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Keeping up the company spirit

I believe that we, as leaders, have a big responsibility to keep up our company-spirits during these different times.

When push comes to shove is when the world turns upside down and we really have to prove ourselves to our employees. We have to show that we’re not only talk-the-talk, but that we also walk-the-talk. And it’s even harder when you don’t meet the people face-to-face. Everything that you do will be easier to interpret the wrong way, especially if most of the communication is in written words.

So, what can one do?

At TIQQE we’ve been working from home since 16th March. Now, almost seven weeks later there’s a new ”normal” at our company. In the offices we have – you’re not welcome if you have any flu-signs at all. We have a slack-channel where everyone that is planning to be in the office communicate with the others so that it becomes everyones free choice wether to be in the office or not. So being in the office is the one thing that you cannot do without regulations here at TIQQE.

Here is what we do. 

We’ve been practicing on conducting all our meetings on-line, and what we found is that with a few meeting-rules, it works as well, sometimes even better. We also learned the importance of having continuous communication. I would say that we are transparent in a normal world, but these days we’ve become better at it. Of course we have been forced to make tough decisions as well. We’ve cancelled sub-contractors in favor for our own employees, but we’ve been doing it with deep respect and love.

And with the joint intention to work together again once the world settles. I try to communicate with all employees in some way, pretty frequent. We still have our monthly meetings and me and Jacob show the truth, in numbers, and the actions we’re doing with words and slides. Every weekday we have an open online-channel, our lunch-hangout, where one can join from home and eat lunch and catch up with each-other. I don’t have the possibility to join every day, but I do it as often as I can and the discussions and talks are always energy-enriching. 

We have an eNPS system that we use, sending out questions every other week to all employees to see the temperature at TIQQE. And during these times, it was heartwarming and surprising that our numbers has gone up. So, to wrap this up. It’s not the big things that makes the difference, it’s the small things and what could be easier then to step up and walk-the-talk and be your word?

TIQQE eNPS January vs April compared to industry benchmark

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You say “off-shore”, we say multicultural. #part1

The traditional view of working with people that’s not in your time-zone, or that don’t fit in in your countries culture is that it’s not people. Rather FTE’s where you can send your bulk-work. Or not all work… because ”they don’t do anything if it’s not in the specification. And god forbid that you forget anything in that specification. Even if it’s chrystal clear that it should be done, it won’t if it’s not written down.”

We don’t look at it from that perspective. The big difference is that we work together with all our developers regardless of location.One of our core values is that ”we build everything in teams”. That puts some pressure on us solving our geographical distance, different time-zones and technical behavior.

It’s also of essence that we can manage to involve every one that is a part of a team so that the feeling is that it is borderless. We never ever communicate with Italy or Philippines just through specifications or managers, we communicate face-to-face (even if it’s digital) and developers to developers.

If we’re adding team-members to a team, the interviewer can be either here in Sweden or in the Philippines. When we contact customers, it can be from here in Sweden or from Italy. It really doesn’t matter. For us, people together with our joint technical expertise comes first. If we can build successful teams where not all members happens to live in Sweden. So be it.

What matters to us, is that we deliver the expected outcome and that we keep having people in the teams that are nice, support each other and help each other grow their technical and soft-skills knowledge. Now you might wonder how we solve it in our every-day life. Well, stay tuned and the answer will come.

To give you a short summery of TIQQEs cultural compote.  At TIQQE we are 27 people employed in Sweden from three nationalities. Swedish, Italian and Chinese.  We have part of our sales office in Florence – Italy and we have 21 developers working with us from Cebu – Philippines. We are roughly 33% women aiming for 50%.

#theTIQQEcode

Stop focusing on customers and employees!

In recent times we see a huge rise of companies stating that they are employee first or customer first company i.e. customer centric & employee centric, an organization which is out-side in and not inside out. I’m sure you have heard all of this before. But is this a recipe for success? In this blog I would like to challenge this and provide you with a different perspective.

Employees

In our companies’ employees are our most valuable assets, they are the ones who build services or products for our customers to consume. But are employees just employees or are they in-fact also people? I’m sure you will agree with me that all employees are also people who come from different backgrounds, have different opinions, different experiences, ideas, challenges etc. So why do we continue to talk about employee first, employee centric etc. Why not instead focus on the individual person instead and focus on their strengths and provide them with the best foundation for them to succeed? Because if we as an employer manage to make every person in the company seen, heard and engaged in the company’s mission – won’t success be the result?

