Commitment to Teamwork Makes Progress a Top Place to Work

Commitment to Teamwork Makes Progress a Top Place to Work

Posted on March 17, 2020 0 Comments
Maria Atanasova Progress Forbes Business Awards

By putting employees first, Progress has set itself apart as one of the best places to work in EMEA and set its corporate brand apart as a worldwide leader.

We are thrilled to share that Progress was recently certified as a Best Employer in 2019 in Bulgaria. The certification was given for our strong employee engagement, company leadership, performance culture and employer brand—all assessed by our own employees in Sofia in ARS Bulgaria’s annual Best Employer survey.

And that’s not all. Earlier this year, Progress won Forbes Bulgaria’s “Employer of 2020” award, given to the company with the best practices in human resources and talent management as well as excellent business results. We sat down with EMEA Human Capital Director Maria Atanasova to talk about what makes Progress a best employer.

Maria, last month Progress was certified as a Best Employer, and prior to that we were named "Employer of 2020" at Forbes Business Awards in Bulgaria. What makes Progress a great employer?

Maria Atanasova ProgressWe say, "the only thing more important than our code is our people," and this is true. The people are the fundamental ingredient that makes Progress a special place to work at. Regardless of strategy, technology and function, the people bring the uniqueness to the working environment and culture.

The No. 1 factor employees assess as strongest in our internal engagement survey is teamwork. That has been a number one factor (out of 15) that has consistently remained on top with highest favorable score of 93% at Progress in Sofia.

Our colleagues challenge us internally to revamp our ways of working and innovate not only with the products we create, but with the environment. With their expertise and talent, many of them are well-known in the local IT community as experts and mentors in various events, academies and meetups.

The Best Employer Certification is based on an internal employee survey conducted by an independent consultancy. How does the company keep an open and ongoing conversation with its employees so that they feel heard and valued?

Our colleagues play a vital role in many of the regional processes, programs and practices we introduce. They volunteer to take part in focus groups and test with us what would work best for them and their needs. Recently we had a focus group of colleagues across various teams, functions and overall demographics to help us craft the content and agenda in a career aspirations workshop with employees.

We had another focus group to provide us feedback on how best to welcome back colleagues from maternity leave and create a smooth transition for them.

Many of our leadership team members bring to our attention challenges their teams are facing, with ideas how to tackle them. They challenge the ordinary and drive change not only for the Sofia office, but even globally. In addition, we conduct engagement surveys every six months to measure our employee pulse on numerous factors varying from career development and inclusion and diversity environment, to execution and alignment.

What do employees love most about working here?

The one thing everyone says is what makes them stay or what would attract them back once they’ve left is their colleagues. The people we work with are not only some of the brightest and smartest people in the community, but also people who are kind and human. They care equally about the products they work on and the community they are part of. We work together, we cheer our wins together, we volunteer to help organizations together, and we grow together as professionals and individuals. We’ve created groups to share both technical knowledge and personal passions and interests like dancing. We’ve established a Progress for Her group to share personal and leadership lessons for women. We have musicians who play together.

Tell us more about some of the professional development opportunities and the benefits that are highly valued by employees?

Best Employer Certification Progress Human Capital TeamFor the past two years, we’ve made slow moves to offering a more diverse set of professional development and learning opportunities and allowing for employees to drive many of those choices that best fit their professional need.

For example, we consider our internal mobility program one of the great opportunities at Progress. It is the third most successful source of filing open positions. The program allows for people to explore multiple level of career development and change—from switching products to technologies, changing teams and managers to even changing jobs and functions, as well as locations in some cases. The program helps the employees to look at their career growth as a climbing wall with many options and paths within the security of the same working place.

Technical colleagues highly value the access we provide to various online learning platforms and books, as well as attendance at conferences and events.

Based on the employee feedback, we are currently piloting an internally led workshop for employees about career conversations, identifying their careers aspirations and holding conversations with their managers to build a plan for themselves.

In terms of benefits, we offer a diverse set of options to accommodate for the diverse pool of talent demographics we have. Different people value different benefits. However, for sure what makes us unique is our on-site kids center, which looks like a kindergarten. It is for the employees’ kids and is free of charge.

You yourself have had an impressive career journey here. You joined the company while you were a student and today you are leading Human Capital for EMEA. What are the three key factors for success at Progress?

My only advice is, look at your colleagues and the people you work with as your allies for your success and not as your competitors. I have found my biggest supporters, mentors and guides here at Progress. They have given me with feedback, helped me accelerate my strengths and taught me courage.


Aneliya Stoyanova

Aneliya Stoyanova is part of the Global Communications team at Progress. She has extensive experience in the technology media and communications field. A news junkie and technology lover, she enjoys writing and finding the best way to communicate across all exciting news around Progress.


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