As a marketer fresh into a new role, you often have to trust the word of leadership and existing marketing messaging to determine what makes the business unique.
But just how much can you trust?
That was me when I recently returned home from the UK and joined Sandfield, a custom software development company which has grown the business into a success from the ground up. It employs over 100 developers plus a full support team.
Whilst I could already tell from Sandfield’s impressive lineup of customers and solutions that it was obviously doing something right, it wasn’t until I got involved in a people project that I realised the true impact its culture has on its customers and, ultimately, its own success.
Let me explain...
A key part of the project was to capture the essence of what makes Sandfield a great place to work and then develop an external marketing campaign to help attract good quality talent.
So I put on my ‘HR hat’ and went about interviewing a range of team members - from solution managers who have been here 15+ years, developers who have climbed the ranks through our grad program to new hires and interns.
What I learnt along the way was fascinating. Here's just some of my findings based on feedback from the team:
“There’s a lot of trust put in us, which is really cool as it allows me to build my technical confidence and knowledge. ”
- Buster Darragh-Major, Solution Developer
The theme of ‘trust’ was raised a lot. Sandfield has no problem with throwing young, or new, people in the deep end and also take ownership of the solutions they are working on.
Yes, they may make mistakes but giving everyone autonomy to get on with the job builds confidence in themselves, delivers projects faster and allows for innovative thinking to be applied to the work they’re doing for customers.
As Steve Jobs once said “It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
“It's been great for my growth. The role you start in isn’t necessarily the path you stay on at Sandfield. There is nobody saying no, you are given lots of career opportunities.”
- Nikhil Prasad, Senior Solution Developer
You're not put into a box here. Sandfield actively encourages people to take on new responsibilities or move roles. This not only keeps them motivated, but ensures the absolute best use of everyone’s skill sets, even if they were not originally hired for that purpose. This flexibility and support has helped create an unusually high retention rate for a development company - the average length people stay is over five years.
“The mentorships have been really good. We have some really senior guys who have worked on big systems and have had a lot of different experiences with clients which have been really useful for me.”
- Will Harding, Solution Manager
At Sandfield, we often talk about our ability to problem solve using our wealth of industry experience. The only way you can claim that is by keeping the people who have done it.
Afterall, they know the pitfalls, how to avoid common mistakes, communicate effectively and understand the nuances of our customers’ businesses.
The beauty of Sandfield’s culture is everyone is so keen to pass those learnings and experience on. Everyone, from graduates to senior developers, have a support network of intelligent, nurturing people they can lean on.
“From early on, my opinion and input mattered and that makes for more collaborative problem solving for our customers. Everyone is happy and feels respected here, people are sharing and learning. Which means there is so much room for innovation”
- Joseph Tu, Senior Solution Developer
I think this one speaks for itself! Collaboration and teamwork have been baked into Sandfield’s culture from day one, with everyone understanding that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’.
My top 3 takeaways from this experience:
- Trusting in your team to get on with the job translates directly into trust from customers and more innovative thinking.
- If you care about your people and create a great working environment where they have the opportunity to grow and learn, they will stick around. This also helps maintain strong relationships with customers and deliver quality solutions.
- Authentic mentorship and support pays off in a big way as it keeps the circle of knowledge-sharing alive and creates a collaborative team culture.
So next time you are pondering what makes your business unique, ask your team members and see if their answers can shine a light on some of your own ‘secret sauce’.