How getting together in person helps us cement our North Star vision
Twice a year, our disparate band of Daemonites assembles for a meeting of the minds. Daemon Days are always a highlight of our year, and this recent one was no exception. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people, and seeing everyone together put us all in a positive frame of mind for the next 6 months of Daemon life.
Daemon Days are great fun, but also play an important role in our company culture. By bringing people together, we can maintain a sense of cohesion in a decentralised industry. Not only does this make us stronger as a team, but it helps us to unite around a shared set of goals. Here’s a look back at our most recent event, and why it’s got us excited for the future.
A chance to reconnect
Remote work is a double edged sword. Being able to bring together the best talent in the world is a huge advantage, but how do you make people feel like colleagues when they’re separated by oceans and time zones?
We were mindful of this problem long before the pandemic. Our business has always been client-based so, even before remote working became the norm, team members were often isolated within their own projects. We started Daemon Day in 2015 as a way to remedy this. Our COO, Jane Lockwood, explains the thinking behind the event:
“The founders were keen to encourage social interaction that went beyond sharing content. Seeing each other face to face forges a connection, and this is so important for a remote workforce. The event has snowballed over the years, but the original goal is still the same- to see and have fun with your friends (and to hug them in my case!)”
Moving as one
We often talk about the North Star vision in relation to a particular project. This is the overarching aim that we agree on with the client. It could be anything from reducing costs to speeding up the customer journey; Whatever we decide, every subsequent decision will be made with this aim in mind.
But North Stars aren’t just for client projects. We want our own team to be united in the same way, and this means setting clear goals at regular intervals. Daemon Days are the perfect opportunity to do this, and to talk in depth about what these goals mean. Sharing ideas over a camera has its place, but if you really want to galvanise people, there’s no substitute for a face-to-face discussion. Daemon CCO, Kyle Hauptfleisch, explains why:
“In business, there’s always tension between centralised and decentralised models. McDonald’s is very centralised, whereas a Michelin star restaurant is very decentralised. We believe in a healthy mixture of the two. You need shared values across the board, but you also need the equivalent of Michelin star chefs to work their magic. In our case, this means giving the best technologists the freedom to make decisions on the ground. This is where a clear vision is essential. If everyone is pulling in the same direction, individuals can be trusted to work autonomously.”
A five-star future
Our North Star ambitions are a varied bunch. We don’t just want to focus on financial metrics. We want to map out a course for every part of our business. This means setting targets in five key areas:
- Our people
- Our culture
- Our clients
- Our impact
- Our growth
For the sake of simplicity, we have set a clear definition of what each one means and applied a single metric to measure our success for each ambition.
- People- Our goal is to be the employer of choice for those working in our industry. We want to attract the best talent from around the world, and to retain it for as long as possible. The best people want to work with the best people so, if we can create an environment that is conducive to creativity, the talent should flow naturally in our direction.
- Culture- We don’t just want to be a good place to work. We want to be an amazing place to work. Our aim is to create the kind of culture that turns every employee into an ambassador. We want to be famous for our culture, acting as a model of how to get the work-life balance right in tech.
- Clients- Our aim is to be client-centric in everything we do. This means viewing every client interaction as a chance to forge a long-term partnership. We want to be seen as a trusted advisor, and we want our clients to feel proud of the work we do together. We’re not interested in offering cookie-cutter advice. We take the time to understand our clients as individuals so that we can tailor our solutions to their specific needs.
- Impact- We’re not content to just say the right things. We want to have a measurable positive effect on society. We’re committed to assessing the wider impact of every project, and to adjusting its course if we need to to support this ambition. We also want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to ESG. For example, we’re committed to reducing our environmental impact, supporting charities that make a real difference and doing everything we can to get more women into tech.
- Growth- We believe that a business shouldn’t have to choose between making a difference and turning a profit. We want to be lean and efficient in every area, both internally and in our work with clients. We want to focus on scalability, ensuring that our services can grow with us to generate more value in the future.
These aims are designed to be symbiotic, combining to create a company culture that is successful, welcoming and forward-thinking. We want to be the best we can be in the present, while also laying the groundwork to be even better in the future. By putting cultural targets on a par with financial goals, we believe we can strike the perfect balance.
On track for success
In these uncertain times, a clear vision is more important than ever. Our North Star ambitions cement our team, uniting them behind a shared set of goals and allowing them to work more effectively.
All of this leads to a better experience for our people and our clients. We can help our clients to navigate the choppy waters of business optimization because we’ve been sailing the same waters ourselves. The end result is a smoother experience all round, with less stress for clients and more effective outcomes for everyone.