Presented by Equal Experts

Cultivating Belonging: Building a Thriving and Inclusive Community at Equal Experts

By Philippa Rose-Tite

As steeped in myth and miracle as many software development houses can be, it can be hard to differentiate the wheat from the chaff.

We’ve all heard the legends of the impossible questions from Google (why you can even Google the impossible interview questions from Google), the supposed iron-fist of Steve Jobs and the apparent unrestricted freedom of Hootsuite.

So when you ask for context about Equal Experts one does understand that it’s probably best to ask the people who work on the actual teams at Equal Experts about their day to day, instead of reading the websites or listening to the water cooler conversation.

Equal Experts South Africa has a remote first approach to their way of working.

Long before Covid-19 forced so many companies into exploring remote work, Equal Experts had teams collaborating and delivering successfully from different parts of the world.

This approach, although innovative at the time, has proved its value to customers in terms of team diversity, breadth of hiring options and lower cost of staffing, as well as to staff, in terms of work/life balance and international opportunities.

Sandra Matambo, Talent Recruitment at Equal Experts, became a mom during her time at the company.

“Remote first meant that I was able to come back to work after maternity leave and still take my baby to check-ups, still breast-feed comfortably and still be there for all the ‘firsts’ that I would have missed if I had been commuting to work everyday. It meant I was able to have a true work-life balance and not just a compromise.”

Remote first means that employees work from home but when they are needed at a client or for Equal Expert meetings, they attend those in person.

As Mike Geyser, senior Software Engineer on a UK client says; “With remote first it is still really important to have human contact to reinforce relationships. So, I still go onsite to visit clients.”

“But the nice thing about remote first processes and the disciplines around them is that it really helps with communication and when you are travelling the systems and tools keep working and you aren’t inconvenienced at all.”

The company talks about working like ‘grown-ups’, and for anyone who has ever had to account for every moment of every day on their timesheet this may sound like a far-fetched dream.

Steve Riley, Business Unit Lead clarified what this means in the day-to-day “We want to work with people who want to be here, who are passionate about technology, love what they do, and are excited about being able to deliver great value to customers.”

“It means working in an ego-free environment with people who have deep experience, are disciplined and can be relied upon by their colleagues and clients, without timesheeting every coffee-break.”

When you interview individuals across the various teams at Equal Experts one gets a sense of quiet contentment from them. There is no doubt that the work can be challenging.

Engaged with complex overseas-based customers that have large problems to solve, they are contracted into those clients because they are experts at what they do.

Which means the level of technical challenge can sometimes be daunting. In a recent discussion with senior Software Engineer, Lyndsay Lawrence she articulated this quite clearly; “Everyone I work with is highly skilled, highly professional and expert in their field.”

“I always feel that I have something I can learn from others in my team, and in my network, but also that I have something I can teach.”

“There is a culture of building each other up and team-work at EE that I haven’t seen in other places.”

Equal Experts South Africa’s distinctive approach to work is evident, and as we’ve had the opportunity to spend time with the individuals in different teams, it’s evident that they are shaping a community that delivers great value to customers, while being a safe haven to which they can contribute and belong.

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Cultivating Belonging: Building a Thriving and Inclusive Community at Equal Experts