Blog: Life is Short, Work Somewhere Awesome

About Us

By Shaúna McGuire Mackey

By Shaúna McGuire Mackey

HR Business Partner

Life is Short, Work Somewhere Awesome

If we were to look at our life in numbers, the average human spends approx. 79 years or 28,835 days on earth – after sleep, work is the biggest time consumer. Whether we’re going through the motions or working in our ‘dream’ job, it takes up a lot of our time……working out at an average of 13 years (not including any overtime that may be worked!). (Huffington Post) 

Huffingtonpost image
Huffingtonpost infographic

Infographic by dreams.co.uk 

With these figures in mind, it really highlights the need for a person to work in an organisation where they feel fulfilled, supported, respected, challenged and feel they can grow and develop their skills. It is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure they foster a positive working environment that provides engagement for their employees and allows them to succeed.  

There are many ways an organisation can approach this 

*Have a robust, clear and transparent recruitment process 

*Understand that an employee’s engagement is not only driven by the Human Resources department but also by their Manager and Team 

*Provide employees with the room to grow and develop their skills whilst ensuring a clear career path is identified  

*Promote a culture of continuous learning, knowledge sharing and professional development – driven by the organisation alongside the employee 

*Have a clear structure and reporting lines in place 

*Ensure there is a competent and fully skilled management team in place that not only utilise their job/industry knowledge but are capable of leading and motivating a team 

*Ensure Managers do not underestimate the power of showing appreciation and acknowledging a job well done – the power of a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way 

*Promote and follow an ‘open door’ environment/policy  

*Ensure there is a clear and transparent communication policy and practice 

*Ensure that employees have the right support available to them from both a work and personal perspective  

Supporting an employee’s development ensures they’ll be more engaged, more productive, and better skilled at what they do.

An organisation needs to appreciate and understand the importance of making a positive first impression on prospective employee which will follow suit into their working life with the organisation. This is achieved by ensuring you have a robust, clear and transparent recruitment process where there is open and regular communication. Once an applicant is hired, this positive impression should follow via a clear and structured induction into the organisation. 

It is highly important that when a new employee joins an organisation that they obtain an introduction to the organisation as a whole and not purely focused on the area in which they will be working. This approach ensures that an employee has a clear understanding of the organisationits values, goals, work practices and can see how their role contributes to the overall success and growth of the organisation. This approach also provides an employee the opportunity to have a clear understanding as to where they are now within the organisation but also where they can be in the future. 

The importance of this is reinforced by a study completed by BambooHR where they surveyed 1,000 currently employed individuals and found that nearly a third of them, 31%, reported to have left a job before reaching the six-month mark. According to the research participants, the main reasons for leaving, were a poor onboarding experience, a lack of clarity surrounding their job duties and/or expectations, or a less than stellar boss. 

Organisations need to ensure they have an effective, competent, experienced and skilled Management team in place. It is not enough to have an appropriately experienced or skilled professional in a Management role, soft skills are just as important. An effective Manager needs to have the appropriate experience, but they also need to know how to motivate and get the best out of their team by displaying a genuine interest in their direct reports – not only from a work perspective but also on a personal level. Another important aspect of an effective Manager is ensuring they display professionalism, remain unbiased/neutral and not allow personal opinions to cloud their judgement.

According to a recent publication by Access Perks where global survey results were collated regarding 2018 Employee Engagement & Loyalty Statistics, the following show the importance and impact that a Manager can have on an organisation’s workforce; 

*Employees who give their managers a low rating are four times more likely to be interviewing for other jobs than their peers (TINYpulse) 

*Of employees who rate their boss unfavourable, 40% interviewed for a new job in the past three months vs. 10% who rated their manager highly (TINYpulse) 

*21.5% of workers who don’t feel recognised for doing great work have interviewed for a job in the past three months vs. 12.4% who do feel recognised (TINYpulse)

*Nearly half of employees said they’ve quit a job because of a bad manager, 56% think managers are promoted prematurely, and 60% think managers need managerial training (Udemy) 

I quite my job

An organisation needs to ensure they foster an environment where learning, knowledge sharing, and continuous development is at the forefront not only for Human Resource departments but also Line Management. According to a Willis Towers Watson study, more than 70% of high-retention-risk employees, employees who possess critical skills and are top performers, say they’ll have to leave their organisation to advance their career. 

An employee’s growth and development are vital elements of what an organisation can offer, and the benefits extend in every direction. Supporting an employee’s development ensures they’ll be more engaged, more productive, and better skilled at what they do.  

