“Culture is the way we do things around here.”– Terry Deal and Allen Kennedy
This above quote, by organizational consultants Terry Deal and Allen Kennedy, hails from the 1980s and describes the untouchable, almost undefinable way some organizations go about ‘doing things.’ However, unspoken rules and invisible bonds are not always a sufficient explanation for how culture works in a company environment.
Culture influences the way we think, the way we act, and in general, the ways in which we perceive the world around us. In the spirit of World Cultural Diversity Day, we thought we’d reflect on what cultural diversity means to us here at Storyteq and how it influences the way we “do things around here.”
Employees in a flat, open hierarchy work environment are 3.5 times more likely to contribute to conversations surrounding innovation, confirms an article by the Harvard Business Review. The same article also states that companies that give diverse voices an equal platform are almost twice as likely to “value-driving insights.”
But including diverse voices in a conversation can be easier said than done. While we have always strived to be inclusive, to hold ourselves accountable, at the end of 2020 our CEO Lennard Kooy signed the diversity charter, a document that pledges that Storyteq will strive to become more diverse in terms of gender, culture, race, or nationality. In fact, out of the last five people we hired, four of them were women.
Simply put, we think that passing up on creating a culturally diverse and accepting environment is too great an opportunity to miss. So much so that creating an environment where all cultures can flourish is also in line with our core values.
Cultural Diversity and our Core values
We respect and support the individual. Everybody has an equal voice, and we encourage people to be bold and use it.
Regardless of cultural background, since our founding days back in 2016, when there were only 6 people and 1 nationality (Dutch), we had a vision for our company culture to have a flat hierarchy and to value everyone equally.
This core value naturally translates into respecting and encouraging the voices of others regardless of race, gender, or cultural background.
“Because of the diversity here you are more open to talking to people because you know everybody is from different backgrounds, so you’re not afraid of being the odd one out or the only person from a different country or culture. This also keeps you curious. It is nice to have several different perspectives, opinions or experiences, instead of just one similar mindset.”
– WengMee Tang, Video Automation Developer, Dutch/Aruban.
To WengMee, being bold is about staying curious and open, a core quality that we see in many of our colleagues.
Great minds don’t always think alike, but that’s something to take advantage of. Being from a variety of cultural backgrounds, we have all developed unique ways of thinking and processing things.
It also helps us recognize our shortcomings and allows us to adapt, quickly.
“It’s great to have a mix of nationalities on our team because sometimes I am so biased to my own language use that I forget that the phrases I write may not translate or be understood by non-Irish people. Once our Marketing Director, Alvaro, didn’t know a ‘boogie’ was another word for a dance, so it made me change my copy to ensure it’s more universally understood.”
– Jenni D’Alton, Content Marketing Writer and Producer, Irish.
To Jenni, moving fast is about staying ahead of the curve and anticipating what content will land best for our clients.
We are built on connections. Having a multicultural working environment brings us closer by celebrating our differences. In fact, just recently we celebrated Romanian Easter with our four Romanian team members, Bogdan, Stefan, Patrick, and Alex. They brought in typical Romanian foods, including a bread called cozonac and some yummy potato chip snacks named pufuleti. Bogdan insisted that pufuleti are a good match with a beer!
Building and strengthening these connections within the office is important, but it also emanates beyond: to the relationships with our clients.
“From a professional perspective, the fact that each of us was “schooled” in a different business environment / culture offers me an angle that I wasn’t aware of before so that I can be better prepared in my interactions with both colleagues and clients.”
– Bogdan Mogosanu, Partnership Manager, Romanian.
For Bogdan, staying familiar is about using our differences to better understand our clients around the globe.
With our platform users being from a range of cultures, we can better understand their pain points, perspectives, and generally approach them from a more understanding and empathetic perspective.
Currently there are 22 nationalities (and counting) that make up our Storyteq family. These nationalities range from North America, through Nigeria, to Japan; from all corners of the world.
This serves us right, as we are just preparing to visit Lisbon for our latest team-building retreat and having colleagues that have worked there for years means we had immediate recommendations for bars, restaurants, and activities in the area.
Sounds like something you’d want to join in on next time?
Join the team
As we have been rapidly growing our teams, we currently have multiple job openings in our Sales, Product Development, and Managed Services departments.
If you want to work in a tight-knit company that recognizes individuality while encouraging teamwork then we might just be the place for you.
And if you want to take a deeper look into our company culture, check out our blog about the yearly company outing.