Mob programming, business ethics, innovation, diversity, climate change, Progressive Web Apps, test-driven design – the third codecentric conf, which recently took place in Soltau, has shown once again that we are versatile, critical with ourselves and others, we like to share our knowledge, but above all we are one big team.
It’s only been three years since we first met in Soltau to hold an internal, three-day unconference. Back then, almost 100 employees participated. Almost twice as many came this year: 180 employees from Germany, Bosnia, Serbia, and the Netherlands have set a new record.
Giving meaning to our corporate culture
So what happens if you “lock” so many people in together for three days, without a specific program? – The most wonderful conversations arise spontaneously, knowledge is shared, you have fun, but sometimes you fight, too. In short, the corporate culture to which we have committed ourselves, using picturesque terms such as “transparency”, “openness”, “agility” and “appreciation”, is alive. All on its own and without any direction.
In the spirit of an unconference, all employees were able to propose sessions in the morning. And since our core business is technology, tech-related topics made up almost half of the program. While putting it together, many of us had more than one eye-opening experience: 1. The knowledge base within the company is incredibly large. 2. Many of us regularly attend prestigious conferences and workshops to gain new knowledge. But we can teach each other so much more, sometimes so much better – a potential that we have not used properly so far.
So why always seek far afield when the good is close by, i.e. we have so much expertise within the company?!
We do not just question technology
But again there was also a lot of time for “soft” topics: What are our ethical principles when it comes to customer projects or to rejecting customers, if their business model does not meet our moral standards? And how does each individual employee use his/her personal veto right responsibly?
What can we as a company do to counteract climate change? (Spoiler: a lot!)
How can we improve ourselves in global communication – because important knowledge is not only technical but also of organizational and social nature? In this context, departments such as our Labs teams or Innovation Management took the chance to introduce themselves. Furthermore, there was a lot of discourse about what information is missing and where we want more transparency from each other.
Are we still WE?
One of the most important questions that we ask ourselves time and again as codecentric: With almost 500 employees, are we still able to maintain a shared sense of identity? After three days of codecentric conf, we can answer this question with a clear YES – without wanting to propagate a beautiful ideal codecentric world here. We do not always agree, and during the three days of our conference, we had some heated debates. In any well-functioning family, a dispute is a common thing and sometimes you need a break from each other. But it is also crucial that you allow other opinions and be accepting and respectful with each other, and, above all, you can still laugh together afterward. Once again, we were able to prove to each other that trust and openness are not just empty phrases for us – regardless of whether the executive board is there, the human resources department or our own team colleagues.
This spirit continued even after a long conference day when we simply enjoyed being around our colleagues, be it at the dinner table, during a whiskey tasting, while singing karaoke, playing table tennis, board games or doing more coding.
So, what’s left to say after three days of codecentric conf? – We do not grow tired of constantly improving, developing, and challenging ourselves over and over. And while doing this, we try to walk hand in hand as far as possible. It may be that with 500 employees this has become difficult, maybe even impossible. But 180 of us, who did not necessarily know each other before, left this conference hand in hand.