Employer Branding T.I.P S04Ep.8 | “Improve recruitment success by building a transparent leadership culture”, with  David Obando, Head of Delivery at @Alice&Bob.Company


Tune in for Ep.8 of Employer Branding: The Inside Podcast, Season 4! 

In this episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with  David Obando, Head of Delivery at Alice&Bob.Company. We talked about communicating expectations and building a transparent leadership culture from the ground up, but also about the importance of having unique company values that resonate with the recruitment process. 

It’s a fact: #employerbranding is no longer a trend in 2022. It’s an applicable framework that helps attract and retain the best people in today’s competitive job market. 

What you’ll learn by listening

  • Building a transparent leadership culture
  • How unique values reflect upon the recruitment process
  • Communicating expectations: the key to hiring the right people
  • How leadership and management style reflect company culture
  • Preserving company culture during a scale-up
  • Diversity & inclusion: initiatives that help retain top talent
  • Employer branding beyond trends in 2022: the importance of a dedicated company Careers Page

About the company

Data grows at an exponential speed. Data security has become crucial for digital companies and their products. Alice&Bob.Company shields what is key: your data. We transform and mature your cloud implementations to sensitive data production platforms. To make the digital world a safer place.

Podcast link – Enjoy listening to The Inside Podcast, S04Ep.8!

Podcast transcription

Georgiana: Hi everyone! This is Georgiana with a new episode of Employer Branding: The inside Podcast. Today I’m talking to someone who works next to me here at Mindspace Berlin. His name is David Obando, and he is the Head of Delivery at Alice&Bob here in Berlin. And Alice&Bob looks like a very, very cool company. But David, I will ask you to detail a little bit about what you guys do. Welcome, first of all, and yeah, just tell us a little bit about your role in the company.

David Obando: Yes, thank you very much for inviting me. My name is David Obando, and I’m part of the starting team of a small company. My role is head of delivery. What do I do as head of delivery? First, I’m leading a growing tech team of engineers, architects, and project managers. Secondly, I’m also involved in pre-sales activities and customer projects. And I’m also developing the company as a whole and the business of the company, and also appearing on events like podcasts, talks on fairs, and one important topic currently also is recruiting.

Georgiana: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And what does the company do, actually?

David Obando: Alice&Bob company has been founded in the summer of 2019, here in Berlin, by a small starting team of cloud and security experts who worked for a long time in Berlin tech companies. And from the very beginning, we focused on two pillars. The first one is public cloud computing provided by AWS, Amazon Web Services. The second pillar is security IT security and fee, bringing both pillars together and supporting customers. Okay? So it means we offer consultancy services to customers, mostly project-based. We support our customers, for example, in migration projects, or in designing a secure cloud platform for them. And we also provide managed services and security context like that we have continuous penetration testing, for example, or other security-related services. And we also have a few strategic and tech partnerships. Currently, we are about 25 people and growing. We are located here at Mindspace, as you said, but also many people work from home more remotely. 

Georgiana: I enjoyed taking the chance to talk to you here on the spot because not many people actually attend this podcast in person. So whenever that’s possible, for me, that’s a huge relief. And when I first met you, David, it seemed to me that you work in a very, very cool company; and you have not as many troubles retaining people. But Alice&Bob, like other tech companies in Berlin. This is to me, wonderful and magical, and almost Mission Impossible. Is there a secret sauce to it? How have you guys done it so far?

David Obando: I don’t know whether it’s a secret sauce, but we have a recipe and the important thing is to have the right mixture of ingredients. And, of course, for us, it’s very important to hire the right people and keep them for as long as possible. And up to now, we’re pretty good with that. For several reasons, I would say.

