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In Playmaker Spotlight, we get up close (and sometimes personal) with a valuable team member whose individual contributions shouldn’t be overlooked but instead used to highlight their unique experience. Besides taking this great opportunity to share their accomplishments with the world, we also hope to provide you with insider info about our team culture and what it’s like to work at Databox.
At Databox, we understand that our success is not solely defined by the products we create but also by the vibrant culture we cultivate. In many ways, our company culture is much like a product that we all help co-create and have a unique impact on. It is more than just a backdrop – it is our driving force that shapes how we work, collaborate, and grow both individually and as a team.
Since we’re big on culture, we needed a team to lead it in the right direction. We envisioned a team focusing on more than just operative HR tasks but rather strategically developing our culture, our people, our employee experience, and our processes. In 2022, we started building our People and Culture team, which became heavily involved in Databox’s day-to-day and provided structure and strategy that allowed us to move forward together and ultimately boost our business success.
In this Playmaker Spotlight, we are introducing Aljaž Godec, our passionate leader of the People and Culture team. Aljaž shared his view on fostering a culture of high performance and continuous learning through people development at Databox.
Before joining Databox, Aljaž spent over 13 years managing processes related to the organization and people. His experience strengthened his belief that organizational culture and leadership style are prerequisites for engaged individuals and are crucial to the success of any company. He recognizes that the culture of an organization is primarily shaped by employees through their daily decisions and behaviors, which aligns with our company vision for the People and Culture team.
It has now been a year and a half since Aljaž Godec took over the position of the Head of People & Culture and became the driving force behind our people-centric initiatives. Since then, the People and Culture team has done some heavy lifting in the areas of company culture, professional growth, and leadership development.
We wanted to tap into Aljaž’s knowledge and learn about his perspective on team development and the role his team plays in Databox.
“First and foremost, it is important to understand our team’s purpose. The People & Culture Team’s mission is to create and cultivate an environment where everyone is excited to join, motivated to grow, and inspired by the company’s mission. How do we do that? By building and retaining a strong team culture and environment where highly motivated individuals are inspired and supported to reach their potential and grow their careers.”
“To uphold this mission, our team supports 4 strategic pillars of Databox: Talent Acquisition & Recruitment, Employee Development & Learning, Employee Engagement & Well-Being, and HR Operations. In those frames, we encourage individual excellence and self-achievement while focusing on optimizing both individual performance and team engagement through a range of initiatives that include career development, leadership training, personal growth, high-performing teams, and cross-team collaboration.”
One of the things that defines our company is our commitment to a people-first culture. As Aljaž points out, Databox’s company culture is the foundation that allows our Playmakers to develop and become the best version of themselves.
“Our commitment to people development at Databox goes beyond our People & Culture team. Responsibility for fostering growth and skill enhancement extends to our leadership and the entire company. We see our organization as a catalyst for individual development by creating growth opportunities.
Leadership plays a big part in creating a learning environment and shaping our culture and values. The People and Culture team contributes to this goal by actively partnering with businesses and creating initiatives and programs that support our Playmakers and empower them to reach their goals, which translates into collective success.
We also recognize that each team member is crucial to our shared success, which is why we create initiatives, training programs, and collaborative opportunities that empower our Playmakers to own their development journey. Every Playmaker at Databox holds the reins to their own growth. This shared commitment to personal development and skill enhancement is our cornerstone. When individuals take responsibility, they unlock their potential, contributing to Databox’s collective strength.
Our ultimate goal is a synergy where leadership and the People and Culture team work together to provide opportunities for development while our Playmakers embrace their responsibility for their own growth. This fosters a culture where individuals feel valued, realize their impact, and receive unwavering support in achieving personal, team, and company goals.”
As Aljaž pointed out, building and sustaining a high-performance culture requires teamwork at its core, where each team member plays a vital role in contributing to the overall success. He emphasizes that the purpose of the People and Culture Team is to “listen and proactively deliver culture initiatives and development programs, equipping them with the tools and guidance to meet and surpass their potential.”
The People and Culture team plays a unique role in the company, partnering with both the business and leadership.
“The business sets the course, and it is our mission to provide the support. This means our main area of work is the development of strategies, principles, and initiatives that directly or indirectly contribute to the achievement of business goals through actively engaging with leadership and listening attentively to our Playmakers.
