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“If I need you to be a channel account manager, and I say ‘this is how you do it,’ chances are you’ll hate it,”

Fellow multinational corporation, Juniper, meanwhile, is even more grassroots – simply don’t hire someone who isn’t going to play nice with the team. “People with egos don’t survive here,” Iles said. “People don’t take things that seriously, and no one is allowed to have an ego, so that culture is a great leveller, and everyone here is on an equal footing.

“Culture is not negotiable. You don’t hire fantastically experienced people that don’t fi t the culture; you break the cultural fabric and you lose everything. Part of that is the position we’re in – we’re a challenger company so we like to hire people that are hungry and like to challenge and find ways to do things, not fi nd excuses to why they can’t do things.”

It’s perhaps that screening process that has allowed Juniper to further increase employee engagement by supply them with shares (after all, nothing fosters a strong work ethic than owning shares in a company with growth opportunities). However, the real reason the vendor belongs high on the List though, according to Iles, is the lengths the company goes to to communicate the corporate messaging down to the individual employees; a common challenge for multinationals.

“You’re always got that tussle as a global company, but we’ve got a lot better over the last 12 months with the downstreaming of corporate communication. We now have the communication coming in the right format at a rapid time, and it’s suitably high level too.”

Growing happily

As a company grows, it becomes more difficult to maintain the culture and entreprenual spirit that helped launch it.

TelcoInABox has grown rapidly over the years, and is now at 60 people and still recruiting heavily. It’s the only company in the telco space to make the Best Places to Work list.

“As you grow [maintaining the culture] does get more challenging,” TelcoIn-ABox CEO, Paul Line, said. “You just have to recruit with your values in mind.”

TelcoInABox has all the hallmarks of a young enterprise – the average age of the employees is relatively low, the internal company value statement (that the entire staff helped to construct) is heavy on the swears (#1 is “no bullshit”), and, somewhat unique for those on the Best Places to Work list, includes a recreational space with table tennis table and PlayStation 3.

For Line though, the best avenue for maintaining the small company atmosphere is to keep everyone very closely involved with important decisions that affect the whole company, and keep the community open.

“No one has an office here, even the HR people and the lawyer. My view is you don’t need an office all the time for those times you need to have a private conversation. If you need to have a private conversation, there are plenty of places you can go for that.

"I think the open plan in the office fosters an environment of open communications and transparency. Another simple example of building an environment where people care is, when we moved office, we formed a cross departmental team of eight people and told them to come up with a floor plan.

“Often when people move office, the MD will say ‘nice office here, I’ll have that nice bright corner seat there.’ Here I ended up with the worst seat in the office.”

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Tags brwmcafeejunipernick verykiosdistribution centralMark IlesJohn Francois

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