April, 2002. Small detached house in Mokotow District. This is my first day in a company services of which I have never heard about (selling ads in Internet, Internet marketing). I feel intimidated by web designers working in “Studio”. I do not follow them. Programmers do not speak to me at all, there is the IT guy in the basement with the huge rack flashing lights behind him (I will find out soon enough it is the data rack). Customer service guys go out and about excited, attached to their mobiles (Nokia 8210). I do really feel stupid rocking my walkman-size Motorola.
Then, the next month I know majority of a 30-person team.
We cook dinners together, organize trip to market to bring fresh buns. There is one microwave, a fridge, a few business mobile phones that we use interchangeably if needed. We refer per “you” to our directors, despite they are older (somewhere around “30”). We also borrow a bike from our biker‑friend to deliver a mock-up for a tender :).
We were trendsetters. Now we would refer to that as „startup”.
The difference between yesterday and today is not that big. Some people are here from the very beginning, a few dozen longer than 10 years. We still disregard “dress code”. We do not „clock in” in the morning and there is no proper position structure.
We have however switched the old detached house for the Mordor office building: 3,000 square meters, 3 floors, 3 kitchens, 10 microwaves, a huge cinema room, 200 servers and 300 people.
We took care to preserve the spirit of the company where a lot of things going on and where chaos chases risk. The company full of individualities who need place to meet, to relax, to work in interdisciplinary project teams and, finally, to shine during presentations. Hence, the aula for 300 people, ready to fit the whole company, with huge screen and pillows scattered on the stairs to sit and work.
There are also a lot of places and nooks where a solitary sole can hide and focus, as well as a space for team meetings with blackboards and pillows.
Each separate floor has a really cozy kitchen where you can eat, play table football or just rest in an armchair and drink delicious coffee (we do have soy milk!), tea or Melissa.
We went a bit industrial, skipping carpeting and suspended ceiling. Concrete and pipes create modern look, soothed in many places by wood, tiles, tapestries, upholstered furniture. Graphic team has even Aztec graffiti. You really need to see it!
Our DNA is self-derived. We create it day by day (we did not buy audit and solutions from consulting companies nor from huge networks). We want to be the work place with a good atmosphere, where people like each other, do not fight for their positions or scream at each other, where they are keen on spending time together, listen to each other, learn from each other and develop, think and love what they are doing. Only such combination will result in really cool, innovative projects that will arise clients’ interest and translate into invoices.
However clichéd it may sound — people are the company and only with their knowledge and experience we can offer our clients valuable solutions. Therefore, its people we need to care about first, not only by offering benefits but most off all by creating friendly work environment. We develop rash reactions on hearing that we are a corporation. Because people creates K2 — unique combination of artists, creatives, programmers, analytics, marketing specialists, strategists, accountants.
Each of us lives in a little bit different world of skills and responsibilities. But we do strive to remain friends — we greet each other with “hello”, we dine together, have a chit-chat on the stairs, organize birthdays and movie shows. K2 is a „family” company.
We strive to know and like each other.
We respect each other and each other’s work.
We listen each other.
We trust people.
People are not resources.
JI work in HR, i.e. I manage people. I see people, not only employees. I know the importance of not feeling anonymous in the company. Hence so much focus on communication, good relations, being open to feedback, collecting opinions and listening to people. I try to cooperate with managers and other employees so they felt important, needed and listened to, so we could act together and develop good solutions. Since having trust in leaders is of the utmost importance. We want our people to know, why they are here and how important their work is. We want them to feel the owner of the projects they run.
We support managers as we know they are on the “front line” and of the biggest influence on people. Our managers must be able to read emotions and relations in teams, because all fears and uncertainties disappear with good communication. Now days, when we are in terms with notorious time shortages, the rush of information and tasks and constant changes, it is of extreme importance to use each occasion and pamper your team in common, everyday contacts, informal as well. This allows to understand intentions and solve difficulties.
It’s all the matter of agreement.
We are interested in everyday life of our employees and we want to support it — therefore, as we say it, it is all the matter of agreement with the boss.
You caught a flu? Do not feel like going on a sick leave because you are finishing the project? You feel like working from your bed? Work from your bed.
Kindergarten/school not working today and not a clue what to do with an offspring? Bring him/her to work.
A dog is vaccinated, and the animal doc is just round the office corner? Take your dog to work.
You’ve just finished the project yesterday and worked late? And today you have a doc appointment, or a kid has a play at school? You can leave earlier.
You cover your distance by bike? From Plock? Agree the flexible working hours and take a shower once your reach the office.
You’ve just over the maternity leave and back to work? You wish to work part-time for the first month? No problem — take your time to re‑induction, and we will pay you for the full-time job.
The way we recruit people can be the example of similar partnership approach. For these few hours we have to know each other we try to “sell” ourselves and our philosophy. We believe that recruitment is not only for us, but for a candidate as well. After all, he/she is just about to decide whether working with us is a good choice. Therefore, we listen and try to communicate on an emotional level. We respect a candidate’s time and we provide details on further process every time we meet. We do not make recruitment longer than necessary. We appreciate the mindset of a candidate and we give objective assessment. We clearly state our expectations and offer.
Hence, our program to financially gratify our employees who recommend their friends to work with us. This is the second source of our candidates, right after recruitment ads.
And if they recommend, they probably feel….good here :).
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