Code Hangar started as an idea between Ian and I to bring together a collective of developers who could leverage their expertise as needed. However, over the years we’ve figured out our core strengths as a company and the clients we serve best. Today we specialize in rapid minimum viable app development for growth stage tech startups.
At the heart of our company is still that vision for a collective culture of developers working towards similar goals. However, as we have grown, we’ve decided to structure our company differently than our original vision of independent developers working together. As we hired on team members, it’s been really important to us to build a work culture at Code Hangar that gets the job done for a clients but is also a company our employees want to work and grow with.
Values are important to us and we do what we can to build a company we would want to work for. We believe building a better company culture will build us a strong and loyal team. Our team is our greatest asset and we want to treat them as such.
At Code Hangar, we have a few core values that help guide our decision making.
- We value transparency
- We value a fun communal work environment
- We value experimentation and iteration
- We value a company culture that allows employees focus on their lifestyles and personal growth, not just work
To be transparent, as our first value states, we are also a young company. As we celebrate three years, we have four full time employees and a team of contractors we work with regularly. The policies we have in place now might change and evolved over the years as we grow.
However, we want to share where we are today with our company policies and culture. Get to know us so you can learn a little more about who those developers are behind the computer screens.
We Value Transparency
Code Hangar is totally remote. We love it that way and it allows our team to prioritize lifestyle. Currently, we have four employees who can work from anywhere in the world and in fact, two are in Bulgaria at the time of writing this blog!
Because we have a team who works remotely, it’s important that we’re transparent both with our team and our clients. It’s a huge part of our culture. We decided early on we would be open with our team about:
- Monthly Revenue & Costs
- Company Goals & OKRs
- Company Calendar
- Transparent Salary Tiers
Yes! It can feel scary to be this transparent with our employees. However, we know it builds trust amongst our team. This is especially true with salaries. Because we have transparent tiers, all employees know where they stand which eliminates the need for a salary negotiation process and ultimately reduces toxic competition between team members.
We also see skillsets of employees differently than other software development companies. Some skills require more mental and emotional loads than others. We don’t want to take that work for granted so salaries reflect that in some positions. So conceptual work from a designer is as important to the finished product for us as the technical work a developer will contribute.
Transparency extends to the revenue and expenses of our company too. We want everyone at Code Hangar to be invested in our company goals. The more involved and invested our team is in our success, the more they feel a sense of trust, freedom, and flexibility with us. They’ll also work more autonomously.
We’ve seen inequality in the offic can derail a company from reaching its goals. Being transparent allows us to have a company culture where our team feels appreciated, seen, empowered to come to work, get the job done, and get on with their lives.
We Value a Communal Fun Work Environment
With a remote staff that oftentimes is traveling the world, we have to get really creative in how we foster camaraderie amongst our team. Luckily we’re a technology company full of creative and fun individuals and we don’t take ourselves too seriously most of the time (we save all the seriousness for the results we provide our clients).
Daily communication is done through Slack channels. Team members check in each day to report what they worked on the previous day and what they’ll be working on that day. This daily communication is also where we encourage the team to ask for help if they need it.
We love using Slack because of the relaxed style of communication. This is where the daily chatter happens and inside jokes and memes run wild. To keep us in line though, our dearly disturbed Slackbot, Goldenboy, who was lovingly created by a member of our team, keeps a “swear jar” for us. Goldenboy doesn’t always get things quite right which can lead to unexpected laughs and face-palms.
If we need to correspond verbally, we’ll hop on Zoom. This gives us an opportunity to chat directly with team members one on one. And because sometimes the technology we use is just too fun not to play with, we goof around with each other using fun filters and background to mask the boring backgrounds of our home offices.
We Value Experimentation and Iteration
The tech world moves fast. It’s important to think on your feet. You have to get comfortable with failing and making mistakes because it’s built into you business process. This helps us find the right solutions for our clients.
We echo this approach with our company culture too. We’re not afraid to change and pivot our processes in order to work better together.
However, we can’t always see the problems in our own process, so it’s important that al ofl our employees are invested and empowered to share how to improve our company procedures. In fact, we expect this from our team members. Everyone brings a different expertise and perspective. We need to listen to everyone from the bottom up in order to make stronger decisions for the company.
We encourage this both in formal sessions with twice monthly retros. But we also highly encourage the team to bring issues up when they arise through informal means so we can address and fix a problem as a team on the spot.
We celebrate successes together but don’t hide from our failures
In order to have a team that openly communicates with each other, it’s important that we don’t punish failure. We have to experiment in tech to see what works. This means we will inevitably fail at some point. If we want our team members to try new things and push limits, we need to make space for that failure to happen.
Because failure is an inherent part of our business model, we also know that it’s crucial to celebrate our successes along the way. It’s important to keep company moral up when the work is hard and demanding.
While we do offer twice annual bonuses based on company net profits, little rewards along the way are powerful for moral. Because our team is remote, we can’t just throw a pizza party and call it a day, instead we have to be more creative.
For this we turn to the team when we reach big milestones like completing an 8-Week MVP. We brainstorm together on something we would all enjoy. Some of the incentives the team has recently earned are things like Amazon gift cards, Quip Toothbrushes, and cookies.
When we let everyone be a part of celebrating small wins, team comradery soars. Even when we’re thousands of miles apart.
We value a company culture that allows employees focus on their lifestyles and personal growth, not just work.
Can a tech company be a lifestyle company? Because that is exactly what we consider ourselves. Our team is what makes Code Hangar what it is. We also know that those people have fulfilled lives to get to outside of work.
In order to have our team at work fully engaged, we make sure we have a minimal company culture that focuses on the work and how we can achieve it together. That way, our team can show up to work, get the job done, and still have energy to focus on the important parts of life like family and friends.
Yes, we actually want our team to leave the office and unplug.
Being a remote company inherently allows us to attract people who also want work to be a part of their life and not have their life be about their work.
At minimum, we knew we would offer benefits like:
- Health Insurance
- Retirement Accounts
- Continuing Education and Learning Resources
- Paid Vacation
However, we went a bit further and thought about ways to help our team develop professionally and personally while also taking care of their personal needs.
Support Personal Growth
Personal growth is important for professional development. We want to offer educational resources to help team members achieve goals around their own personal growth.
Unlimited Vacation Policy
We love our time off and value it highly, it’s also super important to avoid burnout. We offer unlimited paid vacation days and encourage everyone to take at least four weeks of vacation a year. The time off work gives people time to recharge so they can return more focused and ready to tackle the job ahead.
Open communication and transparency is required to make this work and trust the team. In exchange for the time off, we only ask that we can find a way to cover their projects while they’re gone.
Commitment to the Community
Communities are important to personal growth. We feel a responsibility to support the communities we belong to and proudly allocate a portion of our company’s profits to communities that promote learning and diversity in tech.
We also encourage our team to give back to their communities too, in whatever way they can. They can do this through public speaking, mentoring, volunteering, and contributing to open source projects.
Code Hangar is a company with values and a culture we are proud of. It’s important to keep the commitment to stay transparent, offer progressive values to enhance the lifestyle of our employees, and to foster an environment that is fun to show up to and work at.
As we bring on new team members as we grow our company, we take extra care to find people who can match in both skillset and cultural fit to our company values, goals, and objectives. If you are interested in joining our team, checkout our job board to see if there are any open positions available.
About Author: Cassandra Wilcox