It is all about the colony
Being part of Xebia, Xpirit is not your average company. They do things our own way, which is sometimes different from what other companies do. It's not always easy to explain our mission and values because what you see on the surface is not necessarily the same as what happens inside. In coming up with ways to tell their story, Alex Thissen found a lot of similarities between Xpirit and a beehive. He shares his story as if they are a bee colony. Find out how well the analogy can convey their view on work and our people.
We are a group that consists of wonderful people that believe in the adventure of running a people-first company. When they joined, they started their journey. Some of them 7 years ago, others more recently, yet all hearing the same, unchanged story. We think our people define who we are. There is no Xpirit without the people. Nor would there be if we did not form the group as we have over the past years. The future of Xpirit is determined by the well-being of the group, which in turn is dependent on the participation and contributions of every individual.
The same interdependency of a group to its members and vice versa can be found in a bee colony. The colony is formed by all the bees that are part of it. An individual bee cannot survive without the group, and the colony cannot exist without the bees.
Different roles and all equally valuable
Each bee plays a unique role in the colony through the work they do. There are various types of bees in a colony, such as worker bees, drones, and queens. Most of the bees are worker bees. These take on different tasks during their lives, ranging from foraging for nectar and creating honey, building the hive, taking care of the queen and young drones, and nurturing the eggs and newly born bees. In turn, the drones make sure the colony stays healthy and grows, and the queens run the beehive and its colony by taking care of the bees and raising them. It is a symbiotic ecosystem inside the colony, where each bee, regardless of type or tasks, plays a crucial part and makes an essential contribution. Even though there are different types of bees, every single bee is equally important, even the queen. They all need each other to survive and flourish.
"We want to help you unleash your potential and "inner bee" by becoming part of our colony."
You can see the same at Xpirit. Each person chooses the role they want to play and performs tasks accordingly. Some choose to work more inside of the beehive and are less visible to the outside world. They work in teams or pairs for our customers, but also build inside of Xpirit. They show the direction of Xpirit by sharing their experience and knowledge and organizing social events and off-sites to grow as a group. They act as a voice in internal initiatives and help shape the future and direction of Xpirit.
Others find joy in being more public and share knowledge in meetups, conferences, and with management of our customers. These people are more in the public eye, and therefore more visible to the outside world. However, not everyone does presales, is a speaker or a Microsoft MVP, nor is that expected of anyone. Not every bee goes outside foraging. Some are building the honey rates, creating honey, or ventilating the hive to make a nice atmosphere and help the hive run smoothly. And again, all people and roles are equally important.
Bee colonies appear to act as a single organism, made up of all the individual lives and actions of the bees. They seem to have a shared mind, composed of all the unique minds and thoughts of individual bees. The shared mind, also known as hivemind, is about the mission and purpose of the colony. It implies a form of internal communication that is both spoken and unspoken to keep everyone in sync and aware of what is happening. It allows the colony to act in a purposeful manner, instead of performing uncoherent individual actions.
Xpirit also has a shared mindset. Everyone knows the mission of learning and growing together, and the values that help guide us. They have the same vision of building high-quality software using the Microsoft platform and helping customers achieve success by applying these ideas and insights. Our people have a combined body of knowledge and experience. Sharing that knowledge is in our genes. This way, everyone can benefit from one another and tap into more knowledge than any single person could ever manage to attain. Asking one person how modern software development is done, will give you the same consistent answer. It might be different, but is part of the same, bigger picture. Some are software engineers writing code, while others consult with management on processes and organizing teams to align with business requirements and architecture. Still, others maintain stable and robust solutions in the cloud. Even though the answer might be specific to a certain phase or aspect of software development, the puzzle pieces of the answers you receive will fit together into a perfect picture.
Busy bees all together
With all the energy floating around, we are a bunch of busy bees. There are lots of individual actions that lead to many accomplishments. We organize meetups, bootcamps, write a magazine, spend evenings together in a leisurely fashion, brainstorm ideas, and make plans. We reflect on how we are doing and reorganize accordingly, do activities related to marketing and company or personal branding. Some of it is publicly visible, and some internal. Everyone is encouraged to venture and explore by themselves and do what they feel is good and beneficial for the group of Xpirit. No rules, just guidance and the freedom to make autonomous decisions: it keeps the energy flowing. And we have lots of energy to keep us all going and inspiring each other.
Interacting with our environment
Bees are well known for their contribution to the environment. They live in a permanent symbiosis with their surroundings, collecting nectar to survive and pollinating the flowers in the process. Young bees rarely venture out of the hive. It is at a later stage that they are harvesting nectar and discovering the landscape in search of new flowers and sources of food and materials. That is how we also bring experience to the outside world and share knowledge to cross-pollinate between companies, organizations, and communities. In the process, we are collecting newfound knowledge, ideas, and insights to share both internally and with the rest of the world. Some choose to do this in a more private setting with customers, others prefer presenting or blogging about it, or by coaching and advising within Xpirit, our hive.
More than meets the eye
Some aspects of a bee colony are plain to see, such as the harvesting bees on the outside, going out into the world, all very exposed and visible. But there is much more happening on the inside of the beehive. Working at Xpirit does not mean that you must be a very senior or experienced engineer, be a public speaker, or have a high rating on StackOverflow. Xpirit exists because everyone plays a role that is equally valuable, and many of those roles cannot be seen from the outside. There is plenty of opportunity to grow. We all share the same mindset, share our knowledge, and thrive together, because of the balanced ecosystem that we form together. Some of this has to be experienced in person. You are invited to come take a look at our beehive, the Xpirit headquarters, in Hilversum. Come talk to us so we can talk more about who we are and how we work. If you consider yourself a bee without many flying hours or a specific role, don’t worry. We welcome everyone who wants to learn and grow.