Benjamin Schmidt is an engagement and comms lead here at 5CA. He’s played a key role in helping us establish an inclusive remote work culture, and here he talks about what he loves about a WFH culture that we think is pretty special – and why that might be.
I’ve been with 5CA for five years now and it’s always struck me how inclusive, diverse and international the culture here feels. I know this feels like an unusual statement to open with, but… there are just so many weirdos inside our company (and I mean that as a compliment – I’m one too). It’s one of the things I really love about 5CA.
How has this happened here? In part it’s almost a function of an organisation where 80% of our workforce – CX agents for gaming and lifestyle brands – all work permanently from home. Diversity is pretty much baked in when your people are WFH specialists, because we’re hiring from all over the world, with all the different nationalities and backgrounds you’d expect that to mean.
How do you lock in your culture without killing it?
A few years ago I was part of a team that created a diversity and inclusion charter for 5CA. A large percentage of what we did was trying to lock in those elements of our work culture that we wanted to preserve. Almost to ‘institutionalise’ them so that those elements of our culture that we cherish – the pride in our inclusivity, the raising of our freak flag if you like – become codified into what we do.
We’re not just a community, we’re a workplace where everyone is accepted for who they are. It’s something I really cherish about our company. For example, we have a large LGBTQ community at 5CA and I have heard some people say that they could never be as open about who they are if they had to show up for an office job in their own country.
5CA is a place you can come to and say, “You know what? I’m into this really obscure, Korean-style of dance, and I make videos about it and post them on YouTube,” and everyone here will turn around and say, “Oh that’s SO cool!” There are so many people here who are different and quirky. It can be intense managing people like this, but then so many of our team leads here are *also* the weirdos. So that’s okay.
What does true inclusion look like?
When we helped establish the groundwork for the culture at 5CA we had conversations about inclusivity. To be truly ‘inclusive’, does that mean you have to include all the people all the time?
In the end we decided that we would create a series of ways to engage with the business and with one another, creating online events and an online community and offer it to people. If some people didn’t want to join in – or couldn’t – we’d be OK with that too.
Shortly after we published our diversity and inclusion charter, we had some people actively reach out who were neurodiverse and talk to us about how much they appreciated working for 5CA precisely because they had more control over their environment and how they interacted with their colleagues – far more than they would in a physical office.
For us inclusion is creating all these offerings, making sure everyone knows they’re there, but respecting those of us who don’t want to take part. Everyone has their own reasons why they choose to work remotely, and I believe a good deal of our success lies in us employing people who actively want to WFH rather than have it forced upon them, as so many people have experienced this year.
For myself, and others here, diversity and inclusion isn’t a box we’re trying to tick. It’s not a target to aim for. Or an objective that we need to meet. It’s what we already have, partly due to how we work, and who we employ. It’s what makes working here enjoyable, and long may it continue.
Find out more about working for 5CA at our careers site.