Again, according to the same publication by Access Perks, the following statistics confirm the importance of employee development; 

 *Offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position (Bridge) 

*51% of employees would quit their job if training was not offered (Udemy) 

*If a job lacks growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development, 67% of millennials would leave that position (Bridge) 

*42% of L&D professionals who indicated their employees were highly engaged in learning were also highly engaged overall at the organisation (Findcourses.com) 

*70% of employees believe training could help them become more focused on the job and better at managing their time, but 66% have never asked their managers for such training (Udemy) 

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” ― Benjamin Franklin 

Trainning.

Finally, but by no means least, organisations need to be aware that the mental wellbeing of an employee is extremely important and that support mechanisms need to be in place to address this.  

Many organisations may assume, for example; poor results, absenteeism or missed deadlines are signs that an employee isn’t right for the job. While it can be hard at times to identify the root cause of performance issues, it’s crucial for organisations to consider a factor that has, until recent times, been discountedemployee wellbeing. 

  

The issues and stresses that employees are bringing with them to the workplace could be affecting their overall morale and productivity. 

This year, Colonial Life released survey results that analysed 1,506 consumers working full-time January 29th to February 1st that revealed: 

*More than 70% of employees spend valuable work time worrying 

*More than 20% of full-time workers responded that they spend more than five hours thinking about what makes them stressed 

*An additional 50% said they lost at least an hour of work per week due to stress 

There are practical ways in which an organisation can address this; 

*Normalise the conversation around mental health and remove the any stigma associated with same 

*Implement strong and clear policies/procedures to address and support healthy mental wellbeing in the workplace 

*Tailor employee benefits to ensure they support a healthy mental wellbeing e.g. Employee Assistance Programme 

Following a recent survey commissioned by Friends First, it highlighted some concerning statistics regarding mental wellbeing and its impact on the workplace; 

*Mental health issues are the most common illnesses in the workplace 

*Almost two in five workers say they are suffering from stress and anxiety 

*38% of workers say they are under stress 

*Nearly half of millennials in the workforce say that they have experienced mental illness 

*Almost half of under-35’s say they have taken extended sick leave of a week or more due to stress or anxiety 

Karen Gallagher, Protection Director of Friends First, said the research showed mental health issues had the potential to affect us all and the effects of stress and anxiety knew no boundaries when it came to age, gender or profession. 

 

About OpenSky 

OpenSky Data Systems for Digital Government That Works. 

As Ireland’s Only Govtech digital transformation specialist, we deliver future-proofed citizen access and operational efficiency.   

Our Govtech business expertise has transformed over 50 public sector bodies in Ireland & the UK.  Within transport, waste, housing & health, our systems impact 2.5m people every day & manage 100m digital transactions every month in Government. 

Taking a Customer-Centric approach, we equip government teams with scalable and sustainable citizen platforms, shared digital business process information systems, realtime monitoring and analysis, legacy system modernisation, minimal viable product designs and implementations and data management services. 

Our expertise & approach, provides our clients with a path towards increased cost-efficiency, reduced risk of investment and superior citizen services.  

Working with the best technologies & MS Gold Certified Partners, we have 15 years of digitising processesconnecting citizens – building a smarter nation. 

Share

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

About The Author

Prior to commencing my career in HR, I worked in different sectors within different roles such as Customer Service, Accounts, Payroll, Administration and Office Management…

Subscribe for more Posts updates

Recent Posts

Follow OpenSky

About Us Posts

The Future Of Digital Regulation is here
Our Expertise
Aleh Holub

Why We Use Web API’s

API is, first of all, an interface. An interface that allows developers to use ready-made blocks to build an application.

Read More »

OpenSky to create 80 jobs after €2.5M investment in expansion

About Us

OpenSky Press Release - 16th May 2019

OpenSky Press Release - 16th May 2019

OpenSky to create 80 jobs after €2.5M investment in expansion 

OpenSky, Ireland’s only GovTech transformation specialist which provides process automated solutions to public sector bodies, is proud to announce that it has invested €2.5 million in its own expansion and will create 80 jobs over the next two years.

The company’s employee numbers are set to reach 160 by the end of 2021. New roles will include digital transformation consultants, software engineers, sales and marketing executives, and project and team leaders.

OpenSky is an IT and consultancy solutions company, based in Naas in Co Kildare, that provides innovative solutions and managed services to public sector bodies. The team has successfully delivered major projects for 50 organisations in the sector, impacting 2.5 million people every day. Their systems manage more than 100 million digital transactions per month between Ireland and the UK.

Over the last two years, OpenSky has achieved continued growth, with revenue increasing 30% year-on-year. As well as investing in new additions to the team, 10% of revenue is put towards research and development activities.

The company’s success has been driven not only by the increasing demand among government agencies and public bodies for digital transformation, but OpenSky’s extensive range of services which now includes Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation and Information Intelligence.

