A word from the HRO - Elizabeth Dimitrova talking

With over 15 years of experience in recruitment and HR, including 10 years exclusively focused on the IT sector, the co-founder of Plan A embarked on an adventurous journey.
In 2012, she joined a French company aiming to expand its operations in Bulgaria, where they laid the foundations of the recruitment team. Over the course of 7 years, the team successfully doubled the size of the company in Bulgaria while preserving the spirit of a smaller organization, fostering an informal work environment and a friendly atmosphere.
In 2019, the co-founder felt a compelling need for change and saw the opportunity to contribute to the creation of Plan A as a company. Launching a venture from scratch in the highly competitive IT sector in Bulgaria and globally was initially daunting. However, the experience proved to be immensely rewarding as she witnessed the successful turning of the wheels. This new endeavor provided an opportunity to tackle a range of issues beyond the realms of pure HR and recruitment, further expanding her skill set and entrepreneurial prowess.

What are the main values that guide Plan A, and how do these values shape the company culture?

Elizabet Dimitrova: It may sound like a cliché, but our first priority is to attract the right people to the team. A company that offers services based on the skills of its team members cannot be successful if it doesn't believe in its people, and vice versa.  
As a startup company, we had to prove ourselves with a team of highly skilled professionals who not only contribute with their technical knowledge but also have the ability to communicate and understand our clients' needs, acquire the necessary business knowledge. We hope everyone of us approaches the clients’ project with the same level of responsibility they would put into developing their own product. All of this leads to creating remarkable experiences for our clients and makes them our long-term partners.
Achievements, challenges, opportunities, and important decisions to be made, everything regarding the company's development is discussed openly. This creates a foundation for the team to be fully committed and believe in what we achieve together as results. 
Our partnerships are entirely the result of successful business relationships that Alexander and Veselin have built over the years, and we continue to expand our portfolio solely based on good references that we achieve through the dedicated work of the entire team. 


How do you go about creating a positive work environment for employees? 

A significant 65% of our company's workforce has been recruited through internal referrals, contributing to the establishment of a highly welcoming and amicable work environment.  

Elizabet Dimitrova: Since we collaborate with diverse partners, it is possible for individuals within the company to be unfamiliar with one another. Moreover, due to the prevalence of remote work, even members of the same team may have limited interaction. To address this, we organize live office events, skill sharing sessions, meet ups and workshops to cultivate an environment that fosters collaboration and exchange of knowledge and skills among colleagues, both within and across teams. 
We also focus on the employees' professional development through their participation in various projects, training programs, and self-learning opportunities. 
A major part of the team members has had the opportunity to be involved in projects, starting from scratch, where they have encountered numerous architectural decisions and implemented best practices in building successful software products.  
Alongside all of this, we also organize team gatherings that contribute to the team's well-being, providing opportunities to relax and laugh together. 


What is the specific quality that you always look for in an individual? 

Elizabet Dimitrova: In addition to the values, we share within the company, I will add that it is about a set of skills like honesty/ loyalty, motivation, communication, teamwork, and self-driven and bright individuals what we are looking for. 


How does Plan A prioritize diversity and inclusion in its hiring practices, and what steps are being taken to create a more inclusive workplace?

Elizabet Dimitrova: We use a wide range of channels and platforms to attract a diverse pool of applicants.  Our team consists of members from different countries and diverse cultural backgrounds, which adds significant value to our team. This diversity enables us to exchange a multitude of ideas, perspectives, and problem-solving approaches. 
Also, our teams are usually in close collaboration with clients' multinational teams, which provides more opportunities for cross-cultural interactions and learning. Plan A provides flexible work arrangements that suit our employees’ personal circumstances, promoting work-life balance and inclusivity for employees with varying responsibilities or preferences. 
In terms of gender, age and race we do not have any limits. Our people are evaluated and promoted based on their qualifications, skills, and performance. We appreciate the woman presence in our team, and I am proud that we have 4 of us in management roles withing the company, which is a fairly good number for our current size. 


What do you believe sets Plan A apart from other IT services companies, and how does the company stay competitive in the industry? 

Elizabet Dimitrova: For 3 and a half years, we have built a team of 50 people, and we are not among the companies that aim to grow rapidly in terms of turnover and number of employees. Our primary objective is to establish sustainable teams and projects that bring satisfaction to our colleagues. We value innovation, product quality, and our capability to effectively solve intricate business problems. 
At Plan A, we are focused on long-term partnerships with our clients, which provide good prospects for our colleagues in terms of project engagement and the opportunity to deep dive into the business processes.

A lot of our projects are for software companies like ours in terms of size and time on the market. These are young and dynamic companies that seek quality, speed, and an opportunity to bring innovations with their solutions. They have found suitable business niches in which to develop successfully. I believe that having such projects in our portfolio is a great advantage for us.


What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing a career in IT services, and how can they stand out in a competitive job market?

Elizabet Dimitrova: Having a successful career in IT is not an easy job. It requires a complex set of skills and qualifications. The IT field is constantly evolving, so it is essential to embrace continuous learning. In addition to the relevant education, you should stay updated with the latest technologies and trends in the industry to remain competitive.
Apart from technical skills, soft skills are also essential in the IT services field. Clear communication is vital when working with clients and team members. Problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and adaptability are also highly valued skills in the IT industry.  
Demonstrate your passion for IT and highlight your ability to learn and adapt to new technologies when speaking with potential employers. 
Last but not least, staying positive is my motto! It is important to be positive and treat everyone with whom you interact professionally with respect. 


How does Plan A approach employee training and development, and what opportunities are available for professional growth within the company?

Elizabet Dimitrova: We work hard to determine our team members' training needs in collaboration with our technical and project managers. We achieve this through various means, including annual performance reviews, employee surveys, and direct conversations between employees and their managers. 
We use a mix of training methods such as online courses, industry conferences or seminars, on-the-job training, or external training providers. 
Our company encourages employees to take ownership of their learning and development, at the same time our technical management is always ready to provide guidance and support.

Description: Our team at a . NET conference.

Looking to the future, where do you see Plan A in the next 5-10 years, and what are the company's goals for continued growth and success?

Elizabet Dimitrova: At the end of 2022, we ended up with the decision to move to a new office. We have decided to settle in a house in the heart of Sofia, which we work to make our home for at least the next five years. The place perfectly aligns with what we want to achieve as a company culture, and we believe it has the potential to become a community hub where we can develop various initiatives with the IT community. 
As a company, we wish to successfully overcome the challenges that have emerged in recent years for everyone - the pandemic, war, financial crisis, and so on. I hope that these experiences will make us stronger, more flexible, and better as people and professionals. 
We have managed to build a team of high professionals that we are proud of, and our aim is to continue the company's growth at a steady pace. 
Currently, we work on the development of training programs that will allow us to integrate young professionals and help them start their careers within the IT industry. Interns are a great way to introduce new ideas and points of view to each company.

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