Having been fortunate enough to be selected for the Marketing Coordinator position I thought I’d write up my thoughts as a new starter working at Vanti from initial impressions, to interviewing and then integrating.
First impressions of Vanti were mixed. Their website pitched the business as a combination of super interesting and exciting technology projects with a flexible and supportive workplace culture, which was like nothing I’d ever encountered before.
Way, way beyond just flexible hours, their culture blogs alluded to a decentralised hierarchy, in which there are no managers and job titles are very, very loose which enables employees to dip in and out of projects that appeal to them. Naturally a sceptic, I didn’t fully commit to believing what I read and when invited to interview, I attended purely with the aim to find out more.
A bit about me
I came to Vanti following just under 3 years working in marketing (a mix of web development, copywriting and communications). Before that, I studied English Literature at university. So, I’m not hugely experienced and my education doesn’t lend itself to the type of technology work Vanti do. However, I did (and still do) believe in a workplace culture that encourages trust between employee and employer (especially regarding working from home and flexible hours), pushes for people to be openly themselves at work and one that is out-rightly progressive with its views and actions on gender, race and sexuality.
Initial impressions and interviewing at Vanti
By complete chance, I was contacted on LinkedIn by Vanti’s COO Faye Pressly to arrange a phone call which lead to a first stage interview. It was at this point I started researching. Vanti aligned with all the company values I was looking for, and more. Particularly interesting was their approach to recruitment, which seemed to focus more on the candidate’s suitability for their unique culture, as opposed to their skill set. This methodology appealed because I’m very much of the belief that if the employee fits in well with the culture they will stay in a role and can be up-skilled, experiencing professional development in terms of new skills as well as personal development due to building stronger relationships within the organisation.
Both of my interviews were very informal, I was encouraged to dress how I felt most comfortable (the first time I’ve ever worn a t-shirt to an interview), and they played out more like two-way conversations. As odd as it may sound (given that this was a job interview), my main aim was to come away convinced that this culture worked. To find answers and reassurance I grilled Faye on how the decentralised hierarchy would function and came away with an understanding that led me to be confident that leaving my current job and accepting their offer was the right choice.
Essentially, Vanti doesn’t operate a fully decentralised hierarchy, yet. Their model is loosely based on Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organisations in which Laloux outlines a spectrum of different businesses and associates each section of the spectrum with a colour. For instance, a red company is ruled by fear, expects unquestioning loyalty from staff and has no concern for any goals beyond the company’s own. On the other end of the range is a teal business in which there is no central control, teams are self-managed and have huge scope for individuals to bring their entire skill set to work.
Vanti’s aim is to operate much more like a teal company, but in the interview, I learnt they are still some way off. It was the humble nature of this admittance, and the reassuring knowledge that their culture was based on a renowned academic piece, that got me on side.
First day working at Vanti
First day was suitably hectic. There was no hour-long introduction on setting up my laptop, creating an email account or navigating my way through Asana. I was pretty much dropped straight into numerous 1-2-1s with the aim of meeting the team and learning who to speak to, to get what information. Just from this first day it was safe to say the hiring process was on point. All the staff I met had an infectious passion about their work, as well as interests outside of work that they were more than happy to discuss. Bringing your whole self to work (as well as just being yourself at work) is definitely a thing here. I finished my first day knowing the team not only on a professional level, but on a personal level too.
My first week at Vanti
After a full week, I’m gradually beginning to see instances of where the company needs to go in order to become fully teal. For example, I do have a line manager and there are a few other people to report to. But, as a sceptic, the familiarity is reassuring.
One major positive is how trusting and open the policy regarding flexible working is. Want to work remotely because the office is getting too loud and busy? Sure. Need to shift hours to fit in personal commitments? Again, no problem. On paper it’s amazing but in actuality it’s weird having this much trust and is something I’ll have to get used to, but I’m excited to use it to learn how I work best.
It was easy for me to be sceptical, especially of something so new and unheard of. However, Vanti were open and honest in the way they responded to my queries, demonstrating that integrity exists within their culture, beyond just letting staff work remotely. This fresh into a new job I am still figuring things out and finding my place, given that it’s so different to anywhere else I’ve worked I’m expecting it may take a few weeks! All in all, really excited for my future working at Vanti.
Find out more about Vanti’s unique culture on the company website.