 

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. said: “Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland’s continued economic success and so I very much welcome OpenSky’s ambitious plans for expansion.  I would like to congratulate them on their continued success and of course very much welcome the 80 high-end jobs that will be created.”

Furthermore, the business is planning to expand further in international markets, including the UK and the US. OpenSky’s customer base has grown in recent years with both international and Irish customers including the Health Service Executive, the National Transport Authority, the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, North London Waste and Surrey County Council.

Michael Cronin, Managing Director, OpenSky, said: “More and more public service agencies and government organisations realise how important it is for them to be able to boost productivity, deliver services and support citizens as directly and efficiently as possible.

By transforming, they can not only streamline their own processes and optimise resources, but also enhance the citizen experience and create a digital government that works. In order to meet this increasing and evolving demand, we have invested in expanding our team and adding new services.”

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. said: “Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland’s continued economic success and so I very much welcome OpenSky’s ambitious plans for expansion.  I would like to congratulate them on their continued success and of course very much welcome the 80 high-end jobs that will be created.”

Check out Vacancies at OpenSky

 

Share

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

About OpenSky Data Systems

OpenSky Data Systems for Digital Government That Works. 

As Ireland’s Only Govtech digital transformation specialist, we deliver future-proofed citizen access and operational efficiency.   

Our Govtech business expertise has transformed over 50 public sector bodies in Ireland & the UK.  Within transport, waste, housing & health, our systems impact 2.5m people every day & manage 100m digital transactions every month in Government. 

Taking a Customer-Centric approach, we equip government teams with scalable and sustainable citizen platforms, shared digital business process information systems, realtime monitoring and analysis, legacy system modernisation, minimal viable product designs and implementations and data management services. 

Our expertise & approach, provides our clients with a path towards increased cost-efficiency, reduced risk of investment and superior citizen services.  

Working with the best technologies & MS Gold Certified Partners, we have 15 years of digitising processesconnecting citizens – building a smarter nation. 

Subscribe for more Posts updates

Recent Posts

Follow OpenSky

Recent Posts

The Future Of Digital Regulation is here
Our Expertise
Aleh Holub

Why We Use Web API’s

API is, first of all, an interface. An interface that allows developers to use ready-made blocks to build an application.

Read More »

Blog: Are you really doing DevOps?

Our Expertise

By Radoslaw Podgorski

By Radoslaw Podgorski

Team Lead

Are you really doing DevOps?

DevOps nowadays is such a trendy topic – you’ve probably noticed so many references to it on articles, tech conferences talks, videocasts, training courses etc.  General awareness in this area is on the rise and this is not surprising at all since modern systems are becoming more and more complex with vast amounts of data to be processed and with simultaneous user access. But what’s most important is that modern systems have to be open and flexible to introducing new changes and meet the demands of an always on, 24/7 working environment.  Without this commitment, there are losses – of revenue, reputation…or in some cases lives!! 

So, what is DevOps and how does it help? Well there is no concrete definition for DevOps – in fact in you search Wikipedia you’ll find;  

DevOps is a set of software development practices that combines software development (Dev) and information technology operations (Ops) to shorten the systems development life cycle while delivering features, fixes, and updates frequently in close alignment with business objectives.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DevOps 

And while this definition offers a very broad overview to what DevOps is, there’s so much more it and so many more questions than the basic ones like: 

Qs: Are you doing DevOps?  A: Oh, yes we are! We have Jenkins in place for our Dev/QA environments. All we have to do is to hit a button and watch the magic happen! 

and 

Qs: Does it also transfer to Production Environment?  A: No, our customer security policy does not allow us to do so. 

Having a continuous Integration tool, a new shiny system version shipped to a production environment is only the start of what’s involved.  DevOps is more of an organisational change, the company being the engine that needs to have all the parts and components running correctly – which needs to be maintained and inspected regularly to future proof for potential issues.  

So, how can DevOps can help with this? How can we move towards something that will fit our needs and tackle problems in a better manner?  I’ve provided a compact guide below: 

 

Daily Basis: 

 

Standardisation: 

 

* Define ops and development standards in your Organisation (if you haven’t already!) and follow them – apply KISS (Keep It Simple Stupidprincipal and try not to re-invent the wheel. Be aware that complex solutions have longer learning curves and are harder to maintain. 

* Follow best practices – if you have a problem you need to tackle, there is a high chance that someone has been faced with the problem already. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and gain from another people’s experience – whether in or outside of your Organisation. 

* Don’t lock yourself to specific stack/technology. There are no perfect solutions, but some are better in dealing with specific problems than others. Always try to seek alternatives. 

* Create a Technology radar for your Organisation that will help you track new technologies – in IT everything is changing fast so you need to plan ahead and be prepared for introducing changes.   

