Jordy Finkers, IT & Development Director at Measuremen

Measuremen is a Dutch company that, since 2004, has followed the mission to improve work life worldwide. They create insights into the use and performance of workplaces by doing asset inventories, occupancy and utilization studies, activity analyses, sensor technology, surveys, and human behavior apps, to help clients make data-driven decisions.

In the last year, they’ve pursued the help of Proxify to find talented, skilled developers to build the custom software they use to help their clients thrive. We chatted with their IT & Development Director to learn more about their company and software development team, and his way of managing a remote team.

Your goal at Measuremen is “to contribute to better-performing workplaces worldwide.” Can you explain to us how you make this happen?

We’re trying to get better insights about workplaces by measuring what’s going on in offices and educational buildings, for a broader awareness of people that are handling those workplaces.

Usually, we report these insights to the facility, real estate managers, or the users that occupy these spaces. We do that by measuring occupancy, if office furniture is optimally used, and what activities are being performed, divided by specific categories. We also count the number of people present in offices and classrooms, and measure environmental values like temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels.

As I mentioned, we’re trying to contribute to a better work environment, by providing data to the facility real estate managers so that they can take proper measures to improve those environments.

We do this partially for companies to create a good environment for their employees; a place where they can be productive, where their colleagues are near, where there’s not too much noise, and the temperature is ideal, but also for financial thinking.

We know how hard it can be to create a comfortable space even in our homes, yet we all want a good work environment. We help companies in doing so, by gathering the needed data and translating it into insights that are useful, and which managers can take direct action on.

Employee engagement and employee success are metrics that are undeniably hard to measure. Yet, using technology and analysis, Measuremen taps into discovering what makes a workplace tick. Can you delve a little deeper into the use and extent of technology in achieving your goals?

We have an app called Habital, where employees are asked to answer a couple of questions once a day or a couple of times a day, depending on the setup by the requested organisation. They give answer to questions about how productive they are feeling at that moment, but also to questions about the environment for example if it’s too hot, if there’s too much noise, etc. There are certain factors in there, but it can go a lot deeper than anything that can contribute to a good work environment for the employees.

In technical terms, what does the IT & development team work on at Measuremen?

The team is responsible for the software and the basis for data analysis. This means that we’re in charge of all the software we use for the observation and the sensor processing of all metrics. The data and the infrastructure behind it and creating dashboards, the BI system we use for those dashboards—are all custom-made.

So, everything around the project management, execution of projects, and long-term installation. From a technical point of view, that is mostly software development and maintenance for observation studies.

At the moment, we’re also working on improving the entire data flow that we have, so we can better the frequency and updates of the data the customers receive and make that data more insightful. With that, we’re creating a data warehouse and trying to add more AI into it as well, so we can give better insights to our customers in the end.

Proxify exceeded my expectations. The entire recruitment process went very fast. We’ve got good candidates quickly, and the client managers looked at the options were and if we’re open to changing a few parameters a bit to still get a good candidate. We got multiple candidates, had a good conversation with them and reached an agreement quickly. So the entire process from A to Z went fast with good quality candidates, and the rates are also excellent.

Although you help other companies and their employees thrive, you must have some hurdles to overcome when it comes to hiring and retention. What are they?

I think we’re doing well as a company that people want to work for. But the downside is that our team is relatively small with many relevant disciplines. We want to have developers that also want to grow, and offer them an environment where they can do so. For us, it is a bit harder at the moment to ensure they have an environment where they can grow in the long term. They definitely can learn a lot, we have a lot of disciplines, but it’s hard to create a team where there are senior, mid, and junior developers that can all learn from each other. Even seniors also want to have people they can connect with, have fruitful discussions with, and grow while working together.

As someone that works with remote developers, what would be your advice to team leaders and managers who aren’t sure if a hybrid or remote team could work?

It can definitely work, but it has to suit the way of working. Everything has to be digital.

You have to make some changes sometimes to accommodate people working remotely and ensure that everyone feels like they’re still part of a team even when they are not working at the office. You have to make it a part of day-to-day business, and make sure you still have plenty of connections with all team members.

What are the most important factors when hiring for you? What would you say are the essential traits of a remote worker?

I think what is becoming more and more important right now is the ability to work remotely. With that, usually, you’ve got to have a certain independence and be able to work like that. Other people may struggle to physically work together, especially developers who are commonly known to work remotely.

And of course, the skill level is important, keeping up to date with new improvements and developments in the market. We’re not just hiring someone who needs us to say: “Okay, this is the direction we want to go.” We also want someone who proactively contributes to the team and brings us to the next level so that we can improve each other.

You also need to communicate well with each other; if that is lacking, then that makes it a lot harder to transfer the knowledge of someone or have a proper discussion. So, English proficiency is fundamental. Naturally, also the skillset and the ability to be independent.

We need to have a certain level of trust before we make a payment, and if everything is already paid upfront, we haven’t yet established that level of trust. It could be a reason for us not to go forward, and I think it always goes both ways. You also don’t want to put your time and effort into opportunities that are not viable. And I think this really helped us—there was that confidence, plus you were able to provide good candidates quickly, so payment wouldn’t be a problem.

How many remote developers are you working with currently? Would you say that the experience of working with Proxify developers until now was underwhelming, as you expected, or exceeded your expectations?

We staffed one out of two software developers via Proxify. We also have two other people working remotely developing dashboards, so they’re not software developers but part of the team. We started working with our Proxify developer at the beginning of this year.

Proxify exceeded my expectations, the entire recruitment process went very fast. We’ve got good candidates quickly, and the client managers looked at what the options were and if we’re open to changing a few parameters a bit to still get a good candidate. We ended up getting multiple candidates, had a good conversation with them, and got to an agreement really fast. So, the entire process from A to Z went fast with good quality, and the rates are also really good.

How important was it for you that pricing is transparent and you could see a number of potential candidates before making any prepayments?

We need to have a certain level of trust before we make a payment, and if everything is already paid upfront, we haven’t yet established that level of trust. It could be a reason for us not to go forward, and I think it always goes both ways. You also don’t want to put your time and effort into opportunities that are not viable. And I think this really helped us—there was that confidence, plus you were able to provide good candidates quickly, so payment wouldn’t be a problem.

We were looking for someone to start as soon as possible and explored multiple routes. We were in contact with various companies and recruitment options to see what would work. And if we had to pay an upfront payment to all those companies, that would be a problem. We were only going to go with one, and we were honest about that.

What were some of the potential risks you felt could have happened in your collaboration with Proxify?

There is always the potential risk that the candidate isn’t the right fit. I think that’s primarily down to the person and partially to the selection process before the onboarding. It turned out well for us, we’re happy with the candidate we got and they are still with us. Working with freelancers there are usually hurdles with invoicing, management and similar issues, but I trusted everything to be handled well.

What are some benefits you didn’t expect but still got?

I think there is a lot of effort put into retainment and that we continue to work with you. The online platform was a plus that I didn’t expect, where there is a good overview of the hours worked, what projects are worked on, and what to expect in terms of costs.

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