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By Mikel Lindsaar

Why Work at reinteractive?

Web and Mobile App Developers with a Difference

We work hard to make reinteractive a great place to work. On average our developers stay with us well and truly beyond the industry standards - the accepted average is around 2 years, whereas at reinteractive we see many staff staying four, five, or even ten years.

So why is this the case? We recently surveyed our staff and heard some really great answers - much better worded than just “it’s a good place to work”, or “the staff are nice”. So let me break it down for you.

Who is this article for? You might be looking to make your business a better place to work in the age of “the great resignation,” to stop the churn, or you may be a developer (or other professional) looking to change employment (or even come and work at reinteractive), or perhaps you are simply interested in what it takes to create a business that is as equally interested in its staff and clients as it is with the bottom line.

There is every reason to think that following the points we are going to cover in this article will make you want to work at reinteractive. If that is the case then definitely contact us.

Hiring Right

While we know that it is not possible to find the ‘perfect’ person when we hire, we do try to ‘hire right’. This means hiring people who are (1) genuinely who they say they are in their CV - not lying about standards or ability and so on, (2) have a high level of communication (this is incredibly important and is going to come up often in this article), and (3) can work with a team, despite working remote. This last point is something that I think almost everyone puts on their CV, so much so that it is a trope that I suspect HR Managers just ignore and read over. What does it take to actually work in a team? (2) above in large quantities for a start. Not communicating for the sake of it, or even worse, endless meetings just listening, asking questions, helping your fellow staff, following directions and requirements… initiative. It doesn’t mean always agreeing, and it doesn’t mean always getting along, but it almost always results in broader understanding and agreement.

So we look for staff that have the above qualities. Their ability to code becomes secondary (although being a good Senior Developer is important). We are actively looking for staff who want to learn, grow and be challenged (there’s a tip for your job interview!).

The founder of reinteractive, Mikel Lindsaar, started the company well over a decade ago. His success as a developer came about from a thirst to solve problems, work independently, but to do so as a member of a team. So Mikel set out to establish a software development business that would be the place he wanted to work in, filled with team members that could think and operate in that same way.

“It’s always felt like an extremely supportive and inclusive environment, where the people come first. There is no internal competitiveness, which results in great knowledge sharing. The clients value our work and experience and are open to suggestions for alternative solutions. There’s opportunities for developers to own their work and get creative. It feels more like working “with” a client rather than “for” a client. Even when working alone on a project, there was never a sense of loneliness. The whole team is a keystroke away and willing to jump in and solve anything.” - Matenia

“Being remotely flexible in this time of pandemic really gives us an edge in managing our time and delivering our work productively. Instead of commuting to work, I can use the time to be with my family because this is the time they need us the most in the new normal. In return we are giving our best communication especially with the team and our clients and making sure we are accountable to the best service that we are providing for them.” - Christian

The Right Framework and Tools - Ruby on Rails

Part of the success is having the right tools. While it’s true that a professional never blames their tools for a bad job, it is also true that having the right tools does make life easier!

The primary programming framework that reinteractive works with is Ruby on Rails. This framework was built with the express purpose of making life easier for the developer. The philosophy being that if the developer is happier, then they will produce higher quality code at a faster rate. The client wins, the end user wins, and the developer can be proud of their work.

It helps as well that Rails is a mature framework (currently into its 7th major release iteration). There is a vast library of ‘gems’ - sets of maintained and open source chunks of code that developers can use when writing their own applications instead of having to re-solve already solved problems. This way we can concentrate on innovation.

Rails is also an ‘opinionated’ framework. This means that there is a best practice way of writing code that all developers will follow. This makes it easier for developers to work in teams, or to pick up work that a different developer has written and figure out what they were doing relatively easily.

Internally we also use all the usual tools to make communication and working together easy - Zoom, Slack, project management tools and so on. Again going back to the point about communication, making the ability to communicate to each other as easy as possible. Meetings are short, but the tools are there and welcomed; to ask questions, get agreement for proposals, validate code and suggest improvements.

“reinteractive is simply one of the best places I have had the pleasure of working with. Operating with the best technologies, a.k.a Ruby on Rails, and Cloud Infrastructures.” - Mohammed

“The collective knowledge approach puts the expertise of the whole team at your fingertips, empowering my impact with both clients and my local community.” - Roberto

We are 100% Remote

Not so unusual these days, in particular within the industry, but the founder Mikel discovered years ago that developers work best where they can be head down, working without a manager hovering around or random interruptions from well meaning fellow staff. Communicate when you have to but don’t if you are not needing to as well.

In fact, reinteractive has been a 100% remote work company since it was founded in 2010. We don’t pay lip service to remote work, we only do remote work, and when remote work is the only thing you do, you get very good at it.

Not having an office means that you can’t micro-manage your staff. And so long as the earlier point on ‘hiring right’ is done, the result is happier staff and higher quality code.

The tools are there to communicate as often as is needed.

Remote working also means that we are able to hire the best staff - no matter where they are in the world. With our clients coming from time zones across the planet, we make it work for our staff and clients.

“Remote working is one of the benefits I love. It allows me to focus on the important tasks that bring the most value to the clients.

And Pro-dev days is another benefit I enjoyed most. It gave me the chance to learn and practice extensive knowledge and techniques. They might or might not be related/useful to the current client project. But when they are, bang! The outcomes will be amazing!” - Tian

“Management is very solutions focused and targets expansion and progression, which makes it a very positive environment to work in. Our internal chat systems means we are constantly in communication and coordination with other team members which is very important when working remotely and helps to cut down any feelings of isolation. I never feel alone, even though physically away from my colleagues.

