Forbes Business Awards: Telerik Academy is Employer of 2022


Behind the award: Telerik Academy named "Employer of 2022" by Forbes

Telerik Academy has been named Employer of the Year by the Forbes Business Awards 2022! After taking home the “Company of the year” award in 2020, the new recognition comes in the most contested category of the 2022 edition of the Forbes Business Awards – 46 nominees.

Telerik Academy won the prize, competing against two of the biggest IT companies in Bulgaria in the final – Progress and VMware – a great crowd to be part of.

The "Employer of the year" award results from the work environment in which the team works and the overall business performance of the company as a result. We've created and fostered an environment that encourages and supports every colleague to keep learning and growing, thus giving their best for the success of our students, and partners, and, as a result - boosting the IT sector as a whole. 


The award is important because it recognizes one crucial skill of our team - the ability to quickly adapt to changes, we proved that during the most challenging times in recent human history. Back then, we launched our Wellbeing program, which also won first place in B2B Media - Employer Branding Awards 2022. 

To learn more about how the Wellbeing program was created and its results, we talked to Irina Lilova, Telerik Academy’s Talent Success Manager.  

Let’s dive into the interview.

Telerik Academy won the “Employer of 2022” award, with our Wellbeing program playing an important role. Can you tell us more about the program, and what are the main aspects? 

The Employee Wellbeing program complements our standard benefits package as a holistic and comprehensive service provided in the unusual setting of the last two years.

It's based on the three main pillars of wellbeing: physical, mental, and social, each of them supported by a list of targeted initiatives. Here are a few examples of how this looks in practice: team challenges that promote physical activity; sessions with experts on healthy eating and physical exercise; access to mental health sessions with a practitioner (financed by the company, yet private and anonymous); extra days off to recharge (as a team and individually); various group activities, including cooking, beer tasting, among others. 

What led to launching the Wellbeing program – the first edition in 2021 and the updated version - Stay Curious 2022?  

We laid the foundations in 2020 with the beginning of one of the most challenging periods in the world. Even then, our management focused on the security, safety, health, and wellbeing of our team members as a strategy for the company's successful development. 

At the beginning of 2020, besides switching to remote work a week before the national lockdown, we started a couple of initiatives to support and lift the team spirit, such as a weekly newsletter with tips for coping during the lockdown. After a while and through regular consultations with our team, we upgraded these first steps to meet the needs of our colleagues better. In 2021, as a result of all initiatives and the feedback we had, we combined and improved the activities and introduced our Wellbeing program Charge Up. 

Based on the team's overall program evaluation, we continued to work in this direction. In 2022 we announced its second edition - Stay Curious. 


What was the process of creating the program? 

We took great care to develop our program internally and validated it against best practices and standards locally and internationally. Back in 2020, we started with a couple of initiatives with the main goal to provide what would make the most significant difference for our team. At that point, this was the opportunity to participate in individual therapy sessions and to have additional leave days for family care. We then kept adding more and more activities and wellbeing perks.   

In 2021, we created the first edition of the Wellbeing program by upgrading the current activities we had. What helped us in the creation process was defining the program's goals and prioritizing which activities and benefits would most truly support these goals. We wanted to achieve more depth in our wellbeing efforts, working not on one but all three wellbeing pillars. We brainstormed a list of activities and perks to promote physical, mental and social wellbeing.  

From the beginning, we have been measuring the program adoption and modified some aspects according to the team's feedback. 

In their final versions, both editions of the Wellbeing program (2021 and 2022) have a well-defined theme, a wide range of events and thoughtful perks, each with a clear intention, and a calendar for the whole year ahead, which gives the team an overview of what to expect.   

Were there any ideas left on the “drawing board” - how did you choose which one to go with?  

Much more than we’d like to admit! Especially for the second edition - we involved the team in the brainstorming process and collected tens of great ideas. We managed to implement many of them to further develop the program. However, many other ideas are on hold for the next edition.   

During the decision-making, we ranked all activities from the previous year based on the feedback we had received from the team and focused on the ones that had the highest impact. We also listened carefully to the feedback that came from multiple people - including more sports, seminars on sustainability topics, etc. 

We are happy that our colleagues keep reaching out to us, spontaneously sharing feedback, ideas and thoughts. We can feel that the team is engaged with the wellbeing topic, and they become ambassadors of the program themselves. 


How does employees' satisfaction contribute to the company's success? 

Based on regular team surveys, the Charge Up 2021 program contributed directly to the wellbeing of our colleagues, and despite the challenging external factors, the team remained motivated and quickly adapted to the new reality. 

The survey also showed us that in 2021, our team involvement amounted to 97%, and 100% of the participants would recommend Telerik Academy as an employer and believe in the mission and future of Telerik Academy. 

As a result of the team's commitment, in 2021, we saw a 34% increase in the Alpha candidates, 17% in students (over 620 people in total) and 25% revenue growth compared to 2020, and 100% of graduates would recommend Telerik Academy to a friend. Our partners reached almost 200, and their satisfaction, as well as that of the students, is nearly 100%. 

How was it embraced by the employees and what were its results? 

According to our latest team survey, over 82% of the respondents said the Wellbeing program was meaningful for them. Two-thirds of the respondents (65%) said that it helped them cope better with challenging moments, 96% of all respondents would recommend the program to their future colleagues, and 100% agree that the company demonstrates its care for the team through the Wellbeing program. In 2021, employees rated the program at 4.8 out of 5.  

We believe that one of the most impactful contributions of the Wellbeing program for our team comes from the access to mental health sessions with therapists, part of the mental health program. These sessions allowed for the necessary space and guidance to cope with our anxiety, which was higher due to the pandemic. 

In anonymously collected feedback about the wellbeing activities, we learned that for some of the colleagues, this was the first time they had met with a specialist, and they were grateful for the opportunity to do so.  

What is your favorite part of the program?  

Currently, my favorite part is the Workout Heroes challenge. It’s a 3-month competition, where we participate in mini teams of 4. Each team member records their physical activity for the day, thus contributing to the team’s results. It’s motivating and lots of fun, as everyone is sharing photos of their workout (or struggles) along the way. The best part is that the winning team gets to choose a meaningful cause for the company to donate to. 

How do you feel as part of the Telerik Academy team?  

I feel that I’ve joined an A-level team, which makes me extremely grateful and proud. I feel that I can make a positive difference on a personal and social level through my work, which has always been a driving force for me. And I’m proud because I look up to my colleagues and our leaders as recognized professionals in their field and good-hearted people. 

At Telerik Academy, we work together, and strive to grow professionally as a team, while contributing to the success of our students, partners network and the IT industry. If you are passionate about education and ready to join an A-level team, check out our current openings and get in touch. 


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