Tech Insights
March 22, 2018

From Happy Socks to Gender Equality

From Happy Socks to Gender Equality

"Well, we are past thestart-up phase. We are more of a scale-up now, Anders corrected me at the start."
Anders is a technopreneur and CTO of thefast-growing accounting scale-up, Wint, that partnered with Creative Softwarein December 2017.
I recently sat down with him to chatabout Wint’s experience working with dedicated teams and how their perceptionof outsourcing might have changed since they ventured into it.
But first, I wanted to know why Wintchose Sri Lanka as their outsourcing destination.
"Weather and beaches! Anderssaid right off the bat. Ha-ha jokes aside, we got great references from aperson we trust. He had been working with Creative Software for years andyears, so that was definitely the deciding factor for us. But I can’t lie… theidea of lounging on Sri Lankan beaches was very appealing as well."

Whatwere some of the main concerns you had before venturing into outsourcing?

Anders: Cultural differences were our biggestconcern. In Sweden we are very direct and result-oriented, so we were not surehow well we would be able to communicate with our colleagues if they are usedto hierarchy and complying with everything “the superiors” say.
We were also concerned about whetheroutsourcing would compromise our company culture. We have values and quirksthat guide our recruitment strategy and shape our office life. For example, weare very conscious about the gender imbalance in our industry and actively takemeasures to diversify our teams, as well as ensure that everyone receives thesame merit-based treatment.
We are also committed to making ouremployees feel at home, so – among other initiatives - we have a no-shoespolicy at our home office. (We give out loud-coloured happy socks to all ournew recruits.)
Our second concern was how our in-housedevelopers would feel about us outsourcing. We did not want to make them feelthreatened by it in any way.
Finally, we were worried about retention.

Whatprompted you to consider outsourcing?

Anders: Finding the right talent in Sweden hasbecome incredibly challenging as the talent pool is very small considering thesize of our tech industry.
The talent scarcity has made onboardingvery expensive, while the abundance of job opportunities has driven theturnover rates up.
Startups and scaleups have to be able togrow quickly. For our business to reach its fullest potential, we have to findalternatives to hiring at home.

Youare already several months into your partnership with Creative Software. Thisis your second visit to your Colombo-based team. Has your perception ofoutsourcing changed? If yes, how so?

Anders: Any concern I had about outsourcing isnow gone. This is not to say that it is going to work for everyone and with anyvendor. It is important to do thorough research, know your objectives and findthe right partner to work with.
In our case, going back to the concernsabout culture, understanding body language was a problem in the first few days,but that was a fun thing to learn. Also, sensitivity to hierarchy seemed likeit was going to be an issue, but just a week into our onsite visit – as soon aswe started getting to know each other – it was no longer an issue at all.Creative Software’s culture is based on the same values as ours: a flatorganisation that promotes equality and empathy.
As for my concern about retention, itdisappeared after the first call with Jonas [Director, Creative Software]. Hetold us how low the employee turnover rates are – consistently below 8% if I amnot mistaken.

Whatabout your concern about your in-house team’s perception of outsourcing?

Anders: We tackled this carefully. I had ameeting with our development team in which I explained our objectives foroutsourcing, as well as assured them that we will continue to recruit locallyas well.
The response was great. They understoodthe value our offshore team would bring to them and to the organisationoverall.

Andwhat about the happy socks: Have they made their way to Sri Lanka?

Anders: Sadly, we can’t expect our team in SriLanka to wear them – it is too hot. But, who knows, maybe we will introducehappy flip-flops. The important thing is that they are willing to embrace ourquirks and that they already share our values.


Finally,what does the future look like for Wint and your dedicated team at CreativeSoftware?

Anders: Well, we started with four people justa few months ago and we are already working on adding four more. So, it looksvery promising.
As I said, this is a long-term strategyfor us and we are excited to see where this road takes us.

About Wint: Swedish firm, Wint, builds artificial intelligence(AI)-powered cloud software for smarter and more efficient accounting. Wint’sdedicated team at Creative Software develops their mobile solutions and assistsin the development of their AI-powered core system.