Within any organisation, corporate culture is widely regarded as one of the most important guarantors of success. Although the term has existed for quite some time, bolstered by highly dynamic corporations such as Facebook and Google, it has only recently begun to be seen for its true potential. The reason behind this long-time dormant status boils down to its inherent nature — while a culture may be positive or negative, weak or strong, it is simply an innate part of every business, often making it nigh impossible to pinpoint.
For clarity’s sake, however, a corporate culture is the collective beliefs and ideas within an organisation which affect how a company does business and how employees behave. In spite of the concept’s newfound prominence in the media, a global 2016 study revealed that only 12 percent of respondents believed their company was driving the right culture. But this raises the all-important question: what exactly constitutes the “right culture” anyway?
While the answer may be somewhat specific to every organisation, in this article, Software Planet Group would like to present some of the main goals and strategies that have helped us develop a very successful culture over the years.
Instil a Sense of Community
Unsurprisingly, according to modern research, happy employees are productive employees, yet as luck would have it, there is simply no clear-cut way to develop what society widely regards as a key component to happiness — a sense of community and belonging. Some authors, however, seem to have the right idea. In his book Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game, for example, Alistair Cockburn asserts that in order for effective teamwork to take place, one must be willing to create all the necessary conditions for this to occur. And so, while the goal may technically be achieved in infinite ways, at SPG, we accomplish it by building teams around our projects. This means each task is paired with the most appropriate professionals, giving ample opportunities for friendship to develop, as teams naturally work together more effectively.
Even though countless books have been written on the subject, it would be impossible to stress just how important adequate communication is to any organisation. As we have seen time and time again, when people are able to communicate freely, they also cooperate freely in all of their projects. Thus, we encourage everyone within SPG to communicate with whomever they require, whenever needed. This effectively eliminates all barriers between CEOs and personnel and allows productivity to flow unimpeded.
In addition, great communication also leads to the discovery of common interests, which in turn leads to affinity; and affinity, finally, gives rise to friendship. The end result, of course, is a powerful synergy from which all teams can benefit. For this reason, the main advice we give our team leaders is to strive to be effective communicators.
Keep the Knowledge Flowing
One of our proudest accomplishments as a company is to have created an environment in which learning is always taking place. Whether our employees are attending Tech Talks, imparting knowledge on young graduates during InCamp internships, or even learning from each other in pair programming sessions, we encourage everyone to venture beyond the comfort zones of their own expertise.
As a result of this commitment, we have witnessed the growth of an ever-evolving company which constantly aims for innovation and excellence. This is just as true collectively as it is individually. With our continued emphasis on mentorship, each developer is given personal growth plans and encouraged to meet their own specific targets.
Trust Your Employees
When staff and employees feel disrespected, the quality of their work is likely to deteriorate. Thankfully, however, the opposite is true when workers are treated as the responsible adults that they are — this has the ripple effect of generating more productivity while maintaining high standards. After all, every employee has gone through an extensive hiring process, so if they made the cut, they should be qualified to deliver. By showing true confidence in the ability of our developers, we have been able to create a work atmosphere that feels less like a daily obligation and more like a fun challenge.
Include Family Support
For many people, family is considered the primary motivation for going into work each and every day. Whenever a work-life imbalance is perceived, the ensuing stress and dissatisfaction is bound to spill over into the workplace and cause a host of problems that could have easily been avoided with just a little empathy. This is why we consider family support to be such a vital component of our company culture. At our development centres, we hold regular family events, such as fun master classes for children and various relaxing activities by the river. In addition to allowing employees to spend more time with their loved ones, this also serves to further strengthen our sense of community.
Take On a Partnership Approach
Last but not least, SPG’s partnership approach to development has truly become the crown jewel of our company. This is where the problems of our customers become our own. By working hard to understand the goals and concerns of our clients, we are able to develop solutions that may sometimes not be what was first requested, but are always exactly what was needed.
More than Perks and Benefits
While we cannot claim to provide our employees with high-tech sleep pods like Google, or serve free gourmet food in our cafeteria like Facebook, Software Planet Group believe a successful corporate culture is sustained by a lot more than bells and whistles. In reality, the main ingredients for success are a strong vision and a genuine care for one’s workforce.