News & Recognition

Our 3rd Home - the Process of Finding Our Dream Destination Bucharest

Emilia Ammondt Apr 6, 2022

On a Friday afternoon in September 2021, I got a phone call I will never forget. It was my supervisor who told me Sievo will open a new office and the work my team was doing would be one of the first ones to expand into this third entity. I took a leap of faith and applied to lead the new office.

Now here we are, 7 months later moving to a new city bursting with excitement. But the road here was one of the most interesting times of my professional career. How do we determine where a new entity should be set up?

 

From Idea to Longlist

When I was selected to lead the new office, I felt like a child on Christmas morning. Should we aim for a location with the most different recruitment pool? Should we double down on operative costs and let that define the decision? What about the long-term impact of the decisions we now make?

We started our location hunt by defining some minimum requirements:

  • We needed the country to be part of the EU for GDPR reasons
  • The selected city needed to have big enough population to support our growth
  • We wanted to use this opportunity to optimize our operative costs
  • We wanted all Sievonians regardless of their background to feel safe and welcomed in the location selected

Based on this we derived to a longlist of 10 countries, mostly in Eastern Europe.

 

From Longlist to Shortlist

With a more realistically sized list at hand we started to gather data on locations. We collected everything we could think to be of importance. Indexes on English language skills, entrepreneurial spirit, flight times and frequencies, all the way to ease of doing business and Sievo employee opinions. Not forgetting the data already collected to create the longlist. All together we collected data representing over 140 different data points.

Everyone in the company could try out our “Location AI” (yes, term AI being used very liberally here) and see where their priorities would take our next office. Key stakeholders were asked to determine personal priorities between different criteria and from those we derived weights to be used for our location selection. Four cities emerged: Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Sofia, and Vilnius.

 

How to get from Shortlist to a Decision?

It was evident that while we had a lot of data, in order to get qualitative information, we would need to talk with companies and individuals from these locations. We interviewed 20 companies and individuals to ask questions about work culture, recruitment market, ease of doing business and much more.

Perhaps we were naive in our hopes that one of these cities would somehow outshine the others in interviews. We ended up with four locations that were even more similar than we expected. Clearly the work previously done in the process had left us with only good options on the table.

Thus, we packed our bags and travelled to each location to get a first-hand feel of the atmosphere. Did real life support the data collected? It did.

 

It was Time to make the Call

All cities were beautiful vibrant cities. At the same time a ranking started to emerge from the holistic picture of data collected, interviews and experiences in the cities. Bucharest was continuously coming up as #1 choice on multiple aspects. The big population supporting our growth, direct flights for ease of travel, great language skills, and so much more. 6 months of work accumulated to one meeting where Bucharest was unanimously selected as the next home of Sievo.

Now the real work begins. By summer we intend to have a team of new Sievonians working from Bucharest and after that only the sky is the limit. If you are a young ambitious data professional based in Bucharest keep your eyes open for our soon opening positions!

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