 

Automation: 

 

* Try to automate any repeatable manual work – deployments, testing, daily checks – you name it. This will not only save a lot of time but also prevent any human error caused mistakes. 

* In order for automation to work correctly, enforce standardised environments – all fixes and patches should be applied across DEV/QA/UAT/PROD. 

* Is there an issue each time you request new environment? Adopt and implement Infrastructure as a Code using dedicated tools/platforms. 

* Once you have automation in place – focus on reducing its error and failure rate – this will get you up to speed in no time. 

 

Team: 

 

* People are the true value of every IT Organisation. Be aware of that & trust them.  Don’t micromanage your team as this leads to problems. Remember that good teams can be fully autonomous and can manage on their own. 

* Try to balance team workloads and be aware that multitasking can do more harm than good. Apply WIP (Work in Progress) limits if necessary 

* Support people and teams during failures – everyone makes mistakes. The key is to learn from them and provide a means for these to not happen again. 

* Create an on-boarding plan for new Employees – not everyone has the same knowledge level, but actions should be made to mitigate this.  

Having a continuous Integration tool, a new shiny system version shipped to a production environment is only the start of what’s involved.  DevOps is more of an organisational change…

Development/Deployment approach: 

 

* Move towards Agile methodologies – Waterfall is an enemy of DevOps and causes issues when applying some of its best practices. 

* Increase Deployment frequency – if you only have Continuous Integration in placetry expanding it into Continuous Deployment and ultimately into Continuous Delivery 

* Follow some deployment patterns that can be adopted to your Product: 

Canary releases 

Rolling deployments 

Blue-Green deployments 

 

Change Management: 

 

* Define a standardised and transparent process to be followed by your Organisation – by default it should have as little overhead as possible and a quick turnaround. 

* Define and follow a Release management process for provisioning your systems. 

 

Monitoring and Alerts: 

 

* Watch your system as they work in order to gain insights and prevent or predict possible failures/issues on either system or infrastructure level. 

* Implement alert mechanism in order to mitigate issues before they occur. 

 

What to do if your Production system is down or facing a serious issue? 

 

Prioritisation:  

 

* The key rule to most production issues is to mitigate first in order to provide continuous operations. ‘Proper’ fix can be applied a little bit later. 

* All services need to be recovered based on impact. Look into what’s most critical first to get you up and running. 

* It’s very important to record all evidence related to the issue (times, logs etc.) as this will be used for Root Caused Analysis later on. 

 

Communication: 

 

* When facing issues, communication is key and needs to be timely sent and always transparent – do not try to hide anything. 

* Don’t cause panic – communicate the issue only to the affected parties. 

* Separate external and internal communication – customers usually won’t understand tech talk so the information provided to them needs to be clear and understandable.  And consider ChatOps as a good solution to have one centralised place for internal communication. 

* Have an ‘Incident Manager’ in place who will coordinate everything in correct manner. 

* It’s good to have some insight of your system in real time otherwise your support might get overwhelmed with questions like ‘When will it start working?’ so a dedicated health check/incident page would be useful here. 

 

Now that we’ve identified the cause and restored initial functionality – what’s next? 

 

Root Cause Analysis: 

 

* Perform accurate Root Cause Analysis (RCA) – go through recorded timelines, think of lessons learned and possible future improvement plan to ensure the issue does not happen again.

* Create a Post Mortem document that is clear and accessible to everyone. 

* Review your Post Mortems to see if you are not falling into the same rabbit holes. 

* It is very important that RCA and Postmortem be done with blameless approach – everyone can make mistakes and if you approach analysis with a witch hunt style, it’s likely to result with your team not sharing the important details they know which are crucial to the analysis. 

 

Improvement plan 

 

* Create an improvement plan – this should be initiated from the Root Cause Analysis document. 

* Track your improvement proposals so these get implemented properly – regardless if this is a process modification, monitoring improvement, code fix or Architectural change. 

 

Great, what’s next? 

 

So much to cover right?  Do you have to do all of this from the start?  No! Improve on what you have. Start small, fail often and learn from it, adopt, adjust, improve! Improve! Improve! 

Share

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

About The Author

Team Leader at Opensky Data Systems. Currently responsible for developing and maintaining Ireland’s enterprise level systems for Taxi Industry. Enthusiast of Cloud, Agile and DevOps. In deep love with .NET stack, with some warm feelings for Android

Subscribe for more Blogs updates

Recent Posts

Follow OpenSky

Our Expertise Posts

The Future Of Digital Regulation is here
Our Expertise
Aleh Holub

Why We Use Web API’s

API is, first of all, an interface. An interface that allows developers to use ready-made blocks to build an application.

Read More »