For its decade-long track record, 99x is now the first Sri Lankan technology company to receive the coveted Great Place to Work Legend status. This achievement comes following the company’s 10th consecutive year as a Best Workplace, proving its unshakable commitment to its employees even during uncertain times. Since it was first recognized in 2013 as a Best Workplace, 99x has maintained its position yearly. In addition, the technology leader has been consistently recognized as a Best Workplace in Asia and as a Best Workplace for Women.
These many awards from the Great Place to Work Institute highlight 99x’s commitment to building and preserving a positive, diverse, inclusive workplace. Speaking to Arteculate, Founder and CEO of 99x, Mano Sekaram, said, “We are extremely honored and grateful for the support and recognition we have received from the Great Place to Work Institute and extremely humbled to be a Great Place to Work Legend. This is a tribute to how we practice our culture within the workplace. Adapting to changes in our business model, facing the new normal amidst the pandemic and economic challenges, and placing our teams as the best asset we could have, are some key principles that allowed us to achieve this status.”
The HR & people practices of a legendary great place to work
Over the years, 99x has become known as a technology leader, co-creating innovative digital products for the Scandinavian market. Its headquarters are in Norway, with a local presence in Colombo. The company attributes this success to its culture built on leading global HR and People practices allowing its employees to grow while having the flexibility to deliver their best. This strong commitment is why 99x is the first Sri Lanka technology company to achieve the status of Great Place to Work Legends.
“Given the nature of our work, our customers are 6,000 miles away. Yet, they have entrusted us with their entire intellectual property. While fostering a positive work culture to motivate our employees, we also attribute our continued success to building great work on the pillars of trust and confidence. As a result, 99x maintains a trustworthy and secure environment at all times for our stakeholders worldwide,” observed Chief People Officer at 99x, Damitha Jayasinghe.
Learning opportunities that create leaders without titles
A standout feature of the culture at 99x is that employees at all levels are provided learning opportunities in different forms. These initiatives allow them to participate in ventures beyond their job scope, allowing them to gain exposure to new areas while contributing to the company’s growth. In turn, the company aims to empower its employees to take ownership. Elaborating on these efforts, Chief Operating Officer of 99x, Shehani Seneviratne, added, “At 99x, we believe in creating leaders without titles. Our open, flat organizational structure empowers everyone – from an intern to a manager – to challenge and bring about change. It is uplifting to see how many employees use these opportunities to excel within and even outside their job roles.”
A diverse and inclusive environment where everyone has a voice
Another pillar of the culture within 99x is that it offers a safe, diverse, and inclusive environment. 25% of its entire workforce is female. Further, 78% of its workforce comprises millennials, of which 25% are on the management team. As the company expands globally, it’s now hiring in other Asian markets. Naturally, this move will see increased levels of diversity amongst its already diverse workforce.
Hence, the leadership of 99x places great emphasis on ensuring everyone has a voice. To that end, numerous initiatives exist for employees to voice their concerns. One example is the Xian Women’s forum, which serves as a space for women in the organization to share their experiences and discuss any issues they face. Aside from this, the company conducts regular engagement activities and pulse surveys to learn the needs of its employees and resolve any problems. Crucially, the flat management structure within 99x means all its employees are empowered to approach any leadership team member with concerns at any time.
These efforts show that within 99x, diversity and inclusion aren’t buzzwords. Instead, it’s a continuous commitment to make everyone within the organization feel heard and valued. “We have been proud to be listed as a Best Workplace for Women in Sri Lanka since the inaugural list was published in 2019, and this has been possible thanks to our open and inclusive work culture. Ours is not a culture that creates more opportunities for men or women in particular – we take pride in creating equal opportunities for all our people to excel,” said Shehani commenting on these efforts.
Ensuring the well-being of its employees in unprecedented times
Sri Lanka has gone through a lot recently, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the political instability and economic crisis. And yet, 99x has been able to continue business almost as usual. This resilience is due mainly to the inclusive efforts that allowed its employees to voice their concerns. As a result, its leadership took proactive steps to resolve these issues. These efforts guaranteed business continuity, which its many clients greatly appreciated.
Even now, in the face of Sri Lanka’s most significant economic crisis, 99x has implemented a cost-living allowance based on the USD exchange rates. “The rollout ensures that all its employees in Sri Lanka will receive a robust salary package, improving and revising all employees’ salary and allowance levels to reflect the rising cost of living better,” says Kalana Wijesekara, Director, Software Engineering at 99x.
Further, the company has undertaken several measures to deal with the ongoing daily power cuts. The latest is flexible loan schemes with education programs to help employees obtain solar power systems. In addition, 99x has partnered with leading service providers to facilitate online health consultations for its employees. As a result, the company has been able to protect its employees from the worst ongoing crisis Sri Lanka is experiencing.
Unwavering commitment to an employee-driven culture
The coveted status of Great Place to Work Legends and its many awards over 10 years highlights 99x’s unwavering commitment to its employees. Even amidst these unprecedented times, the company has stood by them to overcome any issues they may face. Thus, proving that an organization will always thrive when it chooses to focus on providing the best environment for its employees. Furthermore, the leading HR & People practices adopted by 99x offer a blueprint for the entire industry to build a positive, inclusive culture where individuals from all backgrounds work together and create innovative solutions for the world.