The role of agility and corporate culture

Below is a joint article written by Sanata Chargazia (photo left), Head of HR, and Elena Mihajloska (photo right), Head of Marketing, at Singular.

The coronavirus pandemic has completely reshaped the nature of work, and obviously it has had a huge impact on internal and external business processes. Of all the upheavals that the pandemic has created, businesses and teams have been especially affected by the deprivation of social ties and the lack of face-to-face communication. At times like these, a word we use very lightly, corporate culture, has played a key role in meeting the challenges and dealing with the indirect effects of the pandemic.

Singular’s organizational culture has always been based on active communication and transparency, which has been put to the test by working remotely. An open and friendly environment where employees have always been able to express their opinions has always been the main trigger for Singular’s innovative and creative mindset.

Notably, it didn’t take us long to realize that this was not just a temporary change in the working environment, but a drastic change in the business process, and it was becoming a new normal.

The past 12+ months have highlighted the two aspects that make up Singular’s corporate culture. These, relevant at all times, have become crucial in unprecedented times.

AGILE BEYOND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

Since its inception, Singular has been a technology and innovation driven software company. Agile development processes have always been an integral part of our corporate culture and the way we work. Nonetheless, the past year has put everyone to the test.

How nimble are we when the unexpected happens?

The fact that Singular has had less bureaucratic business processes and an agile framework for years now has given us the opportunity for a low-key and less painful transition to a new forged work environment. A decentralized decision-making process and a flat organizational structure ensured quick and efficient actions that kept the quality of our products at its best and tailored the process to the customer’s needs.

COMMUNICATION WITH A GOAL

From what we have seen, there could not have been excessive communication during this period. We have made all possible and relevant channels accessible to all employees – for intensive formal and informal communication. But we did our best not to translate the communication into one-off messages and conference calls all day.

In order to maintain the productivity and motivation of the teams, and therefore the quality of the products and services, we have used a number of communication platforms: Slack for conversations by topic and quick responses, Confluence as a centralized hub for extensive documentation , Google Meets and Zoom for video calls for meetings, Skype for communication with external stakeholders.

These were tools that we were using long before the pandemic and that were nothing new. The real difference was the purpose for which we were using these tools.

Organizing online events such as town halls or question-and-answer sessions in a systematic way made employees feel part of a community with common goals and vision. Everyone had the chance to ask questions, participate in the decision-making process and share their point of view. Additionally, it contributed to a better understanding of long-term goals, drew attention to challenges each member might face, and acted proactively.

LATEST THOUGHTS

It may seem surprising, but when managing effectively and using all the tools at its disposal, even during pandemics and remote working, organizational culture and employee morale will not suffer. Today, our employees have more effective communication and information than ever before; they are receiving more feedback than ever before, and we have ensured transparency, employee engagement and openness more than ever.

The main lesson learned is that flexible organizational processes, decentralized management and open communication are the key factors to maintain efficiency and quality during dramatic changes. In this way, motivation remains high, bottlenecks eliminated, clarity guaranteed. All of this translates into fast and quality delivery of products and services.