Rounding Up the Year 2020 at Redwerk
Rounding Up the Year 2020 at Redwerk

Rounding Up the Year 2020 at Redwerk

March 1, 2021

Annually, it gets pretty busy at Redwerk on the threshold of a New Year. The bustle is not surprising, given how much there is to do in the run-up to Christmas. Apart from our usual pre-Christmas accolades and charity initiatives, this time we gave the floor to our employees to get hold of their perspective on the passing year.

Let's see what came of that.

Year-End Events and Initiatives

Considering the vast amount of negativity towards 2020, it was pretty clear that we needed a little extra to finish off this challenging year.

The early December hung in the air a dire need to generate as much positive energy as was humanly possible. Hence, the HR department strived to get the employees into the festive spirit. To name a few corporate December initiatives and tokens of gratitude:

  • Work Secret Santa
  • Gifts for employees' children
  • Gift boxes from Barman Dictat
  • Live-streamed interoffice party
  • A new contest daily for the final advent week (Christmas tree decorating, the top hilarious work-related fail, etc.)
  • Putting a little magic in children's lives in need (as a part of social responsibility initiatives).

To top that, not long before the winter holidays, the bright minds from the HR department at Redwerk decided that it was time to take stock of the employees' improvements. The focus was on professional progress. Redwerkers were asked to recognize their accomplishments, such as introducing innovative solutions or proper decisions that enhanced project performance. Fair warning - it didn't turn out to be an easy task, but we will return to this in a moment.

The 2020 Achievements Campaign

A lot of hard work has been going on behind the scenes of this initiative. For first-hand insight into organizational details, let us hear out the HR team:

Katerina, HR Specialist
– Katerina, HR Specialist
We came up with the idea at one of our HR department meetups. The original plan was to stick to internal departments voting, i.e., pick our "top developer" and the "top QA engineer," etc., but such an approach was soon turned down as not the best fit. The PM department brain trust brought up to the table what turned out to be our final option - go company-wide with no department-only limits. So we sent out a two-part questionnaire to shed light on employees' professional wins.

– Katerina, HR Specialist

The twofold questionnaire offered redwerkers to share their own work-related points of pride and to reflect on the traits they cherish about their colleagues.

Self-assessment

As the HR team collected the answers, a curious pattern has revealed itself throughout almost all the completed forms. Under My achievements, a large number of employees humbly mumbled something like "I don't know..not sure what to say," along with "I don't think I've done anything worth mentioning."

We wouldn't have you think that our employees are just loafing about; quite the contrary. Just take a look at these impressive numbers:

Elmira, Copywriter
– Elmira, Copywriter
No accomplishments, in particular, to highlight here. Can share some numbers: 10 articles from scratch for Redwerk and QAwerk; 9 new case studies for Redwerk; 3 cases studies for QAwerk; 17 Proofread Bug Crawls.

– Elmira, Copywriter

Alexei, SEO Specialist
– Alexei, SEO Specialist
[speaks in numbers]
30 000+ | Google impressions daily
400+ | payments for company's purposes
50+ | "Redwerk +1" witnessed
+1 Linkbuilder trainee mentored.

– Alexei, SEO Specialist

The questionnaires brought us unanticipated self-reflection memos. Yet we did not take the results to mean that the initiative altogether did not work out. Some of the redwerkers did muster up the courage to showcase their professional growth milestones and accomplishments (even though in some cases captured in impressive, albeit cold statistics).

If we are to condense the self-appraisal results, the most common personal pride points were as follows:

Acquiring new skills

We spend years studying. For some, sadly, the skillset building ends with graduation. At Redwerk, we put support capacity development efforts to help our employees achieve measurable and sustainable results.

Karine, Front-End Developer
– Karine, Front-End Developer
I've mastered new technologies (Electron, MobX, RxJS).

– Karine, Front-End Developer

Semion, QA Engineer
– Semion, QA Engineer
This year, I've started learning Python and test automation.

– Semion, QA Engineer

Alexandra, QA/BA
– Alexandra, QA/BA
I've proposed a set of improvements that were shortly implemented within the Unfold project.

