on November 28, 2022 • 17 minute read
At Databox, we’re dedicated to cultivating a culture where people are at the centre because we believe in building an environment that’s more than just a great place to work, but rather a place where each individual is inspired and has the available resources to grow their potential and succeed. And the values, together with competencies linked to them, represent the set of fundamental team beliefs in this system. They are the guiding principles that can help our Playmakers achieve goals and work better together.
Of course, it’s important to mention each team member has their personal values and attributes. Still, when it comes to building a team, it’s essential that all the team members also align with core company values, as it can result in better teamwork, increased productivity and greater overall success. Plus, people are generally happier and more inspired to do their job when they know their company shares their values.
When thinking about the most important qualities that we’ve seen in our team over the years and looking back on 2012, when we started Databox, we can see our company values originate from our core team. Our first Playmakers knew exactly what was important to them, what should be the characteristics of the people they wanted to surround themselves with, what values should resonate with them too and how they wanted the company culture to grow and evolve.
Detecting these common characteristics, approaches and attitudes made our Databox values obvious. We wanted to build a people-first culture where team members play as a team and are accountable in all aspects of work, challenge themselves to grow and innovate, and prioritise customer impact. Moreover, we thought it’s essential to show work can be a motivating additive to our lives, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that defines our happiness. To show that we mean it, we engraved work-life balance and gratitude at the core of our culture.
When formalising these long-lasting values, we took our time to carefully determine each one of them and made sure we had a plan on how to take them from paper to practice, too.
Similar to determining the values, our company culture was also thoughtfully shaped and developed. And still is, as it’s constantly evolving.
We like to say that our team lives through our values. At the end of the day, these same values influence who we hire, how we onboard, how we promote, and what kind of Databox culture initiatives we take on. But maybe even more importantly, they’re closely tied to Databox competencies which play an integral part in on-the-job success in virtually every context and specify how (the way) an individual carries out certain skills at Databox. Together with the examples of specific (positive and negative) behaviours we’ve set, they serve as guidelines for living our values.
“Our values determine how we work, learn, and grow as a team. Our competencies show us the ways we put them into action.”
So how do we live out our values? How do they look in action? Let’s dive in …
All six company values are equally important to us, but if we had to choose our core one, this would probably be the one. Playing as a team is crucial since we all work together toward the same goal, right? 😎
Many companies use the family-centered approach, where their culture and relationships mirror those you find within a family context. Yes, team members can feel like family, but we rather see them as ‘professionals that share the same purpose’, much like a sports team. This is why we focus more on creating a balanced culture that promotes a culture of collectivism, belonging, and shared values while clearly outlining a performance-driven aspect.
“We lean on each other – for information, perspectives, and the knowledge gained from experience. That is where the magic happens. By leaning on each other, we’ll be able to do things tomorrow that we were unable to do yesterday.” Alen M., Technical Support Manager.
“We lean on each other – for information, perspectives, and the knowledge gained from experience. That is where the magic happens. By leaning on each other, we’ll be able to do things tomorrow that we were unable to do yesterday.”
We believe that when we work as one team, we win as one team. We created an inclusive environment and culture where we communicate openly, share knowledge and collaborate across teams.
Since ⅔ of our Playmakers work fully remotely, it’s even more important that everyone feels like a part of the team and has an equal opportunity to contribute and collaborate at their full potential.
Besides keeping the processes, business, and communication transparent across the entire organisation and committing to regular stand-ups and check-ins, there’s a lot of a more sociable aspect too. Here’s how we do it:
🔗 We do our best to make our new members feel welcomed and connected from day one or even well before the official start day, with different activities connecting team members throughout the entire onboarding process.
👥 Every new Playmaker gets a dedicated Buddy to assist with the onboarding process, help them understand our company culture, bridge social connections, and answer questions as they come up.
🧠 We’re big on knowledge-sharing initiatives – from Engineering Show & Tell, the Weekly Snacks, and Podcast Club, we exchange ideas, learnings, and insights.🌎 We organise virtual team building events where the entire team gathers and participates in different fun or informative activities. We’re especially excited about our Company Team Retreat next year 😎
🗪 We have different interest groups on Slack where Playmakers connect based on shared interests, and we even do some of these things together. But more on that a bit later in the blog.By the way, do you want to learn more about our team identity and why we call each other Databox Playmakers? Then make sure to read Employer branding: Creating a strong team identity.
