Only one year old, they've grown from 4 to thirty something staff, both here in Gothenburg, down south and in Sri Lanka, developing apps and sites for a mobile world. I met one of their staff members a couple of months ago and had the opportunity to talk to their CEO, Björn Flintberg, about the challenges within HR and CSR that a modern, fast growing company faces.
The reason we got in touch was the fact that nindev invest in Kiva for every invoice they send, making the world a little better for every new customer, and even better for returning or large customers. And, as Björn pointed out, it's a no brainer for the board, as the money never leaves the balance sheet… The company has bigger plans, particularly in their remote location in Sri Lanka to build "blue houses", annexes to hospitals to treat the many psychological injuries that years of civil war have left behind in Sri Lanka. And there is more, all built into the corporate culture of the company. One of the words that Björn returns to, again and again, is "commitment", and I couldn't agree with him more. You need a little skin in the game in order for people to really get engaged and it isn't always easy for a company owner to transfer hir engagement to hir staff, commitment, longevity and engagement certainly help.
|nindev CEO, Björn Flintberg|
Björn explained the four pillars of his corporate culture, taken from the Japanese ninja culture (hence the company name):
- Collaboration (sometimes referred to as "there is no I in team")
- Everyone is a hero (let's celebrate every individual's specific contribution to our success)
- No one is special (no one is better than anyone else, just because you have specific skills)
- Victory is the aim of the battle ("it doesn't make sense to stay behind and die for "honor or glory")
Different companies are governed by different values and this may be one of the more unique value statements I've read, but that is what makes nindev so special, and fast growing.
They certainly seem to be on top of their CSR work, but what about other strategic HR issues? Well, there certainly are challenges, particularly for fast growing companies. There comes a time when you need the help of specialists to avoid making time consuming and expensive mistakes in your co-operation with labor unions and labor law in general. This is often something that start-ups miss and I reminded Björn to get help in time, sharing a few pointers and tips from my own network.
The biggest challenge within the area of HR moving forward is their employer brand, being attractive enough as an employer to attract the right people, to be able to find good staff at the right time. Small companies usually don't think about their Employer Brand and small companies often have a relatively weak brand in general. Björn and nindev are of course conscious of this and they have a plan to build a strong brand over time. Say what you wish, but companies like nindev needn't be famous in the general public, but they need to be a shining star within their specific industry, among the people who might consider working for them. That is what branding and employer branding are all about. Given that the company is only one year old, this might take a few more years.
|nindev works in the area of "mobile solutions", e.g. iOS.|
Problem is that they need people NOW, both project management capability and drupal programmers. There are of course ways to work to improve your standing in that specific group of people, but that is a discussion I will have with Björn one to one. However, should you know someone who's looking for work and fits the description, let hir know about the opportunities at nindev. Further information is available on their website.
All in all, an exciting company that is well on track for success. If I allow myself a look into that crystal ball, I think the challenges for nindev (from our vantage point) lie in a successful future when the company passes a threshold when unison decisions no longer work, when Björn no longer is able to assume manager responsibility for all team members but needs to hire/appoint people managers and thus create a management team, when the HR function becomes a full time job, when nindev becomes a company with a life of its own. That could be a few years from now, maybe sooner, maybe never. I'm sure that nindev will master that challenge.