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Building a Compelling Company Culture at VesselsValue

4 min read

The Last Decade

The Company’s recent milestone birthday has naturally prompted many of us at VesselsValue to reflect and look back over the past ten years. As someone who has been here since the beginning, watching VV grow, develop, and succeed has been an exciting and satisfying journey.

Overall, most memories are fond, and every day we witness real progress. Our processes and departments have become more intelligent and sophisticated, problems are consistently being solved and our goals are being achieved much faster.

VV was, and still is, an ambitious company that wants to grow fast and have an impact, with an overriding commitment to excellence and integrity in the services it delivers. Of course, along the way we have made a few mistakes. Despite the cliché, we always try to take a positive from a negative and learn from our mistakes in a way that has undoubtedly allowed us to learn what we value, what works best, and frankly, what doesn’t.

Learning and Evolving

Understanding ourselves better (a natural sign of ageing!) has resulted in a clearer company culture and better alignment within the Company. More recently, the pandemic has made us communicate better and more regularly to the Company as a whole and be more inclusive when talking about priorities and vision. And like so many businesses over the past 18 months, we made no hesitation in implementing new systems and processes in order that we maintain the same high standard of products and customer service to clients.

A more self-aware, concrete, and clear culture has been vital to our extensive recruitment over the past decade, and we pride ourselves on recruiting and retaining, top talent. Right now, we are actively recruiting across the whole business (commercial, developers, researchers, modellers, and analysts), and we are on the lookout for people that will share our values but also offer different perspectives and challenge us in all the right ways.

Like many businesses we have a set of core values that we consider critical for success: innovation, expertise, passion, collaboration. These values can be seen hanging on the walls in all our offices and we hope these cultural elements distinguish our company in the eyes of the employees and of course, our clients. But it’s easy for a business to talk about ‘company culture’, what is harder is making sure behaviour inside a company aligns with cultural aspirations. In other words, when it comes to their core values, do companies walk the talk?

Measuring how successful we are at delivering on our core values is tricky. But I do believe a business can hold itself to account by always asking itself if its employees are being given the best support and all the tools possible to thrive and succeed. In this respect, I believe we have come on leaps and bounds over the past ten years, and the growth we saw in the last financial year especially, is a testament to that.

So we can measure, share and celebrate our many successes, lots of work has been done internally to assess work quality and track productivity more intelligently. This helps the business manage our resources better, but it also enables us to recognise and reward teams and people doing jobs where ‘success’ is less easily measured. We are a data-driven company, so naturally, we want to refer to unbiased metrics wherever possible to support effective decision making.

Looking Ahead

There is a wonderful culture here that continues to run through the veins of VV as we get larger and ever more efficient. Our culture is slightly quirky, with bags of personality and enthusiasm in spades!  I love the sense of urgency and hope we maintain a mindset that encourages people to be bold.

Founder and CEO, Richard Rivlin with Georgina Gavin, Chief Experience Officer (2021).

Many years ago, Richard Rivlin, our Founder and CEO, told me he would much rather we make ten decisions and get a couple wrong along the way because we would still achieve our goals faster. This attitude and approach has always suited me, and during my first few years at VV in particular, I felt very empowered, as I watched many of my close friends struggle with some of the constraints that often come with larger, more bureaucratic organisations.

So, as we look forward to the next ten years, we will keep the innovative ideas flowing, unafraid to make a load more bold and exciting decisions along the way!

Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to provide general information and not to provide advice or guidance in relation to particular circumstances. Readers should not make decisions in reliance on any statement or opinion contained in this blog.

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