I worked at SelectMinds full-time
Open culture encouraging smart work for good clients
A little stagnant, the loud are compensated over the more skilled
Great place to begin your career
Nice office perks
Very social work environment
The biggest con by far was the unprofessionalism at times. There were times when management had no qualms raising their voice to someone deemed as junior, to levels outside of the office environment that would have merited a physical response.
Almost all of the business model was focused on retaining existing clients and attracting similar ones. None was devoted to actually building something useful.
A small core of senior folks made all decisions about product without showing even the slightest bit of interest in soliciting any input from actual users or the junior staff members who implemented and maintained it.
There were no company wide meetings, except to deliver layoffs. I once asked senior management if we could have a weekly staff meeting to discuss what senior management is working on, upcoming projects, and just so that we could all be in a room on a regular basis and feel like a team,, etc.. and senior management saw absolutely no benefit in that at all ... not even for middle management to meet with senior management on a regular basis. Yow!
The office culture, while social, was also one of feigned interest in the product. It was hard to be motivated or excited about something you don't find useful, nor that you are able to contribute to in any meaningful way.
They did a lot of hiring for jobs that were newly created whose role (and often purpose) they didn't take the time to clearly define ... a frustrating process for everyone ... especially the new hire ... that almost always ended in termination.
Advice to Management
Make all of your employees an essential part of your team, and you will build believers. If you build believers, you will get much better work out of people, and a much better product.
SelectMinds enables you to gain access to all members of the company. It is very easy to walk up to anyone for the most part and question them about their roles and responsibilities. You can learn quite a bit about the technical ins and outs of a SaaS company. For a young person who is just out of college or a person with not much other responsibilities, working at SelectMinds is a good learning experience. You can experience what it is like to work for a creative company with very intelligent people.
As with many start ups, companies that remain in start up or maintain a start up mentality it is expected that you spend quite a bit of time socializing with your team members on and off hours. If you do not do this, possibly because you have a family, you are not considered a team player. To management, being a good leader means coming in early and leaving late regardless of whether you accomplish what is asked. SelectMinds is venture capitol backed. Working for a venture capitol backed company means that you have to be concerned with revenue more than you may working for a public company or private company that creates its own revenue. If one client is lost and you are not with an operations team, you can lose your job quite easily. SelectMinds acts very much like a start up even though it has been around for over 10 years. Managers are not supervisors at any level as much as they are Team Leaders. There is a high level of self-importance and a pretense of listening and progressiveness. Things are not as they seem because revenue will not allow them to be a Google or Facebook though they try to be like these successful enterprises on the surface.
Advice to Management
Move out of the start up mentality. Do not expect all employees to be the same. This is the lazy man's management style. If a person gets along within the culture but is not of the culture, be accepting of the person's differences. Embrace diversity. Stop letting clients push you around. Acknowledge contributions from all employees, don't just give negative feedback because 1 or 2 out of 10 clients complain. Realize that if you "lead from the back of the boat" you can't just blame the Yeoman when you hit an iceberg. Maybe the First Mate, the Yeoman's boss, was trying to emulate you and lead from the back as well. Sometimes it takes a team to operate the rudder in a violent storm.
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