My previous blog post explained through examples how VALA’s values manifest themselves in our daily life. As a continuation, I’ll now give similar examples on how our company culture is embodied in our life at VALA.
All these topics and examples come together to create a sense of meaningfulness toward the work we do at VALA.
Low hierarchy, autonomy, personal responsibility and freedom have created an environment where people create and accomplish freely without external hindrances.
Example: While chatting away with various colleagues, Leena, one of VALA’s beloved Test Manager/Test Automation engineers, got the sense that there was something missing within VALA: she felt that many of her colleagues could do with more internal support and solidarity within the realms of handling aspects of test management in customer projects.
Therefore, Leena created “M-Hub Centre of Excellence” within VALA. After the community’s birth, the group meets regularly every 6 weeks for a few hours to workshop around a topic which is decided on together. The community shares knowledge, experience, support and tips with each other, and has given immense significance to its members.
Thanks to Leena’s self-directedness, a new and necessary community was built within VALA. All that it required was to simply encourage Leena’s innovativeness and match Leena’s self-determination with the required resources (in this case working hours and a space for the meetings). The new community does not only provide support to its members, but enhances our occupational expertise by utilizing shared knowledge and experience, which is essential to VALA’s business.
After the birth of M-hub, another community was built within VALA. VALA’s loved software engineer Tomi showed true self-directedness and formed a community around DevOps with the same structure and mission as M-hub. The DevOps CoE meets regularly to discuss, present, learn and tackle subjects regarding DevOps and both the technical and cultural realms around it.
B. Flexibility and healthy work/life balance
It can be difficult for us to turn off our brain from work-mode when our “official” work day ends. This is partly because our line of work is so information intensive, but also because modern technology enables us to be available 24/7.
Example 1: We have an encouraging policy towards holiday. Whenever someone feels they need a break from work or are in need of an adventure, they are highly encouraged to do so.
Example 2: VALA people are also not expected to answer their phones or open their Slack/email apps after they leave from work because being fully present with our loved ones should be top priority.
C. Fail fast and fail bravely
Failures are met with a healthy approach and mistakes are perceived as necessary learning experiences.
Example: There is simply not enough space in this blog post to share our top failures. Instead, take a comfortable seat and immerse yourself in pity and awkwardness towards us by reading our “Fuck-up” blog post, which cherishes mistake-making.
D. Comprehensive wellbeing
We at VALA don’t believe in occupational wellbeing as a separate measure in isolation from our overall wellbeing. We believe that our wellbeing is affected by everything happening in our lives both at work and outside of it.
Our Life Quality Management (LQM) program is built to offer support in comprehensive wellbeing in all aspects of life. For example our employee benefits are decided on based on this LQM program, with the objective that they support our Physical Wellbeing, Mental Energy and/or Professional Drive.
Example 1: VALA offers personal trainer services, sport benefits and collective training sessions to all VALA people.
Example 2: VALA arranges social time to spend with both colleagues, as loved ones at home. Colleagues can enjoy get-togethers such as Friday wine tastings, movie club events, office breakfasts and Boardgame nights. VALA people can spend time with loved ones at the VALA villa in South Spain or dancing to cheesy tunes at VALA’s epic Valloween or ValaVappu parties.
Example 3: VALA offers Alepa bikes to VALA people to get around town in a sustainable and healthy manner.
E. We are what we celebrate
When does the party bell ring at your office? Is it when the sales team manages to seal the deal on a new customer? Is it when your financial figures come in and you’ve reached your quarterly goal? Or is it perhaps when a new person is hired and joins your squad?
We believe that the topics of celebration tell a lot about company culture.
Example: We celebrate every time someone at VALA accomplishes something in their personal life. A Marimekko baby’s bodysuit is given to every household with a new addition to the family. A baby-shower is held to expecting fathers and mothers at the office. Graduations, birthdays and weddings are celebrated, and even the start of the weekend is often celebrated with cupcakes and sparkling.
Company culture is such an abstract and all-encompassing phenomenon, it’s almost impossible to describe simply in text. If you really want to understand what it’s like to work at VALA, check out our Culture page and come by our office for a chat.