February 21, 2022

How Qualcomm is engineering success and wellbeing at work


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“It is hard to find a workplace that offers you both sanity and success at the same time!”

At least this has been the experience of Sana Ben Alaya. But now as a Senior Staff Manager at Qualcomm, Sana just might have found the perfect balance of both. 

Sana manages a “talented team of Hardware Design verification engineers”, based in France, and her role “includes both technical involvement and pure management tasks”. But more than the balance of technical and management skills, Sana is proud to work at Qualcomm, because it balances the opportunities for success as “a leader in the mobile market” as well as offering her ‘sanity’ as an employer that takes the wellbeing of its employees seriously. 

She shares with us Qualcomm’s recipe for this balance.

A culture of wellbeing

As a working mum, Sana appreciates the way Qualcomm respects the lives and commitments of its employees outside of the workplace. Through flexible hours, remote working, additional days off since the pandemic began, and the trust between team members, employees are able to be fully available for their personal lives while feeling supported professionally. 

“At Qualcomm, family and personal obligations are respected. This is important for a mum like me so I can achieve a good work-life balance.”

QClubs are another way in which Qualcomm helps create a community feel across the company. Sana herself was behind the creation of the ‘Wellbeing and Health’ QClub, to promote wellbeing even further in the workplace. 

“Any ideas for activities or facilities that may increase our wellbeing at the office are examined and can be funded by Qualcomm. As part of the ‘Wellbeing and Health’ club, we exercise at midday before lunch, and we have good-quality coffee!”


No time-wasting

The respect for the personal lives of its employees extends right across how the company functions, even down to the way the business streamlines its meetings:

“Meetings in our organization are very efficient. No time is wasted, which means you can use the rest of your day to work on your own goals and still have time for yourself and family.” 

Did you know that Qualcomm offers a range of working options to suit your needs, including a remote working and flexible hours?

Find out more about this and Qualcomm’s other benefits and incentives

Celebrating the wins

Sana knows that making people feel appreciated goes a long way to helping them feel happy at work. At Qualcomm, success is acknowledged across the board – from new deals to conflict resolution with competitors, and even employees’ hiring anniversaries are marked each year! People are also encouraged to thank other members of the team and show their appreciation. 

“We have an internal tool named ThankQ where everybody can thank everybody for their work or anything else they were happy with! It is nice to receive a virtual card when you don’t expect it, where people are just thankful for something you did or said.”

Showing appreciation for people’s contributions is an ethos that has existed at Qualcomm for a long time.  

“It is important to feel that your job and your role matter. Over the years, I have seen that everybody’s efforts are valued and recognized.”

There are no failures

It’s inevitable that there will be times when mistakes happen, especially in such a technically oriented industry, but there’s a “No blame, no shame!” culture at Qualcomm.

“Immediate actions are taken, and everyone demonstrates a real engagement in finding the solution. They are focused on finding and fixing the mistake as quickly as possible and minimizing the impact.”

Teamwork makes the dream work

For Sana, being part of a team that supports each other contributes to making Qualcomm an enjoyable place to work. 

“In France we are a small Research and Development team working at the cutting edge of technology. We know each other and we trust each other.”

As a team leader, Sana has worked hard to ensure everyone on her team feels appreciated professionally and able to explore their own interests when it comes to their career goals. She makes sure to ask people for their thoughts before assigning them to new projects.

“I was proud when a team member told me he appreciates that I care about my team members’ wellbeing and ask their opinion before I get them involved in new subjects. It is a recognition of the culture in the team, where people do what they love to do, and are not simply assigned to tasks as ‘resources’.”

Connecting people in the future

Qualcomm is a “world leader in connecting human beings all around the globe.” Sana works mainly on chips used in mobile devices, such as smartphones and cars’ infotainment equipment, and knowing the impact the work she does can have for people gives her a real sense of pride: 

“We help facilitate people’s day-to-day life by enabling them to access services that barely existed a few years ago.” 

For Sana and her team, it’s exciting to think about what might be next in this field of technology: 

“The potential of the metaverse, and the impact that could have on people’s day-to-day life, as well as improving safety in existing devices and the future of cars with sustainable engagements, makes Qualcomm a strong actor in the future of the humanity, and it is great to contribute to that!”

A place for women

Sana says, “values like gender diversity and pay equity” are already visible in day-to-day life at Qualcomm but partnering with bodies such as WORK180 makes them “even more real and effective.”

“I hope more women in Qualcomm will be empowered through the partnership with WORK180, and that gender biases will keep fading away as the number of women hired increases. I hope to see more women in senior positions and at the top of the company. Qualcomm really is limitless.”

Qualcomm also has an employee network for women and allies – Qualcomm Women. There are over 9400 members with chapters across the world, Sana is a member of the France/Belgium chapter. The mission of Qualcomm Women is to inspire a diverse organization by providing opportunities to encourage leadership, mentorship, and career development for all women at Qualcomm and in their global communities.

Growth and development

In the eight years that Sana has been at Qualcomm, she has changed jobs three times and been promoted twice. Starting out as a verification engineer, she then started coordinating wider projects involving teams in different locations around the world, before moving into her current position a year ago. For Sana, this progression demonstrates the positive attitude of the company towards the career satisfaction of its employees:

“A successful company always offers continuous learning and new opportunities for growth. This, coupled with the recognition of employees’ efforts, are strong motivators and are what keep me happy in my role today.”


Create your own story of ‘success and sanity’

At Qualcomm, Sana has felt encouraged and supported as she’s progressed in her career. Now, as a manager, she is happy to pass on her own experience, encouraging everyone to speak up and get involved in what’s going on around them:

“Be engaged, demonstrate your interest and your motivation by being reactive and proactive. Pay attention to what’s said in the meetings and to explanations. Never be afraid to ask questions and never say ‘yes’ to something you don’t fully understand.”  

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About the Author
Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job. Check out the latest job vacancies with Qualcomm