“The best kind of people are the kind who bring out the best in others.” ~ Daniel Borg.
As the latest harmon.ie recruit in the (Marketing/PR/events, and so on) team, Yaacov the CEO asked me to write a piece about my experience of the company culture. “How about a day at the spa on the company expense to give me more juice to write about,” I suggested. “OK”, he replied; great. With that sorted, I started on the non-perks section of the post. Although, now that I think about it, maybe he misunderstood my accent?
A short prelude about myself
I moved to Israel from London just over two years ago. My background is in Psychology and Business Management; I have worked in ten various and loosely related positions both in England and Israel while trying to find my path including roles in the public sector, healthcare industry, education, high-tech industry and so on. As a millennial I like to explore and brace new challenges.
My first realization at the interview stage was that I wasn’t working for a dating site as the name ‘harmon.ie’ would lead you to believe. Also, after six one-on-one interviews for my position at harmon.ie, rigorous reference checks and various tweaks on the job description, it was clear that they take their manpower seriously. Operating a “lean enterprise” system, the company employs a relatively small team of people (70 worldwide) for a company of its magnitude; of which only 15 or so, are marketing. This does not mean that small details aren’t taken care of. For example, I received a welcoming bunch of flowers prior to my first day at work. And IT, and various other helpful people really took care of me during my first few days, making my transition very smooth.
My six interviewers gave me an insight into company culture. I learnt that at harmon.ie people work hard - with each other rather than for each other; mistakes happen, people are human - which is why it is always best not to do things alone; and as David (VP Strategy) advised “if you aren’t enjoying it, it’s not worth it.” These exchanges resonated strongly with me and I was keen to progress further.
In preparation for my interview with the CEO, I was warned (multiple times) that the CEO was unconventional. HR advised me that he valued ideas coming bottoms-up and that wanton agreeableness was not an attribute. Having survived a move to the Middle East I wasn’t too perturbed but was nonetheless anticipating my final interview. I did face some tough interview questions, but I was more endeared by the CEO’s honesty and openness to someone who was not yet a company employee: I received an honest prediction of the company’s path and a raw overview of the needs of the marketing department.
Working in a high-tech environment is not for everyone. It is high-pressure; there is always something cooking; and you need to be ahead of the game. How does harmon.ie have a competitive advantage? In my opinion, people are naturally creative; they just need the right nurturing and environment to express it. Apart from the location of its headquarters in the biblical city of Lod, harmon.ie differs from other high-tech companies for many reasons. Here are the main reasons as I see them:
Collaboration and transparency. At harmon.ie, nothing is more important than collaboration in the workplace. This theme is represented in the company’s products but it also runs deeply throughout the company culture. All teams hold a daily “scrum” discussing latest progresses. This keeps team members engaged and knowledgeable on the latest projects. Openness is also a key value of harmon.ie - employees are equipped with a birds-eye view of the company as well as a vivid description of its future. I accompanied the CEO to a strategic meeting and a meeting of high-tech CEOs. Continuous learning is heavily invested in. After being flown to Boston to learn more about the company by meeting our Boston team and our PR team Scratch, I was asked to present our latest product to top IT Analyst, Michael Krigsman, as well as pitching to an IT influencer - all within my first three weeks. The social element is also enhanced through the company’s Yammer feed, where I quickly learnt what was important and was swiftly welcomed into the team.
Approachability and empowerment. The culture at harmon.ie is very casual, people are hardworking but hands on. The power struggles that are all too common in places of work are hard finds here, leaving people to get on with their jobs. C-level executives are very approachable and keep their doors open; they are generous with their time and new ideas are encouraged. Another recent addition to the harmon.ie team told me that when he came in to interview he unknowingly struck up a conversation with the harmon.ie CEO while passing his office. There is a loose hierarchy, although you would be tasked to find it; it would take some people a few minutes to come up with a job title for themselves – as you can see from yours truly above.
Kindness and mutual respect. These intangible qualities are probably the glue of harmon.ie. People go out of their way to help each other, often putting colleague’s needs before their own. In my experience anytime I have asked something of a colleague, I have received more than I’d asked for in return. This goes beyond door holding – employees seek ways to help others, professionally and personally. When I wanted to leave the office early a few days before a product launch for a friend’s wedding, a colleague offered to pick up my workload; when I was new to the area I had people (who I sometimes didn’t know) offer to give me lifts.
harmon.ie also has its fair share of company perks: just last week there was a company cooking class. There is a yearly company retreat and numerous other benefits such as exercise classes, iPads, etc. However, comparing harmon.ie to other companies based on its perks would be missing the point (although I wouldn’t be opposed to some of those ‘Google’ style nap pods, Lilit if you are reading this). The reason harmon.ie works so well is because it is not ‘showy’; it is a bunch of down-to-earth, hard-working people who want to give of their best.
By Leora Borgenicht, Marketing Communications,