Company culture as the foundation of what we do
There’s an argument to be made about startups’ workplace culture and most importantly, when a team should start thinking about it. The consensus these days is that startups should start working on their culture building once the team grows beyond the co-founders. It is vital to get new hires on the same page with regards to the company’s core values and principles, which can be done by involving them in the process from the get-go and showing them that their opinions are a valued part of the company’s framework. The end product is a living document of the company’s culture. It is continously evolving and developing in line with a startup’s desire for growth and innovation.
SafeSide is still in its beginning stages, being just over a year old and counting a combination of CHF 50 million in insured sums, and seven employees to its stats. Therefore, the time was just right to get the new hires and team on board in laying and shaping the company’s foundation for its culture and values.
There are many different approaches to achieving this, however the choice already forms part of the basis. Questions that frequently pop up, such as: What should the length and detail of such a document be? Should it be a long or short document? Should it highlight the key points or go into depth? When looking at how other successful companies have approached this question, it is easy to discern that there is no right or wrong answer. For example Netflix offers a 127-slide deck on its company culture, while Apple has 7 core values, which are attributed to its success. However, both have one thing in common, they view company culture as key in shaping their company over the years. It is by no means static, with the culture evolving, principles added and refined, and others replaced or deleted altogether, comapny culture is the glue that holds everything together. Netflix is one of the highest rated companies to work for, while Amazon keeps its startup spirit alive despite being a 500,000+ employee company with its leadership principles.
We decided to organise a workshop. It not only facilitated for an interesting discourse of ideas but also provided an opportunity for the team to finally meet in person, after numerous lockdowns and home office.
We discussed the importance of certain aspects within SafeSide and exchanged and evaluated our thoughts and opinions as a team. It was a highly rewarding experience, since it allowed each one of us to gain new insights and ponder upon new perspectives which were brought to life by each valued employee. We also spent time contemplating the company’s future and what dreams we would wish to realise in our organisation. Lastly, this was followed by some drinks and snacks. Since a lot of us have been working remotely, we believed this get-together would be the perfect opportunity to finally get to know each other on a personal level and in addition learn more about the company and how each one of us is relied upon in various ways when forming these ever-growing documents.
Despite the fact that both Michael and Georg are aligned on the company’s vision, it was imperative that all employees participate in the workshop and all voices would be heard. It’s a delicate balance between setting the company’s vision, yet building the company’s culture in such a way that its employees feel comfortable and included in what may be one of the most important undertakings - setting the company’s culture and thus foundation for its future development.
The main questions we asked ourselves were the following:
- What are our core values?
- How can we describe SafeSide with one sentence or a slogan to make an impact on our clients?
- Where do we see our company in 20-30 years?
The answers we found were at times instructive, guiding or inspirational. Let’s begin with our core values. Though the team has come up with a few, we focused on the top five, which are:
- Transparency - we believe in transparency across the board: at work, in our relationships with each other, as well as the relationship we hold to our customers. We aspire to bring more transparency to the otherwise complicated and inefficient life insurance marketplace.
- Diversity - we hire and serve anyone, regardless of their sex, race, sexual orientation, background and culture. We celebrate diversity by providing opportunities for growth and learning.
- Customer-centricity - our clients are in the center of everything we do. We continually talk to them, we keep them informed, we ask for their feedback and test different features with them. We seek to bring the best possible user experience to everyone.
- Innovation - as a startup, it’s our duty to continue to innovate, both in terms of products and services. We are committed to bringing the you the best possible customer journey from start to finish, in the easiest way to get protected at the lowest cost.
- Simplicity - pure life insurance is a fairly straight-forward financial product. We see no reason for it to be convoluted, which is far too often the case these days. Our customers are able to protect their beloved ones in a simple, efficient, fully digital way.
As the team continued to brainstorm, we discovered that there was strong alignment amongst our colleagues on how SafeSide should position itself to make an impact on our clients and the market as a whole. We want to make sure our clients feel that their beloved ones are protected once they take out a policy with us. We take action for all our clients and their loved ones and constantly prove ourselves in doing so, by always being up to date and giving them the best offer on the market.
With regards to where we see SafeSide in 20-30 years’ time, our colleagues' creativity knows no bounds. We want our clients to know that we will work tirelessly to become the most trusted pure life insurance platform, providing financial protection anytime, anywhere. SafeSide will continuously innovate not only to provide financial protection but also to assist our customers to increase their health span.
All in all, our culture workshop was a great success in establishing and developing SafeSide’s foundation and vision. We are proud of what we have accomplished so far with our young team and we look forward to providing more opportunities to young professionals and bright minds. By continuing to communicate and serve our customers the best possible user experience when it comes to financial products and life insurance.