Setting goals, collaboration, and sharing knowledge – all of this contributes to successfully playing as one team towards the same goal, but it’s not enough. Having empowered teams also means having empowered individuals – giving them the flexibility and the autonomy to do their work. Which brings us to the importance of accountability.
But accountability goes beyond showing up and setting out to accomplish the things you’d said you’d do. As we see it, it’s not only about the final goal of achieving something important, but more so the way and the manner in which we perform the tasks. Competencies such as analytical thinking, taking a solution- and action-oriented approach and self-awareness are crucial because they don’t just help us solve problems; they help identify the source of a question or challenge and provide the right or a better way of doing things.
One of the initiatives that highlights this point is our “Project pitching” initiative run by the Product & Engineering teams. It is based on the shape-up methodology, a product development approach designed to help teams shape and build products to a higher standard through clear definition and prioritisation. Before each quarterly planning, the project owners pitch their ideas to the teams by highlighting the problem definition, proposed solution, priority and the impact of the project, cross-team dependency, estimated timeline, and potential risks. The pitch is then followed by a cross-team discussion and challenging the concept. The selected projects are then placed in quarterly plans and represent a commitment.
Another value closely connected to cultivating a collective spirit is gratitude. We believe in sharing knowledge selflessly and genuinely love to learn. But we never assume we have all the answers, so we appreciate it even more when someone goes out of their way to do a good job.
Whether with a simple “thank you”, a compliment or a chocolate bar, we like to show gratitude to people around us. Within our #quickwins Slack channel (which is, by the way, one of our most active “social” Slack channels), we praise Playmakers who did an excellent job of some kind, like solving a customer chat in a remarkable way, helping out a client, closing a deal, solving an annoying bug – individually or as a team. Especially successful cases of cross-team collaboration are something we love to see and encourage. And we do that not only to show appreciation and gratitude towards our Playmakers but also so that everyone can learn from them and use the knowledge to their advantage in the future.
One of our favourite ways to show gratitude is also with dedicated “workaversary” posts. Whenever someone has been with us for 3, 5 or 10 years, we like to put them in the spotlight for that day. They receive personal and appreciative notes from us, and the team likes to share their favourite work (or non-work) related memories they have with them. We sometimes also do a short interview with that person, which we then publish on our social channels and the culture section of our blog. That way, our new (potential) Playmakers can also gain more insights into the company.
It’s not easy to achieve work-life balance in today’s unpredictable and fast-paced world. But it’s necessary to have days when you put your mind at ease and forget all about work. Because only then can you be excited about work again.
We encourage our Playmakers to prioritise non-work-related activities that are dear to their hearts. Whether that’s time spent with friends or family, practising hobbies, exercising or learning new things, we’re mindful of planning and schedules so everyone has enough time for them. What’s awesome is to see our Playmakers sharing these moments with the team on Slack within different interest groups (50km-challenge, sports, music, pets and kids, personal growth, poetry, databox ladies, etc.). And we even do some of these things together – like meeting over book club and podcast discussions, staying active with our Around the Equator challenge, sharing recipes and cooking tips, discussing music, parenting and pets, etc.
Because we sincerely want the message of the importance of living a well-balanced life to get across, we’re cautious about what kind of praise we give our Playmakers. which means our leaders being mindful of complementing certain actions. Like when someone works overtime, for example. Giving too much praise can send wrong signals to others in the team in this case.
Let’s be honest here, staying in your comfort zone seems cosy. And it is. At least for a while. But, if you want to get better, you must challenge yourself. Learn something new every day. Sounds easy, but it’s not always easy to do. Setting goals and being ready to work hard to achieve them comes with getting out of your comfort zone now and then.
Here at Databox, we wish to foster an environment that allows employees to thrive personally and professionally. But everyone must understand they’re the driver of their own development. We approached this mindset with our Performance Evaluation and Career Development process, which encourages individuals to think about what will make them more successful and what they should focus on to achieve their career goals at Databox. So twice a year, every Playmaker meets with their direct supervisor for a performance evaluation. The result of this 4 step evaluation is a Professional Career Development Plan filled with short- and long-term goals that help them guide their decisions throughout their career, whether they want to complete a complex project, learn new skills, take on new responsibilities, gain new knowledge or earn a certain type of promotion.
Our Emil K, Director of Customer and Technical Support team, put it this way: “The motivation should not be “I want to get to X” but rather “HOW can I get to X”. This mindset allows you to expand your knowledge and skill set in the right way and potentially open up new opportunities.”When you do it a few times, it can easily become a habit. By constantly learning and broadening our horizons, we can push ourselves to be the best version of who we are, learn new skills, adapt to changing situations, solve problems and develop the “everything is possible” mindset.
