Django Digital’s founders on reinforcing a holistic culture with transparent communication
Founded in 2019 by the entrepreneurial duo Shivang Shah and Aashay Shah, Django Digital is an integrated digital solution provider. Driven by passion, inspired by excellence and backed by Schbang, the company started right out of their living room and today, they continue to grow the business even amid the ongoing crisis. To support a growing firm, it is also critical to chart out a robust talent management strategy and work processes.
As we observe, a wave of new startups capitalizing on the shift towards hybrid work model, Django Digital isn’t far behind. In an interview with us, Aashay Shah & Shivang Shah, Founders of Django Digital share their story of transition to hybrid work and talk about tackling the challenges.
What unique challenges does the new hybrid world of work bring in for your industry? How can talent and business leaders tackle the current and emerging talent challenges?
The world has been evolving during the pandemic – these unprecedented times have fast tracked the onset of the digital age. As a digitally driven agency, Django has always been in the forefront in this space. So, while a hybrid culture could bring about challenges for most companies across industries, we in fact made a conscious decision to turn into a hybrid model.
What others might view as a challenge, is something we look at as an advantage. The hybrid model is helping us utilise our workforce in an efficient manner and maximise our output as well. And at the end of the day, it's not just about the agency but also the people that work here; their comfort and safety is of utmost importance to us. This hybrid model allows that freedom to them.
Regardless of whether you are a small agency or a large company, tackling HR related challenges is a constant. The best way that we at Django look at overcoming these talent challenges is by being transparent with our candidates and showcasing our culture to them, giving them a sense of how our agency works like a big family. We are also of a strong opinion that employee retention is essential as well as hiring new talent as and when required so as to not overburden our current workforce.
Culture is the holistic force that guides actions and interactions in the workplace. How can leaders create an Organizational Culture work for a dispersed workforce, without an office?
We admit it is difficult to maintain the same level of enthusiasm or the culture that Django has had in a pre-Covid world. However, being a digital agency, we understood how integral it was to evolve our culture to accommodate the post-Covid mandates.
At Django, we host a virtual town hall meeting every Friday where one individual shares knowledge about a certain skill set that they have, thus in turn helping others to upskill as well. This also enables interactivity between everyone, trying to maintain the culture we have built.
On the work front, we believe clear and transparent communication is key at such times. Django is always looking to positively reinforce the holistic culture of our agency. And with the hybrid model of work, this will only get better.
The pandemic has blurred the lines between personal and professional, resulting in workplace stress and a negative impact on employees' productivity. How are you tackling the challenge? Have you made any recent investments in such tools or are you planning to?
While we haven’t invested in a tool per se, we have taken measures to ensure our employees and their mental health is at its peak. We understand the stress and the pressure that comes along with working during a pandemic and we want the best for our employees. Just a while ago, we set aside one day of the month, calling it a ‘Mental Health Day’ for everyone at Django. This day was essentially for everyone to switch off and take a day to check up on themselves to see how they are doing. In addition to that, we also arranged free sessions for each employee with a certified therapist, to discuss any woes they might have.
For the next one year, what are your key talent priorities?
Being a very young company we look to hire young and budding individuals. With a workforce of close to 50 people, our average age is just 24, with a healthy mix of Gen Z and millennial folks. That will continue to be a priority for us – we want to hire young talent who are willing to grow along with our agency.
The digital world is moving at a faster pace now than ever. We look to recruit people who are in harmony with this pace, having to deliver quality output in an allotted frame of time. They should also be in line with digital trends that are making their way through the world of advertising and marketing.
Creativity and Innovation
Within this crowded and ever changing digital landscape it becomes imperative to have talent that is constantly and consistently striving for creative innovation not just in terms of leveraging trends but also being at the forefront of creating them. We are always looking to add talent who think differently to help us grow different verticals focused towards innovation in the long run.
As a business and tech leader, what advice would you give to tackle the HR tech adoption challenge, especially among a distributed/hybrid workforce?
With a young workforce, we haven't had that many challenges when it comes to adopting technology because their retention for new technologies is very strong. In fact, we've seen a lot of inputs and suggestions from our younger team members on how to streamline our everyday work. It's always been a collective decision on all matters even including the sometimes neglected HR functions.