Congratulations and welcome aboard as part of the New Black crew! This document has been tailor-made for you. Being the newest member here, you should really get to know us better. We are New Black and in this booklet, we will explain who we are, what we do, and what we believe in. We want your time with us to be the best thing that's ever happened to you. At New Black, we take quite a different approach to making a living; You spend a lot of your time at work, so why not spend that time at a company that you adore and that adores you, right?!
"Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!" #newblacklife
CHAPTER 1: THE COMPANY
We are rebels with a cause. We embrace, encourage and drive adaptiveness to change. By challenging the wide acceptance of legacy technology in outdated IT architectures, we focus on delivering what our customers need instead of what they think they need. We challenge the status quo, with one clear mission; making our customers adaptive to change.
At New Black, we have a strong vision when it comes to retail.
It is not the smartest nor the strongest that survive, but the ones that are the most adaptive to change.
For retailers and brands, this is truer now than ever before. Being one of the most volatile sectors, the average retailer's lifespan has drastically decreased over the past few decades. That's because the world is ever changing; not adapting fast enough and therefore falling behind is a certain death sentence. Even though the need to transform is widely recognized, the execution is subpar, if present at all.
We believe in Moore's law; "Every eighteen months the capacity of technology doubles while at the same time cost are cut in half". This is where New Black steps in and takes the floor.
HOW WE DO IT
Meet EVA; a technology- and cloud-agnostic Unified Commerce platform. Our platform offers real-time insights into products, orders, inventory, customers and much more. Which allows store associates, customer care employees and managers to leverage this information to deliver a tailor-made service that leads to the best possible customer experience.
All of this data springs from our Unified Commerce solution covering products, orders, inventory, customers and much more. We provide best of technology at all times. The latest software is integrated seamlessly and continuously, fully exploiting Moore's law.
Lastly, ever changing regulations in VAT, data- and privacy laws, and ongoing organizational reconfigurations require a flexible approach to compliancy. We are aware of country-specific legislation, differences in VAT, data protection and privacy and will help our customers mitigate them within one unified digital solution.
NEW BLACK PROFILE
- We have an amazing office, situated on the 29th floor of the World Trade Center in Almere, The Netherlands.
- We have an awesome office pet, a majestic bearded dragon called API.
- EVA is the best member of our staff. She was created by our in-house nerds and she now helps retailers to unify their commerce.
- We are fully self-funded. We don't rely on outside financing, allowing us to always do our own thing and avoid any obstacles preventing us from achieving our core aims.
- Our IP belongs to us, we think this is pretty special and we are determined to make it work.
- We love cool brands and innovative retailers! Retail is what rocks our boat.
- We eat, breathe and sleep change. We encourage it. Our Unified Commerce SaaS toolset is an example of some of the best technology on the market.
- We are not in it for the money. We work with customers we really want to work with and we are really selective about the projects we work on. We are not afraid to say no.
CHAPTER 2: NEW BLACK CULTURE
We believe our employees are our most valuable assets. That’s why we strongly believe in intrinsic motivation. We decided to take a different turn and we facilitate our employees in anything that they need to flourish in their own way. You are important to us.
NOT LIKE ANY OTHER COMPANY
We know every company claims this, but we really aren't. How many companies have you seen that don't have 'bosses', 'managers', an HR department or anything related to that? New Black has implemented Holacracy. You are your own boss. 'Management' is a forbidden word here. Holacrazy right?
You are in charge. Through our choice to remove obstacles preventing speedy decision-making, we give you full power and trust to make decisions. You are a responsible member of our team and you have the best interests of ourselves and our customers at heart, so we don't see why we need anyone to validate your decisions.
Some projects might have a team lead; someone who's sole purpose is helping things on their way. Again, we promise; no managers or bosses. Instead of operating top-down, at New Black power is distributed evenly throughout the organization. This gives individuals the trust, freedom and authority to make decisions themselves.
There is one downside to this way of working: we are not very good at mentoring or holding your hand. Without a manager, you may find nobody is going to tell you what to do or hold you responsible for what you do. You need to find your own way. Try, fall, get back up and try again. The ability to find answers to questions you may have without any intensive guidance is what we specifically look for in our employees.
At first, it might be a bit scary to not have a manager to report to, and to handle all responsibilities by yourself. Luckily, we do not only have the most capable people in the industry, they are also really friendly and here to help you. Scoot over to your colleague's desk. Ask them to help you with a problem you're facing. Drink a beer together. Don't hesitate to ask for anyone's help, that's what we are here for.
Sometimes you can feel the electricity in the air, an inevitable discharge to come. At New Black, we work with tensions.
When something isn't working properly, friction is set to arise. Friction becomes tension, and when lightning strike you are forced to face your demons and make amends. Unlike what you might have learned, tension is a good thing. Tensions expose what is bothering people, and forces us to fix it. From a fire you can rise like a phoenix.
A tension is the gap between a current situation and a preferred situation. Tensions are sensed from a role carrying a specific purpose. Tension is New Black's fuel. If this is too vague for your taste; have a chat with our Holacracy coach.
We maintain lists of the projects we're working on and check in on these weekly. After we make sure everything is on track and everyone is satisfied, we handle the previously mentioned tensions and then make sure our customers and clients are satisfied and happy as well.
We prefer to talk face to face. The next best alternatives are video and phone calls.
CUT THE CRAP
We believe things are more than the sum of their parts, that is one of the reasons why we work from a holistic perspective and refuse to optimize any sub-process or sub-system without looking at it at from a holistic point of view.
