I always thought “Company Culture” were just corporate Human Resources buzzwords. Words that make people feel better about the place they work in, but don’t produce any measurable results apart from higher expenses and less productivity. It never dawned on me until building Skystra, that company culture doesn’t need to be any of those things.
A revelation of sorts
Skystra’s main purpose, the reason we built it, was to take the big guys who offered horrible service, head on. Right in their backyard, we’d take it right to them and show them how simply offering better service, treating people like human beings, and offering a really solid platform in the process, would prove to them how out of touch they are. A few months in, that’s when it hit me. That’s exactly what our company culture is! The scrappy startup who is punching above its weight class and aiming for that K.O.
Since then, everything has revolved around that specific message. From how we hire new team members, how we train them, how we work together, how we interact with future customers and how we support current customers. Anyone who joins our team needs to have the same mindset the company started off with, namely : The world hasn’t seen anything like this yet, so let’s show it to them. And while that might sound self-aggrandizing, how many companies can you really list that offer really exceptional service, that truly work with each customer individually to make sure everything is running as intended? I can think of less than 5. Out of hundreds of businesses I’ve ever worked for, or with.
How do you enforce culture?
You don’t, you are the culture of your company. By that, I mean everyone is the company, and the company is everyone. Every time we speak with someone, we represent everyone else working at Skystra. That said, we aren’t the Borg. We aren’t some drone collective who all think the same. We value individuality and cleverness a lot, and every team member you speak to at Skystra does things their own way, within our framework. There are no scripts, no front-facing automations, no red-tape processes that create the drone collective you see at other companies. Everyone here does things however they see fit, and as long as the job is done, and done well, everyone is happy.
For example, we do a lot of outreach on social media these days. You’re likely to come across a few members of our team on there, probably Emily, Marc or our newest member, Derek. Each one has their own very individual personalities, and we do nothing to restrict how they interact with people. Be sassy, be clever, hit back if it’s needed, it’s all within the framework we have. Always remember that you’re working with, and talking to other human beings, all with their own points of view. However, be yourself. Represent the company well, but always be who you are.
Writing about the main components to our company culture has got me thinking a bit more about how we got to this point. From scrappy startup to legitimate company in the cloud hosting industry, while maintaining that “get stuff done” attitude, that invariably gets mixed into processes and systems that come into play once a company reaches a certain size. There’s always a give and take. In the near-future, I’ll be writing a bit more about how Skystra operates within departments and give an inside view to how we do things.