Defining Transmetrics Values During the Pandemic
Previous months were challenging for the entire world. Many companies and businesses were struggling on a whole new level – not just with their normal competitors but also with the novel invisible and unpredictable virus, forcing them to stop working or quickly change their core working processes. For those of us who were able to continue working with minor changes – going to work not in the office next to your co-workers but next to your cat from your living room, brought along struggles of a different order: loneliness, procrastination and a total lack of creativity were just a few we heard.
In the following article, Desislava Simeonova, Transmetrics HR Manager, shares the experience of redefining the culture of the Transmetrics team during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A growing team with no compass
In 2020 our team managed to grow by more than 30% and we were quite successful in terms of finding both great professionals and engaging people. We had multiple people starting who didn’t properly get to meet even half of their colleagues in the first 6 months of employment. That certainly does not make the settling-in process any easier, let alone making you feel that you belong to a team. Let’s be honest: sharing struggles, ideas, and ambitions over Zoom or Slack simply do not hit the spot. The plan for 2021 is to repeat or even improve last year’s hiring. But how are we going to grow without at least some common thread?
In times like these, the company culture, mission, vision, and values are necessary to guide everyone inside the organization, to be felt by them, to be accepted, and to be shared with people outside the company. The best way to achieve this is if it comes naturally. Our problem? We didn’t have any.
Values to the rescue
First of all, in order to make values work you need authenticity. Going with an agency that can come up with some run-of-the-mill values was not an option, neither was letting top management have a ‘creative brainstorm’ and come back with 6 words an hour later. We wanted input from different teams and different backgrounds, therefore we have gathered a focus group consisting of diverse team members. We agreed that the most organic way to have clear values in which people recognize themselves and in which they can believe is by simply asking – to hear them out, gather their thoughts, suggestions, and concerns. Only after gathering such feedback, we could move on to summarizing the Transmetrics values.
The methodology for Transmetrics Values
Going by the motto of ‘in order to harvest, you first need to sow’, we set to work. We gathered information from our focus group, had some discussions with HR professionals, and finally, we prepared an online survey, which was filled in by 85% of our colleagues. This was one of the best decisions we made as it gave answers not only to those 8-9 questions that we asked, it gave answers to questions we didn’t even know we needed to ask.
If you do this kind of survey right (with the correct questions and engaged people) you have the company’s values on the employee level. Thanks to the survey results, we are now aware of the team’s concerns, desires, motivations, and appreciations. Most importantly, we know that we are on the same page and that we definitely did a great job in finding the right people, keeping them, uniting them, and motivating them.
Several weeks and a couple of creative meetings later, I can proudly present to you: “Transmetrics values”:
We like to think of them as being the highrise that is Transmetrics – made to survive whatever comes our way. The first two floors represent the foundation – having the opportunity to make an impact and clear purpose is both unique and priceless! The middle floors – solid and wise – are made up of trust and commitment. What we found surprising is that people do not only trust and believe in each other and senior leadership, but they also trust our clients and our products (Having a team that consists of around 75% ‘technical’ colleagues might have created a bias though.) Reaching the top floors we find creativity and inspiration, the things that make us dream of a better world with fewer carbon emissions and more fun jobs for everyone in the logistics space.
We make an impact on the world, we have our purpose – to transform and empower logistics to operate on a whole new level, to make the market for it, and to get better and better in the process. We trust our leaders, we trust our product, we trust ourselves. We are committed to all of it. We let our creativity explore all the possibilities, everyone’s idea is valuable, everyone’s opinion is considered. We use innovations to solve today’s problems and challenge those of tomorrow.
So… what’s now?
Having such a powerful, accurate, and genuine knowledge about ourselves, we decided that it needed to be shared with everyone, because we answered one of the toughest and most important questions many people can’t give an answer to – who we are, what are we doing and most importantly why are we doing it! Except for our moral compass, Transmetrics values will be a big part of our processes – recruiting new people, finding new customers, and expanding our company across borders.
Company culture is a fragile thing when you are in a high growth phase. Having too many new people at the same time can easily change a workplace so it’s even more important to actively use established values in the recruiting process. Cultivating good company culture and sharing the same values is powerful yet delicate, and can be one of the selling points in the fight for talent that a lot of software companies are experiencing. Promoting it on your media and your merchandise materials will also give valuable information to the people, who are seriously researching their next long-term professional goals, and at Transmetrics, we want to make sure that we can fulfill the promise of growth and similar values to people who are looking for that.
Establishing your goals, values, and company culture is just the beginning, once you have them, you should keep them top of mind for everyone. Time should be dedicated to acknowledge, consolidate and grow them over time and as the company changes. Every team-building activity should be proof they are not just some words you have on your website. They represent your team, therefore you should treat them as a living organism, which needs to be taken care of because after 2020 we more than ever know our health is the most important thing! This crisis holds many lessons for all of us and the need for human interaction and connection seems to be the most important value of all.