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Recently, Reaktor Amsterdam was certified as a Great Place to Work, making it one of just about 70 companies in the Netherlands of our size (50-250 employees) that can boast that claim. You may wonder, though: how did we get that distinction? The Great Place to Work label isn’t handed out by some think tank or business blog. It’s actually a process that’s done by the people most affected by the companies—the employees.
Back in June, a survey was sent to all the staff at Reaktor Amsterdam. They were asked to answer 60 questions that covered all sorts of topics, from pay to diversity to professional development. The results determined if we met the standard for a Great Place to Work. And it turns out we did—by a long shot!
The Great Place to Work survey measures five universal values:
The certification threshold is met if employees answer “yes” to a certain percentage of questions related to each value. If not enough employees agree with the statements, then certification is not granted.
Us vs. Other Great Places to Work vs. Everyone Else
Areas where we really excelled
These are statements where we scored over 95%:
- Management trusts people to do their job without watching over their shoulders
- People here are treated fairly regardless of sexual orientation
- I am able to take time off from work when I think it’s necessary
- I am offered training and/or development to further myself professionally
What we love is that the results match what we value about ourselves: autonomy, egalitarianism, work/life balance, empathy, humility, and curiosity. But we don’t want to use the survey as simply a way to pat ourselves on the back or confirm what we already thought.
Our real interest is in getting the data
“While being recognized as a Great Place to Work feels like a worthy achievement, our real interest is in getting that data,” says Joonas Salovaara, part of the Leadership team at Reaktor Amsterdam. “Employee surveys give you a view into your organization to find out how things are going in the company—not only where you’re doing well, but more importantly the pain points.”
Joonas continues, “Back when we opened our Amsterdam office in 2016 and for a few years after that, it was easy to know what was on people’s minds and how they felt. With 20-25 people, the vibe just flowed because we simply talked. That’s the advantage of being small—you have cohesion and everyone is very much aligned. But now that we have around 60 employees, communication requires a little more thought and energy. And that’s how we view these surveys—as conversation starters.”
It just so happened that the Great Place to Work certification coincided with our latest DEI survey. So between both we gathered lots of insight about where we are as an employer and how our people feel working here. Some high points were inclusion, like employees having a sense of belonging and feeling psychologically safe and valued. But there were areas where we faltered, too.
One of Reaktor’s key values is transparency
“One of Reaktor’s key values is transparency,” says Joonas. “So we’re not going to take the questions where we scored a little lower and hide those away. We’re going to share everything with our employees. We think that’s the best way to improve: acknowledge what needs work, start talking openly about it, and let everyone have a say in how it’s handled.”
Take, for example, compensation. According to the people that conduct the survey, that’s one area that typically gets lower marks, regardless of the company. (And it’s no surprise, everyone would like to be paid more, right?) But we didn’t want to just discount the data. Instead, it spurred us to action. Leadership has seized the opportunity to engage discourse about wages. Those discussions made us realize we need to do a better job making sure everyone understands how compensation and raises are determined. We also promoted the system we have in place for Reaktorians to post their salaries for anyone in the company to see. And we’re about to conclude a salary gap analysis. This is all part of our focus on transparency, too.
Striving to be an even greater place to work
And our efforts won’t end there. “After all,” says Joonas, “surveys are just a snapshot in time. You need to go back later and see if what needed to be addressed was actually addressed.” So, along with more questionnaires, the Amsterdam office and all of Reaktor are strengthening their DEI efforts with a global strategy and local teams, and an external consultant. With our new added insight from these surveys and a drive to react to them, we hope in the coming weeks, months and years, Reaktor Amsterdam will be an even greater place to work.
Want to be part of Amsterdam’s newest Great Place to Work? Browse our openings.
If you are not based in Amsterdam, no worries! We offer relocation and visa support to those who decide to join our team from outside of the Netherlands.