Learn while you earn at Versent: build your IT career
Managing Director, Versent
Managing Director, Versent
Right from the start, we set out to create a team culture for Versent that was open, friendly, and designed to help people achieve their personal goals.
I’ve been part of the Versent team since the formative years. I came on board to set up the Managed Services arm of the business in 2016 when our Executive Chairman, Thor Essman, was building the company. I’d known Thor for six years already, working with him on other projects, so I knew we had a lot of common values when it came to team building. Thor and I had a vision for a business that rewarded its team members in more ways than just a paycheck every month.
A collaborative workplace culture
Versent has always had a relatively flat management structure. Even now when we’ve grown from a startup into an international enterprise employing hundreds of people, there continues to be a culture of transparency and egalitarianism which makes it easier for everyone to communicate openly about how they want to shape their own roles.
In all my years in the IT industry, Versent stands out as being a team where we genuinely collaborate to achieve our objectives. There aren’t any blockades in terms of getting the knowledge you need because you can go straight to the experts and ask them.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re not just trying to create some sort of utopian workplace for team members without an eye for productivity. Our flexibility and culture of knowledge sharing means we can move more quickly for our customers and give them better outcomes. If anyone in our team is struggling to solve a problem there’s no stigma attached to asking questions. At Versent you don’t get penalised for not knowing the answer. Asking questions is the express route to learning so we encourage it at every opportunity.
Pathways for personal career growth
Our knowledge sharing culture was working so well that after a while we decided to formalise it and give it a bit of structure. The Versent Managed Services Associate Program inducts new recruits – usually recent IT graduates – with minimal cloud experience, who start in internal support roles. We use the same systems and tools for our internal ecosystem as we provide to our clients, so it’s a perfect place for new recruits to get familiar with our product offering. As they gain knowledge and confidence, the associates start to work alongside our customer facing experts, and by that time they’ve got a toolkit of communication skills to match their tech smarts.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of communication skills – so-called ‘soft skills’ – when it comes to customer support. We prefer to call them ‘power skills’ rather than soft skills at Versent, because they’re so vital to customer satisfaction. Having technology solutions isn’t enough to stand out in the contemporary IT marketplace. When our clients entrust us with the management and maintenance of their cloud platforms, they want to deal with technicians who can fix the problems, but they also want good communicators offering wise counsel on the latest cloud and industry trends.
Our managed services associates typically hone their skills on internal support tasks for three months. After that they’re paired up with experienced operators whom they can observe and assist on customer-facing work.
Six months after joining the team, our young associates are fully fledged team members, and start to work on a more independent basis. We have a collaborative team culture, anyone can ask open questions and get help on challenging problems. The learning process never stops in our team, which is as it should be. We’re working with technology that’s constantly evolving at a staggering pace, so we need an open learning culture that rewards information sharing rather than competition. Another great outcome from this team culture is that people feel more able to define their own career path. If there’s a new skill you want to learn, you can turn to the person next to you and ask for an informal on-the-spot tutorial. Rather than getting locked into roles that become repetitive and unsatisfying, we encourage our team members to investigate new skill sets and grow into roles they define for themselves.
Supportive team = happy workplace
Newbies become mentors themselves in time, and the process of collaborative learning continues. One of the things I’m really proud of is the way the team we’ve created help each other and raise each other up. We all get to work in a less formal environment and find niches for ourselves organically, based on our interests and aspirations. It’s the kind of workplace I wanted when I was a young engineer, and it’s rewarding to see the way new team members flourish when they realise that the people around them are standing by to support them.
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