Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cogini Skill Sets - Perceive and Control your own career development.

Ever since the early day, our vision about the company has been clear, to build a fun place to work. Moving towards that direction, countless of remarkable improvements have been made, with joined effort from everyone in the company, from the management board to new interns. The two most significant milestones in our journey of building a fun place to work are our recruitment process and our current office. Believing that hiring is the most important decision a manager can make, we have always been religious about recruitment. For many times, we have said "no" to talented people who could bring immediate effect to the work place because we didn't think it was a good culture fit and would eventually be a long-term harm. The new office on District 7 and all the nice benefits are high fixed costs for us that to a certain extend makes revenue flow management more troublesome. But that is a trade off we are willing to make as we can see how much it has been improving the professional and personal lives of us. Today, I would like to introduce the next big thing at Cogini, which, if done right, would bring employee development to the next level and provide a substantial long-term competitive advantage over everyone else. Cogini Skill Sets - Perceive and Control your own career development.

For a long time, our weakness in seniority has made employee development resort to self-study. And that isn't a smooth trip. The number of new technologies is blooming. Practical application of certain skills or technologies can be vague without industry insight. Without a roadmap, self development can be ineffective at best and crawling in the dark at worst. The idea of Cogini Skill Sets (CSS) is to provide a skill sets system that covers multiple roles (e.g developer, designer, system admin, etc) across multiple levels from interns, people in probation to people who have spent their entire career here. CSS serves as a checklist for employees to decide which skill sets to attain and control their career development. The progress one makes in CSS also contributes to his/her performance reviews (which are done once a year or twice). This is a exciting move that we expect to bring perceived control and progress to everyone's career.

Looking at the bigger picture, CSS is the first stepping stone in building a platform necessary for Cogini to be a long-term enduring and growing business. With the CSS roadmap laid out, we can focus on building a pipeline of people in every department with varying levels of skills and experience, ranging from entry level all the way up to senior and leadership positions. The vision is that for almost all of our hires from entry level, the company provides all the training and mentorship necessary so that any employee has the opportunity to become a senior leader within 5 years. 

I would like to make the roadmap a joined effort of everyone. It is acknowledged that it is hard to know what we need to know, to learn and to research to make us more valuable to the company. But that is where our diversity kicks in. There will be certain things about which you have a better idea than the person sitting next to you and the other way around. The Vietnam branch of Cogini has been in operation in two years and a half, which means at the minimum we have the experience to lay out a 2-year-long roadmap for a newbie. The number will be even more significant if everyone contributes his/her experience and ideas. There is always something we can learn from each other, so CSS will be beneficial to not only newbies but also experienced employees.

In the following week, we are collecting people's ideas about virtually everything you think an employee would need to attain to become successful at Cogini. Each idea should be written in a condensed noun phrase on one of the stickies you can find everywhere in the office and submit to the "CSS Box" on each floor. For those who cannot make it to the office, feel free to email me your ideas.

Ask yourself:
  • How do you grow personally? How do you grow professionally? What is your vision for where you want to go?
  • What skills that make you a better person today than you were yesterday?
  • What skills you have learned / want to acquire to differentiate yourself from everyone else?
  • What skills you have learned / want to acquire that would potentially to make work more fun?
  • What skills that you have pushed yourself out of your comfort zone to attain?
  • What skills you think would get the company as a whole grow?
  • How can you make people enjoy working with you?
  • How can you do what you are doing more efficiently? How can your team become more efficient? How can the company as a whole become more efficient?
  • What make you passionate about the company, about your work?
  • And more...
I am very excited about this new change we are introducing. We have always been keeping a flat organization in mind so that everyone's ideas are treated equally importantly. Now we are making it to the next level where together we are shaping up the type of employees we are raising, now and coming generations. In many ways, you are having the chance to leave your personal trait on the direction Cogini are walking in the next few years.