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What Makes a Great Company Culture?

Marketing Lead

Let’s have a look back at the last few years. Like most companies, we have also dealt with some ups and downs - from changing our management and having some people choosing different career paths, to growing our team to almost 50 people, and working on big projects with even bigger clients. Not to mention a pandemic that came knocking on all of our doors in 2020 and influenced our private and business lives in unimaginable ways.

A lot has changed for sure, but to be completely honest, we entered 2021 with some of the best results yet. And with the most satisfied employees - we’re not just saying that, we have proof! At the end of 2020, we received our second Best employer award given in the annual employee satisfaction survey by "MojPosao". Receiving this award means a lot, especially since a majority of things changed over the last couple of years, with quarantine especially. But seeing that our team still recognizes and appreciates all of our work, our colleagues, and our culture, keeps us going. 

picture of employer award

Despite reaching a high level of satisfied employees and growing our team by almost a half in the last few years, retaining talent is still something everyone talks about and struggles with. Especially when it comes to the tech industry. Whenever you scroll through your LinkedIn page or attend an HR conference, there are two terms closely related to retaining talent that you will most definitely encounter - employer branding and company culture. What’s it all about?

So, what is company culture?

For us, it’s all about working in a safe environment, being open, and having the ability to speak your mind, express your doubts, suggest something different, or try something new. That’s why we always encourage people to be as transparent as possible: 

  • People at COBE are both chill and professional. I think that’s what makes our company special. I was asked to single out the greatest day at work, but how can I do that when every day, for the past year that I work here, something interesting happens and every day I meet new challenges. But the thing I can single out, and the thing I’m proud of, is the teamwork we all put in every single day, which brings us some great business results, says Goran, Lead Android Developer.  

Other than that, company culture means valuing and respecting your colleagues, celebrating your team’s success, and never undermining each other:

  • The main reason why COBE is so great are definitely the people. It sounds shabby, but it's true. Although we are all completely different individuals, we are motivated by similar things. Just about everyone is team-oriented, ready to help out when needed but also contribute to an always great office atmosphere, says Monika, Lead UX Designer.
two woman looking at a screen on their workplace

Let’s talk about benefits baby

Company culture is not having bananas, a ping pong table, or three free meals a day at the office. And that’s what confuses people. Why am I mentioning bananas all of sudden? It’s not that I don’t like them, actually, I’m a big fan 🍌, but in the world of employer branding, bananas were probably the most mentioned fruit for the last few years. Almost every other job ad lists fresh fruit and a ping pong table under company benefits. If fresh fruit is the biggest benefit you can offer in your job ad, with respect, don’t be mad when no one applies for it. Having fresh fruit or chocolate in your office is great, but you know what’s even greater? Being respected by your management and the people you’re surrounded by, having the opportunity to educate yourself, a work-life balance, and being able to laugh with your colleagues. And that’s the main difference between thinking you have great company culture and actually having it:

  • In order to come to work with a smile on your face, two things must coincide: you have to love the work you do and you have to be surrounded by good people. When those two things do coincide, you’re surprised at how quickly five years at the same company have passed. Your company is only as extraordinary as your people. For the last seven years, I have witnessed how much a small business can change and the only thing I can hope for is we don’t lose this feeling we have along the way, says Mladen, our CTO.

So let’s redefine company culture once and for all in 2021. And I’m not only talking to recruiters now, I’m also talking to each and every one of you, because contrary to what some may think, company culture isn’t the job of an HR manager. It’s a product of common effort. From the management, all the way to developers, designers, and project managers. 

99 problems but company culture ain’t one

So, how can you know for sure that your company culture is great then? 

Most of the time you can’t, but our main tip is to talk. Talk to your employees and your colleagues, but not on a six-month basis; try to sit with them at least once a month and ask for their feedback, find out if something is bothering them, and listen to what they have to say. Other than that, motivate them - motivate your team towards success. Let them thrive. It’s a win-win situation. Happy employees, happy clients. No? :) 

*This article was originally published in January 2020 and updated in May 2021 for accuracy.

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About the author

Katarina is the Marketing Lead at COBE. She loves creating content, showing her creativity, and bringing new ideas to life. In her free time, she's either reading, watching The Office, or learning the art of kickboxing.


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