Start-up Culture @CheMondis: Measures and Future Development

When we set the theme for this blog, it was clear that there is one person in our company who is an expert in this field. Our Office & Community Manager Alina. Within this article, she will give you more insights into how we developed our start-up culture, what challenges we faced over the past 2 years, and what makes our culture unique.

Thank you, Alina, and enjoy reading, everyone!

What is Behind a “Start-up Culture” in General?

“Start-up culture” is a relatively new type of work culture that aims to break down the barriers of growth that more established companies might have. It is known for and aims at giving space to be creative, agile, and passion-driven.

Back in 2018, we started our journey with five employees and a rough idea on how we want to shape our company culture in the future. The good thing was that we had it in our own hands.

We were equipped with a modern office in the heart of Cologne and a constantly growing international team consisting of the best people from the tech, commercial & chemical industry.

Work Environment is Not Synonymous with Company Culture.

CheMondis is a young and dynamic start-up. Founded in 2018, we are working on our mission to create the global professional network for the chemical industry and while growing an international team.

We have a lot of features which make working at CheMondis very pleasant. However, providing free snacks, the most modern equipment, and an office dog is not sufficient to create a great company culture. Of course, it was defining our work environment, though, which is a strong contributor, yet not synonymous with a company’s culture.

What we needed was to align on shared values – values that appeal to each and everybody in the company and that build the pillars to our company culture and our future growth.

So, in January 2019 we started our first values workshops. We used the “9-Levels analysis”- tool to make our team’s value system visible and thereby useable. Often it was eye-opening for every individual to learn about their personal values and drivers. During a two-day offsite workshop at the beautiful Marienburg in Monheim, we evaluated our personal 9-levels surveys and brought them together to a team level. A lot of discussions, active listening to each other and intensive group work resulted in the definition of five company values. (Click here for more information)

– Responsibility
– Personal Development
– Multi-perspectivity
– Collaboration
– Vision-driven orientation

With a constantly growing team, our culture develops permanently. Every new joiner shapes our company. That is why we held a second 9-levels workshop a few months later to ensure that everybody aligns on our values and has the same understanding of what’s behind them. Doing so, we realized that something was missing. We had been looking at ourselves and our way of collaborating, but we had not given one particular person an explicit seat at the table yet. Our customer. We, therefore, implemented a sixth value: customer-centricity. This progress clearly shows that our company culture is developing in the way our team develops.

Taking Time for Each Other Means Caring for Each Other – Personally and Professionally.

In my position as a community manager, I am ensuring that we are living our start-up culture on a daily basis. I organize and host interesting meet-ups in our office to engage with the local tech and start-up community. Also, organizing team offsites and regular stand-ups to push the collaboration between our teams and to give room to strengthen our team spirit is part of my job.

Besides that, the so-called “Donut-Bot” within our communication tool Slack supports us to boost collaboration across all teams. Every second Monday our employees get paired up with each other to go on a “Donut-Date”. A Donut Date usually leads to sharing great food, great conversations, and learning about each others’ jobs.  

What Makes us Realize That our Company Culture Makes us Successful?

Our team spirit and the vibe in the office make us come to the office every day with a bright smile. We give each other a hand whenever it’s needed and live an open and direct feedback culture. This way we ensure that we learn quickly from each other and get better and better every day. For our customer, and for each other.

Our Plan for The Future?

We will keep on working on our values and our company culture. It is what makes us unique and it is also what will lead to building a successful company and product for our customers. We have split the team into six working groups, one per value. Each of the teams constantly comes up with ideas and measures to make sure the values are embedded in our core DNA and are brought to life in our daily behavior. We have launched learning lunches, movie nights, chemical workshops, and much more.

Furthermore, we just launched a competency model that is based on our six values – it aims at the personal and professional development of every employee

What Do You Think?

How are you and your company dealing with the development of your company culture? Do you see any differences or similarities between your culture and ours? We are curious to know how others live their values! Leave us a comment below and let us know.

Thanks for taking the time to read the CheMondis Blog.