4 Lessons on Building Company Culture and Software

This article was originally written by Shawn Doyle, Director of Culture and software engineer at STRATIS. Some edits have been made to adjust to this format.

What is company culture? For us at STRATIS, which is a growing team of individuals from all kinds of backgrounds, this means working together to build the kind of company we feel proud to work for. That pride comes from maintaining a culture of inclusion and belonging, where we pull towards a common goal and we care about each other’s success and growth. Over the years, the company has continuously evolved, and we’ve learned a few things to better support that journey. These are several important lessons learned from actively cultivating the culture, software, and company:

1. Hiring new people means looking not for a culture fit but a culture add.

We’ve worked hard to build an environment that can accept differences, and that enables us to look at where a candidate has been, and also what they could be and what we can do to help them get there. For example, our engineering team includes/has included a former barista who went through a bootcamp, one mostly self-taught engineer who came to us directly from a position as a fundraiser at a nonprofit, and a former intern at our company who learned coding on the job. Their lead was a former financial planner who worked on our customer service team before doing an intensive bootcamp program part-time while working in order to move roles. Our amazing team includes IoT experts who have developed wireless industry innovations before the Internet of Things was a thing, along with passionate people who have learned everything they know about IoT as a STRATIS employee.

2. Despite our different backgrounds, our hires have a few common traits.

Almost inevitably, they love solving hard problems. One sure way to sabotage our productivity is to post an especially difficult riddle in Slack. It’s also hard to get them to turn down a challenge; they are people who want to accommodate despite the difficulty of the request. That combination leads to some remarkable technical innovation, such as the time when a site wanted to install a Z-Wave gateway network in a place that had no electricity to power it. Our CoFounder Ryan Buchert and the Technical Operations (TechOps) team banded together to work out a solution that modified our existing equipment in order to run off of solar panels.

3. Time and again, we benefit from being a culture of givers.

At the suggestion of one or our marketing team members, our CoFounder Felicite Moorman bought an IKEA cabinet and then stocked it with snacks and food for anyone in the neighborhood to take. Before long, other people in the neighborhood began adding to the cabinet, and the items grew from just food to clothing and other items. After a man in the neighborhood, left a note asking if anyone had a particular size pair of sneakers, one of our team members grabbed the note and asked around until he found a pair to give to the man.

4. Take time to celebrate wins, big or small, together

Our Friday All-Hands meetings are the culmination of that week’s efforts. STRATIS rewards contributions from the whole team through the weekly All Hands team meeting. In this company-wide meeting, team members give shout-outs to those who they’ve seen do a great job or who’ve inspired them. It’s a chance to recognize each other publicly for accomplishments and company milestones as well as providing demos for features or projects that they are proud of.

Developing a company culture is an ever-changing process, and we learn even more with each person who joins our team. Interested in working with us? Check out our open positions by clicking here!

About STRATIS

STRATIS®, a RealPage Company, creates smart apartments and intelligent buildings and is the only platform of its kind built for the complexities of multifamily and student housing. STRATIS is installed worldwide across the U.S., in Japan, the UK, EU, and Latin America. STRATIS now serves hospitality, retail, and small to mid-size commercial, as well. STRATIS is an Inc. Magazine “Fastest Growing Company in America” and a Top Ten Entrepreneur Magazine “Best Company in America.” STRATIS was recently acquired by RealPage to enable CommunityConnect, a more connected lifestyle, and unleash hidden yield through new revenue streams.

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