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From 5 to 100

How to Grow a Company without Losing its Culture

September 5, 2019 | 11 minute read

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In the past three years, Kolibri Games has grown from five friends in a student flat to a full-fledged mobile games studio with a team of over 100 and two successful games with over 100 million global downloads. Our HR Lead Richard explains how we sustained such rapid growth without sacrificing our values or our company culture.

Prepare for take-off

Naturally, our rapid growth brought along all kinds of challenges referred to as “growing pains”. Every company experiences them while scaling up, and they can be deadly if ignored or treated carelessly. Over time, and in dealing with these challenges, we have learned how to treat these pains, and have discovered ways to maintain our culture and values, even in times of rapid growth.

Finding the right talent

In Idle Factory Tycoon, it only takes a single tap to add another worker to the factory floor. In reality, our hiring process is based on a careful examination of skill and talent, and continuous interaction with other team members.

A vital part of our recruitment process is the Kolibri Games Trial Days. Two onsite trial days during which we determine every candidate’s team fit and assess their skill level. While flying everyone over to Berlin is quite an investment, these two days represent a great opportunity for candidates to find out whether Kolibri Games is the right place for them. At the same time, they are a great chance for us to get to know applicants better in person and find out how they interact and work in a team environment or even under stress or pressure.

(Click here if you want to know more about the Kolibri Games Trial Days)

That being said, we do not only attribute high importance to expertise, but also to a candidate’s potential, and passion to keep learning. Kolibri Games continues to grow, adapt and learn from new challenges — and we want our team to do the same.

Only by carefully selecting who we welcome on board can we ensure to not drift off course along the way. It might cost us a lot of time and money, but it’s an investment worth making.

Staying healthy

At Kolibri Games, we work in a silent office, fully focused, for eight hours a day. The rest of the day is reserved for leisure. We don’t crunch and no one works on the weekend. We all work in one big room, from intern to CEO — without barriers that could separate us into different groups. We use internal chats, our lobby, and meeting rooms for communication. If I need to brainstorm with a colleague, instead of starting a discussion in the office that would disturb others, I shoot them a message and reserve a room for us.

(Want to know more about our silent office, the Mainland? Click here)

Burst bubbles

We knew that as soon as we split up teams to focus on different projects, we were running the risk of creating isolated bubbles: After a while, people start optimizing processes to meet their own goals and lose sight of the bigger picture. Different teams can even start viewing each other as competition, which is incredibly harmful.

We prevent these bubbles from forming, or burst them early on!

At work, we make sure that teams continue to exchange ideas, collaborate and share solutions they have found. We continuously hold joint events, presentations and meetings that involve all of our employees, and allow them to share what they are working on. Outside of work, we organize parties, dinners, sports and other events — even holidays with the entire team -to ensure that Kolibris are not just a bunch of people working for the same company, but a big group of friends.

Reaching goals the right way

We want to build an extensive portfolio of idle games, but in a sustainable way.

We will keep on expanding and start forming a new team for our third game next year, and while finding the right people to add to your team sometimes feels like looking for the needle in a haystack, patience pays off! Only by growing sustainably can we ensure that our growth will not compromise our values and our culture.

Written by Tom Weber

Interested in working in our People & Culture team?


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