At Hiver, we are engaged daily in creating two things. One of them is obvious - our product, which includes technology, design and content on our blog, website, etc. The second one, which is not so obvious, is our workplace.
Everyday, as we interact, collaborate, strive, debate and hustle, we give shape to our company. Our company is much more than a legal entity that has employees, investors and customers. It is the sum total of our interactions, behaviors and habits. We strengthen or weaken it a bit everyday, based on how we have done collectively that day.
Building a great place to work has been one of our key objectives. Why, you may ask? There are many very successful companies that are not perceived to be great places to work at.
It is indeed possible to build a successful business without focusing on the culture within the company. But here are two big reasons why it still makes sense to focus on this:
A great culture, which leads to a great workplace, is a huge force multiplier. It removes the hurdles we place in our own path. Without a great culture, we’d be grappling with internal forces, instead of focusing on what we need to accomplish to build a great product, tell a great story, or getting tonnes of customers.
The more important reason, to us, is that a great workplace is an end in itself. It does not need justification and rationalisation. Creating a great culture at Hiver is as fundamental a requirement for us as is creating a great product and business.
Most companies define what they call great culture in terms of what they value. We decided to take a different approach to make it clearer and more actionable. We have chosen to define the behaviors which when practiced every day, can lead to building the workplace of our dreams.
Every single day...
We own what we do
We don’t wait for someone to tell us what we already know needs done. We roll up our sleeves and see it through.
At Hiver, we own our work like we own the company. Be it making sure we hit that feature launch deadline, resolving something that is irking customers once and for all or doing deep research for that article we’re writing, we own it like we’re the CEO of what we’re doing.
We iterate fast, but with care
We choose iteration and continuous improvement over getting it perfectly right in one shot. Perfection is an illusive, moving target. Iteration helps us break down tasks, get feedback and data, and improve fast. We apply this approach to everything - sales, marketing, engineering, product.
That being said, we iterate with care. Iteration and a focus on speed are not excuses for doing anything that is sub par in quality. In every iteration, we remember that it’s very important to be proud of everything that goes out the door.
We aspire for greatness in all we do
We aspire to be the best at whatever we do,be it at engineering, writing, managing teams or at selling our product. We consume knowledge like there’s no tomorrow, we seek out mentors, and we actively seek feedback.
We constantly obsess over things that impact what we produce - the color of a button on our app, the best way to write that function, or the type of people we recruit to work with us. We realize that this relentless pursuit of greatness can be tiresome at times, but is the only way to save ourselves from the rapid downward spiral of mediocrity.
We debate everything
When we disagree, we debate. We question things whenever we think there is a better way to do something or to solve a problem. We are cautious of groupthink, and we voice our opinions even when we disagree with everyone in the room.
At the same time, we make sure we always bring data to the table to argue our point. We make sure we focus on the issue, rather than on people. When we disagree and debate, we’re vocal and direct, yet respectful and open to the other side’s point of view.
We empathise, and we laugh often
We realise that everything we do is about people, and when it comes to people, empathy is the highest quality. We always try to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers, colleagues, and investors. We try to see the world from their angle and bring that perspective into how we make decisions.
We understand that for us as people, achieving great things at work is meaningless if that is achieved at the cost of happiness. We believe that happiness, great work, and stupendous growth can all co-exist. We make sure our workplace is positive, and we laugh often.
About the author
Niraj is the Founder of Hiver. Hiver turns Gmail into a powerful collaboration tool by letting you manage Shared Inboxes right from your inbox. Niraj can be reached on Twitter at nirajr.