I approached Eric to write a blog post about keeping employees satisfied in a startup environment. I thought it’d be an interesting topic as startups often stray from the path of tradition and have to work with limited resources. Instead of Eric writing the post he thought it would be a better idea for me to take the reins and talk about my experience and what keeps me coming into Pikimal day-after-day. So here goes.
Coming from a more traditional work environment (i.e. not a startup) I’m used to dress codes, a proper HR department, quarterly financial meeting, and dealing with a task force dedicated to improving morale and happiness of employees. You could argue that once you have a group of people dedicated to making people happy the happiness boat has already sailed. In the few months that I’ve been at Pikimal I’ve noticed a genuine excitement in my co-workers. No one gathers around the water cooler complaining that the current day isn’t Friday, and people don’t hide in the bathroom or leave work early hoping to escape a trivial amount of responsibilities. Meetings often take weird turns where ideas and thoughts flow freely and everyone is eager to help another. So, where does a work environment like this stem from?
Since I started I was given little direction or parameters. I was hired to help with marketing and communicate how great Pikimal is as a decision tool. Having no strict guidance meant that success and failure were defined by my actions. Knowing I held my fate in my hands I felt personally invested. Having ownership over your work and the freedom to explore solutions and solve problems has the pleasurable side effect of enthusiasm.
It also helps that the staff has the freedom to experiment and explore ideas. We’re encouraged to venture down new avenues of innovation, and if it ends up in a dead end, hey, at least we learned something. That freedom is partly where the Pikimal Newsletter came from (which you can subscribe to this very instant).
At Pikimal we’re working on creating disruptive technology. Traditionally, the market adapts as entrepreneurs come forward. Internally we’re encouraged to act in a similar manner. One great example is onText. That’s something one of our programmers, Michael Hoffman, thought would be useful and then went on to develop after the opportunity to work in the Pikimal codebase. I’m over simplifying this, but onText wasn’t something that was in Michael’s job description, it was born out of wanting to make Pikimal a better experience. I think a lot of the work and content we produce comes from the freedom to explore a new frontier. That may also explain why our dev staff has such an untraditional and eclectic background.
Creating a solid work environment means treating employees like humans. Mistakes aren’t met with scorn, flexibility is welcome, and there’s a foundation of trust. It seems almost too simple, but just letting employees blaze their own trail seems to be working out at Pikimal.
So that’s an inside look into the HR culture (or lack thereof) of Pikimal. Questions? Comments? Leave a message in the space below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!