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Workforce strategies – the driving force during and following Covid-19

The IT sector in Cluj-Napoca before and during Covid-19

Leveraging decades-long academic heritage, strong technical expertise of the IT specialists and a growth mindset, Cluj-Napoca remains one of the most wanted IT destinations for programmers, entrepreneurs, and IT outsourcing companies.
The IT sector from Cluj-Napoca is one of the biggest employers on the market with one out of eleven employees working in the IT sector, according to recent studies.
A quick review of some of the most important reasons that make outsourcing to Cluj-Napoca an excellent choice, before and after Covid-19:

  • IT engineers with very good technical, communication, and managerial skills
  • Top technical universities and colleges, with a strong educational system and technology-oriented departments, offer more than 1,800 IT and CS graduates annually. Partnerships with universities in Cluj are growing, offering students both professionally applicable training and internship programs.
  • Broad tradition in the IT field, with a focus on value-adding services and strong experience in building national and international partnerships;
  • Cultural affinity with western cultures, quick connection to Central Europe and all over the world, a good command of foreign languages (English, German and French) make it easy to adapt to the client’s processes and goals.
  • In-demand technical skills at competitive rates.

The IT&C workforce is constantly growing, in addition to the IT graduates that join the workforce each year, more and more people choose to transition to IT&C either through internships, courses, self-teaching or informal schools. According to a Brainspot study, Romania has the best ratio for IT&C professionals per capita among CEE countries. 

Challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in the IT market

Since the beginning of 2020, people and companies everywhere have been called to deal with the impact and uncertainty of COVID-19 unfolding situation.
This posed twin challenges for IT companies – how to ensure business continuity for customers and how to ensure the safety of their staff.
Software development companies from Cluj-Napoca quickly adopted various local actions to help the local community and its employees fight the effect of the coronavirus.

At Avangarde Software

Our HR department has been the driving force in keeping our team engaged, productive and happy. 

We responded quickly to the health measurements imposed by the situation and made a rapid shift to work from home procedures. Throughout 2020 around 95% of our team was working from home and we have taken significant steps to safeguard and support their well-being. Internal meetings and events, customer engagements and business meetings moved online.
Our team happiness is extremely important to us and we managed to keep a genuine human connection while working remote, through positive and constant communication and support.
2021 will be a transition year for us, from working remotely to coming back safely to the office. I believe this hybrid work model will be part of every company’s culture in the post-vaccine business world.
Cristina Buzan – HR Lead

Prompt adjustment to customer’s requests and concerns

As the lockdowns and economic blockages started to roll all over the world in the first period of 2020, we began adjusting our service delivery models to the new situation and the new customer’s requests.
Our customers appreciated our resilience in continuing to be agile and striving for the best service delivery.
Here are the main concerns our customers had and how we address them:

Recruitment challenges

The shift in work culture has brought some challenges to our HR department. Our focus was to keep our colleagues engaged, providing the right communication channels and tools for remote work.
Aside from building a strong online culture, our recruitment process never stopped. We are always searching for new colleagues, also during the Corona crisis. The interviews and the hiring processes moved online, with extra focus on the inclusion of new colleagues.
To build a sense of connectivity and belonging we socialized in new ways, such as connecting via online informal team coffee or breaks, social media platforms, internal newsletters, etc.

How do we keep team motivated?

Even if remote work has its perks, we understand that for some of us working from home is a struggle and is hard to stay motivated at all times.
We always nurtured a positive workplace culture to ensure our colleagues are motivated and engaged and during Covid-19 we tried to do the same.
Our motto during this period was that social distancing does not have to be a social disconnection and we worked hard to have open communication, keep our traditions alive in the online, be supportive and actively listen to one another.

How do we manage ramp-up?

Even during this dynamic situation, our teams are working at full capacity and our fast ramp-up has not been affected.
Improved business systems, new ways of communication with the help of digital tools lead to better and faster execution of measures and activities related to ramp-up management.
Detailed planning and coordination with partners were needed to ensure that software development and release processes are as reliable as possible.
At Avangarde Software successful project ramp-up is driven by solid planning, good communication, and increased clarity over processes.

Growth plans at Avangarde Software

As 2020 sped up technology adoption, we feel there is an opportunity to accelerate digitisation, to expand our existing offerings, and create new lines of service.
Investments in IT infrastructure will continue to be a part of our core business strategy in 2021.
Technology will play an important role in safely transitioning from remote work to office work and on our business performance overall, as we work on several internal collaboration tools that will allow us to plan, connect and engage more efficiently and creatively.
Covid-19 may have thrown curveballs this year, may have brought tremendous challenges for some industries, change in mindset and shift in priorities. But the IT sector has shown resilience and 2021 promises more growth opportunities for us.
We are having a strong kick off this year, with great business potential and we are proud and grateful to be able to activate in an ever-growing and expanding market.