. The ability to be taught and the ability to teach.
There is a great feeling of accomplishment when one shares knowledge for the greater good of other individuals and for a company. A culture that embraces this is a space is bound to prosper. Encourage this!
Also look at allowing the space to challenge and have the confidence to speak up if needed. Creating a safe space is what its all about
Exposure to multiple systems and tech
Over the years I have been exposed to so many systems and technologies that there was no room not to be challenged. There was also encouragement to rotate and try out other systems or domains within the IT space if there was ever a feeling of ‘oops I’m heading to comfort zone level‘ , this meant there was so much of opportunity to keep building on knowledge gained. At the same time sharing knowledge of other systems to your new space. The sphere of knowledge rotation between teams and systems was another factor that constantly sparked my interest. Never a dull moment as they say 🙂
Listen to this podcast for more on this.
Culture: Values, empathy and a sense of belonging
Finally another key aspect for me is the foundation of the culture, something that is ingrained into a workforce is very hard not to take note of. Aspects that stand out for me is the array of values and principles on show in almost every individual at the company. You know you are dealing with sheer professionalism at all times.
Caring for another individual is also right up there, there were some ups and downs over my time at the company, to have others genuinely show compassion, empathy or even share in an excitement gives me comfort in knowing that the working world can be a happy place.
A sense of belonging is something that I can never take for granted. Whether its the combination of all of the above points or just an intuition or gut feeling, I always felt part of the cause, a place where it was more than just work, a place where the heart and mind said yes, we are aligned!
End of a chapter
So can you or your company trace some of the ingredients in increasing employee tenure and longevity?
As Iron man so famously said in a recent Marvel Avengers movie- “Part of the journey is the end” – while I am excited to tackle my new job and the new role and challenge that lies ahead of me, I am thankful and grateful for all the opportunities received and the lasting connections made. So thank you to all of you who was part of the DNA composition of this magical journey.
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”