TL/DR: Employees do their best work when they feel heard and valued. At Detectify, we truly understand our people—their skills, performance, motivations, and sentiments to improve our talent force. That’s why captured feedback through company-wide engagement surveys shows that we are trending among the top 5% in the tech industry to excel in various categories, such as management support, employee wellbeing and job satisfaction.
The cybersecurity industry can be one of the most demanding industries to work in. Employees are constantly under pressure to stay ahead of the latest threats. As a result, security professionals often operate in a state of high alert, which can take a toll on their physical and mental health. In addition, the industry is notoriously competitive, which can lead to employee burnout. There has been much talk about the ongoing ‘Great Resignation’ and what prompted it. Figures from the US Labor Department show that workers quit in record numbers in November 2021, with 4.5 million leaving their employers due to burnout or inadequate mental health support.
As Gartner research director Sam Olyaei put it, “Cybersecurity leaders are burnt out, overworked and in ‘always-on’ mode. This is a direct reflection of how elastic [cybersecurity roles] have become over the past decade, due to the growing misalignment of expectations from stakeholders within their organizations.”
“If CISOs are experiencing this level of burnout, imagine the impact this has on the wider organization as well as the people they work with. You’re going to lose good people if teams are constantly burned out.”
To address these issues, more and more companies are emphasizing employee wellbeing. At Detectify, we go beyond the typical method used by firms of posting inspirational quotes on social media by providing employees with support and resources to promote their health and improve job satisfaction. This has led to better retention rates at the organization and an increasingly productive workforce.
A peek into our scores
Conducting employee wellbeing and engagement surveys enables us to track workplace challenges teams might face without any team member having to feel intimidated. Our response rates grew in excess of 85% in the past few years. We run weekly engagement surveys to truly get to know our employee’s experiences and to help leaders make changes for the better. These surveys seal the gap between management’s perceptions of what employees want and what employees actually want which is complimented by weekly and regular 1:1 meetings. Most importantly, tools such as these has been architected so that it can aggregate anonymized data right from the start, so employees are more inclined to speak their minds. Fundamentally, people all want the same thing, they’re all human. And this was clear in our scores.
Our workforce is indeed inspired by the company mission and believe that the strategies in place are going in the right direction. We were among the top 5% in tech on Strategy. Furthermore, we also ranked in the top 5% for ‘Organizational Fit’ as most employees admitted that their values match with those of the company, and we can be confident enough to say that all employees are fairly treated. We are also proud to be in the top 5% in the tech industry for freedom of opinion, meaningful work that fuels their passion, and peer relationships, proving that the work environment houses colleagues who lift and support each other. More importantly, the company was in the top 5% for management support as well as career growth. We are not saying that we are perfect – but based on what our employees say, we are getting a lot of things right, and I can go far enough to say that most tech companies would kill for scores like this.
However, for us, these scores are more than ‘vanity metrics’ or benchmarking against other companies. Bringing anonymous employee engagement surveys into the fold brings an invaluable extra dose of transparency and two-way communication. Putting our people at the heart of the business has been key for us from the very beginning. It’s proven to us that if we get it right for our staff, we get it right for customers.
Managers are made, not born
Employees today expect a value-driven company culture, effective engagement and investment in their development, and management support is vital if companies are to hold onto their best and brightest for long enough. This cultivates an environment in which workers feel valued, cared for, and adequately respected.
Of course, people management is hard, and managers don’t magically become good at it because of a title change or a bump in salary. In organizations where supportive practices are already in place, more effort is needed to further develop and sustain such practices. Leading from the front is one thing – developing an empathetic understanding of team dynamics is something else entirely and is something we take pride in. Our management and leaders aim to empower and set a direction to unleash their team’s potential and want to have an environment internally where people feel safe, respected, where they can express ideas and concerns, challenge each other, as well as deploy their full talent without any hesitation.
From organizing more team outings to supporting meeting-free days to help teams focus, every manager has found ways to motivate their teams and watch them exceed expectations.
Humanizing the employee experience
It’s hardly a secret that tech startups struggle with creating an inclusive culture where every employee is treated the same. Apart from a few exceptions, the rule seems to be that employees don’t make it to the top of the innovative elite unless they fit into the ‘tech bro’ image. Companies continue to make public pledges to provide equal opportunities to all genders, as well as claim to foster an environment for teams to grow professionally. However, for us, it is fundamental to ‘walk the talk’ as we advocate for workplace transparency everywhere.
Our ax to grind is to create an environment that enables and brings out the best in everybody. We take great pride in establishing a culture that people can embrace and thrive in.
Tip for HR managers in the tech industry: People look at employee wellbeing as a problem to be solved versus a difference to be leveraged. If we leverage those differences and ensure there is a constant transparent dialogue, we will come out greater than we ever had before.
Power of continous dialogue for tech companies
While designing a good survey is key to obtaining useful information, doing something with that afterward is what matters. Setting reasonable expectations for the communication of survey results upfront is key to the success of the process. Conducting a successful employee survey takes planning, careful execution, and follow-up. I always have the scores tab open where I can track the scores. When we see concerns or challenges being flagged, I ensure to initiate an open dialogue with employees to explore key issues in more depth. For instance, if they experience too much workload, their managers are notified so more realistic goals can be set.
Lastly, the life cycle of doing employee engagement surveys should move continuously from calibration and communication to collaboration and continuous improvement, followed by recognizing progress.
Prioritizing a growth mindset
Undoubtedly, using engagement surveys and tools are crucial because they give employees a channel for open feedback and establish two-way communication. Being actively involved in the planning process makes employees feel that they have a stake in the company and that their opinions are valued.
The bottom line is business as we know it is changing, and the workforce is evolving. To ensure sustainable growth, HR professionals will need to invest in people, plans, and processes. While decades of burnout caused by work and toxic managers have wreaked havoc on countless people’s careers around the world, we are here to show how a new way of working in tech can challenge the status quo.
Want to work in Detectify? We are recruiting in Stockholm and Boston. Take a look at our Careers page and check out our open positions!
Kristoffer Jaworska Persson
Head of People, Detectify