LINKIT is growing, and the number of international colleagues, each with their background and culture, is increasing. In the latest LINKIT magazine (December 2022, ed.), we asked three LINKIT explorers from the Netherlands, Germany and South Africa about mutual labour and cultural differences and how communication can sometimes lead to funny situations.
This article looks closely at the differences between projects and day-to-day operations. For example, how are decisions made at the various offices? Which norms and values apply in the countries? And how is it evaluated during and after projects? We ask again Shadeé Braun (LINKIT, Netherlands), Lando Schebsdat (LINKITSYSTEMS, Germany) and Louis Visser (LINKITSYSTEMS, South Africa).
Which norms and values are most important in your office?
Shadeé: “Here (De Meern, ed.), everything is geared toward becoming your best version. Entrepreneurship is encouraged you to continue to develop yourself in your field and on a personal level. And because we are dealing with almost twenty different nationalities in the office, mutual respect is the norm.”
Lando: “Transparency in everything you do and appreciation for each other: personal and business. We are a small team and closely involved in each other’s (ongoing) projects, which makes open communication and constructive feedback indispensable for the growth phase we are in with LINKITSYSTEMS (Germany, ed.).”
Louis: “It sounds cliché, but a deal is a deal and honesty. Do what you promise. Colleagues and customers need to know where they stand and what they can (and cannot) expect. Another important value here (South Africa, ed.) is self-development, the drive to lift yourself, and thus the team and the organization, to a higher level.”
How do you collaborate with colleagues and managers?
Shadeé: “Here (De Meern, ed.), there is little to be seen of hierarchy. It’s about mutual respect, regardless of one’s position. LINKIT has an open culture, and communication is very accessible. We regularly organize activities outside of work, and the nice thing is that everyone, from young starters to board members, is happy to attend.”
Lando: “Germany generally has a strict work culture, and you address your managers as ‘you’. Fortunately, this is different within LINKITSYSTEMS, and we are a close-knit and young team. We make decisions together, and during our monthly team meetings, we also make time for a beer or dinner in addition to work-related matters.”
Louis: “In South Africa, it depends on the organization type. I know from experience that there are companies with a strict hierarchy where managers determine the day-to-day business. At LINKITSYSTEMS in Joburg (Johannesburg, ed.), this is much more relaxed, and regardless of the function, we are all open to each other. However, because we are still in the startup phase, we haven’t had any real drinks or activities together yet. I hope this will change in the future so that we have more personal contact.”
How do you experience communication with other countries?
Shadeé: “To be honest, I don’t notice much difference when I have contact with colleagues from Germany. LINKIT has an international character, so everyone has found a universal way to communicate.”
Lando: “In terms of communication, there is little difference between Germany and the Netherlands. I only notice that LINKIT in De Meern has been running like a well-oiled machine for years, and LINKITSYSTEMS (Germany, ed.) has only been around for a relatively short time, so we still see ourselves as a startup.”
Louis: “The Dutch often only schedule meetings between 09:00 and 17:00, so I have to plan meetings with colleagues and customers very well. The situation is different in South Africa: people start early – sometimes as early as 06:00 – and work continues longer.”
How are cases evaluated?
Shadée: “To stay in the flow, there are short lines of communication. Squads themselves draw up KPIs for current projects, determine the division of roles and regularly evaluate the progress of projects. During the evaluations, it does not matter whether you work at LINKIT for a short or long period: if you stand for something, you can always start the conversation. With squad members, with other colleagues and with management.”
Lando: “We hold ‘review meetings on a frequent basis to evaluate the progress of projects. Where is everyone’s focus? Are the set KPIs realistic and achievable? And which action points do we need to identify for a successful follow-up? By evaluating in this way, we guarantee the speed and quality of each project.”
Louis: “Within our Mendix squad, we regularly organize ‘Mendix Club Days’. We discuss current projects, monitor the status of the predetermined KPIs, reflect on completed cases and jointly look at new developments in the low-code area. All to make future projects even better.”
What about decision-making power?
Shadée: “LINKIT consists of different squads, each with its own decision-making authority. For example, team members can make decisions about certain matters themselves, but decisions are also made jointly at the team level. Everyone has their own strength, and together they form a strong whole. This means that well-considered decisions can be taken quickly.”
Lando: “It really depends on the type of decision. If it concerns a business-technical decision, then this is up to our team lead. When it comes to project-based decisions, you are free to do so as an individual. Yet we make almost all decisions together. Many colleagues work out the question in advance, research it and then discuss it as a team before a decision is made.”
Louis: “With ‘hick ups’, we look together at which choices have to be made in order to be able to take the next step. The input of all those involved is very valuable in making the right decision. Everyone is motivated to think along about decisions, simply because decisions affect all of us in the start-up phase we are in.”
How are plans and initiatives handled?
Shadée: “With a diversity of nationalities and more than 200 people, the best ideas arise. These can be initiatives in the professional field, but also to improve happiness at work and strengthen mutual relationships. Everyone has the freedom to develop and implement their ideas.”
Lando: “Due to the young existence of our organization, initiatives and plans are greatly appreciated to further grow LINKITSYSTEMS in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland, ed.). But also mutual plans are often initiated, and regular meetings and drinks take place at our office in Düsseldorf.”
Louis: “Friday is all about personal development for us. There is financial scope and time to obtain certifications, develop yourself and develop your own initiatives. Everyone has their own roadmap, in which you describe where you want to go and how that contributes to the organization. And during our Mendix Club Days, we discuss innovation and suggest initiatives on how we can improve our services.”
Finally, what do you do to disconnect from work?
Shadée: “Every morning starts for me with yoga, which means I start the day stress-free. And when I work from home, I like to explore nature. I live near a forest, and a brisk walk helps me to clear my head and get new ideas.”
Lando: “When I work from home, and my son is also at home, I like to play football together in the garden. In addition, especially after an intensive working week, I like to go out into nature for cycling, hiking or climbing.”
Louis: “If work permits, I go to the gym before lunch. Because I sit 99% of the day, I find it important to move and feel my blood flowing again. I find that I am much more effective when I have refreshed myself mentally and physically.”
Shadeé Braun, Recruitment Business Partner
LINKIT (De Meern, The Netherlands)
Shadeé (33) has been working at LINKIT since February 2022 and, as a Recruitment Business Partner, is responsible for the recruitment of the Low Code squad. She has a love for yoga and prefers to listen to African and Latin chill beats.
Lando Schebsdat, Head of Solution Advisor
LINKITSYSTEMS (Dusseldorf, Germany)
Lando (37) works as Head of Solution Advisor for LINKITSYSTEMS in Germany and serves customers in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland, ed.). In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, hiking and climbing.
Louis Visser, Mendix Lead Developer
LINKITSYSTEMS (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Louis (29) has been a Mendix Lead Developer and LINKIT explorer from the very beginning since LINKITSYSTEMS opened its doors in South Africa. He is a real outdoors person and likes to go out into the wild.
Do you want to become an explorer yourself and know more about working at LINKIT? Check our vacancies here or contact us.