Our business success depends on a thriving and engaged team, which makes our role expand far beyond traditional HR operative tasks. We work side by side with leadership to align our efforts, ensuring that our actions resonate with the overarching vision of Databox.
Furthermore, we ground all of our activities in Databox’s core values and the corresponding competencies that are closely tied to each value. This concerted effort allows our team to grow cohesively in the same direction. Additionally, we proactively consider the future needs of our team, business, and product. When we anticipate a need, we concentrate on developing strategic steps that fulfill these requirements in a manner that harmoniously benefits our business, product, and, most importantly, our valuable team members – mainly through development programs.
When it comes to people development, our team prioritizes our projects by studying individual Personal Career Development Programs to find skills and competencies that our Playmakers wish and need to develop. The competencies that our Playmakers work on later result in behaviors that support and drive the company values. We also ensure those are aligned with our company’s Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as well as the future needs of our industry.”
In the past year, the People and Culture team at Databox has been committed to nurturing our team’s growth by focusing on development programs. This has, in many ways, empowered our team members to align their skills and aspirations with company objectives and grow on a personal and professional level at the same time.
“The People and Culture team’s focus in the past year has mostly been on the development of our Playmakers. In that context, we have dedicated most of our efforts to encouraging career development, leadership training, personal growth initiatives, and strategies for building high-performance teams. Our professional growth opportunities include a transparent career path process that helps our team develop knowledge and skills aligned with their personal goals and company needs. This approach ensures they can advance their career while contributing to the company’s success.
“We see growth as a sum of career development, leadership development, and personal development. Career development at Databox begins with the creation of a Personal Career Development Plan for each new team member. In collaboration with their Manager, our Playmakers tailor these plans to align with their respective roles, skill sets, competencies, and long-term aspirations. Leadership development at Databox is focused on developing our first-line leaders through a dedicated program tailored to their unique needs as well as the entire leadership team through competency-based training to ensure their continuous growth and effectiveness. We focus on competency training programs, workshops, seminars, and coaching, as well as intense week-long sessions (e.g. Databox Leadership Week in September 2023 on Effective Communication). Personal development at Databox includes initiatives such as Book Club, Podcast Club and upcoming Personal Growth Program. While developing our team members, we also focus on creating for them to connect, collaborate, and grow together.”
In terms of those three areas of development, the People and Culture team supports our Playmakers while they develop their skills and competencies in line with their needs, roles, and goals, which ultimately support our company goals and build our shared success. As simple as it sounds, Aljaž emphasizes it takes a lot of strategic efforts to align the two areas.
“The development of individuals, teams, and the company are closely connected and, in fact, dependent on each other. Only successful individuals can make the whole team move forward, and when teams are successful, so is our business. Therefore, the development of individuals is the first step towards continuous growth, which is why we make this a part of the People & Culture team’s mission.”
Since people are the driving force behind our success, it is important to give them the reigns. Aljaž notes that listening to our Playmakers is what helps us cultivate a thriving workplace culture based on shared values.
“At Databox, our people are our true strength, and it’s not just a cliché – it’s a fact. How do we know? Our Playmakers tell us. We conduct biannual employee satisfaction surveys (eNPS) to gain deep insights into how our team perceives our culture, our people’s needs, desires, and areas where we can make improvements. It also helps us with planning out what to focus on in the future.
“One of the things we want to get feedback on is what our Playmakers value most at Databox. The top answer almost always remains the same: the people. According to our most recent eNPS survey report, the other two reasons team members enjoy working at Databox are our culture and opportunities for growth.”
Frequently seeking feedback from our team is essential in ensuring we are aligned with our objectives. It not only fosters a sense of psychological safety, enabling our team members to be authentic and open in their actions, but also makes them feel valued, accepted, and empowered at the same time.
“However, getting feedback is not the only purpose of the surveys that we do. The catch is that the shaping of the culture goes both ways – by listening and acting on both ends, the company and team members. What eNPS gives individuals is the power to co-create our culture, which is really impactful. We give the steering wheel to our teams instead of leadership, which allows them to identify areas they would like to see change and the areas in which they wish to grow. Teams have an important role in their development, which results in better engagement and ultimately translates to reaching our company goals.”
With a people-first mentality at the core of our culture, our commitment to supporting and growing together is what sets Databox apart and fuels our success.
“We take pride in the culture we have developed. At Databox, people come first. The relationship and the energy that we have created is tangible and is something that clearly stands out as why our people love to work at Databox.”
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