We like to think of Databox as our customers’ best “partner in crime” when it comes to improving performance and growing their business with the help of data. Likewise, we love to solve their problems, and we are constantly improving our services and capabilities to do even better. We believe that a satisfied customer is the best business strategy; that’s why we make sure that not only the customer success team but everyone at Databox prioritise this.
Working on our mission to help businesses worldwide leverage data to improve their performance is both challenging and rewarding. In the same way, we’re committed to unlocking the potential of our customers’ data, we are big on knowledge-sharing initiatives that help us understand the issues at hand better.
One of the many initiatives that support this are Engineering Show & Tell, Podcast Club run by our Community Development team, and the Weekly Snacks. The latter is the initiative our Customer Success team launched a while ago, where team members focus on finding and sharing the solutions for the different use cases which aren’t foreseen in the knowledge base while also training our research skills. The scenarios can be contributed to and presented at the weekly meetings by anyone on the team.
Those six values that we mentioned above might seem simple, but there is a lot within each one of them. They reflect the behaviours that brought us here and inspired us to keep on going forward.
We didn’t come up with them just for the sake of having some sort of company values written down somewhere; we made sure (and are still making sure) that those values are implicated in our processes, and they help us build, develop and shape the company culture.
Generally, when a company grows, the team must do their best to maintain a strong company culture and keep that unique energy alive. Here at Databox, we put a lot of effort into finding new Playmakers who share our values, are equally excited about our mission and have similar interests in professional and personal growth. For us, this has proven to be a great approach when scaling our team and preserving our team culture in parallel.And our team culture is something that both our brand-new Playmakers and old Playmakers seem to be incredibly proud of. When new hires join our team, we usually ask them why they decided to join Databox, and their most common reply is: “Because of your company culture and growth opportunities.” And we’re glad this notion is not only based on the information we offer on our company channels but also a recognition of our team members as they are very often the ones that refer new candidates.
Do you want to know more about how we hire our new Playmakers? Then make sure to take a look inside Databox’s hiring process.
In our opinion, onboarding is easily one of the essential processes which some companies often overlook. This specific period gives your new employee a chance to learn not only about your mission, product and processes but also about your company culture. That way, your new team member can feel more comfortable within a team and become a fully engaged member a bit faster. This starts by understanding the culture. And it’s our responsibility to show them what that looks like.
The Databox onboarding consists of three parts: preboarding, which is the time between signing the offer and starting the job; orientation, which starts on Day 1; and onboarding which lasts for 90 days.
We don’t only provide product onboarding and role-based training; we also always make sure that every new Playmaker who joins our team also receives a culture onboarding where we also make sure they learn about our values and put them into practice.
We do this in two ways – through our Buddy Program and the dedicated 1-1 time with their leaders during the 90-day onboarding period, dedicated to discussing general well-being, culture, and support.
Supporting Playmakers to follow their career aspirations is a key to individual engagement and our organisational success. Besides the established Career Path Framework with a clear structure for achieving our career goals, we’ve defined cross-functional and leadership competencies and expected behaviours to help leaders and team members define more tangible development activities.
All of them stem from our values and support them at the same time since they translate sometimes more abstract leadership principles and values from ideas to behaviours, which help our Playmakers define their strengths and areas of improvement and plan their development activities such as Personal Career Development Plans. The idea is to help Playmaker document the knowledge, skills and competencies they’ve learned or are planning to learn to improve their performance, earn promotions, and, most of all, grow as a professional. Developing short- and long-term goals can thus help guide their decisions throughout their career, whether they want to complete a complex project, learn new skills, take on new responsibilities, gain new knowledge or earn a certain type of promotion.
So here they are – our values in action, supported by competencies and lived out through the initiatives.
We see it this way; creating a business is similar to creating a community because if you want the community to act as a group, you need to share similar beliefs, values, and vision to function as a whole. Russell Ackoff (an American organisational theorist) once said,
“A system is never the sum of its parts; it’s the product of their interaction”.
And we couldn’t agree more. If players can’t interact with each other effectively, then their strengths will not matter, and the team will lose. The same goes for businesses and their teams – interaction is key if you want your team to work together as one. And here, the values come into play.
This is how we put our company values into action here at Databox. If you feel like these values resonate with you and you could be our next Playmaker, then make sure to check out our open positions. Let’s meet and see if we fit your vibe, and you, our tribe.
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