Intellyo – Creating a Company Culture We Love

The Intellyo Company Culture

Companies nowadays seem to think workplace culture equals bean bags and foosball tables. Buying and placing the latter is easy, establishing and maintaining the former is not so much.

When we started putting our company culture together, one of the first questions we faced was: what are the best words to describe company culture? Can words even describe it?

Hubspot says

“culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing”

It helps us attract the right people and it helps them shine once they are on board. It is also the operating system the company runs on.

So why do we, at Intellyo care about company culture so much?

Because you are building one, even if you do not want to. Culture happens anyway, so we should put our energy into creating one that we love.

The way we work has dramatically changed. Today we find it important to work for a purpose, and instead of a good boss, we’re in need of good colleagues. The work hours and the literal workplace also became less important.

And while a lot of organizations did not adapt to this, we try our best to do so. To provide a transparent and fun environment, where employees can thrive.

So what do we do?

Our mission is to cherish the customers and their wishes over everything else. We want to build awesome products with the help of our customers to solve their problems.

We strive to make our co-workers, our city and our country famous for and proud of our solutions. We identify with the destiny of our venture and will do everything it takes to succeed. We put all our knowledge and raw momentum into what we do.

The 7 main aspects of our culture are

1. Personal development

Self–improvement is the value that makes the biggest difference in one's life upon joining Intellyo. We are lucky to experience a genuine intention from newbies to develop both their personal and professional skills.

This is how we do it:

  • Personal feedback and promotion talks happen in the form of KPI meetings. Having a defined place for this prevents intrigued behavior.
  • We have company-wide feedback during monthly meetings called Retros.

2. We choose positivity & happiness

Now you might think we’re cheesy with this one (and you're kind of right). Constant rainbows and unicorns are unsustainable in case of a real-life workplace. Of course, we cannot be happy every day, but that’s OK.

What we can do every day is approach every situation with a can-do attitude. Assume the best of every person we come across. And it turns out when you do that, things tend to fall into place.

This is how we do it:

  • We are determined to give genuine appreciation and encourage sharing outstanding achievements. We have a separate Slack channel named #wow for this purpose. And we wow a lot!
  • To ease open discussions, we make sure there's always an opportunity to share ideas about strategy or solutions.

3. Transparency & honesty

To be able to work together towards the same goals, it’s crucial to be on the same page about those goals. Transparency helps with this.

We don’t have an “open door policy”, we have a “no door policy”. We have made our salaries, equity, metrics and daily progress public among employees.

Transparency breeds trust and trust is the foundation of great teamwork.

This is how we do it:

  • All communication is public if it is work-related or involves a third person. We do not talk about people behind their back and we take this seriously. We constantly monitor our direct to public message ratio on Slack.
  • We have planning day every two weeks when we make sure everyone understands their tasks for the upcoming Sprint.
  • We have daily “stand-ups” when teams share their progress and tasks with each other and other teams.

Recently we learned a lot about improving company-wide and cross-team communication at a workshop with Jumio.

4. No drama, good karma

We strive to help each other, hence being on good terms with everyone is necessary. We encourage questions and praise admitting to being wrong.

We all make mistakes. We're in a creative industry, preventing error is not cheaper than fixing it. The important thing is not to make them twice.

We also believe your personal life should not block your work and your work should not block your personal life.

This is how we do it:

  • We encourage every team member to take off a couple of days every 2–3 months to be fresh and carry positive energies.
  • We offer unlimited holidays and home-officing. We have found that giving people greater autonomy creates a more responsible culture.
  • We ask before panicking.
  • We pay attention to our language and try to avoid using judging expressions such as “he/she is a junior“. Instead of berating others, we prefer helping them to improve. This is an important part of our company culture that works pretty well.

5. Accountability & responsibility

We try to avoid chaos as we grow. Not with hierarchy, rules or bossy attitudes, but with clear responsibilities.

Responsible Intellyo people are self–motivating, self–aware, and self–improving. They do not wait to be told what to do and they pick up the trash lying on the floor.

Responsible people thrive on freedom and are worthy of freedom.

This is how we do it:

  • We assign tasks within the RACI framework. (Knowing that your head will roll if something goes wrong is motivating).
  • We have flexible schedules, but we are responsible and held accountable for them. (Knowing that others trust you is even more motivating).
  • If someone is late, they get beer penalties. (It's a win-win situation).

6. Data beats opinion, “no ego” attitude

The value of removing our ego from our work makes a great difference in the way we go about our work at Intellyo. Discovering mistakes is a great thing to do. The more we discover the faster we can improve.

When you leave your ego out of your work, the fear of failure disappears. There's no need to cling to an idea that isn’t working because it has your name attached to it, either.

This is how we do it:

  • We're data-driven, so the first step is always to define relevant metrics.
  • First we collect and analyze data, then we decide.
  • We ask for consultancy from those with more knowledge.

7. KPIs are our Northern Star

Every Intellyo team has a planning day followed by a two–week long sprint.

At the monthly Retro meetings, we use green cards to show things that went well. The red ones are for things we could have done better. Then we transform the red ones into actions, so we can work on them.

We follow personal performance and personal goals with the use of our KPIs. Evaluation goes two ways, team members also rate their team leader.

We believe the best way for leaders to manage their people is to take their eyes off the charts and graphs. Look around whether employees and leaders trust each other.

Liz Ryan said

"Your culture is the loudest thing happening in your organization. It is booming in your employees' ears. Your vendors know a lot about your culture. Your customers may know more about your culture than you do."

Culture is about values. Where there are no accepted and followed values, no bean bags or team bowling can help.