Australian start-up, Canva, named ‘coolest’ company in tech; but why does business need to be cool?

Ben Hutt, CEO of careers matching website, JobAdvisor, told Dynamic Business that “building an attractive company culture is one of the most important things for a business owner to do.” According to Ben, businesses, whether a start-up or multi-national, will be held back if they don’t “nail culture.” After online design platform and start-up, Canva, was awarded the title of Australia’s Coolest Company in Tech 2015 by JobAdvisor, Dynamic Business asks founder, Melanie Perkins, what it takes to nail that culture and how it has contributed to Canva’s success.

Speaking of the award, Ben said “Canva is one of the most exciting organisations globally in tech right now. The culture and mix of people make it a truly one-of-a kind place to work. Everyone is positive about their craft and there’s a strong sense of egalitarianism.”

As a fast growing tech start-up, Melanie said she understands how crucial it has been to have a clear understanding of “how we work” from the outset. According to Melanie, this is “critical to ensuring that individuals are on the same page towards achieving the common goal.

“It dictates the day-to-day behaviour of individuals with the business.

“When you have a strong culture within your business, people are able to move quickly, with agility.”

The Canva team

The Canva team

But where does it all start? Of course, you need the right people to carry the business from strength to strength, but it’s up to the founders [or those at the top] to get the right ball rolling. Speaking from Canva’s start-up experience, Melanie said “culture starts with the founders. We have founders who are good people, who are crazy ambitious, have earned their business stripes and know how to bring together top talent.

“We ensure that Canva is a great place to work, with a fun environment and benefits.”

And the outcome: “top results”, says Melanie. “Nothing is as cool as exceeding customer expectations.”

The Australian tech scene is packed with innovative companies that are challenging traditional models and pushing the boundaries, according to Ben. And it’s true – in business, being ‘disruptive’ carries no negative connotations. Now, more than ever, new start-ups are looking to build workforces that are capable of more than just ‘playing ball’. To achieve that – you have to be a great place to work.

According to Melanie, businesses that fail in this regard are plagued with retention issues which ultimately result in lower productivity, dwindling customer satisfaction and declining revenues.

“It’s a downward spiral that is hard to get out of,” Melanie said.

“Our award is a reflection of each employee at Canva and the investment we make to become the best place in the world to work at.”

So the modern business needs to be ‘cool’; and it needs to be cool to ensure it attracts the best to deliver the best.