10 years Unic Poland - Interview with Reto Schnaars, Partner and Managing Director Unic Poland
How did it all start at Unic with the nearshore idea?
Unic cooperated long before the start of the development center in Wrocław with numerous partners, near- and offshore. We wanted to invest in our own know-how, have more stability, and have the say in all area’s. We saw the strategic need to have access to a bigger talent pool and to be able to offer mixed rates.
Why Poland? Why Wrocław?
Poland is near to our markets and locations in Germany and Switzerland, has a high educated big talent pool, and a good cultural fit. Wrocław has one of the best technical universities of Poland and is an attractive city.
What was the most difficult, challenging especially at the beginning?
In the beginning we had to learn the Polish way. Processes, labour law, civil law, tax regulations. The only way the post office would hand us out a package, which was sent to our former address, was with the old company stamp that I kept in my cupboard luckily. But this was enough, nothing else needed.
You need good and reliable partners. And we have to find a way to combine our Swiss Unic way with the local realities. Additionally, our solutions were not common among the Polish programmers ten years ago. The onboarding and training took some time.
What could you call as blessing during creation of Wrocław's location of the company?
To have great personalities supporting the idea, locally and remote, inside and outside of Unic. You need a good network.
What are the lessons learned?
It needs time. The collaboration and communication between the team members in the various locations is key. Having someone from Switzerland being often onsite helped for sure.
How changed the size and structure of the company in Poland over these years?
The company grew slowly but steadily. With this, the only major change was the introduction of Team Leader. Important was to keep a flat hierarchy.
Which technologies, programming languages did or do we work on in Poland?
We worked on almost all technologies in use at Unic. All the frameworks and solutions based on Java, Scala, .NET, PHP: you name it, we did or do it. But we no longer are only a development center. We have also specialists in the area’s of corporate services, service desk, and IT services working together with Swiss and German team members for our clients.
What were the most successful projects to which our Polish colleagues contributed?
Polish team members participated on most of our development projects, which you can see on our website or the ones which won a price. I can not point out just single ones. The success of Unic is also the success of Unic Poland.
What do you value the most about Unic Wrocław, its employees?
Our team members: they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their respective field and are eager to learn.
The combination of the talented and knowledgeable employees, its commitment to continuous development, and its positive work environment makes Unic a desirable place to work for many people.
How do you see, evaluate these past 10 years in Poland?
Over the past decade, Poland has experienced significant economic growth, with its GDP growing at an average rate of over 4% per year. The country has also experienced a significant reduction in its unemployment rate, which has fallen from over 12% in 2010 to around 4% in recent years.
However, Poland has also faced significant political challenges, with concerns raised over the independence of the judiciary and media freedom. Additionally, there have been controversies over the country's stance on issues such as LGBT rights and climate change.
Overall, the past 10 years in Poland have been characterized by economic growth and progress in social welfare, but also by political controversies and debates over civil liberties.
What was the biggest success of the Polish branch?
There is no single event. Our biggest success is the team: growing, learning, communicating, and delivering quality solutions to our clients together with the colleagues from the other locations. From zero to a team of 60 specialists!
What plans & wishes do you have for the next 10 years for Unic Poland?
We want to continue growing and keep our excellent performance. Based on our purpose “Trustworthy partner for quality solutions” we contribute to the success of our Clients and of Unic.