IT outsourcing is one of the top employment options for developers, testers, HR, or marketing people in Romania. But as the field becomes more and more competitive, the candidate’s reasons for choosing a company diversify. According to the 2019-2020 Romanian IT Map, a study conducted by Brainspotting, the top 4 criteria for an IT candidate selecting a company are the salary package, technologies used by the company, flex-time, and the colleagues/team culture.
Of course, every company wants to be the candidate’s first choice, but how do you stand out as an organization to the local talent? Experience already taught us: the people who come solely for the money will also leave for the money. And just saying “we have a strong company culture and care about our people” may sound redundant to a new candidate. That is why companies are trying to demonstrate their values in more practical but also creative ways.
To a person applying for a new job in a company, one of the main deciding factors will be the benefits package. And that is where companies get to think outside the box around what they offer their employees. But there isn’t much room to innovate when it comes to providing flexible working hours, giving access to the fanciest gym in town, outstanding health insurance, social gatherings, and all that jazz. Of course, having these benefits is important to all potential and existing employees. Nevertheless, this long list of perks is not something that shows off much of the companies’ culture.
Offering people benefits that reflect the core values of the company.
As a people-focused company, we are always looking for ways to show our appreciation to the colleagues that help take Wirtek forward. And what better way to do that than bringing them on board as partners through a warrants program? It sounds like a great plan, but it was not an easy process. Warrants or options are not very well known or trusted in Romania or even in Europe. People tend to be skeptical when you tell them that in 3 years, they will be able to buy company shares at a preferential price.
This is how it works:
- Warrants or stock options represent the right to purchase shares in a company at a pre-established value, according to a vesting schedule.
- With a warrant, a team member receives the liberty to purchase a certain percentage of ownership in the company they work for in the form of shares.
- If the company grows, the employees will see their shares increase in value. Basically, as the company profits, team members profit as well. (Investopedia)
There are many famous examples of the long-term benefits of owning shares in the company you work for, but we can always go back to the famous Microsoft employee who wanted to quit but changed his mind. In 1987, a 28-year-old marketing assistant for Microsoft was considering leaving the corporation. Thatcher didn’t even know that Microsoft’s president, Bill Gates, offered options to all full-time employees. He didn’t think much about his options statements but decided to stay at Microsoft for another ten years. Thanks to his stock options and the growth of the company, he became a Microsoft millionaire and retired at 38. (The Washington Post)
Wirtek started the warrants program back in 2018 when the first 35 employees that had been with the company for more than five years received their warrants with a three-year vesting schedule. This year on the 1st of May, the first set of warrants were vested by 31 holders. That is precisely 343,500 warrants worth a little over EUR 3 each.
Considering that the purchase price they had in 2018 was EUR 0.52, that is already a profit of EUR 2.5 for each warrant. So far, Wirtek has seen a 923% increase in share price from 2016 – 2020 and an average of 23% annual revenue growth during the past nine years. The company significantly raised the bar for 2021 to an expected revenue growth of 52% - 59%.
What does the team think about the warrants program?
Ionut Pop, Senior Software Developer & Scrum Master
"I think that the management's idea to offer such a benefit was a success. The outcome was determined by more than one factor: the evolution of the capital market in general and the company's growth. I was not very confident in the idea initially, but I took time to weigh in the risks, the progress of the market, and the share price. As I didn't need the money now, I decided to keep my shares even if it means I will not be materializing the benefits just yet. I think we will see more benefits in the long run (a significant growth of the share price in the next 2 years). Not to mention the fact that owning Wirtek shares also brings you dividends."
Andrei Giurgiu, Senior Equipment Tester
"I think this loyalty program is a great idea. You can be part of the Wirtek shareholders, or you can make a good profit selling the shares."
Cristian Olariu, Senior Software Tester & Scrum Master
"One of the Wirtek's benefits is the warrants program.
It is an opportunity to think like an investor, to have a different perspective than a regular employee. So being a small owner you are more interested in the company goals more and you care more about the company and therefore, the company cares more about you! Win-win, so to speak."
Things are looking good for current and future shareholders. As of now, 47 Wirtek team members are in the warrants program, and this number will hopefully rise in the near future.