You get to decide your own hours, whether you come to the office or not. We always encourage you to come now and then to make sure you stay connected to your peers. But we do not look at your holidays, or days off; there is no regulation. There is trust. We trust you to do your work; whether it's from home of at the office, day or night. And that you have your (working) House in Order. If you do go on a holiday, if you are sick or you are off; your accountabilities should be taken care of.
It’s okay if you’re out sick! (We do not keep track once again on your (sick/off/holiday) days off; you are responsible for making sure the accountabilities of your role are met. Whether it’s by returning to the accountabilities when necessary, of giving them to a peer temporarily. We help each other out!
To make sure you do not have any conflicts in your holidays or days off; make sure you use the New Black event Calendar (Events- NewBlack- in Groups)!
WORK FROM HOME
No, I’m not referring to the sexy song from the girl band ‘Fifth Harmony’. I would like to very briefly remind you of how valuable you are to us at New Black and why we want to keep you in the best condition possible.
So please when you work at home:
- Don’t forget to ‘take breaks’, get up sometimes, walk over to your Jura machine, make a little pirouette, or do your own personal funny dance (and don’t forget to film this and send it to our WhatsApp group). Put on some lights. We know, your personal cave is ‘cool’ like that in the dark, but it's also healthier if you have some sense of the day.
- Pay attention to your screen height, keyboard, and mouse pad placement. We want your work environment to be as comfortable at home as in the office.
Whether you are at home or at the office:
- Still, get up, don’t sit for longer than 30 minutes straight. Stand at your desk, or dance like you are at a dire needed festival while in your call. Or race to the other side with your skateboard.
- And if you are pregnant take extra breaks if needed.
- Switch it up. Work on this project. Work on that project. Switch it up. Or don’t. Just don’t become ‘bored’ of looking at the same thing for hours, apparently, this isn’t very good for your mental state.
Unwanted attention: if someone bothers you, makes you feel uncomfortable, or something inappropriate happens to you; please make a report out of this. Talk to someone you trust, or go to Lub ten Napel, Steven Bakker, Marlies our Coach, or Anna Korf. It doesn't make a difference if this is internally or externally. For example, a customer jelling profanity at you is also something you should and can be able to talk about.
We also make an effort to treat each other with respect. We are equals, embody this!
CHAPTER 3: THE PEOPLE
We only hire the best of the best, the bar is extremely high. The quality of the people we hire is what makes this whole thing work and we would like to keep it that way. We never drop the standard, we only raise the bar. We need people who are autonomous and passionate. We need people that we can trust with being a Ferrari. We need people with a good sense of humor, who believe in the things we do and who are ready to challenge the status quo.
We hired you. That means you are great at what you do. Excuse us, not great, the best. If you're not the best yet, we believe you have the potential to become the best. Repeat this mantra whenever you are in doubt, because if you don't believe in yourself, why would anyone else? Take this advice to heart. No one has the same unique perspective, skills and experience that you can bring to New Black. That is why we hired you and we can't wait to see what the future holds for you. And us. Together.
Since we have an extraordinary work environment, and because we work through Holacracy, we want our new employ-friends to be as dedicated as we are. If anyone tells you no, feel free to change their mind. We expect you to do so.
NEW BLACK DNA
A New Blacker is:
- dedicated, determined and adaptive
- worthy, humble and respectful
- resilient, you get back up after being knocked down
- fun and a little weird; unconventional
- an expert in their own discipline
- collaborative and able to apply a broad set of skills to a project
- interested in coding and retail
- not afraid to speak up about how they feel
- not afraid to say no
- trustworthy and transparent, especially when working with clients
- responsible and accountable
- demanding of resources
- positive and enthusiastic
Enthusiasm and a positive attitude makes for happy people, and happiness is contagious. People want to be with, be near, and work with happy people.
PART 4: YOU
Now that you know who we are, what we do and what we value, it's time for you to find your place among us.
Find yourself a desk, have a chat with coworkers, hang out at the bar with a coffee, beer or a glass of wine. Once you have settled, you can get to work. However, most importantly, don't forget to have fun!
Every day we provide lunch, fresh fruits and delicious coffee. On Monday mornings we have a company-wide standup where everyone tells everyone about their previous week, their weekend and their coming week. On Fridays, we blow off some steam together and hang out at the bar with a nice cold beverage and some delicious snacks.
MARK YOUR TERRITORY
Just because someone has been here for a longer time than you, that doesn't make them any better or more important. You are the guardian of your own role, protect it. Don't be afraid to say no. Also, say no to gossip and beware of little cultures. Job descriptions are not set in stone and interchangeable to your liking. Want to do something? Do it. Make a new role, claim it and make it your accountability.
Everyone makes mistakes. We don't mind. In fact, we encourage you to risk making mistakes. Making mistakes indicates that you tried in the first place. We love it if you try. Any doubts? Ask around. Ask what 'being a Ferrari' means. Have faith in your talents, take risks and embrace your creativity.
Now that you've settled in, made some friends and can't wait to get to work, let's go! You can pick your own projects so you can make sure you're always a hundred percent dedicated to them. Do what you're passionate about. After you've learnt the basics, done a shine session and you feel like you're excelling, you can think about your development. What soaring heights do you want to reach? Aim for the stars.
- Is what I'm currently doing the best thing I could be working on?
- Which project will directly benefit New Black and its customers most?
- What is or isn't New Black doing that it actually really should?
- What work will exploit my specific skills and talent to the greatest extent?
Let the answers to these questions guide you. Test your work. Challenge colleagues to prove you wrong and regularly check in with customers.
Feedback is a gift. Please don't feel attacked and use it as a means for growing.
You've got this! In case you have any questions, feel free to ask anyone around you. We are all just a bunch of nerds here, and now you are one of us. One of Us. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.
Now that you've got all the weapons you need, FIGHT.