– Alexandra, QA/BA

Confronting the problems head-on

Accepting new challenges pays off: this is the shortest way to broaden the scope of one's responsibility and grow as a professional.

Mikhail, UX/UI Designer
– Mikhail, UX/UI Designer
I've realized that everything is possible. You dive deep right into the problem, strive to figure it out, and just enjoy your swim after.

– Mikhail, UX/UI Designer

Being able to make a difference

Seems like this one sums it all: when we manage to successfully finalize projects, show initiative or beat the clock mitigating some issues, we contribute both to the company's and our professional development.

Дмитрий, .NET-разработчик
– Dmitriy, .NET Developer
AIRVolution project: a tight schedule, many requirements, a large amount of communication. A complicated project overall that we've managed to complete.

– Dmitriy, .NET Developer

Recognizing Achievements of Others

No doubt left that recognizing personal success isn't a simple task in a number of cases. For talented, yet modest people it may turn into a real challenge. Our fail-safe was the following second question on the survey form: "Share your colleagues' small wins and big victories you've witnessed this year." That is where the Christmas miracle made an entrance! A real magnitude of commitment and all the hard work of our employees have been acclaimed through the lenses of their fellow workers. Those who skipped the part of listing their professional gains spared no effort to shine a light on their coworkers. Progress is best traceable in the details, which we saw highlighted with sincere words of well-deserved recognition and gratitude towards our experts who merit praise to the fullest.

To sum up the feedback we've received, let's go over a list of traits that make employees stand out, backed up with anonymous testimonials from the fellow-redwerkers.

High professionalism and commitment levels

Reliability and the readiness to take on challenging projects are indispensable for fair teamwork. Sometimes it takes acting as a team player; other times - as a one-person band to see the desired progress. A professional can tell the timing for each role:

"Andrey Gorbach successfully carried out the internal infrastructure projects' system tasks along with his DevOps tasks on the Justin Alexander project."

"Katya Sobko goes over functionality with a fine-tooth comb; never saw her discouraged by the complexity or novelty of tasks. She is always supportive and maintains effective control in line with ever-changing requirements."

Responsiveness and willingness to help others out

A willingness to help others out with effortful issues unsurprisingly made its way to the top praised characteristics:

"Olga Dubskych has supported me throughout my 11 months with Redwerk. One of her many achievements lies within great mentorship."

"Maria Kachalova has a heart of gold. She stoically and with a smile deals with all the issues. Always nice to her coworkers and clients, always responsible about her tasks."

Great diplomatic skills

It wouldn't be much of a revelation to say that well-developed diplomatic skills are a must-have at a workplace; no wonder employees find them invaluable.

"Kyril Staroverov is perfectly qualified. He manages multiple projects efficiently to sustain a well-regulated and flexibility supported workflow. He is an excellent communicator as well."

"Sasha Ratushna, a marketer of my dreams! She successfully consolidated her team. Always ensures that her teammates feel appreciated."

Such results might be yet another proof that it is easier to praise others. From our standpoint, they convey the idea that our employees' highest caliber of professional expertise along with reciprocal support, gratitude, or simply a kind word in times of need always work their magic.

Major Takeaways

Encouraging employees to look back at their achievements should be approached as a good practice to enhance annual end-of-year corporate practices since any business that wants to build lasting relationships needs to run employee-recognition campaigns. For us, the key lessons from organizing this initiative are the following:

  • Set meaningful and engaging questions
  • Allow for more options to count everyone in
  • Make sure every employee gets their minute of fame

Final Words

We are happy to acknowledge that the workplace approach at Redwerk helps the employees feel included, supported in developing new skills, thanked and recognized for their achievements. It doesn't take much to cultivate the participative appraisal culture in a supportive and respectful working environment. We are thrilled to keep developing in this direction!

Katerina, HR Specialist
– Katerina, HR Specialist
I am a firm believer that showing appreciation to employees builds a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. When employees know that they are valued, that makes a core difference. For sure, we will hold such appreciation practices as part of Redwerk annual achievement assessment.

– Katerina, HR Specialist

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