The strength of any company, especially in the digital age, lies in its people. A company’s team is its heart and must be nurtured. BISTEC Global has understood the power of its people from its start. Its guiding principle when developing its people and culture has been ‘Hearts, not Heads’ with the firm belief that its team members should be looked at as hearts, not heads. This philosophy drives BISTEC’s success as they are awarded a Great Place to Work scoring 96%, which is well above the industry benchmark of the top 50 certified companies.
The journey of BISTEC Global
A company that works in software development and quality assurance, IT infrastructure services, accounting, and other digital services, BISTEC Global began its journey in 2017 with just one member. However, over the last five years, it has become a collective of 130+ professionals from around Sri Lanka, working with organizations in 12 countries across five continents to expand their capabilities. Today, BISTEC is a reputed global partner for businesses to expand their capabilities, and a massive part of its success has been down to how they treat its people, starting with its vision of ‘Hearts, not heads.’
The unique ‘Hearts, not Heads’ philosophy of BISTEC Global
Simply put, ‘Hearts, not Heads’ is the people-centric philosophy that has driven BISTEC Global from its inception. The philosophy of looking at its team members as more than just employees and heads hired to meet a business need, but as people with hearts that need to be nurtured and grown. BISTEC Global has built a people-centric culture driven by technology from this foundation. As a result, the company takes pride in the growth of the number of hearts working towards a common goal – business excellence in the digital world. It’s a distinctive leadership approach that has offered great returns, even through trying times.
How BISTEC Global became a Great Place to Work
By focusing on growth and adapting to change from a personal level instead of a business level and understanding the need to give people the tools they need to grow. Alongside these efforts, the company invests actively in maintaining a positive work environment. For instance, when the pandemic struck, BISTEC proactively ensured its teams could work from home without issue. Spontaneous virtual coffee hangouts replaced water-cooler banter. Online events, celebrations, and game sessions are hosted regularly to break up the monotony of working from home and allow workplace camaraderie to thrive.
Other efforts to nurture and sustain a people-centric culture included long-term initiatives like tech talks, knowledge-sharing sessions, creating a people’s forum, maintaining a memories page, and encouraging BISTEC Club activities. BISTEC Global has always been an equal-opportunity employer, not by careful design, but by its senior leadership’s default philosophy and mindset and looking at its employees solely on what they have to offer in terms of skills and values, not gender or background. 43% of BISTEC’s workforce are women, a number significantly higher than most other companies, regardless of industry.
Exploring the ‘Hearts, not Heads’ ecosystem
Outside of work, BISTEC Global has strived to grow its employees as people. A perfect example of this phenomenon is BISTEC’s Hearts Academy, which launched three months ago. It focuses on developing the required technical, soft, and life skills and giving its team the tools for personal and professional development tools. It does so through a holistic program that looks at employees’ lives.
As such, the BISTEC’s Hearts Academy program encompasses everything from how they want to grow and their long-term career plans (even if those plans do not include BISTEC Global) to help them achieve these dreams. The Hearts Academy also allows its team to explore new technologies like AI and the Metaverse to give the BISTEC team a chance to grow their technical skills.
Further, the key to BISTEC’s people-centric is a flat structure that allows for transparent and open communication across all levels of the company. One way that open dialogue is always maintained is through monthly Ask Anything sessions. These are town-hall-style meetings where any member of the BISTEC Global team can literally ask anything and share concerns, both business and non-business related, with its senior leadership for their advice.
The heart is but one part of a larger body
There is also the Helping Hearts Program, an in-house crisis response unit set up about three months ago to find ways to help members of the BISTEC struggling in the wake of our national crisis and the pandemic. Three teams of BISTEC Global looked at different pain points. They worked together to help their employees with problems like the extreme shortage of fuel, cooking gas, and medicine. Importantly, it also formed a support network advocating for mental health and providing emotional support for its teams.
While ‘Hearts, not Heads’ prioritizes the growth of each employee, it also values the power of teamwork. BISTEC Global has many pathways that foster cohesion as a larger unit, even among a team distributed widely across the island as far as Jaffna and the Central Province.
One way this takes place is through the BISTEC Houses, which take inspiration from the TV series Game of Thrones. Team members are sorted into one of the three major houses from the TV show (Stark, Targaryen, and Lannister). Like any Game of Thrones scenario, there is a decent amount of (friendly rivalry) among the houses, added to bonding activities, like quizzes, gaming tournaments, and sporting events to work towards fostering a close team bond across the 130+ strong team.
Building a future at BISTEC Global
With clients across 12 countries and five continents, BISTEC Global is already a global organization. Over the next five years, BISTEC hopes to continue increasing its footprint and enter new markets to change how businesses can harness software in their respective domains. To that end, it has formed long-term partnerships with influential technology leaders such as Microsoft and is working on several apps that stand to disrupt their respective industries. Being certified as a Great Place to Work proves they are on the right track to becoming a force in their field globally. As the company grows, so will its people, and BISTEC is always looking for new talent to contribute to its exceptional workplace. Anyone looking to join this vision can find out more about openings at BISTEC on their Careers page.