By Kris Croaker   |  
October 7th, 2016

Reflections Of A Rehabilitated Corporate IT Worker

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Straight from the mouths of our employees, they tell us what it’s like to work at SafetyCulture.
By Kris Croaker, DevOps Engineer

Location: Sydney office

Up until ten months ago my career had been primarily in the world of corporate IT, where IT is seen as a cost of doing business. When you work in this kind of environment it is not uncommon for the link between your day-to-day work and the customer to become invisible. This lack of visibility and focus on the customer, I believe, can result in some pretty toxic behaviours in the workplace.

For me personally, I was tired of the combative nature of “IT vs The Business.” I was sick of the internal politics and game playing that plagued the large organisations I was working for. I was frustrated with the slow pace of progress and saddened by the amount of waste that resulted from cancelled, late, or poorly scoped projects. I decided that there must be a better way. It was time to start searching for something new.

My requirements were pretty straight forward. I was looking for an opportunity to work in a fast-moving environment that valued technology and didn’t make decisions based on internal politics. After some searching, I fell upon the idea of working for a startup.

From the outside the demands of working for a startup can appear excessive. You hear stories about how the pace is rapid, the workload bordering on insurmountable and the velocity of change unforgiving. It is true that working for a startup isn’t for the faint of heart, I can imagine more than a few of my colleagues struggling to keep up with the pace. For those who embrace change, take control, step outside their comfort zone, a startup is like a second chance at (work)life.

Having taken the time to stop and think about this article, I think I have figured out the secret that all of the outsiders are missing. All of this work, all of this effort, all of this chaos is for one thing: to wow the customer. I’ll say that again, everything we do, every decision we make, every second of our day is focused on our customers.

Everyone here at SafetyCulture lives and breathes our five core values: Open Honest Always, Build it Well, Bring Ideas, Never Stop Learning, Think Customer. While I truly believe that all of those values make SafetyCulture great, I think it is that last one, “Think Customer” that makes it an amazing place to work.

When every single person in the company is focused on the customer, nobody tries to build their empire, nobody pushes their own agenda, and nobody wastes effort on projects that don’t deliver value to the customer.

There is a growing interest in startups, people are often looking for inspiration on how they can improve their own companies and workplaces. A lot of that attention is given to the technology and the methodologies used by startups.

I think it is often overlooked exactly how much effort and time startups put into understanding our customers, their needs, and their priorities. At SafetyCulture you only need to look at our employee job titles: we have Customer Support staff, Customer Success staff, and we have User Experience researchers. In fact, at SafetyCulture over 20% of employees have a role that is focused on our customers and making sure that they are understood, supported and successful.

If there is one change that large organisations should learn from startups, it is the value of focusing on the customer. The power of having every single employee across the company aligned and focused on the same objective is the most powerful tool that startups have in their toolbox. I believe this is what makes us successful. Try and gain an advantage, try putting your customers first and see the changes it brings to your workplace.

When I left my previous workplace I wanted to work at a company where everyone had the drive and desire to be great at what they do and I have found it here at SafetyCulture. Leaving corporate IT and joining a startup is one of the best moves I’ve made during my career.

If you’re interested in adding some meaning to your own career, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our open positions.

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