July 25, 2017
As I’ve written before, the culture is one of your company’s most important assets. It can’t be replicated easily and it’s your backbone that allows you to grow during good times and persevere during bad ones.It’s really hard to build a great company culture but here I’ll give you some tips on what we do on certain aspects. Hopefully, they’ll help you out if interested in this topic. Moreover, I’ll share something that we’ve just started to see. Something that makes us really happy.
But let’s start with the image below:
It’s a nice visualization on what we’ve decided to cherish in Dreamix. We have 8 main values that are the foundations of what we’re building. From there you can see concrete activities, initiatives and more that support these values. The values are not just nice words but the stars around which we’ve built our company.
As we all know people are your culture. The first and super important protector and investor in the culture is who you hire. Having the right values is the filter that you must look for. For example before hiring someone we are looking for 5 things that are must have:
1. Strive for mastery – constant desire to learn and improve
– What sources does the candidate follow to stay up to date?
– How does he/she learn new things? What are their techniques?
– Does he/she take any courses after work?
2. Proactiveness – to address issues before even happen and to proactively improve
– Sharing a moment where a task was given to him/her without any directions. How did he/she find the solution?
– Is he/she asking questions during the interview? Is he/she prepared?
– Sharing a time when he/she had to better something at work? Why did they do it?
3. Team player – to use “we” more often than “I”
– Has he/she been a volunteer somewhere?
– How is he/she making a decision? Do they ask their teammates?
– What has he/she learnt by their colleagues?
4. Humbleness – no ego
– A feeling?
5. Sharing is caring – share knowledge not encapsulate it
– Has he/she written articles? Have they made any presentations?
– Has he/she been a buddy for the onboarding process on a new colleague?
– Has he/she been a mentor to someone?
The questions are examples of what you can ask to identify whether a candidate possesses these traits. On a company level the values must be supported by concrete actions. Below are few examples from Dreamix:
1. Strive for mastery
– Book club – every Thursday morning the team gathers and one person presents a chapter from a book (ex. Clean Code, Effective java, etc) and then discussion follows
– 4 hours per week for education
– Dreamix prepaid Udemy account
– Annual personal development plans with meetings on the progress every quarter
– Trainings, certifications and courses paid by Dreamix
– Support with addition vacation for the university’s state exam
– Dreamix library – twice per year books are ordered
– AI club – club for the people interested in AI
– Team leaders have their own budgets and spend them as they like. The goal is to constantly better their people and the atmosphere in the team
– 4 hours per week for education – everyone is free to decide how and on what to spend it
– People can gather and go somewhere for a day or more and Dreamix covers percent of the expenses based on the number of people. More people = more money:)
– Additional pay or vacation if one teaches at a university
– End of year bonuses which consider additional certifications and courses taken
4. Team player
– Cinema paid by Dreamix – people gather and go watch a movie
– Celebration of everyone’s company birthday
– Dreamix scrumix – every Tuesday morning all the teams and divisions in the company gather and share to everyone what has been done for the week and what is to be done in the next 7 days
– Dreamix football team
– Breakfasts twice a week – all gather together
5. Strong body, strong mind
– Free weekly massages
– Multisport cards
– Health insurance
– Dreamix football team
– Fitness equipment in the office
– Team buildings organized by the people
6. Sharing is caring
– Frydix – every second week on Friday we have a presentation in the office on a different topic from different successful people or by some of our colleagues
– Dreamix office is given for free to different initiatives and courses (Ex. X8Academy)
– Dreamix blog where we write and share
– Slack with different groups based on interests
– Maybe you can suggest something here
8. Meaningful projects
– Financial freedom to reject more projects than to accept
– Partners not clients – with partners you can participate in the decision making, they want your feedback and thus you can influence the decisions on technologies and processes used.
– Support for non working related projects (ex. Citizens, Avtoikonom, CareerUp)
Culture is not stale. All these initiatives are changing. Some are removed and new are added constantly. Dreamix has a process on giving feedback every six months and from there one can easily see which activities are cherished and which are not. Change is a constant so embrace it.
Currently, we’ve started to see that our partners really enjoy our culture and on top of our software development services they started to ask us for help on improving their company cultures. This is a great recognition for our efforts that we didn’t expect.
In conclusion, I want to say, that more and more companies must pay attention to their culture because people are what makes a company – especially companies in the service industry like Dreamix. If you have a company culture that enables employees to constantly grow and improve, they will become better professionals and thus you’ll provide better services. If your people also develop on a personal level, they will add to your culture, and thus it’ll constantly better. And if your employees market value increases, your company’s market value increase. Your people are your company. So invest in a company culture that supports, empowers and engages them!