Company Culture in a Diverse Office

The Birth and Nurturing of the MyQ Corporate Culture

A company’s culture goes far beyond concise mission statements or catchy corporate jingles. Those two aspects are part of it, but there are other elements at play which make up a company’s cultural identity.

Company culture is an integral concept which connects every department in an office and is recognized by the public. It is the personality of a company and includes a variety of characteristics such as environment, values, ethics, expectations, and goals. When a strong foundation of company culture has been laid, it makes the hiring process and navigation of a company smoother.

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Team MyQ during their monthly features demo.

With headquarters in Prague, CZ, MyQ is in the perfect location for an IT startup. The Czech Republic is known as the heart of Europe, and from this locality, MyQ has hired diverse employees from all over Europe and the rest of the globe. The MyQ team — not including the employees from their subsidiary branches in the USA, the UK, France, Austria, Germany, and Russia — is currently made up of 22 nationalities.

Where did MyQ’s company culture start? Like most companies, it started with a founder, current CEO Martin Janus. “Martin and his partners started hiring people with an entrepreneurial mindset,” Petra Slukova, Chief Human Resources Officer said. “That means they own their work. It is crucial for a good startup to have people you can rely on.”

MyQ started with a handful of Czechs before it blossomed into the internationally staffed startup that it is today. Building upon an open and tolerant culture is what led to a diverse office full of hardworking and independent employees. “They have an inner-discipline,” Slukova said. “From the management side, the culture isn’t set up to where you are being constantly monitored.”

MyQ has been in operation for over ten years now and its culture is maintained by hiring employees who have similar goals, aspirations, and who want to make the company better. “It feels like a family here, and keeping that feeling is a big challenge for the future since we are growing all the time,” Slukova said. The management at MyQ, however, draws upon the strengths of their employees to achieve their objectives and have mastered the ability to work within the boundaries of the culture they established long ago.

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MyQ CEO Martin Janus (left) celebrating his birthday at the office.

Company culture isn’t just about what the employees do from the inside; it’s also something that can been from the public’s point of view. Take Google, for example; it’s no fluke why they’ve been awarded as the “best employer” and having “best company culture” over the years. The employee benefits, ranging from an expansive Silicon Valley campus and gourmet food to a dog-friendly workplace and onsite doctors, greatly factor into the employees’ productiveness and happiness. The culture that Google has put in place makes it a company where most IT people — or an employee from any field — would want to work. When done correctly, company culture should be ranked equally with any other benefits a company has to offer.

Even though MyQ has similar benefits — dog-friendly workplace, endless snacks and coffee, meal vouchers, and fitness cards — their work culture isn’t as famous as Google’s — yet. If you were to visit MyQ, however, its company culture is something that would be immediately recognizable. “Candidates tell us that they feel welcome here, that the people are friendly,” Slukova said. “It’s something they can feel; they can soak it up.”

The stereotype with some companies is that the senior-level employees feel they are better than everyone else. This type of thinking tends to divide companies into groups and puts a strain on how employees interact with one another. MyQ does it differently. “We are one team with a common goal and taking the exact steps to reach it,” Slukova said.

MyQ has a casual work environment, but the teams are all business. Their team-based culture can be seen across all departments. It makes cooperation with one another easier because they have shared values, beliefs, and practices.

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MyQ Developers during their bi-weekly meeting-of-the-minds at the Cave.

How a company sets up its culture dictates the hiring process and affects the company and its employees. “From the beginning you can easily filter out the people who don’t align with the culture,” Slukova said. “We don’t want to hire people who will just use MyQ as a transfer station.” Having a small team (fewer than 60 people at Prague HQ) allows MyQ to make decisions and communicate company-wide issues efficiently.

Another advantage of being a smaller, openminded startup is that ideas come freely from anyone. Your “status” and title don’t dictate how good your ideas are. “If someone has a better idea, embrace it,” Slukova said. “Be happy that your employees have their own ideas.” MyQ’s management is receptive and they aren’t holed up in the offices all day, away from everyone.

With its core values, beliefs, and company goals set in place, MyQ has been able to steadily grow over the last ten years from a Czech-based IT startup, to an international company at the top of the print solutions field. Even though it doesn’t have the same number of employees or work campus size as a Google or Facebook, the company culture that has been established at MyQ makes it a unicorn company at heart.

Originally published at medium.com on May 9, 2018.

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