Not having to commute 1.5 hours a day or sit in air conditioning 8 hours a day made a big change in my overall wellbeing. I am productive and can get in regular exercise with my flexible schedule and decreased hours sitting in traffic!” - Monique

We Operate on Products, not Opinions

Every staff member has a statistic (KPI) that measures their production and output as a comparison to set intervals in the past. This way we can see at a glance if a staff member is dropping in production and help them to find the reason and fix it (perhaps there is a problem with the client, or they don’t have access to the tools they need). Alternatively, if it is going up, find out why it is continually improving to see if we can learn from them to help other developers do better in the team.

The developers work off the statistic of “Features Delivered’ see our article here on why this is the measure, whereas Accounts may work off of ‘invoices collected’ and Sales on ‘invoices written’ and a BDM on ‘potential new clients introduced’ etc. There are sub-statistics as well to help understand what it takes to put these together, but you get the idea. And everyone, from the CEO on down is personally responsible for their individual product and statistic to measure it.

“I have been working at reinteractive since 2015, and it has been total enjoyment with the right balance of challenge, autonomy and flexibility, enabling me to achieve both professional and personal goals along the way. We work on KPIs and are entrusted to do our job - the stats speak for themselves. This makes things very simple - are you getting results or not?” - Monique

“It's really motivating to work with a talented team and transparent management.” - Alina

Managers who are Nice (but still get the work done)

Here’s a general statement to apply to life, work, family etc - you don’t have to be mean to other people, and they are more likely to help you if you are nice to them.

This might be a new idea, and certainly in the workplace. Here's how it works; if an employee who is generally doing well, makes a wrong decision or makes a mistake they are probably not being malicious. Let’s help them fix the mistake and then work out how the process and structure of the organisation allowed the situation to happen in the first place and work out how we can fix THAT together as a team. Blaming people does not result in a better outcome for anyone, the person who made the mistake is usually beating themselves up enough already, no need to contribute to that. We want to focus on finding the cause of the problem and then as a team get that fixed.

If an employee is upset or angry about something, listen to them and find out why - their viewpoint is just as important as the next person and quite often they have more valuable information than anyone else because they are directly involved in it. Again, if it’s a problem with our internal company policy, process or structure, we’ll work hard to fix that as well.

If all else fails and a genuine issue needs to be taken up with a team member, be fair, legal, and communicate well about why and what the issue is, and then move on; don’t “hold a grudge”. And in the meantime, let them get on with it. Don’t assume that you as a manager know better, but make yourself available to help or give guidance where it is needed.

And most importantly, manage via production, not opinion or politics. If a team member is producing really well, and the clients love them, their work is exemplary, but they just keep rocking up late 3 days a week, who cares? Perhaps the fact they rock up late contributes to them being in a better state of mind that allows them to deliver amazing work?

On the flip side, someone who is not delivering good work, always late on tasks, causing mischief and upsets customers better not be also obviously flaunting the policies of the company.

At the end of the day, the goal is to protect those that produce and allow them to get on with the job (and enjoy doing it) by removing distractions and counter productive things from their environment. This in turn allows them to produce more, or allows them to be even happier.

We love our productive team at reinteractive, and our productive team loves us!

“The management style is incredibly transparent and the level of communication and support between departments and team members is just outstanding.” - Chris

“As a developer and father, working in a company that helps you to have a fully balanced work and personal life is fantastic. Combining remote work and one of the best company/employee relationship policies, reinteractive is a dream company not only for the outstanding professionals working here but also for its approachable and humane leadership” - Rodrigo S.

“reinteractive is one of the best companies I have ever worked at till now and would always love to contribute my effort in future. The company understands the efforts of the employees which motivate us to work. The management here is so good that there won't be any pressure while working although everyone is working remotely in different time zones and this is because of the best manager we have got, who knows what the developer needs while working and provides every requirement before we start the task. Everyone in the company is desperate to help each other at the time of need.” - Sudip

“Working as a developer at reinteractive is not like being a developer at most places. The processes in place and the brilliant managers mean you spend the vast majority of your time actually coding rather than in planning meetings.” - Todd

Giving Back to the Community

Any good business will be as successful as they are philanthropic. It is not enough to be isolated in our success, and think that we can be winning if the greater community is not. Besides providing all of the benefits that we need to have a successful and happy staff, management takes on projects from time to time to better our community.

The reinteractive founder, Mikel, is responsible for co-writing and maintaining the ubiquitous Ruby Mail gem - an open source code library that has, at the time of writing, been downloaded and used over 300 million times.

We have used community Ruby on Rails events across the region to encourage hundreds of new Rails developers through our workshops.

Our reinteractive blog provides tips and tutorials for both new and long term Rails developers, and is viewed hundreds of times a week - allowing other developers to benefit from problems we have encountered and solved.

And all of this is in addition to donations made directly to purely charitable causes.

In Conclusion

One of our senior staff recently wrote: “If you're looking for a company that really understands what is necessary to code with quality, you've come to the right place.” He went on to say, “Here at reinteractive you'll work with the best Ruby on Rails developers in the world which will give you confidence to choose the best long-term solution and not just a quick fix that will bite you in the next corner.”

We are constantly looking out for the best developers around to give the very best service and results to an ever increasing number of clients. We enjoy challenges that come from figuring out and fixing old and legacy code bases, as well as the thrill of launching a greenfields application.

The final word going to one of the production managers, “Working at reinteractive is turning out to be one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made.”

Interested in finding a job in Ruby on Rails? Why not email us; hr@reinteractive.com

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