Why aren’t I mentioning people’s weakness and how we should overcome them? Let’s go back to when you employed the new addition to your team, did you employ them because of their strengths or weaknesses? The answer is obvious, but does this mean we should never coach our people when something isn’t right? Of course not, however it’s about how we do it and for this to work there is one vital key ingredient which this person must have, and this is – to be humble and always have a willingness to develop. Then the person will be open to new ideas and other viewpoints than their own and that is when you will build a successful team with everyone bringing the best they have to the table.

Customers

Customers are so important and they help us to develop, they provide us with new areas to explore and of course they pay our bills and put our food on the table. Without our customers we wouldn’t have a company so you could easily argue that customers are very important for any company to succeed. But is it really the customers who make this happen or is it actually the people at the customer who enable this?

Employees are about the people and the same argument goes for customers, every interaction with our customers is with people. That’s why, as stated in the beginning of this blog, we need to focus on the people who we work with at customers. Focusing on understanding their challenges, what are keeping them up at night, what is required to make them successful and how we can help to enable this. Because if the people at customers are successful won’t that also result in the success of the customer?

TIQQE

At TIQQE we believe in people intimacy, we believe in focusing on the individual who ever you are, whether or not you are a customer, an employee or a partner. The main focus is how we enable success for you and in most cases, the people we meet are the people who can answer that question. How we get there? Let’s do that together.

We don’t come to you with a ready-made solution and thinking this will be the solution to your problem. We won’t turn to you as an employee thinking that we know where you are and what you want to achieve without hearing this from you. Together we can help you develop in the direction you desire.

Let’s focus on people intimacy!

As a child I was always told that a problem shared is a problem halved, so if you have a challenge facing you or looking for new employment where the focus is on you as an individual, then please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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It’s supposed to be scary

Imagine going to work everyday and doing the same task over and over, I reckon you would get pretty good at that task, I reckon you would feel confident in doing that task and if somebody asked you to perform that task you would feel no anxiety doing so. I also reckon that you wouldn’t grow much, you would definitely lose out on the adrenaline rush of doing something you haven’t attempted before and you certainly would not have as many interesting stories to tell at the next party you attend. Now if you think that is fine, if you’re content being in a bubble of affirmation that’s ok but spoiler alert… You’re missing out.

We should always challenge ourselves and others to step out of our comfort zone, it can be in simple tasks like talking to the new co-worker you’ve seen around the office or something bigger like making the effort to hold a knowledge sharing lunch about a topic you’re passionate about or even something colossal like taking the leap of faith to switch to serverless while everybody else is debating whether we really should use public cloud or not.

Regardless of the scale there are two things I think we should keep with us:

  1. In the process of doing something new we are evolving
  2. it is okay to fail

The first one is to motivate us through the process, by reminding us that despite the difficulties and despite the overwhelming feelings that we are becoming better by going through it. Even if in a worst case scenario you don’t develop any new skills and don’t learn anything you will still have built character by stepping out of normality — there’s just no lose case.

The second one is to make us build up courage to do something in the first place and to keep that courage after something we tried didn’t go quite as planned, because failing is a part of the process.


I must admit that as i’m writing this I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. This is the first blog post I’ve really ever written and it is scary, the thoughts running through my head are endless “will anybody even read this”, “who cares about this stuff”, “what if everybody hates it”. Regardless of this I felt that I had to do it (with some motivation from my colleagues and friends) and in the end I feel proud, I’ve gone from an idea to a three paragraph long text about something that interests me and in the process I’ve gotten to practice a bunch of skills and honestly even if no one reads this, I’m still happy that I took the time to sit down and put these word together. I hope that the next time an opportunity arises for you to step outside of your comfort zone that you think back to this post and give it a shot, I mean, the worst that can happen is that you evolve.


If something is hard or scary, do it often & improve the process until it’s not hard or scary any more.

#theTIQQEcode

Update from Christoffer

Follow our new colleague, Christoffer Pozeus, and his experience of joining TIQQE. Christoffer has documented his impressions of TIQQE as an employer in a series of vlogs – time for vlog #3.

Christoffer is passionate about technology and has been digging into the art of designing and building fault tolerant, self-healing, elastic and highly available systems on AWS for several years. He’s been working with some of the major automotive companies the past years and set up enterprise class architecture for autonomous driving initiatives.

In this vlog, Christoffer is just about to join the yearly kickoff with TIQQE at Loka Brunn and share his thoughts of the onboarding process so far.

Don’t miss his previous vlogs

vlog #1

vlog #2

vlog #3 – Christoffer is about to join the yearly kickoff at TIQQE

Thanks for sharing Christoffer!

