THE PROGRESS MAKER

Cosmin Giru describes his job at virtual7 at the Timisoara site in Romania in this What’s your Story. It started with an application in an Internet café and turned into a job that lasts 15 years. With only four employees in the beginning, he has played an important part in the expansion of the site. Even today, it is important for him to make progress in his professional life and not to stand still.

HOW DID YOU COME TO VIRTUAL7 AND WHAT ARE YOUR TASKS?

I was looking for a job as a student. Actually, I had some experience with PHP sites. In my hometown I already worked with it on a small project. At that time, I didn’t have internet and I went to an internet cafe to look for jobs and finish my CV. The job advertisement of virtual7 was the first thing I saw at that time. I applied and two days later I was invited for an interview. At that time there were only four people working in Timisoara.

WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

I work in the Customer ClusterTech Services, but I also have different roles in other clusters, for example Legal Administrator, HR Business Partner and Budget Management for all clusters in Romania. My main project is with an insurer in Switzerland. Besides the usual consulting and development services for Oracle Webcenter, which is used to manage all documents in this project, I work closely with the internal teams to develop solutions for integration with different applications and processes needed within the company.

YOU JOINED VIRTUAL7 IN 2005, WHY DID YOU STAY SO LONG?

After I worked at virtual7 for a year, we went to Germany to develop a core team so that we could make sure that the Romanian site would grow in a stable and healthy way. We were just four employees at that time with the desire to further improve our abilities and knowledge so we can develop the site to be able to take on bigger projects. Throughout my time at virtual7, I worked on a wide variety of projects. It never got boring. Each project was unique and exciting in its own way. I was able to learn something new every time and test my own personal limits. Within a very short period of time, this allowed me to gain experience in a wide variety of contexts and to be assigned to different customers. Not only did I develop professionally, but I also underwent a very personal development during this time and got the opportunity to learn different programming languages through my work. While some of my university colleagues complained about having the same work environment and worked only on small parts of applications working, I was able to understand how a project is structured from top to bottom. In large companies, the individual components of a project, such as operations, testing and customer requirements, were usually lost in the hierarchy or complex project teams. This was not the case at virtual7 even back then, and this experience of the customer environment, different locations, and a wide variety of project and technology requirements was very important to me. I never had the feeling that my workday was monotonous, much more I had the feeling of working in a completely new job several times a year.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK AT VIRTUAL7?

Having variety in my work. Especially in the last few years, I don’t just do customer projects. I have insights in HR, in the legislative part and project management. I could choose many roles. What I’ve always been able to do is move forward, and that’s been the most important thing for me.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES REGARDING DIGITALIZATION?

The problem in Romania, but maybe in other countries as well, is that we still have to do so much paperwork. I hope that something positive will result from this pandemic and that we will move more in the direction of digitalization, making everything better, faster and more scalable. Strategically, it was one of the best decisions that virtual7 could have made and positioned itself in this way to drive digitization in the public sector. After all, it is urgently needed. I see it in my children, everything is done in a digital context, now. Be it homework or school courses. The daily job that many people do is currently only possible through digitalization.

"If you really try and go the extra mile by developing your skills, you can do great things at virtual7 and you don't need a position to prove it."

WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING FROM THE HOME OFFICE AT THE TIMISOARA LOCATION?

In Romania, most of the credentials are accepted on paper only. Working remotely or from a home office is something we had to implement here almost from scratch. With effort and time, we made it possible to introduce remote work in a productive way. Still we must use hard copies on paper for some of the needed legislative requirement like working hours, different requests and approvals.

Even if our internal solution allows us to digitally display and manage all personal related information, it does not cover all that is needed.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON RESPONSIVENESS?

I have the impression, even during job interviews, that there are some who are not willing to invest part of their professional working time in the organization and success of the company, they are working at, which I think is a pity. Last year, after the introduction of the responsive corporate organization, we were able to prove that every individual can have an influence on the success of a company. Responsiveness works when we all act in concert and work together to achieve the company’s goal. I have already talked to a few people about Responsiveness and I believe that many are very interested in this form of corporate organization. When I then explain to them that there is no hierarchy, they seem even more interested. I have the impression it gives many a sense of confidence in working independently. You invest time, not to get a certain position, but to gain experience and develop yourself, and to bring the entire team a step further and, in the end, the company.

WHAT IMPACT HAS CORONA HAD ON CROSS-SITE WORKING?

At the beginning of the Corona pandemic, everything was a bit difficult. It wasn’t difficult because we weren’t prepared for it, but because we had a different plan. We wanted to bring everyone together in person. The plan was to bring the German team to Romania to do a cluster day on site and to bring all the teams together in person. Everything was already planned and budgeted. And suddenly Corona came. There were a lot of uncertainties associated with that at the beginning. But again, we just dealt with the situation and tried to make it as comfortable as possible for everyone. The solution we have created makes it possible to work as close to normal as possible at the moment. It is not the same as being in an office full of people, that’s for sure. It was not all bad being moved to a remote collaboration. I would go so far as to say that I would not want to have any more workshops onsite. Everyone is engaged and working efficiently. We found very good solutions to implement remote work in a good way. Now after some time, you can say that it is going better than we could have imagined in the beginning.

DOES TEAMBUILDING WORK REMOTELY?

Even in the current situation, we take time to become stronger and better as a team. This also benefits everyone who joins virtual7. We meet in the evenings and play online games together, exchange ideas and laugh a lot together. It’s especially hard for new colleagues, I think. When they come into the office, there’s hardly anyone there, they don’t know anyone or haven’t met their fellow team members yet. That’s why we created an opportunity for the new colleagues on their first days at work to get in touch with the team. Simply creating an event in the evening to exchange ideas and get to know each other better also makes it easier for new colleagues to arrive at virtual7 and feel welcome. There are many ways to connect people at virtual7, for example remote chat & chills. You can also have fun if you don’t see each other in person for a while.