A Culture with Character

October 12, 2016 • Veena Chillar

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” — e.e. cummings

I joined Greenwave Systems just a few short months ago after many years of running my own executive HR consultancy firm. I built a career helping innovators manage growth and foster agility by approaching human resources from a business perspective: quite simply, what you invest in employees directly correlates to your ROI.

Human Resources isn’t supposed to be the dreaded policing agency it so often personifies — underminers who enforce dress codes and delight in increasing administrative frustrations. HR is supposed to foster engagement, solidify a shared mission, and ensure that employees feel valued and stimulated, and encouraged both personally and professionally. That function secures a healthy corporate evolution. Personnel are your primary asset, and you invest considerable effort into how to enhance and leverage your assets if you want to succeed. I was surprised that Martin Manniche’s vision was completely aligned with mine in this regard, and I was delighted to join the Greenwave team for that very reason. Trust me, you don’t often encounter a CEO who approaches HR’s purpose from this vantage.

As progressive as Greenwave is, we still have challenges. This company just capped a period of rapid global expansion with the acquisition of Predixion Software. We are growing, which is always accompanied by some awkwardness and pain. Still, we’re charging forward without tripping over ourselves — we’re impressed with the individuals we acquired from the Predixion team, our technologies and skillsets complement each other in every sense, and the character of our constituents is unmatched in the field. That character is our secret sauce.

We produce cutting-edge technology and we’re staffed with bonafide geniuses, but the fact of the matter is that lots of tech companies can make the same claims. What gives us an edge and fills me with such confidence is our possession of something far less quantifiable, but far more determinant in long-term prosperity.

Character matters at Greenwave. We hire strategically. We don’t just acquire bodies to fill seats. We very specifically recruit people who can take us where we want to go and who enhance our culture. This is core to our business and extraordinary in a global, multicultural company. It’s not that we are all required to hold the same opinions or follow some cultish life philosophy. But we certainly do exhibit a shared ethos of being accountable to each other, doing our best work and pushing toward the edge, and doing so without tiresome posturing or politics. Relatively frictionless onboarding, like what we are experiencing with Predixion, is priceless to a growing company. Lots of perfectly nice people have impressive skills and great qualifications, but how they mesh with their coworkers and how they blend and contribute to a functioning unit holds even greater importance to the leadership here. And that is reflected in the composition of our staff.

I have over 20 years of global human resources experience spanning periods of explosive growth and complete meltdown, so I know it’s not all sunshine and roses — not even at Greenwave. My team is still small and, like all our divisions, we face issues of bandwidth. We’ve been engrossed in strategic recruitment and global integration, and we face logistical hurdles and communication challenges with offices spread across the U.S., Europe and Asia. But I promise we are up to the task, and I’ve been incredibly impressed by the cooperation and commitment displayed by colleagues in all of our locations.

Beyond a paycheck, people need to feel safe and trusted and challenged in their work, and HR at Greenwave strives to ensure that this is engrained in our culture and overall operational environment. For continued success, Greenwave must be a space where you can excel. There’s great joy to be had in helping people make a positive professional impact and have a rewarding career — that’s what fills me with a sense of purpose.

As we segue from scrappy start-up to leaders in our market, my biggest focus in the coming months will be increasing global employee engagement and rolling out expanded in-house talent development programs and opportunities. We’re definitely still growing, but we’ll continue to cultivate a culture that is reflective of who we are at the core.

Greenwave will always be a company where character matters.