Our values in action: Part One
June 14, 2021 / Startup
At Kalido, our values are central to the vision of our business and the way we work. That’s why our recruitment process includes a values interview: it’s crucial that everyone on Team Kalido shares our values and can readily put them into action. This approach has built a team that, despite including a wide range of personalities and backgrounds, all pull together for the same goals, treating each other with respect and valuing what’s really important to Kalido as a business and a workplace.
So what does it mean to put our values into practice? In this series, we explore what each of our values means to members of Team Kalido, and how they can be interpreted in day-to-day working life to create a culture where everyone wants to take part.
Inclusion: different perspectives are our magic ingredient
Inclusion in terms of diversity is really important at Kalido. We have a diverse workforce based across several continents. And we’ve nearly achieved a 50:50 gender split. But the inclusion of the individual is also vital.
Amy, Head of Design & Frontend, found that the pandemic produced a great example of the importance of inclusion. “It’s something that’s been universally experienced, but in different ways by different people. Running a team at Kalido, I realised that it was so important to be aware of everyone’s time, and how differently each region where my colleagues are based are being affected by the pandemic at various times. It’s been essential to be flexible and willing to adapt to everyone’s needs during this unprecedented situation.”
Martyna, Head of People, says that inclusion on a team isn’t just about taking time zones into account:
“Consideration of personality types and cultural differences is very important. Some people might not feel able to speak candidly or give constructive feedback because they’re from a culture where being outspoken isn’t encouraged, or they have a quieter, less forthright personality and it doesn’t come as naturally as it does to others. Trying out different types of communication and looking for ways to make them comfortable enough to say what they’re really thinking, or to make their point, is vital.”
Amy agrees that some people are less comfortable speaking in meetings than others, but have valuable opinions and points to make that shouldn’t be hidden away. She tries to counter this by finding different mechanisms that can help individual team members to feel comfortable speaking up. “There was an instance where a member of my team was finding it tough to speak up when one of the co-founders would talk a lot during meetings, and she felt overwhelmed by it. We talked about how she could channel this frustration and let him know she was feeling overwhelmed at the same time. She did this in a way that used her creative talent by creating a red card with the co-founder’s face on it that she could hold up if he was talking too much! Our co-founder was totally onboard and good-humoured about this leftfield solution and it turned the situation from one of frustration to helping my teammate find a voice.”
For Raul, Head of Machine Learning, weekly touch points during sprint planning with his team to discuss everyone’s current work and progress, and any issues they’re facing, helps to make sure everyone feels that they, and their work, are included. More informal, but equally important, is the weekly team catch up coffee where all sorts of random chat is encouraged, about work, social lives and the latest ML developments – with the goal of making sure the team has a regular opportunity to talk to each other like humans, not colleagues.
Keeping your teammates up-to-date on developments and a non-hierarchical approach to meeting attendance promotes inclusion too. Amy says: “I’ve been lucky to have some great people on my team in my first role as a Head of Design. I’ve realised, though, that I need to do more to bring teammates into client conversations, that including them in those types of meetings gives them really useful context for their roles. Even if a junior colleague can’t contribute actively in those meetings, it’s still a brilliant learning opportunity that benefits everyone on the team.”
Diversity + individual inclusion + chances to share thoughts + invitations + creative solutions to help people find a voice = brilliant learning opportunities + sharing perspectives