Are you really living your business culture or are you just talking about it?
We all know the importance of a good work environment, but what about business culture? Is it something you should invest time and money in? And how much money should you spend fostering and nurturing this culture? At MapsPeople we value business culture and every decision is made with our culture and values in mind.
This blog post was written by Jonas Berntsen, MapsPeople CCO and Partner.
MapsPeople has its roots in Northern Denmark but if you take a look inside our offices or go through our clients, you’ll soon notice that we’re very international. Our flagship product, MapsIndoors, provides indoor navigation for large buildings, for instance, airports, convention centers, sports arenas, universities and hospitals. This means, that we have clients worldwide. We value diversity and we’re proud to have seven different nationalities in our company. But diversity is not just about nationalities. We encourage personality, diversity and openness in every way. For instance, we just made a Wall of Fame where each employee should bring an item that showed their personality. So, being multi-cultural and having an open and global mindset is a very important part of the MapsPeople culture.
It would be easy just to write on our website that we’re an international company with a global mindset, but I believe in “Show it, don’t tell it”. Therefore, our offices have been decorated with our multi-cultural values in mind; All our meeting rooms have been furnished to look like an international big city. We have “Tokyo” with a red and black wooden pavilion and bonsai trees, “Paris” with romantic wallpaper and café chairs, “San Francisco” with a wooden bench like the ones in the cable cars and “Copenhagen” with a wallpaper showing the old street “Nyhavn” – originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock – and Danish design furniture.
Decorating an office environment as small oases of the world is of course not cheap but I believe it’s important. If you only say you have a global mindset without really living it, then you don’t really have a global mindset – you just want to have one. Of course, there’s a lot of ways to express and show your company culture and decorating exciting office spaces is just one way to do it.
Recruiting the right people is also crucial to the culture. When we hire new colleagues for our offices, we do it with a basic principle in mind; Finding the right person. Obviously, they need to be qualified for the position, but personal qualifications are always more important than professional skills. I have this motto, “Never hire someone you don’t want to sit next to at the christmas party”. They need to match the organization, have the global mindset, and they need to add something new to the company, say, a new language, new skills, etc. We have two developers with the same overall competences but they have different backgrounds; One has worked with developing apps and the other has developed games. This way, they add different skills and opinions to the company and they complement each other.
Another important value and part of our culture is quality; We want our product to be the best and most user-friendly software in the world – but who doesn’t want to provide the best of the best? Where we differentiate ourselves from other companies – no matter industry – is in the details. As for our global and multi-cultural mindset, quality is in everything we do; We think about it when we buy laptops for our employees, when we choose restaurant for the christmas party or activities for our annual company business trip, and when we celebrate big orders with champagne. Why? Because I believe that when you give your employees quality and experiences they’ll remember, they’ll stay even more motivated and dedicated and they’ll give you quality in return.
MapsPeople is a start-up company but we’re lucky to have a financial situation that allows us to “spoil” our employees. I see a lot of organizations that make savings on christmas parties or the small things that actually make a difference for the employees. We don’t. I really believe that the money you spend on making your employees happy, benefits your company. Companies should make their budget fit these social happenings, not make the happenings fit the budget.
When an organization like MapsPeople grows, culture evolves and workflow changes. However, it’s possible to preserve the fundamental principles of your culture but it takes an effort. Invest in your work environment and make it reflect your values and your identity. Don’t make savings on the things that make your employees feel valued and special. Show the world who you are and have that in mind in everything you do.