One reason is that some of the employees we have known each other for years; we’ve already worked together, and other companies know each other, we trust each other. We know what we want. And the other important thing is that during the application process, we carefully choose the employees. We ask ourselves, I asked myself, what impact does a candidate bring to the team? Do they fit into the team? How do they fit into the team? In the company, we have – I would say – an open and supportive, and also a heartful atmosphere. Yes, work is demanding, the projects are demanding, and the technology is demanding. For us, it’s important that people have fun and like doing their work. Therefore we need a good atmosphere for it. And also in the leadership team, also the leadership team. Fourth, it’s very important to have like a transparent leadership culture. 

Georgiana: Now, a quote from your website: “We believe in the power of positive. Openness and transparency are some of our core values the company has been built upon, They guide us through our day to day work”. How would you say these values reflect upon the recruitment process?

David Obando: Okay, so I think in the recruiting process, I would say we have quite lean processes and structures. And of course, we are a young company, so they constantly are being improved. For example, only this month in April, Oliver started in our company as a Talent Acquisition Manager. So before, we in the leadership team handled all the recruiting topics.

Now we have a professional guy doing it, which really helps us a lot. And I think the two values openness and transparency, you mentioned, we show them. For us, it’s important to show them in job interviews, for example; in our appearance, when I go in an interview and their performance, and the way I’m talking about the company or culture, about the team, about the job itself, and in the information, and working methods and the culture. We are trying to communicate the expectations you have to the applicants, and clearly talk about the people’s expectations.

Georgiana: Yeah, that they have, of course. Normally, the leadership and management style within an organization reflect the company culture. Is this true for Alice&Bob?

David Obando: For Alice&Bob, I would totally agree. For example, we define company goals. For 2022, we have 7 goals. One of the goals is that we would like to improve leadership and strengthen responsibilities. In leadership, we, of course, have a tool, a set of management techniques for developing and leading the company; and also that we have good ways for transporting information and decisions to the company. For us, it’s very important to empower and enable employees so that they are able to be creative, take ownership and make their own decisions. And, of course, we constantly try to reflect on our leadership actions and improve that. And, yeah, I think it’s very important to have consistency regarding growth and action.

Georgiana: Exactly. You also need to walk the talk, in the end. I know you are currently hiring, and this is definitely going to grow the company. Right? How are you planning to preserve the culture as the company gets bigger?

David Obando: Yeah, that’s a very good question. I was talking about the company goals, we have another company goal and that is to hire the right people while keeping the culture. We also identified this as an important topic. We were looking out for potential employees; we are looking that there is not only fear regarding their skills, or technique wise, but also regarding their social skills and their personality, which is an important thing. In our company, we have a system.

So when someone starts new, there’s an onboarding process. We welcome everybody with open arms and heartfully. And sometimes it was not easy, like during a pandemic situation. But for us, it’s important to have events together, especially if we are working remotely. We all meet could be small things, but it also could be big and great things we’re doing and people love it and we all laugh at events together. Could be our birthday in summer, could be like a Christmas event frequently. It doesn’t have to be very special, but having interesting social events matters.

Georgiana: So you’re basically matching people to the culture. It’s a beneficial approach that I think all companies should adopt. How about diversity and inclusion? Is this something you are taking into account, in your culture and hiring, for example?

David Obando: I have to say, personally, for me that it is a very important topic, and I have it, I have to say that it takes me 22 Now, and especially when looking at gender diversity, I have the feeling there’s so much left to do still. Yeah. And ideally, see extremes of my partnerships working and try next education. Yes. And it’s the opposite of my situation. And because it’s very important that we don’t waste money, and I’m the tech department that we have the situation is the other way. We could have much more female employees in our company. So currently, the situation is that we are about 25 people in the company, some 25 are female. But we really want to raise the number and also take a number of actions to improve that situation.

So one thing we were doing was to check the job openings we have and try to use inclusive speech and not exclude people by certain phrases. We also increase activities, in terms of attending events to especially address tech women, women in tech events are where we attend and extend activities in that direction. And because you asked about diversity and inclusion. Diversity is not only about gender, it’s also about, let’s say, age.

