Spar Nord Bank: Our Ukrainian department is a huge success

CASE: “Our Ukrainian department is a huge success”

Spar Nord domicilSpar Nord Bank has 12 Ukrainian developers at Conscensia’s development center in Lviv. Conscensia handled the recruitment and the process of integrating the Danish and the Ukrainian developers across borders. Today, all employees view the Ukrainian department as a natural part of Spar Nord.

”Back in 2006, we needed several BI-SAS competences,” says Kaare Jakobsen, who is Head of IT development at Spar Nord. ”In Denmark the IT industry was very busy, so it was not easy to find the resources we needed. As a short time solution, we hired various external consultant, which we spend a lot of money training, but naturally they did not stay with us. The next time we needed external consultants, we had to hire new people and start all over again. Therefore, we wanted some developers, who had a closer connection to us. Conscensia helped us find just that in Ukraine.”

Permanent staff

Today, 12 Ukrainian Spar Nord employees work from Conscensia’s development center in Lviv – and it is a huge success, says Kaare Jakobsen. ”I’m very, very satisfied with my Ukrainian department. During all these years, only one employee has left the team to try something else – and that is of course acceptable. Our 12 developers in Lviv are proud to a part of Spar Nord, and we are very proud to have them on our team. They are so tightly integrated  with Spar Nord that they are just as much Spar Nord employees, as the developers we have here in Denmark.”

Really talented developers

”The Ukrainian developers are really talented and really pleasant people,” Kaare Jakobsen continues. ”They are very hospitable – much more than we are used to in Denmark. We experience their hospitality when we visit them in Ukraine. Usually, our CIO or our Danish product manager and myself visit our team in Ukraine 4 times a year for about 3 days on each trip. We also have Skype meetings and sometimes we invite them to Denmark, if they e.g. need training in a new technology.”

Active integration

Spar Nord is very dedicated to making sure that their developers in Lviv feel like a part of the company. Kaare Jakobsen elaborates: ”It is not enough to just say that they are and should feel like a Spar Nord employee; you have to  show them that you mean it. In the beginning, it took a while to find out which initiatives worked well, but Conscensia offered guidance for the integration process, and today we are right on track.”

Very independent

In regard to the cultural differences in ways of working, Conscensia guided Spar Nord in how to get the cooperation on track. Today, Spar Nord does not have to worry the least about that, says Kaare Jakobsen. ”We have hired most of our Ukrainian developers straight from the universities, so they were not influences by the classic Ukrainian attitude that the boss is the brightest. They had to get used to being the boss of their tasks, but today they are totally comfortable with the Danish way of working and is very independent. They also serve as ambassadors when we hire new developers, and the run-in period is not longer than it is in Denmark.”

Close dialogue across borders

”I have one good advice for companies that might start outsourcing. It is extremely important that the developers in your existing organisation do not feel threatened – and that you have a product manager, who truly sees the value in outsourcing. Our Danish product manager has no problem with spending a couple of hours every day, making sure that our team in Ukraine thrives. Furthermore, he has a close dialogue with our Ukrainian product manager, who manages the team on day-to-day basis.  He is also very valuable to us. Conscensia found the right candidate for that position as well – and he has been on our team for 4 years now. It is a huge success!”

Conscensia manages all practicalities

During the recent years, Conscensia has not been much involved with Spar Nord’s collaboration across borders, as everything is on track as if the Ukrainians were in Denmark, even though they are working from Conscensia’s development center in Lviv. Conscensia handles all practicalities concerning salary, pension, insurances and other formal staff related issues.

Easy to find skilled developers

”It is a big advantages that we do not have to follow up on Ukrainian legislations and tax rules for our employees in Ukraine,” says Kaare Jakobsen. ”Conscensia is responsible for all administrative tasks, so when we need new employees, it is extremely simple – much easier than in Denmark.  There is plenty of highly skilled IT developers in Ukraine, and Conscensia finds very talented candidates for us to interview. Our Ukrainian department makes sure that our new employees participate in our start-up training program. I have to say that the Ukrainians are very enthusiastic. They are very positive and a pleasure to be around. And they are very efficient!