#theTIQQEcode

Meet Rebecca from IHM Business School

We love people who wants to learn and challenge the present so when we got the opportunity to host Rebecca for her practice in her studies at IHM Business School, we grabbed it. Meet Rebecca, an ambitious young woman who wants to make a difference in the IT industry within sales and marketing.

Rebecca Kressner is a first year student at IHM Business School in Gothenburg. Rebecca is born and raised in Oslo and with main experiences from the retail industry but are now living in Gothenburg. She study sales and marketing and are looking forward to a professional life within the IT industry where she wants to make a difference. The industry needs more women and sales representatives who focuses on what’s best for the customer so we’re happy to inspire in any way we can.

We asked a number of questions to Rebecca.

What did you know about TIQQE before you started?

I knew TIQQE was an innovative company with values like always being nice.

Why did you want to join TIQQE?

I wanted to join TIQQE because I believe that it’s a company that is one step ahead and is helping the society to develop towards the future IT solutions. Also, because the company quote “Enable ideas, challenge the present, never stop learning and always be nice” really spoke to me and are company values that I want to be a part of.

What was your first impression of TIQQE the first week?

My first impression the first week at TIQQE was that the people working here are extremely passionate and have a great experience and knowledge of how to run a business, but still with a humble approach.

What is your role at TIQQE?

My role at TIQQE is as a Sales Intern. I attend my first year at IHM Business School in Gothenburg.

How has your fist time been at TIQQE?

My first time at TIQQE has been very educational and valuable, and of course very exiting to meet a lot of new talented people.

What are you looking forward to in the nearest future?

I am looking forward to learning even more, to put what I’ve learned into action. Also, to develop further within TIQQE.

What do you know about TIQQE now?

I know that TIQQE is a structured company with focused employees who have the customer’s best interest in mind. A company just in the beginning of its’ journey, TIQQE is the future!

Thanks for sharing Rebecca!

#theTIQQEcode

New vlog from Christoffer

Follow our new colleague, Christoffer Pozeus, and his experience of joining TIQQE. Christoffer has documented his impressions of TIQQE as an employer in a series of vlogs – time for vlog #2.

Christoffer is passionate about technology and has been digging into the art of designing and building fault tolerant, self-healing, elastic and highly available systems on AWS for several years. He’s been working with some of the major automotive companies the past years and set up enterprise class architecture for autonomous driving initiatives.

In the last vlog, Christoffer shared his thinking before meeting everyone at TIQQE’s yearly christmas party. In this episode, he will reveal how he felt afterwards.

vlog #1

Thanks for sharing Christoffer!

vlog #2 – Christoffer shares his thoughts after meeting everyone the first time
#theTIQQEcode

#theTIQQEcode

Why #theTIQQEcode one might ask. Well. Over the years I’ve been employed by various companies, small ones and gigantic ones and everything in-between. Every employer have had catch-phrases or company values, preferably written on the walls, and most of the times the employees had no personal connection to it or even thought about ”what does that mean for me?”

I joined TIQQE because I have the persuasion that we actually can accomplish what a few companies have, and that is to make sure that everyone that work at, with or for TIQQE understand our values and goals and sign up for them. I also strongly believe that our Code will let us minimize staff turnover and help us grow in an organic and healthy way, both internally with employees and externally with customers and partners. 

There’s of course a lot of things behind our Code. Amongst other things we did a workshop with all personell where management had no say in the matter, we just facilitated the workshop, and the main goal was to come up with ”How can we reach our goal where no employee, or customer, take the decision to leave TIQQE?”. All things coming out of that workshop are now reformed into actions and will be followed up on during this whole year. Next year we’ll do it all over again, and the fact that we plan to reevaluate each year is because we grow and we believe that we will keep on doing so in some way.

Once new people joins a group the dynamic shifts, it’s inevitable. So when we have our yearly kick-off next year there will be other answers to the question.What will remain untouched every year going forward is the foundation for the code – People first, regardless if it concerns employees, customers, partners or other humans that surronds TIQQE.

I don’t think that #theTIQQEcode means exactly the same for everyone here at TIQQE, but I’m certain that everyone believe in it. And it’s not that important is it? Whatever you personally interpret into the Code is what’s important because that is what makes it matters for you. #theTIQQEcode for me is a number of things but the three most important (for me) is: 
1. Encourage people to grow – and the business will follow
2. Let people be who and how they are – and the people will stay
3. See people where they are – in every part of life we have struggles and successes. When there’s struggle we must see each other even more, and when there’s success we must acknowledge it.

Follow #theTIQQEcode at LinkedIn