This week Atlassian was named the #1 Best Workplace in the Netherlands by the Great Place to Work Institute.
We were honored and humbled by this news and it really got us thinking: how can we explain our approach to building a consistent (and sometimes award-winning) atmosphere? It’s not easy to do, especially with offices around the globe, from Amsterdam and Austin to San Francisco and Sydney. Let’s put it this way: we’re not always award-winning. But sometimes we get it right, and we want to pass along some insights to you.
If you had the chance to spend a week in each of our offices around the world, you’d notice that each one has its own unique personality. Different, but markedly similar in a lot of ways. By doing a bit of self-exploration, we landed on a few keys that have helped us stay consistent without forcing conformity or sameness.
We want to empower teams everywhere (including our own) to do amazing work. Building a “best place to work” is tough and doing it in multiple locations around the world is even harder. Here are a few things that have helped us along the way and, we believe, can help any team that’s focused on creating a collaborative and empowering atmosphere.
Our 3 keys to building a best place to work
- Stress values over culture: You really can’t define what you want your culture to be. Culture changes and grows as new people join. Rather than trying to define what our culture should be, we’ve defined five values that guide the decisions we make. The result ends up creating a global culture that is flexible enough to fit within the different markets where we operate. In Amsterdam, this might mean providing on-site bicycle repair and going all-out for an annual King’s Day celebration. Whereas in Sydney, different celebrations and perks come to life in ways that are more meaningful to our people there. The thought behind this is that it’s okay to have variation across locations as long as the values behind those variations are consistent. As an organization that obsesses over teams, our values also help us to ensure we’re hiring people who are strong team players. If we could define our own measuring stick for success, we’d strive to be known as the “best workplace for team players.”
- Follow the data and make incremental improvements: One of the reasons we take part in annual surveys like Great Place to Work is to measure where we can do better. We also have an internal survey that helps us see where we’re missing the mark. It’s nice to win awards, but it’s more valuable to see where you’re doing well and where you need to improve. Using data to inform decisions and then working to improve incrementally helps us to make sure we’re getting better every week. For instance, when we learned that learning and development was an area of concern for many Atlassians, we were able to make changes to support the programming available through our Learning & Development team.
- Openness above all else: Growing fast is hard. It often means that tradeoffs need to be made. It’s easier to understand the needs of ten people than it is to understand the needs of a hundred. It’s even harder to fully understand the needs of thousands of people. Rather than trying to be perfect at all times, we focus on openness and transparency. If we can’t be best-in-class on a particular dimension, it’s important to explain why. We have a thoughtful plan for our workplace experience and how those programs maximize available budget to create a great experience. Articulating why certain decisions are made is important in building trust. And, often times, the background behind these decisions helps us attract the right type of people to Atlassian.
Of course, there are a ton of factors and considerations to make when determining how to build a world-class culture. These three keys are helpful reminders to us, but they’ll continue to evolve as we grow and learn. We’re extremely proud to be Netherland’s #1 Best Workplace and a Best Place to Work in both Australia and the US this year. Now, it’s time to do a bit of celebrating!
Interested in joining the team? If you’re curious about careers with Atlassian, check out atlassian.com/careers for more information. We’re hiring in all of our offices around the globe.