Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast: Here Is How People Work At Some Of The Fast-growing Tech Companies In Bangladesh

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Mar 22, 2017

The importance of having a right and solid culture can’t be overstated for the long-term success of any company. Over the past few years, culture has become one of most talked about topics in the corporate world. Companies in silicon valley invest millions in building the culture and many credit growth and sustainability of their business to having a strong culture. Because right kind of culture empowers a team, gives a sense of purpose, and helps cultivate love for the work and organization.

While discussion around culture is quite common in a tech setting in most places in the world, it is not a commonplace thing in Bangladesh yet. There are companies that care about culture and deliberately invest in creating one and there are also companies that don’t care much. And it often makes a difference. Moreover, people often misunderstand culture and leave it to HR and consider it something as touchy-feely and less important a component of business.

One of the questions we ask entrepreneurs, CEOs/CXOs when we interview is about culture and how people work at their companies and it often ensues interesting conversations. We have put together a couple of responses here from companies like Bikroy, SureCash, Brain Station 23, and SSL Wireless on culture and how people work in these companies.

Misha Ali
Misha Ali

Misha Ali on culture and how people work at Bikroy

“I think Bikroy is the flattest organization I have ever worked in. My Managing Director and I share the same table with my team in the middle. Nobody has an office, we all sit together in an open office.

Every week we have meetings with the management team and with our respective teams and we plan for the week. Everyone has the same targets and we work on them together. If you need to talk to someone or collaborate you just go and talk and get things done. There is no physical or psychological barrier in doing that.

We make sure that everybody works with ownership over what we are doing. Nobody says that that is not my responsibility because everybody is working towards the same goals, which are clear for everyone.”

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Shahadat Khan
Shahadat Khan

Dr. Shahadat Khan on culture and how people work at SureCash

“At SureCash, we have a very open culture where we appreciate open communication, invite people to bring their ideas and try things, and build their dream organization.

SureCash has an equity pool for the employees, for everybody. We like people to take more and more ownership of the company.

We are a very flat kind of organization. We take and accept an idea because it is good not because of your position. We put importance on your work rather than your position.

Open communication, exchange of best ideas and less bureaucracy are a couple of values we practice.
We respect talent and try to attract the best talents and work hard to bring the best out of our people.

We experiment quite a bit. We learn when we fail when we succeed we celebrate. Every time we do it we try to do it a little bit better.”

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Ashish Chakraborty
Ashish Chakraborty, COO, SSL Wireless

Ashish Chakraborty on culture and how people work at SSL Wireless

“Let me explain our organogram for you. Every wing at SSL has a manager who looks after it. That executive is solely concerned with the operation of that particular wing. Although the management ultimately finalizes the budgets, but the executives are in charge of running everything for that wing and he makes the final call for operational decisions.

SSL is an employee-driven organization. The management seldom interferes in the daily affairs of the organization. The executive do their own planning and set goals. We present those plans in AGM and different meetings.

In the case of yearly plans, we generally do it in advance. For example, we have completed planning for 2017 in the last month of 2016. We determined what sectors to work in and how much to invest.

We have some criteria here. The main KPI for sales-related departments, for example, is target volume; for finance and accounting department, it is cost-minimization.

In the case of our daily activities, we break down our targets on a day-to-day basis. We use software to do that, such as–CRM, where we can design our KPIs. The supervisors in each department have the responsibility to monitor those KPIs.

We ensure an environment of accountability within the organization. That said, every one of the company owns the company. They feel like they are running their own company. We do not believe in putting pressure.”

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Raisul Kabir
Raisul Kabir, CEO, Brain Station

Raisul Kabir on culture and how people work at Brain Station 23

“The thing that helped us very much during our early days was our vision. We started Brain Station for a reason which was way bigger than money or any material goal. We had a common vision. We wanted to achieve something bigger than ourselves as opposed to building a mere business. As a result, everyone in the company was happy and used to feel empowered and part of something bigger.

People usually want to be a part of something noble. We had that thing. As a result, people used to stay with us for a long time. Our employee turnover rate is very low. Our first employee stayed with us til the day he left the country for Germany. It is not like that we pay a huge salary. We do pay good salary but we are not the highest paying company. We pay better than average companies but we have consciously made the decision that we will never be the highest paying company because we don’t want people to come and work for Brain Station 23 for money rather for the cause and passion. We want people who are ready to sacrifice for the vision we have.

The way we work is very democratic. We tell people that this is your company. We are working towards a goal, let’s build the company. We empower people like anything.

At Brain Station 23, our developers work directly with our clients, a very uncommon norm. In many companies, developers leave the company with clients but it never happened to Brain Station.

Transparency is an important value that we take very seriously. Everyone who works on a project knows how much we charge a client. It creates a lasting bonding among people based on trust. We are a flat kind of organization. There is no bossing or sir culture here. We don’t encourage it either.”


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