I think when we are also looking at this when looking at the age, I would say we are from the early 20-year-old people to 50, something peels away for a range of 30 years, something which is not met, we have people from various origins from different countries, speaking different languages, which is pretty nice. And also, of course, different social backgrounds. So yes, it’s, it’s an important topic. We know, in tech, we have challenges with it, especially finding ways to improve on that. 

Georgiana: I have to congratulate you on that. Because I think, to me having so many cultural backgrounds, age, diversity, and gender diversity. I think it’s so enriching for a company where people can learn from each other and understand each other better and become more inclusive in the end. So yes, you’re off to a good start. And I knew that, of course, before I invited you to take part in this podcast. But I’d like to know more about how you are involved in getting to know and understand your people on a daily basis. Are there some activities that you do, some initiatives that you manage yourself?

David Obando: Yes, of course. As I said in the beginning, one part of what I’m doing is building a team of competent five people, and it’s very vital and important to know the needs and the wants, of each individual in the team. And knowing these sets the base for developing the people’s advice on the one hand, also fostering their strength, and to keep them happy and motivated, and finally, have them as great employees for long for a long time in the company.

As I mentioned before, it’s you have a toolbox of techniques to use several of them and it’s, I think it’s a mixture of personal one to one, interviews or meetings we do. We are about to also establish individual development meetings where young companies are we don’t have process instructions for everything but we are continuously developing them. And yeah, a good mixture of integral rule one meetings and other meetings and addressing the things people have in mind that are important for auditing don’t hide if you see there are topics that are critical or become problems, be often offensive about them with solving them.

Georgiana: So indeed, openness, as you were mentioning, is one of the central values. Now, when employer branding or company culture question, let’s call it, what do you believe to be the most evident trend in this direction this year?

David Obando: Yeah, that’s a good question. So I think when especially looking at the IT market, it’s an employee market. So as we as a company have to apply to the potential candidates, and not the other way around. And we would like to improve our activities in that area or extend our activities in that area. And we have to have something interesting to offer to potential candidates. And we also have to show by talking to candidates, we have to show their ability to adapt and to either be flexible on their individual demands. It could be regarding remote working, where we are pretty good, I would say, and be it wasn’t good enough remote work before pandemic times. And rock life balance and coordination. Sometimes there are individual demands, and they have to find individual solutions for them to win them for us.

Georgiana: We’re approaching the end, we actually have two more questions. One of them is maybe more personal. The other one is rather official. I was wondering how important it is, in your opinion to have a dedicated careers page for the company?

David Obando: Yeah, so I got a recruiting expert. And but I have, of course, I have my opinion about it. See, from my perspective, or from a company perspective, it’s important to have integration of your career recruiting tools, and their career page belongs to a data pipeline, pipeline, a tool that needs to be integrated from employee expertise. perspective, I think, when I was looking for jobs in the past, I raised was interested in what other jobs that company is offering. So I think it’s great to see all the offerings at a glance. But it’s like an argument against it is that we see that many applications don’t come by our career page. But via LinkedIn, for example. We post our offerings on several social media interest and most companies

Georgiana: Okay, cool. What do you expect from this year professionally? And then what does the company expect to happen? 

David Obando: My expectations are pretty much the same as Bob’s expectations because I was influenced and created the company’s expectations. So we are a young company, and we have pretty ambitious goals in terms of growth. And yeah, so for me, it means putting effort into increasing the number of employees, which is a challenge. And of course, we also want to increase the number of customers the number of projects the size of projects we’re doing. And finally, the increasing the revenue.

Georgiana: Yes, it’s ambitious. And I wish you good luck with that. Thank you so much for this discussion. I think it’s very pleasant and very useful, and good luck with the company. Thank you very much. 

This was Employer Branding: The Inside Podcast. You can find our podcasts on Spotify, on Apple podcasts, and content on employer branding-related things on employerbranding.tech. Until the next time, stay tuned.


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