13 MAR

10 Years On: Taking Stock at Evoluted

The last ten years at Evoluted have been an amazing experience; we’ve grown a tiny development company to an award winning digital agency with a team of 25.

It’s been a great journey but before we embarked on the next stage of our journey, we wanted to take stock and review.

The Evoluted of 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago, isn’t the same company as it is today. Growing from a team of 2 to 25 means a huge change to the team dynamic, how we work and even what work we’re able to do.

Over the coming months I’m planning on covering some of the changes in the hope that they provide insight to others, and perhaps you can learn from our experience.

To start, we’re going to look at our team and how we work.

What is it really like to work at Evoluted?

On our website we talk about what an amazing place Evoluted is to work. We talk about the great projects, the awesome team, the perks and the cool office environment. But what’s it really like? It’s too easy to get sucked in and believe your own hype, so to find out what the team really thought, we ran an anonymous survey within our team.

The feedback opened our eyes. Whilst it was positive, it highlighted areas where we needed to raise our game. We want Evoluted to be a place that people love to work, where turning up each day isn’t a chore but something people look forward to. I’m not content with running a company where the team are just employees that clock in and out; I want an engaged team that value the work they do and love working with their colleagues and clients.

What can we improve?

The responses were generally great and a pleasure to read; the team love the work, environment, culture, bonus scheme and treats. But the survey highlighted some key areas that we needed to up our game on:

  • Slack
    We’ve moved a lot of our project communication to Slack which is great for visibility within the team but it creates a lot of noise. After a year with Slack, it’s clear that some are struggling with the constant notifications and distraction.To help we’re putting in place clear guidelines on how we use Slack and when it’s appropriate to @ someone and to interrupt their flow.
  • Processes
    As we’ve grown, we’ve naturally put more processes in place to ensure that the work we produce is of the same great consistency. When you’re growing and first start to put processes in place, it can be difficult – but the team at that time understood the reasoning behind the new processes. When new team members join that weren’t part of the decision making that created the process, it can be hard for them to understand why we do things a certain way.To help, we’re more frequently going to discuss our processes, the reasons for them and how they can be improved.
  • Communication
    When we first started we shared a small office at Tapton Park Innovation Centre. Now that we’re spread over 3 floors of the 18th Century former Cutlery Works that forms our home, it’s hard to have impromptu discussions that include more than a small number of team members.To help, we’re going to ensure that we communicate discussions more widely in the company and start distributing weekly email updates for the team, in our handy internal newsletter “Lambert Street Leaks”
  • Expectations
    A couple of people raised the concern that they felt under pressure to complete projects. Obviously, as a company we’d love projects to be completed in record time, to over deliver against the requirements whilst maintaining the highest standards. However, we understand this is impossible.We’re committed to producing the highest quality work possible and to help we’re going to be clearer up front about what time expectations are internally.
  • Flexibility
    We talk on our recruitment pages about flexible working, but what does that mean? Previously we’ve never formalised this, but what we meant was, it’s cool if you need to start late or leave early occasionally or equally if you need to work from home every so often. I believe that communication within an agency team where every team member is present in the same building can’t be beaten, but I understand the benefits that working from home brings.I’ve started working from home several times a month to help me spend more time with my family in the evenings. Moving forward we’re formalising working from home to help everyone have the same benefits, initially up to 2 days a month. If this is a success, we’ll increase the number of days.

What we’ve learnt

The key things we learnt from the survey were, you can never over communicate and that setting expectations that everyone understands is crucial.

With these changes, I hope that Evoluted will be an even better place to work and that the next 10 years will be even more successful than the last 10.

Written by Ash Young

Ash is the captain of the Evoluted ship and makes sure his crew are all heading in the same direction. Although Ash wanted to be a stockbroker when he was little, he declined the cutthroat life of Gordon Gekko and opted for a more honest, but no less exciting profession as co-founder of Evoluted. Today Ash’s influences are far more balanced and he gains inspiration from Evoluted’s team spirit and outstanding work and President Bartlet’s thoughtful style of leadership. You can follow Ash on Twitter or Google+ Read more posts by Ash Young

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