Jan 28, 2014

DevFacto: Happy Employees Create Happy Customers

Your corporate culture is an integral part of your brand. David Cronin, CTO of DevFacto argues, “Happy employees create happy customers.”

A happy employee brings a brand to life. It’s hard to miss a person who truly loves her job. Her passion is infectious, and her performance is heightened. When your employees love their jobs and love coming to work it radiates throughout your brand.

DevFacto is a software development firm based in Edmonton, Canada. Their goal is to “build software that humans love to use.” They develop custom software applications for a variety of industries throughout North America and Europe, and have deep expertise in Web and mobile application development.

But if you ask David Cronin what makes DevFacto unique he’ll tell you it’s their culture.

Employees are the front line

The CEO is not the chief spokesperson of a brand, the employees are.

DevFacto has grown over 96% in the past three years, and their growth has been fueled by their culture. Laura Browning, DevFacto’s Marketing Specialist explains, “Everybody is truly happy to work here. We’re inspired by each other. Everybody is learning. So at the end of the day, we are able to deliver great work. And that aids in our word of mouth, and having happy customers that come back.”

DevFacto doesn’t rely on a handful of elite consultants, business owners or rainmakers to grow the firm’s brand and reputation. The culture is doing it for them. Every client interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate what makes the firm unique, how they value their work, and prove it in the results they bring to their clients.

DevFacto has over 70 full time employees and 40 sub contractors. Each person is an ambassador of the firm. And clients come back again-and-again, because they prefer to work with these people.

Culture is an investment

Since its founding in 2007, DevFacto has placed a premium on their employees. David says, “The two most important aspects of our business is our culture and our people.”

A lot of companies claim their employees are their most important asset, but fail to back it up with a real investment. DevFacto has invested purposefully to nurture their culture, and you can see it in their office, their actions and their celebrations.

The office is designed for all their employees to have individual rooms so they can focus and work undisturbed on creative projects. But when they come out the office has meeting spaces and bump zones to foster interaction.

The bump zones are an important part of the DevFacto culture. The lunchroom is in the center of the office, and everyone eats there daily. They even conduct final interviews with new recruits in the lunchroom so they can interact with the employees and see the culture and its values up close.

The culture is part of DevFacto’s routines. They have daily huddles to catch up and discuss projects, and every Friday they turn on the music at 4pm for “Beer Time.” This is a social moment for the team to interact with one another, celebrate the week’s successes and rejuvenate.

DevFacto also goes above and beyond industry norms with their employee events. For their five year anniversary they took the entire team to Las Vegas to celebrate. David explains, “If you’re not living it, you don’t get it. Most companies would never spend a couple hundred grand on a party for their staff. It would get denied every time it’s requested, because it cost too much money. But we feel it’s so integral to our culture that we invest in it.”

Built for the employees

DevFacto’s culture is a core value, and it reflects the beliefs and values of its founders David Cronin and Chris Izquierdo.

David continues, “If we were building this company for sale we would have done things differently. We’re building our company so that our employees can buy it from us in the future. That’s our plan. When you do that you want to create a culture that people love so much they’re willing to put their own money into it.”

It’s a profound idea to create a business that your employees love so much they’ll buy it. But consider the other side of the coin for a moment. When your employees believe in the brand so much that they’ll personally invest in it, imagine how your customers feel?

DevFacto’s culture not only creates a great place to work, it creates a great company to hire. Their customers get to work with enthusiastic and committed people. They get to work with people who are innovating, and believe in the results they are delivering.

Sticky brands are grown from the inside out, and culture is an integral component of the client experience.

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