Ever wondered what it’s like to work for a digital product studio? Feeling curious about what makes our team so successful? Our employee spotlight series is here to give you an insight into who we are, how we work, and shine a light on Crowdlinker’s most valued assets - the people.
Back in January 2022, the Crowdlinker team gave a huge welcome to our first HR hire, Maja Plastich. As Talent and Culture Generalist, Maja plays a key role in cultivating a better sense of unity throughout the company. Thanks to her passion for people and tenacious attitude towards improving company-wide processes, Maja has made a significant difference in helping everyone on the team, including our fully remote workers based outside of the GTA, feel like a family.
During our conversation we spoke about what Maja’s role is like, what sort of projects she’s been working on since she started, and how the company has been able to maintain a strong sense of culture, despite our many time zones.
How did you find your position here, and what drew you to apply?
Prior to this I was working at a company that had changed their remote policy. They decided they needed us to come into the office, but it was around a 2 hour drive away from me, so I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I started applying to remote based businesses - I had a spreadsheet to track which stage I was at with each company and everything - It was a long process. But Crowdlinker really stood out to me in the interview. It seemed like they had a really great culture and clearly cared about their employees.
I had another 3 interviews lined up, and I told all of them I’d already found something! I really enjoyed my interview experience with Crowdlinker and I just decided to go with them from the beginning.
What was it like for you when you first started? What were some of your initial responsibilities?
I’m actually the first HR hire here at Crowdlinker, which is pretty typical for a smaller company with less employees. We were at about 40 when I was hired.
For the first few weeks I really just took it upon myself to audit the company. I wanted to see what we do have in place, what we don’t have in place, what goes against our values or what existing processes don’t necessarily align with our values. I wanted to really see what we desired out of the company.
I started by setting up a lot of 1-1 meetings with the team to understand what people wanted, if there had been any unfulfilled promises, things like that. Then just making a list of what I thought could be added in to make everything more aligned to the values we have set out in our culture book.
Talking of Crowdlinker culture, can you tell me about some of the changes you’ve made to enhance this since you started?
Crowdlinker has always been great with things like the culture huddles and the town halls. So after I started I added a few more events like these, which I think most people enjoy and hopefully don’t find too annoying haha.
So for example, there was the Crowdlinker competition, where you and I came second place…
I loved that! (We were the ‘Work from Homies’)
Me too. I think although the short games we play during the culture huddles are great, this was different. The CL competition spanned over 3 months, there was a whole bracket, people were getting really competitive and having fun making their own teams names. I think it fostered really great team bonding.
I made sure to pair people together from different departments and different projects, so people could work with someone that they don’t usually speak with, and I think it worked out really well.
Also I’ve been organising little one off things. Like the murder mysteries we do remotely and a few more in-person socials now that restrictions have lightened up a bit, it’s just been great to get people together.
What does your day-to-day generally look like?
I’m a morning person, so I like to work early in the day and finish a little earlier. The company is so good at respecting employees' downtime here, so once I finish for the day, if any new messages come through I try to leave them until the next day. I think it helps to keep that work-life balance. So, usually, that means the first thing I do every morning is catch up on any emails and Slack messages.
Then honestly, it feels like there’s always something new going on! Right now, there’s the Christmas party coming up, so I’m working on permits and insurance for the event space we’ve organised. Then there’s guest lists and ordering food for everyone.
I’m also trying to make sure that every quarter we’re organising a remote social, so that the remote team still feels included. Even though most of our employees are local to GTA, there’s still a lot of people further out and those remote socials really help to make a difference.
Then I just try to make myself available to the team to help them with any issues, a lot of communications with our different vendors, and any specific project admin that needs to be done.
Recently, we had the satisfaction surveys go out. So right now, I’m looking at all of the responses and creating spreadsheets and visualisation charts to see where we could do better. I’ll then work closely with Aram (CEO) just to bring the most important and high level issues up front so that we can create a strategy to do better for the next year. Because that’s really what it’s about, creating consistent processes to improve year over year.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I honestly love fostering the culture here. When I see some of the positive responses in the satisfaction surveys, where employees are saying how they love the virtual coffee chats, or the competition, or that they feel like this is a really open environment where they can talk to anyone on the team - that makes me feel really happy.
It’s especially important to me because some of the companies I worked for in the past weren’t as open or as flat in their hierarchy. You felt scared almost to even talk to the higher ups. It makes me happy that we’re fostering a really great environment, and people really respect each other's work-life balance. Like, if you’re sick, everyone encourages you to get better. People are very understanding here.
Last question. Can you tell us a bit about who you are outside of Crowdlinker, and what sort of things you enjoy doing in your free time?
You know this already, but I got a puppy not too long ago, so most of my free time is her! In the beginning over the summer we were just so excited about where we would take her, finding new parks, and just spending a lot of time outdoors.
I am very much an outdoorsy person generally anyway. I always played sports as a kid, so now sometimes in the summer me and my friends will find a court and play pick up basketball. My partner plays tennis, so he’s been trying to teach me that, which is great for the winter because we can use the indoor courts. I also do Pilates twice a week and I have a personal trainer that helps me with boxing and other exercises. I just love things that get me moving.
Especially now, working from home, there’s a lot of sitting. And even though you sit a lot working in an office, now I work from home I can go from sitting in one spot of the house during working hours, to moving over to my couch in the evening. I think it’s important for me to really try to find something every day to get myself up and moving.
Thanks so much to Maja for taking the time out of a busy schedule to speak with me.
If you’re interested in joining our team, check out our careers page for the latest opportunities at Crowdlinker.