8. February 2023

#TechABreak with Varuna & Ismet, Personio Conversations Backend Engineers

Varuna and Ismet headshots with name tags

In 2022, Personio made multiple changes to our tech org, including doubling our Product, Design, and Engineering department to over 600 members and restructuring into autonomous, agile domains. These changes were made to help us move more effectively and efficiently towards our core purpose of enabling better organisations. For our tech teams, this purpose boils down to building and innovating on a platform that our customers love. 

These changes also included acquiring Berlin-based tech company Back. As our CEO Hanno Renner said, “Back’s product and team are a great fit for us for two reasons. Firstly, our customers will benefit from a one-stop shop for employee requests or questions. Secondly, the Back team have brilliant experience in building workflows that bring fragmented tasks together.”

That product and team have since been fully integrated into Personio, where the software, now Personio Conversations, is streamlining work for HR professionals and employees across Europe. “Conversations is a ticketing tool that enables employees to create any kind of HR ticket or request through communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or email.” Ismet, a Backend Engineer in the Conversations domain, was part of the Back team before joining Personio. 

Conversations smooths out employee workflows, making it easier to form a request without needing to navigate to one of potentially multiple platforms or sites. But that’s not all it can do: for the HR professional who handles those requests, Conversations is also an all-in-one help desk service. As Varuna, another Backend Engineer working on the product, puts it, “We strive to make the life of an HR expert easier as they juggle all the many requests that come from employees. Conversations is the place they can come to manage all of the tickets, forms, approvals, and more that come across their desk.”

Conversations team biking together
Ismet (bottom left) and Varuna with fellow Personios Jan and James.

Varuna and Ismet have been working together in the Conversations domain since the summer of 2022, but found their way to Personio on different paths. Before joining our team through the Back acquisiton, Ismet worked at an electric vehicle company developing an internal dashboard to visualise sensorial data. 

Varuna was a Software Engineer at cloud computing company VMware, working on the Tanzu Mission Control platform to manage and secure Kubernetes clusters, with a focus on data protection and integrations. “I first heard of Personio from a friend, who told me about this company that had the exact kind of culture I was looking for.” And it turns out her friend was right. “The collaborative nature of the teams was a big draw for me, and I love how diverse Personio is, with people from all over the world working together.” 

Now that they’re both Backend Engineers in the Conversations domain, Ismet has found a similar experience. “One of the best aspects of working with this team is the way that we get to collaborate with Design, Engineering, and our Product Managers to determine the way forward for Conversations.”

As BE Engineers, Varuna and Ismet, alongside their teammates, are building the features and integrations that Conversations needs to be successful. Varuna says, “I work on observability and infra setup, building and maintaining the backend of the product. We’ve also been implementing multiple security measures, since we handle large amounts of sensitive employee data.” 

It will come as no surprise to most people who work in the tech industry that every product comes with unique challenges. “There were a couple of interesting challenges we got to tackle before launch. Just integrating the running application from Back with the rest of Personio was a big first hurdle,” as Ismet says. “And then ensuring services like authorisation, authentication, and subscription were functioning properly.” 

As with all teams at Personio, the Conversations engineers were moving fast. Varuna says, “Trying to make this happen quickly, but with quality, really brought out best practices and collaboration within the team. And we learned so much along the way while setting everything up from scratch.”

So now that the product is launched and live, what’s next for the Conversations team? Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s a lot on the horizon! For Ismet, “We’re looking into building further integrations within Personio, leveraging the existing information so that our customers can resolve requests more efficiently than ever.” 

And for Varuna, the never-ending challenges that come with working at a scaling tech company never fail to disappoint. “We’re also starting to dive into Machine Learning, to see how we can help automatically resolve common questions without the HR expert needing to address it personally. This would create an even better experience for our customers, and for me, I’m very excited to work on the data handling and potential scale challenges that will come with it!” 

With these ambitious projects up ahead, we need more ambitious people to help us take them on. Our Product, Design, and Engineering teams are hiring in all seven of our locations across Europe! Head to our careers page and find the right job for you today. It’s time to bring your best and make your mark.

Interested in joining Personio? Explore our open roles and find the right job for you!

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