On this most auspicious Friday the 13th I’ve decided to take a positive approach and put together 13 reasons why I think myself (and my colleagues) are lucky to work at Sift. They are in no particular order, and no I was not coerced into writing this by senior management.
I’ve worked in places where your day ran on such a tight schedule that you’d get looks if you got up and made tea outside of the “designated time”. Not at Sift. You are given the freedom to structure your day as you see fit. The company is also very accommodating to flexible start/finish times if it means helping your commute, dropping kids off at school, etc. Many might take this for granted, but to me it’s a real treat.
Across the business, be it among colleagues, managers or even the CEO, we are all encouraged to speak openly, honestly and constructively with each other. Equally, when it comes to the business communicating with everyone they do a pretty good job of letting us know what is going on; whether times are good or bad. It makes me feel like we are all trusted with what goes on in the business, as all employees should be!
I can’t talk about feeling lucky to be at Sift without mentioning the beer trolley. Every Friday around 4pm we get the email announcing beers (and other drinks - both with and without alcohol) are available. Lately we’ve been enjoying “beer o’clock” in the kitchen where music, a ping pong table and foosball are also available and many of us partake in. It’s a great way to wind down the week and get into the spirit of the weekend.
In the last few years Sift has done a lot of work to shape and bring our culture to life. I’m proud to say it’s not just words printed on the wall or touted in company meetings, it is something we have been integrating with our every day. We even spent several days last year doing activities that brought each value within our culture code to life. And as we start the new year we are looking to adapt our culture with how our business is changing, and to continue embedding it in everything we do.
This kind of support isn’t related to the work we do (although plenty of support is offered). I’m talking about Sift supporting its employees when it comes to personal matters. I myself went through a difficult time and the company didn’t hesitate to ensure that I had the time to take care of things. It was more than I expected, but at the same time I realised I shouldn’t have been surprised. It’s what good companies do. And Sift are a good company.
Sift are always talking about personal and career development. There is a lot of encouragement for people to take the initiative to do and learn more. We are offered opportunities to go on training days as well as given tools like Lynda.com to explore and learn on our own. The company runs “lunch and learns” which have a mixture of work and personal application; from “How to visualise data” to “Improving your photography”.
Location location location
I love that Sift are right in the heart of Bristol. It’s not just that we are within walking distance of so many delicious lunch locations (St. Nicholas Market for one!), but also within easy reach of shops, post offices, etc. The amount of life admin I can get done during my lunch hour is incredible and saves me from doing it at the weekend. That means more time for fun, and maybe some house chores...
We are all given autonomy to work at our own pace and schedule, without a manager hovering above one’s head. People are trusted to get the job done. This shows not only in how flexible the company are with managing your own time, but also in being able to work from home as and when you want.
A sociable bunch
If the beer trolley didn’t hint to this, Sift love to have a good time and be social. Not just with afterwork drinks, or Summer and Christmas parties. We have a cricket team, football team, and a regular stream of bake sales. The company wants us all to have a good work-life balance, and does what it can to contribute to that.
There’s a great system in place to recognise your peers for their great work which gets shared at monthly meetings, and then each quarter a handful are chosen to receive a special prize. The company aims for us to relate any nomination back to our values, which embeds them further into our every day.
Change, be that within the company or the industry we operate in, is inevitable. Sift does a pretty good job or moving with any changes that come along, from people coming and going, to shifts in the market. I always feel like the company is never resting on its laurels, and is instead always looking ahead and ensuring that as a business we are prepared for what might be coming.
Sift has always been strongly involved with the local community and charities further afield, from recycling computers and tech to Africa, to having a nominated charity which we work with over the course of a year. I love the sense of doing good within the company. A real testament to our ability to help was last year, when a colleague’s friend was suffering a life-threatening illness. Over two days a group of us focused our working hours to bolstering their campaign to raise what seemed an impossible amount of funds. But in the end they hit their target, and it was wonderful to see us as individuals and the company take time and resources to help.
Last but certainly not least (otherwise the above wouldn’t even exist) - the people at Sift. I feel lucky to work with such kind, hard working and fun people. Sift wouldn’t be the awesome place that it is without us all, and the business knows this, hence why they do a lot of work to ensure that they attract and retain amazing people.