If there’s one thing that the pandemic taught us, it’s how quickly priorities can change. Following the outbreak of COVID-19, we were all pushed into a state of collective worry and fear. On top of that, we were denied all the things that make us human: the need to socialize, stay close, and move freely.
But there was also a silver lining there. States proved that leaders are indeed able to look past differences – be they ideological, political, religious, or otherwise. This was necessary in order to figure out how to help one another and push through very challenging times.
Many industries were severely hit by the pandemic and dealing with the uncertainty of what’s to come has been very difficult. The business world was trying to find a way to deal with the “new normal” and accept remote work as the new default.
At Ciklopea, we decided to keep our focus on the things that enabled us to become and stay one of the leaders in the industry: our people.
People Work Together Like Ants and Bees
Have you ever watched ants or bees? They have remarkable and complex systems that ensure every team member contributes to the success of the entire community. While we live in a day and age where individuality is celebrated, humans are still incredibly dependent on one another. At our core, we’re social beings.
That is reflected both in our private lives and our work lives. At Ciklopea, we’ve built a culture that revolves around people and values mutual growth, respect, and transparency. This has been vital both throughout the pandemic and in its aftermath.
High-level aspects such as strategy, corporate culture, technology, and everything in between are extremely important in that sense. However, they are always fueled and run by people – their talent, their creativity, and their intuition. Bear in mind that when we say that people are the most valuable asset of any organization, it’s more than just a nice little phrase. It’s the truth.
People need to feel like they belong and they need to feel valued. We need to create an environment that is safe and enables them to be vocal about what they need in order to feel good and do their work to the best of their ability. The first thing is ensuring flexibility.
Flexible Working Models
The pandemic didn’t introduce remote work, it just accelerated the way it expanded. As a matter of fact, at Ciklopea we offered the option of working remotely even before 2020. But why is it important to enable employees to work from home and ensure they have enough flexibility? There are two key things to mention here.
Firstly, let’s talk about parents. Parents might not have the luxury of hiring a babysitter, or maybe they don’t want to. Luckily, the business world is finally starting to fully acknowledge employees as human beings, so when a toddler interrupts a Zoom meeting, it’s not an instant red flag for unprofessionalism. It’s just life.
Secondly, different people need different environments to stay productive. Some might find that water cooler talks and lunch breaks with colleagues help them stay connected. It might be vital for preserving fresh focus during working hours. Others might prefer working in their pajamas in the comfort of their home office because that’s exactly what they need to get into the flow and do some deep work.
We all have multiple roles we play in our lives that go beyond our job titles. Our ultimate goal and number one priority may not be to hit that sales target for Q3, and that’s fine. This is why Ciklopea tailored its working models to suit the preferences of all employees. The transition was as smooth as it gets. The options we offer include remote, hybrid, and traditional work. You can read more about each here.
Sharing Knowledge Goes Both Ways
It’s no secret that you learn the most when faced with obstacles and problems that seem almost unsolvable. The moment you break through them is the moment of greatest growth.
We have been in the business for two decades now, so we’ve already had our fair share of challenges. We’ve grown and evolved and learned a lot both about the world and about ourselves.
Naturally, this has brought us a lot of knowledge, and applying this knowledge is what ultimately builds our identity and our company culture. Sharing that knowledge with current and future employees in a systematic and efficient way is the essence of both our training programs, our hiring plan, and our recruitment and selection processes.
The entire point is to hire a person whose values are compatible with ours, and who is ready to learn, grow and discover their best qualities and potential with us.
Of course, knowledge transfer goes both ways. Yes, we do provide training and assistance, but we are also very keen students who listen to our employees and who always want to hear their ideas and feedback. This experience can be eye-opening, thrilling, and rewarding. Understanding the viewpoint of your employees puts you outside of your bubble. That’s how innovation happens.
The Beauty of Working in the Language Industry
In the language industry, the winning combination consists of harmonizing linguistic (academic) knowledge, human creativity, technology, and a deep understanding of the needs of the market demands. We’re aware that these aspects may not always be perfectly synced for many reasons, so we’ve made it our special task to bridge all these gaps by developing fruitful collaborations with academic institutions in the region.
Partnerships of this type are extremely important. They create a special environment that not only enables us to learn new things but also helps us come up with new solutions. The end result? We’re able to grow not only as human beings, but as an organization as well. We continuously improve the way we work with clients while staying people-oriented at all times.
These partnerships have led to many successful projects, such as the Ciklopea Summer School program and our Doors Open Day, as well as various internship programs.
Croatia’s Best Employer Brand Award two years in a row and our seventh Employer Partner certificate are our confirmation that we’re doing something right. We have no doubt whatsoever that it’s all because of our focus on people.
The pandemic showed us the ambivalent nature of humans because we’re simultaneously extremely fragile and resilient. If we want to keep growing as a business organization, we need to cherish talented people, and never lose sight of what is truly important.
Despite all the technological wizardry, the essence of the language industry is cross-cultural communication, developed by people and for people. If there is any formula for surviving through the tough times, it’s surely getting back to the basics and focusing on what really matters – the human in all of us.